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Gender: Male
Hometown: Lidingö
Home country: Sweden
Member since: Mon Dec 27, 2010, 07:09 PM
Number of posts: 3,751

Journal Archives

Rand Paul Tries to Intimidate & Harass Journalist After A Youtube Video


Luke Rudkowski talks with Abby Martin of MediaRoots.org and RT about
U.S. Senator Rand Paul's attempt to get her arrested and stripped of
her press credentials for asking him tough questions in the Capitol
building. A week after our video with Abby Martin came out on YouTube,
the RT office, where Abby works, got an ominous phone call from the
Senate Media Relations Committee. The Committee was acting on behalf
of Rand Paul and threatened both Abby and the entire RT news
organization. The threats included ambiguous "charges" for violating
the rules of the Committee floor, Abby's possible arrest and the
termination of her and the entire office's press credentials.

After a month of meetings and deliberation, the Senate Media Relations
office backed down and did not make good on any of their threats.




Are Your Politicians For Sale?

Would you like to be treated like a rapist, murderer (or a Terrorist!) for streaming an "unauthorized" copy of a TV show? Good news, because now you can! You don't even have to live in the US to have this freedom.


Whitherburo: superb analysis of Occupy, quite literally in a class of its own, for various reasons


By Way of Introduction

“Thus in the midst of their greatest festivities, though physically thronging together, they live like wild beasts in a deep solitude of spirit and will, scarcely any two being able to agree since each follows his own pleasure and caprice. By reason of all this, providence decrees that, through obstinate factions and desperate civil wars, they shall turn their cities into forests and the forests into dens and lairs of men. . . Hence peoples who have reached this point of premeditated malice, when they receive this last remedy of providence and are thereby stunned and brutalized, are sensible no longer of comforts, delicacies, pleasures and pomp, but only of the sheer necessities of life. And the few survivors in the midst of an abundance of things necessary for life naturally become sociable, and, returning to the primitive simplicity of the first world of peoples, are again religious, truthful and faithful.”

-Vico, Scienza Nuova


1. It comes to pass, at last: this great Leviathan that has swallowed the whole world, now commences its death agony. The mechanical man likened unto the perfected State, with unweeping eyes and unfeeling heart, rusts from its own internal emptiness. The clockwork society breaks down. And the returning ghost towns, like a forgotten malediction, return to gaze mournfully at the passing of the glory of the world. The suburbs, this great gilded prison, agonize as they are left to return to nature, to slowly decay in their false-seeming gentility. The streetlights no longer illuminate the night on the edge of town, but cede way to their precursors, of which they are only the sad imitation, the moon and stars. The roads crumble into gravel, and from thence return to dust that they always were. Like unto like, America “is the nothingness that reduces itself to nothingness”, in the words of Hegel. Such are the heart-rending times the Americans inhabit.

This was the scenic backdrop of Occupy, which was not the beginning of anything new for America, as so many vulgar mediocrities would have us believe, but the faded repetition of its threadbare paltry ideals, and in truth, the pageant of the death agony of the American citizenry. The body politic will not revive: it is a corpse already beginning to putrefy. Who wants to be a part of death? There were those, with their prefabricated void collapsing of its own nullity, who wanted at all costs to stop this historically unprecedented implosion. They complained about rebuilding bridges, redistributing this or that. But look how intolerant their tolerance was: these liberals were openly working with the cops. Look how their spirits have so collapsed, these masterless slaves hate anyone acting manfully against the shameful degradation called American normality. And look how foolish these so-called educated are, who still believe they live in a democracy even while the police are throwing tear gas into their right to assembly, even while their beloved half-black puppet is currently giving the police the legal right to kill anyone. It is no great secret that America is terminally ill: it is clearly already braindead, its ever-feeble heart reduced to an automata of life support machines. One day, the de facto wards of this inhuman vegetable, the bankers and the military-industrial complex, will decide to pull the plug.

Before this predictable ignominious end, there was a message of hope, but not for the Stars and Stripes. The Occupy tents appeared in the heart of the grey steel cities, looking to the careful observer like a thousand Indian tipis had returned to the land they loved so dearly, exactly as they promised to do not so long ago. It had changed so much for the worse, but they still knew it as their own. It was as if they came back when Detroit and its productive apparatus lay shattered on the ground, when green shoots came into the crumbling brick and concrete buildings. When the long awaited wreck and ruin spoken of in the Ghost Dance was becoming so clear. When America was drowning in all the blood of the innocent it had spilled, and choking to death on all its ill-gotten plunder. The Indian spirits were completing their invisible revolution.


