Thursday, June 23, 2011

Iceland: The One That Got Away

From Iceland chooses freedom: an example for all by Jerry Mazza, Intrepid Report:

Posted on June 23, 2011 by Jerry MazzaWhether it is Europe’s PIGS [Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain] or the United States of America’s crazies, unlike them all Iceland’s populous chose not to bailout foreign or domestic domination of their would-be banksters. And that is laudable, an existential act of choosing freedom, i.e., life versus financial strangulation under outrageous debt and usurious interest.

In
Iceland Declares Independence from International Banks, Bill Wilson writes “On April 9, the fiercely independent people of [the] island-nation defeated a referendum that would have bailed out the UK and the Netherlands who had covered the deposits of British and Dutch investors who had lost funds in Icesave bank in 2008.” Ah, poor Brits and Dutch.

[ ... ]

If America had “just said no” to Hank Paulson, his brother Obama, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, and the rest of the car wrecks, we wouldn’t be sitting with a $14.3 trillion national deficit while not even being able to afford to raise the debt ceiling so we don’t default to our lenders. Why do wecontinue to socialize bankster excesses and allow them to privatize their profits, taking trillions more in tax cuts, millions in personal bonuses, and pull the gold out of your teeth if you’re lucky enough to have some. I have hardened chewing gum.

In Iceland, the voters “just said no” despite the bullies’ threats to freeze out Iceland from funding in international financial institutions, which is like not being allowed to dive in a shark tank or walk into the poison snake cage in Central Park. The whole banking world of the US is rigged by the Federal Reserve Bank, Capo del Capos of 11 other US Central banks, plus all the Mafia soldier banks around the world that they relate to. Freezing them out is financial nirvana. Ba fon colo is my personal advice to them.

From
Austerity Is Good by Gary North, LewRockwell.com

Greece is now the test case. Iceland stiffed the European bankers by defaulting on its external debt. This has led to a revived economy, something that the media do not discuss in detail. Iceland has done better than Ireland, which capitulated to the EU and the European Central Bank.

Iceland had this enormous advantage: it never joined the European Monetary Union. It now enjoys low rates on its bonds. This indicates that Greece can escape from the trap by pulling out of the EMU and defaulting on its external debt. This would send a message to Portugal and Spain: deliverance is available. Stiff the foreign creditors and abandon the euro.

From
Iceland’s ‘no bailout’ stance hasn’t chilled investors by Eric Reguly, Globe and Mail Blog

Iceland’s method of coping with the financial crisis had a brutal charm about it. In essence, the country hoisted its middle finger to the owners of bank bonds, and a few other people it owed money to, and walked away.

It worked. For evidence, note that Iceland made a triumphant return to the international bond markets late last week, and that its tiny economy is growing at a fair clip, both remarkable achievements when you consider its punishing economic and banking collapse in late 2008.

And therein lies a lesson. Make that two. The first is that bond holders of clapped out banks can, and should, take losses for the greater good of the recovery. The second is that keeping your own currency is a terrific idea when you’re going through economic hell -- it gave Iceland the fiscal freedom that Greece, Ireland and Portugal entirely lack.

The specialists of OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) presented a new report on Iceland’s economic outlook yesterday morning. They predict a three percent economic growth in light of increased consumption and investment.

City Life Could Change Your Brain for the Worse

Brandon Keim reports for Wired:

Between the crowds and the noise and the pressure, city life often seems to set one’s brain on edge. Turns out that could literally be true.

A study of German college students suggests that urbanite brains are more susceptible to stress, particularly social stress, than those of country dwellers. The findings don’t indicate which aspects of city life had changed the students’ brains, but provide a framework for future investigations.

“Whether people are exposed to noise, live near a park, have a big group of friends or not — you can do those experiments, and tease apart which parts of urban living are associated with these changes,” said Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, a psychiatrist at German’s Central Institute of Mental Health.

Meyer-Lindenberg’s findings, published June 23 in Nature, are a neurological investigation into the underpinnings of a disturbing social trend: As a rule, city life seems to generate mental illness.

Compared to their rural counterparts, city dwellers have higher levels of anxiety and mood disorders. The schizophrenia risk of people raised in cities is almost double. Literature on the effect is so thorough that researchers say it’s not just correlation, as might be expected if anxious people preferred to live in cities. Neither is it a result of heredity. It’s a cause-and-effect relationship between environment and mind.

