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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

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Moscow Slams Friends of Syria Rebel Arms Pledge

MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow on Monday strongly condemned the decision by Western and Arab nations in the Friends of Syria group to supply weapons to the rebel forces fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.

These plans are “completely at odds” with the goal of a political settlement in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Monday the decision will do nothing to resolve the conflict and only lead to more bloodshed and violence.

Ministers from the 11 main countries in the group agreed on Saturday "to provide urgently all the necessary material and equipment to the opposition on the ground," they said in a statement following talks in Qatar. The participant nations will each deliver supplies and support to the rebels independently as they see fit, the group said, but all assistance will be channeled through the Free Syrian Army headed by General Salim Idriss.

The group includes Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Turkey.



Snowden Is ‘Safe and Healthy’ – WikiLeaks Founder

MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) – Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks, said Monday that former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden was “safe and healthy” but declined to reveal his whereabouts.

Snowden is wanted by the United States for disclosing a top-secret surveillance program that allegedly targeted millions of Americans. He took a plane from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday accompanied by WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison, the organization said in a statement.

“The current status of Snowden and Harrison is that both are healthy and safe and they are in contact with their legal teams,” Assange said during a conference call broadcast by RT. He said he would not give any further information about Snowden’s whereabouts.

He said that he had “personal sympathy with Mr. Snowden” and that WikiLeaks was ready to assist him in future.



Idaho Co. Creates Bullets Laced with Pork Because They Believe it Will Keep Muslims Out of Heaven

An Idaho-base company known as South Fork Industries has created a new line of pork-laced bullets that they hope will be used to fight back against Islamic terrorists. The bullets, which are called Jihawg Ammo, were created so that they can be used as a "defensive deterrent to those who violently act in the name of Islam."

South Fork took traditional ammo and coated the bullets in a pork-infused paint. Those who are shot with the bullets would then be "unclean". The Islamic religion forbids Muslims from coming into contact with pig meat. The bullets creators believe that being shot with a pork-laced bullet with keep Muslims out of heaven.

The company said in a press release:

"With Jihawg Ammo, you don't just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell.That should give would-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack. If it ever becomes necessary to defend yourself and those around you our ammo works on two levels."



The Fall Of The House Of Herzl: Israel As A Horror Flick

Horror films are often centered around a house: a safe haven. But they are also a place of danger and sometimes a monster in and of themselves. To Israelis, the Jewish state can play all three roles.

By Yuval Ben-Ami |Published June 24, 2013

Last week my girlfriend Ruthie came up with a scary idea: “Why don’t we start watching classic horror films together?” she asked.

This would of course be a perfect remedy for a couple suffering from a decline in intimacy: a lack of clinging to one another. I assure you that we have no need for that. We simply love cinema. Ruthie asked online for suggestions, and soon we headed on our roller coaster of chills. The first film we watched was Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” the second: Italian cult classic “Supriria.”

Through all the screams and slashing scenes, I found myself thinking a lot about politics. Here’s the true curse of living in this haunted land: we can’t get politics out of our heads even when the zombies break into the house and reach directly to the throat of the pretty blonde. Why would we? We are made to believe that we live in this house. Ehud Barak called Israel “a villa in the jungle,” aka, an outpost of humanity besieged by wild beasts. Horror cinema is all about stirring anxieties, and this exactly what our politicians do for a living. Israeli society is suffering en-masse from a state of PTSD, a state which our leaders preserve rather than heal, keeping us dependant on their promise of military protection. Last week I heard Netanyahu say on the radio: “The Palestinians don’t only want the West Bank, they want Jaffa, Ashdod and Haifa.” His tone was taken straight out of the radio and television broadcasts in “Night of the Living Dead.”

American horror cinema is indeed borne of political anxieties. The plot of “Night of the Living Dead” incorporates many of the fears experienced by Cold War American society: the fear of nuclear holocaust, the fear of “red” society, in which individuals lose their identity, even the uncertainty of where racial politics are headed, in the age of Martin Luther King Jr. The murderous aliens of B movies produced in the 50s and 60s were always allusions to very terrestrial beings, or at least semi-human ones, such as Brezhnev.