The Washingtons Post's Jennifer Rubin: Mitt Romney’s top media shill


Reading Jennifer Rubin in 2012 makes me almost nostalgic for the days when Jennifer Rubin’s writing was almost solely devoted to bloodthirsty vitriol against Arabs and any Americans who dared say a kind thing about Palestinians.http://www.salon.com/2011/11/10/jennifer_rubins_boss_sees_no_problem_with_anti_arab_bigotry/ Because the new Jennifer Rubin is something even lower than a reactionary columnist: Now she’s just a shill. A boring shill. In Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post currently employs a semi-official Mitt Romney spokesperson. There’s not another prominent media figure who is more shameless about acting solely in the best interests of a presidential campaign. Bill Kristol is at this point a more intellectually honest commentator than Rubin has become.

Rubin started her career in commentary late, after a career as a lawyer for Hollywood studios. She parlayed her unwavering devotion to the Israeli government line into a gig with Commentary, and after the Washington Post fired Dave Weigel for having incorrect opinions, they hired her, thinking that picking up an unhinged neocon would appease the right-wingers. (It didn’t. Her sole political cause is Israel. She doesn’t give a shit about the rest of the Republican Party platform.) Her late arrival in political journalism and rather sudden ascendancy to one of its heights helps give her work that delightful “fuck you” tone, free from the careful careerism of your typical fresh-faced pundit, but it also made her a rather easy mark for the Romney campaign. Having started off skeptical of the former Massachusetts governor, Rubin’s now firmly in his corner, and all it really took was making her one of the few people able to get his campaign team to return phone calls.

Here’s Ben Smith last year on the warm relationship between Boston and Rubin: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=C24A5DEE-8B1E-44BA-8C11-99A6D1BD9222

She has also been intensely courted, winning a rare interview with the candidate [Romney] after a recent foreign affairs speech, and the warm ministrations of his staff, whom she describes as “very helpful” and “the most professional of the presidential campaign staffs, because they are the most experienced.”

She is, needless to say, appreciated at Romney’s Boston headquarters.

“She’s quickly establishing herself as a must-read for conservatives following the 2012 Republican primary,” Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom said in an email. “She brings a lot of credibility and knowledge on the issues that matter, particularly as they relate to American foreign policy.”


Israel's Spending on Illegal Settlements Hits Two-Decade High of NIS 1.1 Billion


The government spent NIS 1.1 billion on West Bank settlements last year, and could save at least that much if it were to make its spending proportionate to the number of Israelis who live in the settlements, according to two different reports made public this week.

Last year's government spending on the settlements represents a 38 percent rise over that of 2010. But it is significantly lower than the peak of NIS 2.5 billion (in real terms ) in 1993, when the funds were geared toward infrastructure changes required by the Oslo Accords, according to Central Bureau of Statistics findings reported on Monday by Israeli business newspaper Calcalist.

The report was prepared for U.S. officials to enable them to deduct the annual settlement expenditure from U.S. loan guarantees to Israel. In 2003 Israel stopped granting tax breaks to citizens seeking to move to the West Bank, after pledging to the United States that it would bring the benefits to an end.

In the second report, which also examines the cost of the settlements and is scheduled to be released to the public on Wednesday, Peace Now states that Israel could save NIS 1.6 billion a year if it were to match the level of government expenditure on services such as education and infrastructure in the settlements with the number of people who live there.



(AP) As Israeli settler population surges under Netanyahu, Palestinian despair grows


- Since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was elected more than three years ago, the Jewish population in the West Bank has ballooned by 18 per cent, drawing tens of thousands of Israelis to the territory the Palestinians claim as the heartland of a future state, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press.

The rate of growth — nearly twice that of Israel proper— has deep implications for an already moribund peace process. The issue is at the heart of a three-year-old impasse in Mideast peace efforts, and critics say each new settlement home makes it ever tougher for the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach the territorial compromise that would be needed for any agreement. The rising settler numbers are "consistent with Netanyahu's commitment to maintain the Israeli control over the Palestinian territories and consistent with his lack of commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution," Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said.