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[ WARNING: Video contains images that some may find disturbing. ]

A Call For Resistance And Solidarity From Athens' Syntagma Square

Unoffica translation from the original Greek:


International Update


Dear friends, brothers and sisters,

We are the ones who have kept up the struggle for a month at Syntagma Square in Athens. We organize ourselves by direct democracy, excluding all political parties. Our voice is our daily People's Assembly.

We are indignant because others decide for us without us and mortgage our future; they impose loans that do not benefit the people but, instead, the interests of banks and governments. We are indignant because they terrorize us with the threat of bankruptcy. Not only do they try to instill fear in us but they also try to set the people of different countries against each other.

WE DO NOT WANT ANY MORE SUPPORTING LOANS

WE DO NOT WANT PUBLIC ASSETS TO BE SOLD OFF

WE DO NOT WANT THE MEDIUM-TERM PROGRAM TO PASS

We do not want the socialization of losses and the privatization of profits.

UNITE YOUR VOICE WITH OURS

They are using our sacrifices and yours in order that a few may acquire wealth.

We find ourselves here today. You will be here tomorrow.

We take to the streets every day.

Every Sunday hundreds of thousands of citizens are at the town squares throughout Greece, Syntagma being the core.

The medium-term program will not pass.

Journalists keep silent, we do not.

We urge all the people of Europe and all trade unions to organize solidarity and mutual support actions on the day of the medium-term program vote [in parliament].


ALL TOGETHER LET'S TAKE OUR LIVES INTO OUR OWN HANDS


http://www.real-democracy.gr/

The Cecil family's extraordinary secret society, Greek pagan roots of Milner's project to privatise the British empire & foreign policy

Extracted from The Anglo-American Establishment, from Rhodes to Cliveden, (1966)

"...Curtis defined the distinction between a commonwealth and a despotism in the following terms: "The rule of law as contrasted with the rule of an individual is the distinguishing mark of a commonwealth. In despotism government rests on the authority of the ruler or of the invisible and uncontrollable power behind him. In a commonwealth rulers derive their authority from the law and the law from a public opinion which is competent to change it." Accordingly, "the institutions of a commonwealth cannot be successfully worked by peoples whose ideas are still those of a theocratic or patriarchal society. The premature extension of representative institutions throughout the Empire would be the shortest road to anarchy."[20] The people must first be trained to understand and practice the chief principles of commonwealth, namely the supremacy of law and the subjection of the motives of self-interest and material gain to the sense of duty to the interests of the community as a whole. Curtis felt that such an educational process was not only morally necessary on the part of Britain but was a practical necessity, since the British could not expect to keep 430 million persons in subjection forever but must rather hope to educate them up to a level where they could appreciate and cherish British ideals. In one book he says: "The idea that the principle of the commonwealth implies universal suffrage betrays an ignorance of its real nature. That principle simply means that government rests on the duty of the citizens to each other, and is to be vested in those who are capable of setting public interest before their own." [21] In another work he says: "As sure as day follows the night, the time will come when they [the Dominions] will have to assume the burden of the whole of their affairs. For men who are fit for it, self-government is a question not of privilege but rather of obligation. It is duty, not interest, which impels men to freedom, and duty, not interest, is the factor which turns the scale in human affairs." India is included in this evolutionary process, for Curtis wrote: " A despotic government might long have closed India to Western ideas. But a commonwealth is a living thing. It cannot suffer any part of itself to remain inert. To live it must move, and move in every limb. . . . Under British rule Western ideas will continue to penetrate and disturb Oriental society, and whether the new spirit ends in anarchy or leads to the establishment of a higher order depends upon how far the millions of India can be raised to a fuller and more rational conception of the ultimate foundations upon which the duty of obedience to government rests."

