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Wednesday, August 29

29.Aug.2012 - Destroying Precious Land, Stop-and-Frisk, Occupy Wall Street, Israel and Gaza, Climate Change, NYPD, the Press, Psychology of Choice, International Law, Domestic Terrorism, Honor of Thieves, Anti-SLAPP, Hunger Games, Westboro Baptist Church, Moral Gods Behave Immorally, Hospital Pay Price, Teens & Cannabis, Marriage Money Issues, Drones, IDF Abuses Kids, Subjective Laws, the 99%

Military Muppet: TV character urges Israelis to prepare for strike on Iran
A new emergency pamphlet in Israel instructs residents to prepare for the worst if Tel Aviv conducts a military strike on Iran. But the face on the brochure isn’t the country’s President or Prime Minister – it’s a Muppet.

The Kindle Wants To Be Free

Next week or next year, Amazon will start giving away its e-reader. Here’s why.

Destroying Precious Land for Gas

N the northern tip of Delaware County, N.Y., where the Catskill Mountains curl up into little kitten hills, and Ouleout Creek slithers north into the Susquehanna River, there is a farm my parents bought before I was born. My earliest memories there are of skipping stones with my father and drinking unpasteurized milk. There are bald eagles and majestic pines, honeybees and raspberries.

NYPD stop-and-frisk race case set for 2013 trial date 

Controversial policy has sparked charges of racial bias.

Twitter just filed its brief appealing a June decision by a New York criminal court judge requiring the company to give the Manhattan District Attorney detailed information on the communications of Twitter user Malcolm Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protester charged with disorderly conduct in connection with a march on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has released a new statement on fuel economy standards: “Gov. Romney opposes the extreme standards that President Obama has imposed, which will limit the choices available to American families,” said campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “The president tells voters that his regulations will save them thousands of dollars at the pump, but always forgets to mention that the savings will be wiped out by having to pay thousands of dollars more upfront for unproven technology that they may not even want.”

Court: Israel at No Fault for Death of Rachel Corrie

Family's lawyer: 'Court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life.'

UN: Gaza Won't Be 'Liveable' by 2020 Without 'Herculean' Efforts

Gaza may not be 'liveable' by 2020, and its aquifer may be unusable by as soon as 2016, according to a report from the United Nations published Monday.

Meteorologists Adjust Official Stance: Human Activity Causing Climate Change

New language removes ambiguity from group's previous statements on global warming and extreme weather

How the US and Israeli Justice Systems Whitewash State Crimes

Courts are supposed to check the abuse of executive power, not cravenly serve it. But in the US and Israel, that is now the case

The NYPD'S Intelligence Division: It's Gone Rogue

Its mission was to eavesdrop on conversations in the 262 police-identified ethnic "hot spots" [including 56 in New Jersey] and to catalogue these locations as places where suspected terrorists might meet.

We, The Press, Are the Real Refugees

All of the news on CNN this morning was about Hurricane Isaac. On NBC, too. And Fox News, for the most part. Yes, the storm has already screwed the Republican convention in so very many ways. But here today, in (sunny!) Tampa, as journalists stream into our media holding pen like so many wayward Katrina refugees, comes the final indignity: this pseudoevent threatens to be completely upstaged by a real event.

Understanding the Psychology of the American Idea of Choice

Thinking about options decreases support for equality and reduces empathy

10 Things the GOP Platform Hates About You

The GOP of 2012 is a big tent. Especially if you're a white, wealthy, currently elderly, heterosexual, Christian, non-DC resident who plans on living forever.

Israel Court Clears Army in Rachel Corrie Death, Angering Activists

An Israeli court on Tuesday cleared the military of any responsibility for the death of US activist Rachel Corrie who was killed by an army bulldozer in 2003, rejecting a civil suit filed by the family.

How do you go underground?

What are the steps for leaving your old identity behind and creating a new one?

Lively discussion with US presidential candidate at Colombo meeting

The speech by US SEP presidential candidate Jerry White to last Sunday’s meeting at the New Town Hall in Colombo opened up an important discussion. Following extended questions and answers in the meeting itself, participants remained behind to talk to Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) members, speak to WSWS reporters and buy literature.