Israel, which has a population of almost 8 million, has long sought to cement its hold on the West Bank, captured from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war, by having masses of Jewish settlers live there. For years, the two sides had discussed the possibility that in a final peace deal, Israel would maintain some settlements while uprooting others. Israel has shown more than once — especially when it removed all of its 8,500 settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 — that it can tear down settlements when it thinks the price is worth it.

But the numbers in the West Bank are much higher, more than tripling since the first interim peace accord of 1993 to more than 342,000 at the end of 2011, according to Interior Ministry figures. That includes a rise of more than 50,000, or 18 per cent, since Netanyahu was elected in early 2009, driven by a high settler birth rate and the migration of Israelis to the West Bank.



All these settlements are illegal under international law, which prohibits the forced transfer of civilian populations and forbids military occupiers from transferring any of its population to settle into the occupied area.

Facebook Stock Crash Hoses California's Tax Revenue


Well, the hits from the Facebook stock implosion keep coming.

Now, it's the State of California, which apparently overestimated how much tax revenue it was going to collect from Facebook employees after the IPO. According to Bloomberg's John Erlichman, California is now saying its "tax revenue is at risk" because it assumed it would get $1.9 billion from newly enriched Facebook employees.

But now those Facebook employees are only going to get about half as rich as they would have if the stock were still trading at the IPO price. And that means that California--and the Federal government--are likely to collect only about half as much Facebook-related tax revenue as they thought.

WATCH: Why The Idea That Facebook Could Be The Next Google Is Now Laughable


A 'quadruple play' of potential worry in the July jobs reports

1. Headline number Unemployment Rate (U3) went up from 8.2 to 8.3% (due to rounding). This gives the appearance of treading water or slighting going backward to a casual reader/typical swing voter.


2. The huge bulk of these created jobs are indeed 'created' via massive Seasonal and even more specious Birth/Death model adjustments, which do not (and also given their huge statistical errors for past Julys) oftentimes translate into real jobs for real voters, if even on a slight level, and especially in crucial areas of the swing states.

See http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014184289#post14 for a further fleshing out of these first two points.


now for the 2 bigger ones, the last being potentially the biggest news:

3. Full-Time Jobs -197,000; Part-Time Jobs +31,000

We got the pre-spun job quantity data already, where we learned that nearly 3 times the headline print was due to seasonal and B/D adjustments and is thus nothing but noise. Now we get the quality. As can be seen below, courtesy of Table A9 from the Household Survey, in July the number of part-time jobs added was 31K, bringing the total to 27,925, just shy of the all time record of 28,038. Full time jobs? Down 228,000 to 114,345, lower than the February full-time jobs print of 114,408. Once again, more and more Americans are relinquishing any and all benefits associated with Full Time Jobs benefits, and instead are agreeing on a job. Any job. Even if it means working just 1 hour a week. For the BLS it doesn't matter - 1 hour of work a week still qualifies you as a Part-Time worker.

Full time and part-time jobs summary:


4. The jobs number being tossed about (+163,000) is likely be 'good enough' to block any Fed Action by September in terms of QE3, which would (even though the boost would be artificial and short term) definitely help Obama in the November elections. And if no QE3 by September, there will be no QE until AFTER the election, as there is no way the Fed will do anything within 30 to 45 days of the US elections. The next 2 weeks will tell if the Fed is going to make a move. If you see the markets start to dip, this will mean that QE is probably NOT coming, or at least they are pricing this 'reality' in.


IMHO, the WH better be privately turning up the heat to 'ass-roast' level on Helicopter Ben and his printing press.

Assange’s mother fears he would face death penalty in US

Source: The News International (Pakistan, UK edition)

QUITO: The mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is lobbying Ecuador to grant him asylum, says she is worried her son could face execution if extradited to the United States. Christine Assange met on Wednesday with President Rafael Correa, who is considering whether to grant political asylum to Assange.

The Australian campaigner took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in mid-June to avoid extradition to Sweden. Swedish investigators want Assange to answer questions about allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two women in August 2010 after WikiLeaks began releasing classified US documents.

