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Bailing Banks, Who Fools South Africa? An Appreciation of Nora Ephron, John Roberts Unmasked

June 30th, 2012 - by:

Bailing Banks, Who Fools South Africa? An Appreciation of Nora Ephron, John Roberts Unmasked Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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HP: Normon Solomon, Close But No Cigar in California Congressional Race

After a vote-counting process that stretched a few weeks beyond the June 5 primary, anti-war Democrat Norman Solomon finally conceded the race for California’s 2nd District on Tuesday.

Solomon, an activist and co-founder of the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), finished third behind Democrat Jared Huffman and Republican Dan Roberts, who will face off in the general election. Despite picking up roughly 1,000 votes after the initial tally on election night, Solomon eventually lost by less than 200 votes to the second-place Roberts, according to the Democrat’s campaign.

Art Assure Ltd: Bailout Buttresses Banks In Europe

Of the €400 billion plus in rescue funds loaned to Greece all but €15 billion went to assist the banks. Almost all of what was received by the banks was recirculated to the sovereign coffers. The emergency loan pledged to Spain of up to €120 billion is earmarked to aid the banks who, in turn, will re-lend most of it to the Spanish government. The same will hold for Italy and the myriad of nations both within and outside the Eurozone including the internal fiddling of the U.S. Fed.

The only notable conclusion of yesterday’s EU marathon was that, rather than keeping the loans to Spain as senior to the banks, their shareholders, bondholders, and managements, the loans would now become pari-pasu with those of the banking interests. This, in effect, transfers the risk of the euro aid from those who receive it to those who give it, the taxpayers of the lending nations. My, how the world has learned from years of US Federal Reserve behavior. It is now de rigueur to sanctify the banks while devastating the taxpayer. Yes, it is true, the world needs an operating financial system to function commercially and otherwise. It does not need taxpayers and depositors to finance and guarantee speculative roulette – wheel behavior. The banking system is integral to our society but it is not the only factor that keeps the society functioning. Yet, globally the banks have received more than 95% of all funds meant to save and turn around the current economic crisis. A better balance is needed – a much better one, if we are to survive and grow from the current crisis.

The only tangible result of yesterday’s EU conference was to have transferred the risk of Spain’s bailout from the bailed out banks to the bailers – the taxpayers. Not exactly a heroic stand nor of much consequence, except morally.

Who Fools South Africa?

By Danny Schechter

Cape Town, South Africa: Just before coming to South Africa, I produced a six part TV series called “Who Rules America.” It offered a critique of conspiratorial thinking, and updated the critique made sixty years ago by sociologist C. Wright Mills who argued that the forces that run the U.S. government are outside the government.

My focus was on unelected and concrete power centers like Wall Street, the media cartel, the Military-Industrial Complex and the corporations who fund all the lobbyists and most political campaigns.

I argued that these organs of the 1% have, in effect, taken over. I am not alone in believing this.

Meanwhile, in South Africa two researchers and journalists, one with BBC, have just published “Who Rules South Africa. “

I guess the Who Rules idea is infectious even as a reviewer in the Cape Times, a self-described “communications strategist:” seems to know very little about power structure research, much less the United States.

That doesn’t stop him from opening his review this way: “If you wrote a book called Who Rules The United States,,,(it)…would be a best seller but no one would take it seriously, let alone read it.”

No evidence is cited for this claim which he uses to counterpose this new South African book with American ones he hasn’t read, e.g. William Domhoff’s classic Who Rules America is now in its sixth printing,

As Donald Pail explain it, his “sobering read” by Martin Plaut and Paul Holden argues that a political party, the African National Congreass (ANC) rules the roost, not big business, major banks, the mining industry etc.

You would think that Plaut, the African editor of the BBC World Service would know what he’s taking about but, as I read on, I realized he doesn’t,

Like the partisan hacks that have turned American politics into a crossfire and blame game, these guys stay on the surface treating the majority party has if it is above the many forces that back it and sometimes manipulate it.

To his credit, Paul quotes the authors as arguing that since l948—the beginning of formal apartheid—South Africa has been ruled by a one party state “with Democratic trimmings.” That means that the the white regime that preceded the black-led ANC government was a forerunner who what there is now.

Paul doesn’t seem to recall that with white politics, a shadowy elite Afrikaner force called the Broederband really ran the show.