These ideas were not Curtis's own, although he was, perhaps, the most prolific, most eloquent, and most intense in his feelings. They were apparently shared by the whole inner circle of the Group. Dove, writing to Brand from India in 1919, is favorable to reform and says: "Lionel is right. You can't dam a world current. There is, I am convinced, 'purpose' under such things. All that we can do is to try to turn the flood into the best channel." In the same letter he said: "Unity will, in the end, have to be got in some other way. . . . Love-call it, if you like, by a longer name-is the only thing that can make our post-war world go round, and it has, I believe, something to say here too. The future of the Empire seems to me to depend on how far we are able to recognize this. Our trouble is that we start some way behind scratch. Indians must always find it hard to understand us." And the future Lord Lothian, ordering an article on India for The Round Table from a representative in India, wrote: "We want an article in The Round Table and I suggest to you that the main conclusion which the reader should draw from it should be that the responsibility rests upon him of seeing that the Indian demands are sympathetically handled without delay after the war. "[22]

What this Group feared was that the British Empire would fail to profit from the lessons they had discerned in the Athenian empire or in the American Revolution. Zimmern had pointed out to them the sharp contrast between the high idealism of Pericles's funeral oration and the crass tyranny of the Athenian empire. They feared that the British Empire might fall into the same difficulty and destroy British idealism and British liberties by the tyranny necessary to hold on to a reluctant Empire. And any effort to hold an empire by tyranny they regarded as doomed to failure. Britain would be destroyed, as Athens was destroyed, by powers more tyrannical than herself. And, still drawing parallels with ancient Greece, the Group feared that all culture and civilization would go down to destruction because of our inability to construct some kind of political unit larger than the national state, just as Greek culture and civilization in the fourth century B.C. went down to destruction because of the Greeks' inability to construct some kind of political unit larger than the city-state. This was the fear that had animated Rhodes, and it was the same fear that was driving the Milner Group to transform the British Empire into a Commonwealth of Nations and then place that system within a League of Nations. In 1917, Curtis wrote in his Letter to the People of India: "The world is in throes which precede creation or death. Our whole race has outgrown the merely national state, and as surely as day follows night or night the day, will pass either to a Commonwealth of Nations or else an empire of slaves. And the issue of these agonies rests with us."

At the same time the example of the American Revolution showed the Group the dangers of trying to rule the Empire from London: to tax without representation could only lead to disruption. Yet it was no longer possible that 45 million in the United Kingdom could tax them selves for the defense of 435 million in the British Empire. What, then, was the solution? The Milner Group's efforts to answer this question led eventually, as we shall see in Chapter 8, to the present Commonwealth of Nations, but before we leave The Round Table, a few words should be said about Lord Milner's personal connection with the Round Table Group and the Group's other connections in the field of journalism and publicity.

Milner was the creator of the Round Table Group (since this is but another name for the Kindergarten) and remained in close personal contact with it for the rest of his life. In the sketch of Milner in the Dictionary of National Biography, written by Basil Williams of the Kindergarten, we read: "He was always ready to discuss national questions on a non-party basis, joining with former members of his South African 'Kindergarten' in their 'moot,' from which originated the political review, The Round Table, and in a more heterogeneous society, the 'Coefficients,' where he discussed social and imperial problems with such curiously assorted members as L. S. Amery, H. G. Wells, (Lord) Haldane, Sir Edward Grey, (Sir) Michael Sadler, Bernard Shaw, J. L. Garvin, William Pember Reeves, and W. A. S. Hewins." In the obituary of Hichens, as already indicated, we find in reference to the Round Table the sentence: "Often at its head sat the old masters of the Kindergarten, Lord Milner and his successor, Lord Selborne, close friends and allies of Hichens to the end." And in the obituary of Lord Milner in The Round Table for June 1925, we find the following significant passage:
 
The founders and the editors of The Round Table mourn in a very special sense the death of Lord Milner. For with him they have lost not only a much beloved friend, but one whom they have always regarded as their leader. Most of them had the great good fortune to serve under him in South Africa during or after the South African war, and to learn at firsthand from him something of the great ideals which inspired him. From those days at the very beginning of this century right up to the present time, through the days of Crown Colony Government in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, of the making of the South African constitution, and through all the varied and momentous history of the British Empire in the succeeding fifteen years, they have had the advantage of Lord Milner's counsel and guidance, and they are grateful to think that, though at times he disagreed with them, he never ceased to regard himself as the leader to whom, above everyone else, they looked. It is of melancholy interest to recall that Lord Milner had undertaken to come on May 13, the very day of his death, to a meeting specially to discuss with them South African problems..."