“I feel as a mother that he is not capable of the charges — not even the charges, the allegations against him,” his mother said in an interview with AFP at the Carondelet presidential palace after she met with Correa. “There is absolutely no doubt that this is a political persecution, by the Swedish prosecutors and the police, with interference of the government,” she said. Christine Assange echoed her son’s fears that Sweden would extradite him to the United States to face charges for releasing masses of US military and diplomatic documents into the public domain.

“The US government feels that it can seek to try my son for espionage, and possibly executing him simply for doing the job of a good investigative journalist, which is telling the truth about power,” she said. The United States has opened a criminal investigation into the leaks and is prosecuting US army private Bradley Manning in a military court. But it has not said whether it intends to bring charges against Assange as well.


Read more: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-1-124479-Assanges-mother-fears-he-would-face-death-penalty-in-US

Mitt Romney's Plan to Screw the Middle Class


There are two parts to Mitt Romney's tax plan. Here they are:

Part 1: Romney wants to lower tax rates. This part of his plan is extremely detailed. Tax rates would be cut by a fifth across the board. Taxation of investment income would be eliminated for families with incomes under $200,000. The estate tax would be eliminated. The Alternative Minimum Tax would be eliminated. Obamacare's payroll tax increase on the wealthy would be repealed. The corporate tax rate would be cut to 25%.

Part 2: Romney wants to eliminate or reduce various tax credits and deductions in order to increase revenue. This would make up for the lost revenue from Part 1. However, he has provided zero detail about this part of his plan.

Isn't that odd? Romney has extremely specific thoughts about lowering tax rates and is willing to share chapter and verse. But when it comes to the part where you raise some taxes to make up for it, he suddenly thinks he ought to defer to Congress on the details instead of doing their job for them. Why is that?

The analysts at the Tax Policy Center provide a pretty good clue today. Romney himself won't say anything about the credits and deductions he'd target, so they made the most progressive assumptions they possibly could about them by "starting at the top." That is, they made a list of all the possible credits and deductions and then completely eliminated them for the highest income group. This would produce the largest possible increase for the wealthy. Then they worked their way down, and by the time they got to the bottom group they reduced the credits and deductions only enough to make the whole plan revenue neutral. This produced the smallest possible increase for the non-wealthy.

So: the biggest possible increase for the wealthy, the smallest possible increase for the less wealthy. For technical reasons, they could only model this down to $200,000, but that's enough to show what Romney's plan would do. You can see it in the chart on the right. When you combine the decrease in rates and the increase from credits and deductions, millionaires would get a tax cut of 4.1%. Everyone under $200,000 would get a tax increase of 1.2%.


NATO's War Machine Caught Lying Again: Media Publish Photoshop Image Forgery Of War in Syria


The Kronen Zeitung is Austria's largest newspaper, with a daily readership of around three million people. Yesterday, those readers were treated to the image on the left of war-torn Aleppo, bombed out and desperate. Except, as one sharp-eyed Redditor points out, that wasn't the scene at all. It was just another Photoshop job.

Just to be clear, the family in the photograph is, in fact, in Syria; the original photo (on the right) came from the European Pressphoto Agency. But merely fleeing a city ravaged by guns and mortars apparently isn't quite dramatic enough on its own. The editors of the Krone—as it's commonly called—needed this baby to sing.

Using Photoshop to make actresses and models look unrealistically attractive is bad enough. Using it to make a part of the world that has enough problems as it is look even more apocalyptic? That's just disgraceful.



flashbacks to similar propaganda/psy-ops methods:

(Tom MacMaster, the fake 'Gay Girl in Damascus' blogger's wife is Britta Froelicher, an activist with the American Friends Service Committee, an organization linked to the US intelligence community since the Cold War)

'A Gay Girl in Damascus': how the hoax unfolded


Here were examine how events unfolded which led to the diary being exposed as the work of the a married American man studying at the University of Edinburgh:

February 19, 2011: MacMaster posts the first item on the blog, pretending to be Amina Abdallah Arraf al Omari. The first posts introduce the author as a lesbian of American and Syrian parents, born in the US and now living in Damascus.
February to April, 2011: MacMaster gives sporadic updates from his character, ranging from political analysis and hard news accounts of the brutal repression of the country’s pro-democracy movement to love poetry and Mills and Boon-esque homosexual memoirs.