The Western Onslaught Against International Law

A new film, "Compliance," examines "the human desire to follow and obey authority." Liberal institutions, such as the media, universities, federal courts, and human rights organizations, which have traditionally functioned as checks on the blind obedience to authority, have in our day gone over to power's side. The subversion of these institutions has transformed them from checks on power into servants of power. The result is the transformation of culture from the rule of law to unaccountable authority resting on power maintained by propaganda.

Domestic Terrorism American Style -- An Analysis

Intimidation took many forms. Non-whites and their allies who sought to assert civil rights were threatened, assaulted and frequently murdered. If they were women they were subjected to assault and rape. The property of these people was destroyed, their homes and meeting places attacked with bombs or burned. Finally, a favorite tactic was lynching.

Tom Engelhardt: Losing It in Washington

In the wake of several deaths among its contingent of troops in a previously peaceful province in Afghanistan, New Zealand (like France and South Korea) is now expediting the departure of its 140 soldiers.  That's not exactly headline-making news here in the U.S.  If you're an American, you probably didn't even know that New Zealand was playing a small part in our Afghan War. 

How Republicans Live with Themselves: The Honor of Thieves

Not everyone takes a contemptuous ruler lying down, especially when that ruler is a party with a do-or-die, my-way-or-the-highway mentality. In order to defeat the Federalists, Thomas Jefferson fought fire with fire in the campaigns of 1800 and 1804, which rivaled anything we have managed of late for grit and grime. Jefferson won both times, whereas progressives lostboth times in the parallel instances of 2000 and 2004.

TPP Creates Legal Incentives For ISPs To Police The Internet. What Is At Risk? Your Rights.

TPP article 16.3 mandates a system of ISP liability that goes beyond the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) standards and US case law. In sum, the TPP pushes a framework beyondACTA[1] and possibly the spirit of the DMCA, since it opens the doors for:

New Federal Anti-SLAPP Legislation Introduced: A Good Start

Recently, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AR) introduced a new federal anti-SLAPP bill called the Free Speech Act of 2012. While the bill doesn’t go nearly far enough, EFF is encouraged to see that Congress is showing renewed interested in passing legislation to prevent so called “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” (SLAPP) that attempt to censor and chill First Amendment protected speech.

Our Hunger Games

Hunger and malnutrition are man-made. They are hardwired in the design of the industrial, chemical model of agriculture. But just as hunger is created by design, healthy and nutritious food for all can also be designed, through food democracy.

Politicians Ignore Failed 'War on Drugs' at Their (and Our) Peril

We've spent more than a trillion dollars on this war. It's contributed to the highest incarceration rate in the world and it's made our society less safe by incentivizing violence and the involvement of organized crime in the drug trade. Each person who has been jailed is a person who forevermore will have trouble getting a job, may not be able to vote, will have issues renting a home or obtaining a mortgage and who would have been better served with treatment than with jail time. The lives of otherwise good people who happen to have addictions are destroyed, while bad people -- the violent gangs and cartels running the drug trade -- are funded, strengthened and made rich by the "war."

Occupy activists clash with Westboro Baptist church protestors outside the Republican convention

While delegates and newsmakers more or less took the day off while waiting for Issac (and waiting out tornado warnings in the area), the March on the RNC went forward as initially planned. But when the official march reached its end point, a few of the participants decided they weren’t done, and headed toward the Tampa Convention Center to try to draw the media’s attention away from the official opening of the convention, where they were met by a bunch of bicycle cops trained to use their transportation as roving barricades.

Why Political Candidate’s Beliefs Are Important
I opine that one’s religious views are just as important —perhaps more important— than one’s political philosophy. As my psychologist spouse informs me: for all practical intents and purposes it is impossible to separate “private” beliefs from public attitudes, prejudices, decisions, and behavior.

Israeli soldiers expose plight of Palestinian children

THE Israel Defence Force’s arbitrary use of violence against Palestinian children, including forcing them to act as human shields in military operations, has been exposed by veteran soldiers in detailed statements chronicling dozens of brutal incidents.

What Would Jesus Say? (To The Religious Right)

I don’t have a religion, so I’m no expert on the subject—plus, I’m not personally concerned about what Jesus had to say.  However, I do care about hypocrisy, especially in public life.  And I do read, so I looked for myself at the quotes attributed to Jesus in the Bible.  Apparently, most members of the Religious Right DON’T, CAN’T, or WON’T read what Jesus is actually supposed to have said, so I thought I’d bring them up to speed on the political hot topics that get their shorts in a knot and make them start throwing around Jesus’ name.