There follows a useful compendium of corruption under the ANC without an equal emphasis on corruption in the National Party days when a favorite saying preceding all kinds of self dealing was “Let’s Make A Plan.”

If ANC leaders are enriching themselves by plundering the State, they are following a well work historical path.

That does not make it right. The white nationalists never claimed to be in the business of a social transformation. Who Rules South Africa says that conflicts of interest are rife with three quarters of the Cabinet and 59 percent of the country’s Parliamentarians (in a 400 member body) have their own outside financial interests They cite an earlier report saying 20 percent of the public servants are also deeply in debt and are being pursued by government agencies.

And this just touches the surface of all the wheeling and dealing that’s going on. Some of it is blatant an in your face like the Presidents decision to spend 2 billion Rand on a the latest presidential jet bigger than the one Germany’s Angela Mekel flies around in

Paul condemns President Zuma for using power to enrich and protect his cronies with a “corrupt police force working hand-in-glove with organized crime to maintain his position of power.”

Stories like this are all too common but if top officials are being bribed, who is bribing them?

And that question leads to many undercovered answers including big business players in this country and abroad. Wherever there are takers, there are givers. When there is a culture of corruption, there are many outside forces living off of it and profiting from it

Who has investigated all the payoffs associated with the 2010 World Cup games in South Afirca? Who investigated the scandal plagues soccer bosses at FIFA who demanded that South Africa spend billions on stadium construction—often by foreign companies—to host the event. ( By the way, I liked the old Greenpoint stadium!)

South Africans are now deeply in debt for a two week party, while Fifa brags that ts World Cup in South Africa was the most profitable in their history.

There are many powerful extra parliamentary bodies in South Africa like the Chamber of Mines and many business associations that are deeply implicated in the erosion of the promise of democracy. The full details of the Arms Deal Scandal with foreign suppliers has yet to be fully investigated.

For many years, it was clear who ruled South Africa. First, the Dutch and then the British colonialists imposed their oppressive social orders and extractive economic systems. ‘

Then the Afrikaners took their turn insuring a brutal genre of white domination with apartheid.

But, now that the ANC is in power after nearly l00 years of struggle and sacrifice, books like Who Rules South Africa are published to blame them for all that’s wrong in the country and compare them to Chinese Communist who came to power through a violent revolution, not the ballot box. I am not justifying ANC lapses, just saying they are not the only ones to blame.

This book might be renamed WHO FOOLS SOUTH AFRICA?, because while some of its criticisms are on target, its whole attitude is brimming with arrogance and self-righteousness, along with a narrow political frame that leaves the big money and big powercrats out of the argument.

Since Mr Paul is so frightened by Chinese influence and example, he might be reminded of a famous quotation from Chairman Mao who understood that power grows out of the barrel of a gun. sanMao also said famously, “No Investigation, No Right To Speak.”

This superficial investigation does not help us understand how globalization imposes itself on South Africa. It doesn’t help us understand, “Who Rules South Africa” either.

•Women’s Media Center: Nora Ephron, An Appreciation by M.G. Lord

Nora Ephron taught me the difference between wit and snark—long before snark slithered out from its dark hole and infected the national dialogue.

Nora was classy, in the way that wit is classy. Often she mocked herself in order to mock deserving targets. In a piece pegged to the 25th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, for example, she confessed that in high school, she had skipped over the book’s passages about egoism and altruism and fallen hard for its architect hero: “I spent the next year hoping I would meet a gaunt, orange-haired architect who would rape me. Or, failing that, an architect who would rape me. Or failing that, an architect.”

To her shock, however, in a college seminar, she discovered that the book was not, in fact, a celebration of sex or buildings but rather a polemic against the welfare state. And she reached this inevitable conclusion. Rand’s work, she declared, “is better read when one is young enough to miss the point.”

In her professional life, however, Nora rarely missed the point. In 2008, for instance, she was far too clever to be manipulated by the Slate editors who invited her—and other women writers—to define “feminist.” What they sought was a loose interpretation that might permit the word to be applied to Sarah Palin, the gun-toting, anti-choice fundamentalist whom G.O.P. Presidential Candidate John McCain had selected as his running mate.

What Nora gave them was this: “I know that I’m supposed to write 500 words on this subject, but it seems much simpler: You can’t call yourself a feminist if you don’t believe in the right to abortion.”