May 7, 2011: Western media start to take notice of the blog. In Britain, The Guardian leads the coverage, reporting: “She is perhaps an unlikely hero of revolt in a conservative country. Female, gay and half-American, Amina Abdullah is capturing the imagination of the Syrian opposition with a blog that has shot to prominence as the protest movement struggles in the face of a brutal government crackdown. Her blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus, is brutally honest, poking at subjects long considered taboo in Arab culture.” The story is accompanied by a photograph purporting to be of Amina. In reality, the image is of Jelena Lecic, a Londoner, and has been lifted off Facebook.

May 2011: As the blog gathers pace and followers, The Guardian arranges a sit down interview with Amina at a café in Damascus but she fails to show up, later claiming that harassment from secret police prevented the meeting. CNN also publishes an email interview with Amina, in which the character was quoted as saying: "A whole lot of long time changes are coming suddenly bubbling to the surface and views towards women, gay people and minorities are rapidly changing,"



The Gay Girl in Damascus hoax, 'mass rape' in Libya, and press credulity
Have our propaganda detectors been dulled?


The Gay Girl in Damascus hoax, 'mass rape' in Libya, and press credulity
Have our propaganda detectors been dulled?

If you don't follow NPR's Andy Carvin on Twitter, let me be the first to tell you that The Gay Girl in Damascus is actually a 40-year-old American guy with a beard.

Through the efforts of Mr. Carvin, Ali Abunimah, and a few others, Thomas MacMaster was unveiled as the hoaxster. Mr. MacMaster said today that his wife, Britta Froelicher – an American listed as an associate fellow at St. Andrew's Center for Syrian Studies – was involved as a consultant. One of the better roundups on how MacMaster was forced into admitting his lies is on Ali Abunimah's Electronic Intifada blog.

But while MacMaster appears to be a garden-variety Internet troll, the Amina persona was boosted by the willingness of the conventional press (The Guardian, CNN, New York Times) and bloggers with major followings, like Andrew Sullivan, to accept what they were being told at face value.



Yet another American military operative outed as fake (Paula Brooks, aka 58-year-old former Air Force pilot David Graber)


Only days after we learned that the author behind A Gay Girl in Damascus was a straight man from Georgia, The Washington Post is reporting http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/paula-brooks-editor-of-lez-get-real-also-a-man/2011/06/13/AGld2ZTH_blog.html#pagebreak that the purported DC-based lesbian mother who edited the lesbian news site Lez Get Real ("A Gay Girl's View on the World", which re-published Gay Girl in Damascus posts and helped the blog get started, is actually a 58-year-old former Air Force pilot and construction worker from Ohio named Bill Graber (pictured at right).

During interviews about the Gay Girl in Damascus hoax, "Paula Brooks" (Garber's wife's name), claiming she was deaf, initially spoke to Post reporters on the phone through her "father," who finally, after numerous conversations, admitted, "I am Paula Brooks." In perhaps the most surreal part of the story, the Post adds that Garber often flirted online with Gay Girl in Damascus author Tom MacMaster without either man realizing that the other was pretending to be a lesbian. Garber has turned over the site's management to Linda Carbonell, who writes under her maiden name but, we're pretty sure, is a woman. As of this writing, the site appears to be down.



The Syrian Danny hoax

Advocating intervention, “Syrian Danny” was caught faking gun fire on CNN in order to portray heavy fighting that wasn’t really going on in the background while he literally begged for Western-backed forces to enter Syria and overthrow Assad. While waiting to be connected, Danny says, “Well, let the gunfire sound then,” before subsequently asking someone off camera, “Did you tell him to get the gunfire ready?” An explosion is heard soon after, but Danny doesn’t even flinch. The following video demonstrates this sham:


BBC News uses 'Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre' The BBC is facing criticism after it accidentally used a picture taken in Iraq in 2003 to illustrate the senseless massacre of children in Syria.


Photographer Marco di Lauro said he nearly “fell off his chair” when he saw the image being used, and said he was “astonished” at the failure of the corporation to check their sources.

The picture, which was actually taken on March 27, 2003, shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.

It was posted on the BBC news website today under the heading “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows”.

The caption states the photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently verified, but says it is “believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial.



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