Greece: The Struggle In The Squares

By Panos Petrou


Petrou is a member of the socialist group Internationalist Workers Left (DEA) and a participant in the occupation in Athens' Syntagma Square. He explains how a powerful new movement against austerity has developed in town squares across Greece. On June 27 and 28, the so-called "movement of the squares" will demonstrate alongside the labor movement during a 48-hour general strike called for a time when parliament is set to vote on yet more cutbacks.

Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou and his PASOK party government survived a June 21 confidence vote in parliament, but he will face continued mass protests as he pushes for yet more devastating austerity measures.

Greece is in the grips of a desperate economic crisis. The government has needed massive bailouts engineered by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, but they have come with the demand that the government slash spending, cut the wages and benefits of workers, and privatize public enterprises.

But a new mass movement has arisen to give voice to the anger of the mass of the population. Following the example of youth and workers in Spain--and before that, the Egyptian revolutionaries of Tahrir Square--the Greek "aganaktismenoi" ("indignants") have occupied public squares.

On May 25, tens of thousands of people responded to a call on Facebook to join a demonstration in Syntagma Square, a central square in Athens outside the parliament building. It was a rather spontaneous demonstration, inspired by the Spanish movement of the "Indignados" (the "Indignants") who were occupying Plaza del Sol in Madrid.

Weeks later, Syntagma Square remains occupied by thousands of people, and similar "camps" are functioning in many squares in many cities and towns all around Greece. A new protest movement--known as "the aganaktismenoi" (the Greek translation for the "Indignados") or the "movement of the squares"--has emerged, and it is now a social force that is further destabilizing the already shaken political system in Greece.

On the days before May 25 and immediately after, the mass media tried to flatter the people who came into the streets, simply to contain their actions. The press highlighted the weaknesses of the movement, praising them as its "gifts." The same political commentators who viciously attacked all kinds of social protest in the past, whether strikes or occupations or whatever, now glorified this "non-political movement of all Greeks against all parties."

They portrayed the movement in the way they wanted it to develop--as a "silent" expression of indignation against "politics," which would be harmless for the capitalist class.

Unfortunately for them, this is far from the truth. While there is a widespread anger against "politicians" in Greece, the true reasons for this popular anger are the anti-worker policies of the government. These policies are the product of the harsh austerity measures and anti-social agenda of the "Memorandum" signed by the government and the so-called "troika" of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, which are devastating the lives of working people, youth, the poor, seniors and the unemployed.

These are the people who occupy the squares--the ordinary people of Greek society. And far from being "non-political," these people are discovering politics in the streets.

From day one of the movement, one of the most exciting things about the occupied squares has been the fever of political debate among ordinary people. All sorts of people, meeting each other for the first time in their lives, are gathering to debate about the political system, the crisis, the public debt and how to deal with it--even the way the economy is run in capitalist society.

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6 Time Management Tips from the Buddha

By Lama Surya Das, HuffPost


Among all the substances we misuse and abuse, the greatest is time. Time is life; we squander it at our peril. Killing time deadens ourselves.

Almost everyone I encounter complains that they don't have enough. But where did it all go? Why aren't our labor-saving devices and faster means of travel and communication liberating us? Or at the very least, providing us with more leisure to accomplish the things that we want and need to do, or letting us simply slow down and enjoy what we've worked so hard for?

Does anyone have time today? I do! During the 40 years I've spent studying and teaching Buddhism, and in the process of writing my new book, "Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now," I've learned how to find, make, and keep time.

Actually, it's not time we lack; it's focus, awareness and a sense of priorities. We must change the space of the pace -- wake ourselves up by shifting to another way of being. We have all the time in the world. It's up to us to choose how to use it.

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The U.S. Drug War: A Guise for Open Class Warfare

By Dwight Kondo, Hawai'i News Daily

See the American Drug War for What It Is

The American Drug War is open Class Warfare between the institutionally powerful and the rest of us. This government-operated, domestic and international terrorist program has no other purpose than to control the people so as to extract the most obedience and profit from us.

Often couched in the noblest of sounding concepts like: “We don’t want to send the wrong message to the children!”.