This ambiguous sense of home, can play strongly on the emotions of both left- and right-wing Israelis. In the right-wing narrative, particularly that of the paranoid Netanyahu variety, Israel is precisely that house. We escaped to it from the zombie apocalypse/Frankenstein’s monster/Mengele’s needles, and are now trying to collect ourselves. Meanwhile, a combination of ever-persistent zombies are still trying to penetrate the house (Arab nations, Iran, Palestinian refugees abroad). The backyard is swarming with them (West Bank and Gaza Palestinians) while inside, evil hides in the closets (Palestinian citizens of Israel, Jewish leftists, likely-to-be-antisemitic tourists).



As Whistleblowers Hunted Worldwide, Celebrating Another Rebel, From Apartheid Era

Monday, 24 June 2013 14:14
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig | Op-Ed

What is it that makes a rebel? Why does one willingly step outside society to destroy a system of power, break the law and risk persecution and even death for an ideal? As the state calcifies into corporate totalitarianism, as prominent rebels such as Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are defamed by a bankrupt media and political class and hunted down as criminals, as change through the established mechanisms of reform becomes impossible, as systems of power invert morality to silence and imprison the just, we are going to have to ask hard questions about what we are willing to endure to make a better world. For if we do not rebel, if we do not actively defy corporate power, we will steadily be herded like captive animals into pens where we will be watched, controlled, abused, exploited and finally cast aside when our bodies and our minds are deemed superfluous by the corporate state. It is not enough to interpret the world. We must change it.

Rebels at the inception of struggle are vilified. They are few in number. They are ostracized by the wider society. They are left to brood in shadows where the organs of state security track and hunt them like prey. These rebels of history must become our tutors. To discuss the nature of rebellion, I recently met with Ronnie Kasrils, who was a leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress when the group was fighting South Africa’s government and who from 2004 to 2008 was minister for intelligence services in the ANC government.

Kasrils, white, middle class and Jewish, turned his back on his race and his class to join the African National Congress as a 22-year-old in 1960. A year later he became a member of the South African Communist Party. He was a founding member, along with Nelson Mandela, of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or Spear of the Nation, the armed wing of the ANC. He served as the commander of the Natal Regional Command and underwent military training in 1964 in Odessa, in the Soviet Union. As a leader in the MK, Kasrils carried out sabotage and bombings of state infrastructure and industrial sites. Although a 1983 MK guerrilla attack left 19 civilians dead and a 1986 raid killed three civilians and injured 73 others, Kasrils points out that overall only a small number of whites died in the struggle while tens of thousands of blacks were slaughtered by the apartheid state.

Kasrils, along with his late wife, Eleanor, lived the shadowy life of an armed revolutionary. In his long liberation campaign he encountered resistance figures ranging from Ernesto “Che” Guevara to Malcolm X. His autobiography, “Armed and Dangerous: My Undercover Struggle Against Apartheid,” is a meditation on the cost and demands of revolutionary discipleship.

Kasrils said the rebel and the revolutionary are driven by an instinctive compassion, concern for others and “standing up for the underdog.” These impulses are often present in children, he said, but they are muted or crushed by the institutions of social control including the family and school. Kasrils, although an atheist, sees the rebel in Jesus Christ, as well as in the thunderous denunciations of evil and oppression by the Hebrew prophets of the Bible. He said that those who endure oppression such as Mandela and rise up to resist are better described as revolutionaries. The rebel, he said, is one who often enjoys certain “liberties” but who is “prepared to give up his class or her class, or tribe.” Rebels turn their backs on their own.