Although I encountered Nora socially over the last three decades—we had several friends in common—I mostly knew her through her work. And, happily, she knew me through mine. I will never forget the night she crossed the room at a party to tell me how much she had liked my book, Forever Barbie—never mind that this occurred long after the book was published. In my universe, Nora was more than an important movie director. She was the author of “A Few Words About Breasts,” a classic 1970s essay on women and body image that informed every page in my book.

I like Nora’s fiction and movies. But I will always treasure her essays, especially the early ones. My favorite is about Dorothy Parker, or, more specifically, about Nora not being Dorothy Parker and whether this seeming handicap should have stopped her—as a woman and a humorist—from ever touching a typewriter.

The piece uses Parker to explore what Harold Bloom called “the anxiety of influence”: Can you admire writers who have come before without letting their achievements silence you? And it challenges tokenism: the notion that one woman—and only one woman—could keep pace with the sparkling male geniuses at the Algonquin Round Table.

I first met Nora in 1975, two years after she wrote on Parker. I was a sophomore at Yale, studying with Bill Zinsser, a New Yorker writer who was then the Master of Branford, one of Yale’s 12 residential colleges. In the 70s, masters held weekly teas, designed to let students rub proverbial elbows with visiting dignitaries—usually Nobel Laureates or heads of state. Bill’s teas, however, were the most popular on campus—because he invited his writer friends from Manhattan.

At that tea, in an effort to impress Nora, I rattled off whole paragraphs from her essay on Ayn Rand—the sort of thing that today might get a person locked up for stalking. But Nora took the performance in stride—and suggested that I read her piece on overcoming the excessive influence of other writers.

Life often serves up strange synchronicities. On the day Nora died, I was finishing my syllabus for a course on writing the personal essay. The Parker piece was the first reading I scheduled. But I struggled to come up with a companion writing assignment.

Did today’s students know—or care—about Dorothy Parker?

Was any contemporary writer witty, accomplished and versatile enough to paralyze a twenty-something?

The answer was obvious. I assigned 800 words to fit this title: “On Not Being Nora Ephron.”

Ignoramuses in High Places: Barney Frank’s Statement Regarding Further Evidence of the Need for Adequate CFTC Funding

WASHINGTON – Congressman Barney Frank released the following statement about the necessity of adequate funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The argument for adequate funding has been strengthened recently by the announcement of a settlement with Barclays Bank over allegations that the bank had manipulated interest rates, and by the revelation that losses at JPMorgan Chase from a series of derivatives transactions may grow to as much as $9 billion.

The persistence of opposition by Congressional Republicans to the sensible regulation of derivatives is a modern example of what was known in earlier times as “invincible ignorance,” a theological concept describing people who are impervious to any argument. This mindset is the only possible explanation for the Republicans’ continued insistence on reducing funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission below even this year’s inadequate level; their insistence on pushing to exempt from any American regulation risky, highly-leveraged derivative transactions conducted by American banks – insured by America’s depositor insurance – through their foreign branches; and their support for industry efforts to drag out the rulemaking process and to bring lawsuits when it is completed.

The CFTC’s success in uncovering the outrageous manipulation of the Libor, and the consequent settlement which will bring to the U.S. Treasury hundreds of millions of dollars, demonstrates the value of that agency. The refusal by Republicans to meet the Obama administration’s request for $308 million for the CFTC, when the agency has helped bring into the Treasury approximately that amount in one successful prosecution, demonstrates that the party is driven not by concern for the deficit but rather by ideological rigidity.

We recently learned that JPMorgan Chase may lose as much as $9 billion on its derivative trading in London. The very fact that JPMorgan continually has had to upgrade the amount at issue is reminiscent of the problems with A.I.G., another example of derivatives being traded in London by an American institution. These situations demonstrate that the rules on derivative trading put in place by the 2010 financial reform law are an important protection not just for our economy, but for the institutions themselves. Yet Republicans want such transactions to be immune from any American regulation.

I am optimistic that while the right-wing elements in control of the Republican Party will maintain their “invincible ignorance” despite this further evidence of the importance of sensible regulations, the American people as a whole will understand the danger of weakening oversight of large financial institutions, and that we will succeed in getting adequate funding for the CFTC.

Andy Borowitz Exposes Chief Justice of Supreme Court

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – Controversy swirled around John Roberts today as billionaire Donald Trump claimed that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court had a fraudulent birth certificate.