The American Drug War is not intended to protect us. The Prohibition of Cannabis in particular and the American Drug War in general does just the opposite.

The first example that comes to mind is the violent underworld and ruthlessviolence it automatically creates. The drug gangs and their territorial wars are more dangerous than any one drug that is banned. No! It is more dangerousthan all the banned drugs combined. Yet a spiral of ever increasing violence is recharged with every new bust.

Pahoa High School students were reporting this fact 17 or 18 years ago in their essays to teachers who knew too well that what their students argued was true. I can hardly think of a single person, except a cop or politician and even many of them too, that didn’t know that this 40-year war was worse than all the drugs it was supposed to suppress.

In every single instance we can see that the American Drug War hasexacerbated every condition it was supposed to improve and yet till this very moment, some think it is a policy that can be reasoned with or maybe lobbied against.

Well, the courts are wrong, the cops are bought and the politicians — they all lie. As for the rest of us, too long have we been unwilling to see it for what it is: naked, treasonous Class warfare.

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Message to Anonymous Subgenius


Brothers and Sisters,
We must confront ourselves.
We know that all men and women are created good.

We must understand why you have gone bad. You can not play checkers with your life, jumpin' around like an 'ol whirl wind.

Wrapping your dishes and plates and then unpacking them and placing them back on the shelf.

This is not the way Jehova One has designed you to act.

Unless.. you are willing to admit, that you are a normal, a pink boy, a ninny, a twit.

Only then can you decide where your path shall lead you. We know in head, that we are all created good by Jehova One.

Some of you got such bad luck sometimes in your life, you couldn't hang yourself with your own neck tie.

This is when you should look to Bob.

When you look to Jehova One, and say "Bob, come into my life" and you shall see, one set of footprints in the sand.

And that is when you will know, that Bob has charged you $5.99 to carry you to the nearest taxi.

Praise Bob in his divine ways.

You got to know, that life is like a vanishing twin. A baby inside of a twin inside of a woman's belly.

That's how confusin' this wiggly world can be. You got to raise up above this wiggly world and grab the hand of Bob!

Praise him and all that flows through Bob!




This is one chapter clipped from a new 25-chapter revised version of ARISE!, The SubGenius Movie. ARISE! was directed by Cordt Holland and Rev. Ivan Stang, written by Stang, narrated by Dr. Hal Robins; it was first released in 1988. New artwork, some new live footage and numerous computer animation sequences were added in 2005. ARISE! tells the story of Slack master and Sex God J. R. "Bob" Dobbs, the Texas preacher who discovered the Conspiracy and an invasion by UFOs, and founded The Church of the SubGenius -- an adults-only religion for mutants, misfits, weirdos.

The SubGenius Foundation
Directors: Rev. Ivan Stang, Cordt Holland
Narrator: Hal Robins
As Himself: J.R. "Bob" Dobbs


Class War - Greatest Lies of the 20th Century

By Allan L. Jason, MEdia With Conscience


Surely, every Century surely has its prominent lies, given that “history belongs to the victors, those who win the war [and] write the story” and that much of the past few centuries at least, has been about conflict and war, as has all of the 21st Century, to date. But the 20th Century is the one I am most familiar with and it seems to me that it was principally about Class War; a phase of the struggle to overcome the monarchies that were borne of feudal times.

The Dutch defiance of Philip of Spain in the early 17th C, the English “Civil War” (none so rude as to call it revolution?) and the French Revolution were all momentous events of this struggle that set the stage for the 20th C. The Russian Revolution, the two World Wars (despite all the propagandist nonsense fed to the infantile masses of colonising countries and their colonies about fighting for “God, King and Country”) and The Cold War were all violent events of contention over ideology and that ideology was the intellectual conceptualisation of Class War.

The recording and interpretation of history has been profoundly impacted by the invention of the printing press (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press) in the mid-15th C and the development of modern, electronic communications technology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_telegraph), which began in earnest in the early 19th C. Both of these technologies developed and proliferated rapidly due to their importance to power; the victors shape the story with the principal objective of sustaining and perpetuating their minority dominance of the majority. In this process the 20th Century has seen a transition from the making of assertions about the nature of events after they happen to that of dominating the analysis and interpretation of them as they happen; a transition that occurred, not exclusively but most radically during WW2 with Hitler’s systematic and technological application of propaganda , an innovation of the Roman Catholic Church of three centuries before.