NASA Under Attack By Anti-Climate-Change Lobbyists

From inaccurate claims to out right fabrications, it seems that Obama’s enemies will stop at nothing to blame him for every problem under the sun. Now, has decided on creating a fiction out of whole cloth in its new piece “SPACEX: SOLYNDRA IN SPACE.” Not only does the writer, George Landrith, make an incredible stretch in labeling the California based Space Exploration Technologies Corp, commonly called SpaceX, an Obama donor (the total amount donated by SpaceX employees to Obama for this election season is $250 according to Open Secrets, compared to $5000 donated to Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip of the House and a Republican) but also makes rather remarkable claims about NASA itself.

Gods & Theists Behave Immorally: How Can Moral Gods Behave Immorally?

Why Believe in Immoral Gods? Why Believe the Claims of Immoral Theists?

What are Religious Tax Exemptions?

Tax Exemptions & Religion

Objective or subjective laws and lawgivers

Zach Weinersmith and Sean Carroll recently blogged about subjective and objective morality (see Pankration Ethics and Morality and Basketball). Their ideas are interesting but I found their comparison of physical laws and moral laws with the rules of basketball and pankration confusing – both games are rather foreign to me. So I am taking the opportunity to clarify my own ideas about physical laws and moral laws. And whether such laws are objective or subjective.

6 Right-Wing Zealots and the Crazy Ideas Behind the Most Outrageous Republican Platform Ever

They're breaking out the crazy down in Tampa.

The 99% Take on the Republican National Convention

Despite mixed feelings about Obama, protesters fight Mitt Romney, the 'King of the 1%'

Get a Job If You're Lucky, But You Might Be Looking for Another One Soon

Sharing the hopes and disappointments of trying to find work through a 'Job Club.'

How to Kill Student Curiosity in 12 Easy Steps

Want to stamp out the curiosity in even the most eager of learners? Here's how.

Hospitals to pay price for failure to innovate

Patients to be told if health authorities blacklist latest drugs

Teen cannabis use may damage brain for life, warns major study

Fears that drug 'rewires' adolescent minds as scientists find persistent smoking reduces IQ

How the US and Israeli Justice Systems Whitewash State Crimes

Courts are supposed to check the abuse of executive power, not cravenly serve it. But in the US and Israel, that is now the case.

America Planning for a Post-Israel Middle East?
Congresswoman Illena Ros-Lehtinen will have her hands full as she makes the political and social rounds at this month’s Republican National Convention. Illena, is the only female committee chair in the House of Representatives and arguably Israel’s most ardent agent. She is a constant thorn in the Obama administration's side, regularly castigating the president for playing "political games with U.S. foreign policy” and being “soft on Iran” and undermining the legitimacy of Israel. Ros-Lehtinen is a congressional cheer leader also for her Jewish voters in Florida -- a key battleground in the rapidly approaching US presidential election. Most recently, Ros-Lehtinen helped shepherd through Congress yet another bill tightening sanctions against Iran while calling for US military action against the Assad regime in Syria.

Top six marriage-killing money issues

Arguments about money hamper many marriages. In fact, couples fight about money twice as much as they fight about sex, according to a Money Magazine survey. And the challenges can actually start even before you say "I do."

Copyright Reform Process Begins Down Under... And They're Actually Asking Good Questions

Australia's been an interesting country to follow on the copyright front. In terms of court decisions, there have been some good ones and some awful ones. On the lawmaking front, we've seen ridiculous ideas floated and good ones as well. The current regime is, unfortunately, supporting some of the bad parts of the TPP, but the Australian Parliament has argued forrejecting ACTA. All in all, it's a mixed bag. 

How The Press Misinterprets Scientific Studies

[video] Food can kill - or heal. Info to help you choose wisely.

Exposed: IDF abuses kids, uses children as human shield

Video: Bill Nye Scolds Parents Who Won't Teach Their Kids Evolution

“Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place. If you try to ignore that, your worldview just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.”

GOP Leaders Touting Fundamentalist Views in Bid to Drum Up Massive Religious Voter Turnout

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker both spoke on Sunday at a celebration of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which has launched a massive push to get conservative religious voters to the polls in November. We discuss the religious right and its impact on elections with Adele Stan, longtime political reporter and Washington bureau chief for AlterNet.

Steve Dustcircle can be found at:
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