Mr. Trump said that these are the findings of a team of personal investigators he retained just after ten o’clock yesterday morning.

According to these investigators, Justice Roberts, who claims to have grown up in Indiana, was actually born in a mud hut in a tiny rural village in Kenya.

Furthermore, Mr. Trump claimed, “So-called John Roberts’ father was a village witchdoctor who forced all of the villagers to submit to his shamanic treatments, whether they wanted them or not.”

While most of the mainstream media seemed skeptical of Mr. Trump’s allegations, Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel called them “very concerning,” adding, “It’s time that the American people learned the truth about John Hussein Roberts.”

Thanks for being here, My efforts to write a newsier blog last night were frustrated by the crash of the internet in the hotel I am in in Capetown. It just shows how we take our instant access for granted.

Here are some stories of interest, including one I am submitting to a local newspaper.

As always, your comments welcome to dissector@medichannel.org


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I Was Wrong But I Was Not Alone: Health Care Mandate Upheld–Reactions Vary–Some Say Victory, Others, Victimized Again

June 28th, 2012 - by:

I Was Wrong But I Was Not Alone: Health Care Mandate Upheld–Reactions Vary–Some Say Victory, Others, Victimized Again Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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Holder Held In Contempt By House Of Hardheads

Lashback: NYT: “The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for failing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. It was the first time in American history that Congress has imposed that sanction on a sitting member of a president’s cabinet.”

Supreme?

Yes, I, too, was so sure that the Supreme Court, dominated as it is by Bush appointees, would deliver the blow that the armies of the right have been demanding for years, that they would kill what they denounce so robotically as “Obamacare.”

Certainly, the right itself expected its faithful robed servants to do their duty for their cause. After Citizens United, after so many of its other heartless rulings and so much free market fetishism, the White House had been resigned as well to the inevitable. The Court’s hearing on the argument was totally hostile. The health care reform was on the guillotine.

Many on the left wanted it dead too, hoping that its rejection would force the Administration to do what it should have done in the first place and support Medicare for all. How they could think that, given Obama’s dedication to corporate solutions to all problems is another thing? But they did: “Kill It,” they shouted, and try again.

Fat chance.

The Supreme Court did what most of its supporters and critics believed it would not do– uphold the individual mandate. Here’s the text of the full decision. I am not sure the industry was unhappy and probably pushed for that potentially profitable outcome. My hunch: there was a deal. They limited Medicare expansion as well.

•Media Coverage

The Columbia Journalist Review points out, the network that was first with the news, was also wrong.

“Today’s frenzied (social) media reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s healthcare reform was, as many journalists have remarked, a good lesson on why it’s not a good idea to tweet before the facts are clear.

CNN was apparently the first news outlet to say something about the decision after it was announced, but what it said—“Mandate Struck Down”—was the exact opposite of what actually happened today. (Poynter has a good screenshot collection of the embarrassment.)”

Wrote Poynter: “The Supreme Court announced its ruling on the Affordable Care Act around 10:15 a.m. ET. CNN, which has been suffering in the ratings, and Fox both mistakenly reported that the individual mandate was struck down.

Fox was among the networks that carried President Obama’s comments, while noting, “Republicans Claim Ruling Could Help Push to Repeal It.” Like dogs with a bone, they will not let their war on “Obamacare” obsession go.

•President Obama said in part:

“Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America — in the wealthiest nation on Earth — no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.

I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost. That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington. But that discussion completely misses the point. Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.,,,

Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive. I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared. And I know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focused on what it means politically.

Well, it should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.

•Mitt Romney’s reaction was knee jerk: “We Must Replace President Obama.” If elected, he pledged to repeal it!

•The Nation: The Affordable Care Act didn’t survive entirely as passed—somewhat lost amidst the intense focus on the individual mandate was a ruling that part of the law’s Medicaid expansion was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s modification of the law probably won’t have a fundamental, long-term impact, but does make it easier for rogue Republican governors to exempt their states from participating in the expansion—and could cost millions of low-income, uninsured Americans a chance at government health care.

•The Democrats were ecstatic in their fundraising emails. Here’s Senator Patti Murray actually using the right wing lanuage of “Obamacare.”

“

It’s a historic day in America: the Supreme Court just upheld President Obama’s health care reform.

But, mark my words: Mitt Romney and the GOP will do everything in their power to shred Obamacare.