Today we see it in “spin”, embedded journalism and computer-generated “twitter revolutions”. We have “democracy” driving the bus with a rosy picture of the road ahead painted on the inside of the windscreen. We live in global slurry of untruths and disinformation, all of it insoluble in the truth on which a healthy human existence in harmony with our planet depends. My contention here is that the two greatest of those untruths, the quintessence of the present condition of humanity, are:

  • Communism is a failed system
  • The Soviet Union was defeated and with it Socialism.

Indian Government Accuses Dalit Poet and Activist of Provoking Class Warfare

From Uprising Radio

Listen to this segment the entire program

We now turn to India, and a case that reflects the ongoing hypocrisy of the Indian Caste system. The Indian caste system is a system of social stratification and social restriction in India in which communities are defined by social categories that define both their job and status in life but also their spiritual purity. This system which weaves race, religion, and class into one oppressive noose has also led to the oppression of many but in particular a group of people know as the Untouchables who are systematically discriminated again because of their impure jobs. Untouchables, or as they prefer to be called, Dalits number over 200 million people and face a staggering amount of discrimination including the horrifying statistic that ever hour 2 Untouchables are killed, 3 women are raped, and 2 houses are burnt. It is into this environment that we bring our next Guest Dalit Poet and activist Meena Kandaswamy who while based in the UK has now been embroiled in a case in the Indian judicial system where she is being accused of inciting communal or caste tensions between communities. We go now to Meena. Good Morning Meena, and welcome to Uprising.

GUEST: Meena Kandaswamy, Dalit poet and activist

Read Meena’s writing at: meenu.wordpress.com



Opening Night of the 14th Poetry Africa festival at Durban. I'm reading my poem 'Mulligatawny Dreams'

India’s war on the poor

On Sunday, with 500 others, I attended a meeting on ‘India’s war on the poor’ at Friends House in London.  The headline speaker was the novelist Arundhati Roy.  She spoke eloquently and movingly about the war by the Indian state on the tribal peoples (adivasis) on behalf of companies like Vedanta that want to exploit the natural resources of these lands.  She also spoke about the state’s attacks on poor farmers on behalf of rich landowners.

She read a passage from her new book ‘Walking with the Comrades’, which described how she met the Maoist rebels who are resisting government and paramilitary incursions into tribal lands.  In many areas villagers have to hide in the forest, only venturing out to harvest their crops under the protection of militias.  Roy was quite clear that the state’s attempts to destroy a way of life – by means of murder, rape, intimidation, disruption of economic activity – amounted to genocide.  Yet an unusually candid police chief suggested to her that perhaps the best means of overcoming the Maoists would be to put a TV in every home: ‘unless they become greedy, there’s no hope for us’.

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~ See also The fundamental flaw in our fight against poverty ~

World War II Mystery Solved in a Few Hours

As Tuesday dawned, what we knew about an anonymous photo album by a Nazi photographer was only what could be inferred from its 214 pictures (all but one uncaptioned). We could see he had amazing access: taking portraits of Russian and Jewish prisoners one month, standing just a few feet from Adolf Hitler the next. We knew he had been to the Eastern Front, we surmised that he worked for the Propagandakompanie and we guessed that the pretty woman in the album’s closing pages was someone special.

There was a striking divide in the album between his Eastern Front pictures, which ended with his convalescence somewhere, and the postcard pictures he took around the Bavarian countryside and in central Munich, when the young woman seemed always at his side.

It was as if war could somehow be partitioned from everyday life. And love.

Of course, that isn’t how war goes.

We now know that the photographer was Franz Krieger, a native of Salzburg, Austria, who lived until 1993. And we know that the woman was Frieda Krieger, his wife. She was killed on Nov. 17, 1944 — as was their 2-year-old daughter, Heidrun — when America’s 15th Air Force bombed Salzburg.