Consensus Wisdom: The Boycott Of Israel Is Working

From reading my digital mail, I see that a lot of people who say they oppose the occupation also oppose the boycott against Israel, and not only on moral grounds, but for practical reasons as well. It won’t work, they say, it won’t convince anyone, it’ll have a boomerang effect by making Israel even more intransigent. I’ve made my arguments against the moral objections to the boycott (here, here and here), but now I want to yield the floor to much more prominent speakers – all of whom oppose the occupation and, explicitly or presumably, the boycott too – who have been warning lately that the world is gradually turning its back on Israel, and the only way it can avoid eventual isolation is by freeing the Palestinians. In other words, they’re saying the boycott is having an impact, and it’s growing. The catalyst for this wave of concern was Stephen Hawking’s decision in early May to boycott last week’s Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.

The New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman, probably the best-known foreign affairs columnist in the world, wrote on June 4 that the BDS movement “is creating a powerful surge of international opinion, particularly in Europe and on college campuses, that Israel is a pariah state because of its West Bank occupation.” The No. 1 reason why Israel must end the occupation, Friedman wrote, was “to reverse the trend of international delegitimization closing in on Israel.”

On Friday, Yedioth Ahronoth’s Nahum Barnea, the most influential print journalist in this country, wrote that the Magen David Adom ambulance service, the national branch of the Red Cross, is under pressure from the U.S., British, French, Dutch and Norwegian branches to stay out of the West Bank, where it handles the Jewish settlements. (And this was before an MDA spokesman tweeted a particularly ugly anti-Arab joke.) They want MDA to give the whole territory to Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances, which handle the Palestinian areas. Ze’ev Elkin, the far-right deputy foreign minister, says he won’t comply and doesn’t care if the Red Cross kicks MDA out of its ranks. Barnea writes:

Elkin is living in la-la-land. … He chooses not to see the growing movement to boycott Israel in academia, the cancellation by Stephen Hawking of his appearance at the Presidential Conference because of pressure from boycotters of Israel, the factories that are pulling out of the West Bank because they’re unable to export from there.



Stocks Slammed By China And Fed


U.S. stocks tumbled to their lowest levels in two months Monday, as persistent worries about the Fed easing up on stimulus were exacerbated by a plunge in Chinese stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled more than 200 points, or 1.5%, while the S&P 500 sank 1.8% and the Nasdaq lost 1.7%.

Fears about China pushed the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) up above 21 to its highest level of the year. The CNNMoney Fear & Greed Index dropped further into Extreme Fear, clocking in at its lowest level since June 2012.

Commodities were under pressure amid worries about a slowdown in global economic growth. Cooper prices sank nearly 3%. Both crude oil and Brent crude prices dropped to a three-week lows.



76% of Americans Are Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck

Source: CNN


Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released by Bankrate.com Monday.

Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.

"It's disappointing," said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst. "Nothing helps you sleep better at night than knowing you have money tucked away for unplanned expenses."

Even more disappointing; The savings rates have barely changed over the past three years, even though a larger percentage of consumers report an increase in job security, a higher net worth and an overall better financial situation.

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/index.html

Supreme Court To Consider Letting Protesters Near Abortion Clinics

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to a Massachusetts law that prevents anti-abortion demonstrators from standing within 35 feet of abortion clinics, which was passed to prevent harassment of clinics’ staff and patients.

Justices said Monday they will consider whether the law infringes upon free speech. The ban on demonstrations was previously upheld by a Boston-area appeals court in McCullen v. Coakley, which cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Hill v. Colorado. That ruling permitted the state to restrict demonstrations within eight feet of health care facilities.

It’s not clear when the ruling might come down, but the court’s next term begins in October.


Job-Supervisor Harassment Suits Limited by U.S. Supreme Court

Source: Bloomberg

U.S. Supreme Court put new limits on lawsuits claiming on-the-job harassment, throwing out a case filed by a black catering worker who said a colleague slapped her and used racial epithets.
The justices, voting 5-4, said the alleged harasser didn’t qualify as Maetta Vance’s supervisor, a status that would make it easier for the Ball State University worker to win her case.

The court, dividing along ideological lines, said people qualify as supervisors only if they can take tangible employment actions against the alleged victim.

The issue is an important one because employers are generally liable for racial and sexual harassment by supervisors. Workers file more than 30,000 formal harassment complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each year.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-24/job-supervisor-harassment-suits-limited-by-u-s-supreme-court.html
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