Right now Romney is polling only two points behind President Obama, and he has already pledged to repeal it on day one if he gets elected.”

•Independent Senator Bernie Sanders praised the decision, but added:

“In my view, while the Affordable Care Act is an important step in the right direction and I am glad that the Supreme Court upheld it, we ultimately need to do better. If we are serious about providing high-quality, affordable healthcare as a right, not a privilege, the real solution to America’s health care crisis is a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system. Until then, we will remain the only major nation that does not provide health care for every man, woman and child as a right of citizenship.”

Others on the left said the mandate that the Court was “a Republican idea” that will enrich the private health care insurers, reminding one an d all that its foreunner was called “Romneycare.”

Other Comments:

Public Citizen: It will take some time to digest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today, but it appears to have averted some terrible jurisprudence that might have very seriously restricted the government’s overall ability to regulate the economy and protect citizens.

In upholding most of the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court lets stand legislation that offers some important benefits, but only to a portion of those who are uninsured. The Affordable Care Act will predictably fail to fully solve our nation’s health care crisis.

However the health reform law ultimately plays out, we know two things for certain. Tens of millions of Americans will remain uncovered, as will tens of millions of under-insured who will remain at risk of financial ruin if a major illness strikes. The private health insurance and pharmaceutical industries will remain in charge of prices and life-and-death treatment decisions.

•Center for Mental Health Law: “Unfortunately for many low-income Americans with mental illnesses, the Court has ruled that the ACA’s expansion of the Medicaid program to newly eligible individuals with incomes below 133% of poverty can only be a state option. This means that in states that do not choose this option (and no one knows how many that will be), significant numbers of low-income Americans will remain uninsured.”

•AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the court’s 5–4 decision means, “we can continue moving full speed ahead to implement and build upon the Affordable Care Act.”

•People For The American Way: What’s shocking about this decision is that it wasn’t unanimous.

By any reasonable standard, the constitutionality of Obamacare is not a close question. But even in his deciding opinion upholding health care reform, Chief Justice Roberts attacked the scope of Congress’s authority to address our nation’s problems under the Commerce Clause — a nod to an extreme right-wing judicial philosophy that would roll back the achievements of the Civil Rights Era, social programs dating back to the New Deal and protections for workers and consumers going back over 100 years.

Ultra-conservative ideologues have been remarkably successful in pushing the Court far, far to the right to advance their political ideology.

•Tikkun: The following statement was released today by leaders of Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org).

Although the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the unfortunate reality is that the law, despite its modest benefits, is not a remedy to our health care crisis: (1) it will not achieve universal coverage, as it leaves at least 26 million uninsured, (2) it will not make health care affordable to Americans with insurance, because of high co-pays and gaps in coverage that leave patients vulnerable to financial ruin in the event of serious illness, and (3) it will not control costs.

Why is this so? Because the ACA perpetuates a dominant role for the private insurance industry. Each year, that industry siphons off hundreds of billions of health care dollars for overhead, profit and the paperwork it demands from doctors and hospitals; it denies care in order to increase insurers’ bottom line; and it obstructs any serious effort to control costs.

•John Stauber: “It was a brilliant move by far Right (but oh so likable) Chief Justice Roberts to side with the Dem-appointed Justices and uphold ObamaCare. After all, this is a massive victory for corporate power, forcing citizens to buy an expensive insurance product that won’t serve our needs very well but will profit industry, in lieu of receiving real health care.

Obamacare and its corporate mandate were born on the Right (as in Heritage Foundation) as a way to destroy the political prospects of any single payer system that would cover all Americans with a tax-funded system of guaranteed medical care. This is the way all other industrial societies protect the right to health care, by taking it out of the hands of the giant insurance industry. The right to health care is like the right to not be enslaved – there are no half measures, and the insurance industry is the slave master.

•Gov Howard Dean: 

Right now, Republicans and right-wing activists are organizing. They see today’s decision as a rallying point. For them, this is just the beginning.



Republicans are going to use today’s decision as ammunition to fire up their far right base just four months from Election Day. They’re going to campaign hard against President Obama, against Democrats, and for repealing the healthcare law.