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Bradley Manning: Rich Man's War, Poor (Gay) Man's Fight

By Larry Goldsmith, CommonDreams.Org


A poor, young gay man from the rural South joins the U.S. Army under pressure from his father, and because it's the only way left to pay for a college education. He is sent to Iraq, where he is tormented by fellow soldiers who entertain themselves watching "war porn" videos of drone and helicopter attacks on civilians. He is accused of leaking documents to Wikileaks and placed in solitary confinement, where he has been held for more than a year awaiting a military trial.  The President of the United States, a former Constitutional law professor lately suffering amnesia about the presumption of innocence, declares publicly that "he broke the law."  The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Amnesty International, and the American Civil Liberties Union express grave concern about the conditions of his imprisonment, and the spokesman for the U.S. State Department is forced to resign after calling it "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid." A letter signed by 295 noted legal scholars charges that his imprisonment violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and the Fifth Amendment guarantee against punishment without trial, and that procedures used on Manning "calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality" amount to torture.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Human Rights Campaign, having invested millions lobbying for "gays in the military," have no comment.  Of course not.  Bradley Manning is not that butch patriotic homosexual, so central to the gays-in-the-military campaign, who Defends Democracy and Fights Terrorism with a virility indistinguishable from that of his straight buddies. He is not that pillar of social and economic stability, only incidentally homosexual, who returns home from the front to a respectable profession and a faithful spouse and children.

No, Bradley Manning is a poor, physically slight computer geek with an Oklahoma accent.  He is, let us use the word, and not in a negative way, a sissy.  Having grown up in a dysfunctional family in a small town in the South, he is that lonely, maladjusted outsider many gay people have been, or are, or recognize, whether we wish to admit it or not.  He broke the law, the President says.  And he did so--the liberal press implies, trying terribly hard to temper severity with compassion--because he wasn't man enough to deal with the pressure.  He did so because he's a sissy and he couldn't put up with the manly rough-and-tumble that is so important to unit cohesion, like that time three of his buddies assaulted him and instead of taking it like a good soldier he peed in his pants.  And then of course he was so embarrassed he threw a hissy fit and sent Wikileaks our nation's most closely guarded secrets, like some petulant teenage girl who gets her revenge by spreading gossip.  This is, of course, the classic argument about gays and national security--they'll get beat up or blackmailed and reveal our secrets.  And NGLTF, Lambda, and HRC, with their impeccably professional media and lobbying campaign, based on the best branding and polls and focus groups that money could buy, have effectively demolished that insidious stereotype.

Brazil declares war on 'chronic poverty'

By Jean-Pierre Langellier, Guardian Weekly


President Dilma Rousseff has launched an ambitious plan, Brazil Without Misery, which aims to eradicate dire poverty by 2014.

Just over 16 million Brazilians – almost a tenth of the population – live in extreme poverty, with less than $45 a month. Half of them are under 19, 40% under 14. Almost two-thirds live in the Nordeste region and about one in five is illiterate. Of the 30 million living in the countryside, one in four is "very poor".

During the election campaign, Rousseff promised to end poverty. Announcing the plan, she said it would be her top priority in her term of office.

"We can't forget that the most permanent, challenging and harrowing crisis is having chronic poverty in this country," Rousseff said. The government plans to launch an offensive through welfare payments, education, jobs, healthcare, access to public services, improved infrastructure and rural development.

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"The Dentist Of Jaipur" // a funny shortfilm by Falk Peplinski


New teeth, dentures or extractions not a problem at all for Pushkar and his old master Pyara Singh. They treat their patients in front of the train station of Jaipur, on the sidewalk under the pure sky. The short film of filmmaker Falk Peplinski, who has been living in India for three years, is an ironical image-clip for a dentist of its own kind and therefore a homage to the incredibleness of the Indian everyday life. The film had a big success at fimfestivals in 2006 and 2007.

India, 2006 / director & editor: Falk Peplinski, photography: Karsten Hohmann, sound: Valson P.D., producer : Meera Menezes

Dangerous radiation leaked from three-quarters of U.S. nuclear power plants

Dangerous radiation has leaked from three-quarters of all U.S. nuclear power stations raising fears the country's water supplies could one day be contaminated.


The number and severity of leaks has increased because of the many old and unsafe plants across America, a new investigation has claimed. 


Radioactive tritium has escaped at least 48 of 65 of all U.S. sites, often entering water around the plants through rusty old pipes.


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