And if they win in November, they’re not going to stop until they’ve stripped tens of millions of Americans of their healthcare coverage and turned Medicare into a voucher program.
”

•Clark Newhall: Executive director of Health Justice, Newhall is a doctor and a lawyer. He said today: “Interestingly, it was Roberts who voted to save 0bamacare from going down in flames. … The divide is not between liberal and conservative so much as it is between corporatists and everyone else. The current system is in effect a subsidy to the heath insurance industry. We should instead move to get rid of that industry, it is simply not sustainable. The individual mandate has been ruled constitutional as a tax. What that means essentially is that 0bama and Congress could require every American to buy a lousy product at an inflated price.”

•Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein are professors of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program. The group released a statement today: “Although the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, the unfortunate reality is that the law, despite its modest benefits, is not a remedy to our health care crisis: (1) it will not achieve universal coverage, as it leaves at least 26 million uninsured, (2) it will not make health care affordable to Americans with insurance, because of high co-pays and gaps in coverage that leave patients vulnerable to financial ruin in the event of serious illness, and (3) it will not control costs. …”

•Christian Coalition: “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision has completely unshackled the federal government of virtually any remaining limits on federal power over states and private individuals so long as Congress defines it as a ‘tax’.

“This was not what our Founding Fathers intended.

“We call on Congress to repeal Obamacare and work to enact real reform that makes health care more affordable and available by empowering consumers and expanding the free market – not government.

•Michael Moore: “So, yes, the bill is highly flawed and somewhat wrong-headed – but what it IS is a huge step in the right direction. And today’s court decision cements that. The right wing knows this and they are probably unraveling in some not-so-pretty ways right now. And that’s why today is a great day. The Right has been smacked down by one of their own! They know what we all know — that the path of history has been, and will continue to move toward the basic human right that all people are entitled to see a doctor and NOT have to worry about losing their home because they can’t afford to pay the medical bills. Those days are over, or will be soon, and that is where civilization is headed. It’s not headed back to the days of Oliver Twist. Today’s victory is momentum, it’s forward motion, and we WILL have true universal health care in this country in the not too distant future.

So take some time tonight to celebrate; this is a victory for the people. Actually, more than a victory, it is a mandate that all of us must now make sure that a second-term Obama continues to move the ball down the field, toward a system like they have in every other First World country on the planet. He simply has to improve Medicare and then expand it to every citizen in the country. The countries that do this, their people live an average of two to four years longer than we do. Is there a reason anyone doesn’t want an extra four years of their lives? Or that our babies would have a better chance of surviving their first year like they do in the 48 countries that have a better infant mortality rate than we do? Exactly who is opposed to this? You’d have to be a bit…crazy.

And that, I’ve come to believe, is the true divide in this country. It’s not blue state vs red state, liberal vs conservative, Democrat vs Republican. The split we have in America can be boiled down in its simplest form to this: On one side are the people who believe Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs 6,000 years ago – and then there’s everyone else. ‘

Dave Lindorff, ThisCan’tBeHappening: ” The real losers in the latest Supreme Court decision, however, are the people of the United States. Not those who will be required to go out and buy some over-priced, minimal coverage, rip-off insurance plan offered by the private insurance industry, or to pay a “tax” to the IRS for not doing so, but everyone.”

•Rush Limbaugh: We have the biggest tax increase in the history of the world right in the middle of one of this country’s worst recessions. The Supreme Court just told us what’s in it. It’s a massive regressive tax on all Americans.

•Stop Using the Phrase “Obamacare”; This is Healthcare Reform That Benefits the 99%

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: “But the law ruled upon today is not ‘Obamacare.’ It is a law that benefits 99% of Americans…in a remarkable number of ways…. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, now uncontested law, is not ‘Obamacare.’ For many millions and millions, it is a lifeline.”

•Financial Times: Economic Manifesto for Common Sense

By Paul Krugman and Richard Layard – Financial Times

More than four years after the financial crisis began, the world’s major advanced economies remain deeply depressed, in a scene all too reminiscent of the 1930s. The reason is simple: we are relying on the same ideas that governed policy during that decade. These ideas, long since disproved, involve profound errors both about the causes of the crisis, its nature and the appropriate response.

These ideas have taken root in the public consciousness, providing support for the excessive austerity of fiscal policies in many countries. So the time is ripe for a manifesto in which mainstream economists offer the public a more evidence-based analysis of our problems.

The causes. Many policy makers insist that the crisis was caused by irresponsible public borrowing. With very few exceptions – such as Greece – this is false. Instead, the conditions for the crisis were created by excessive private sector borrowing and lending, including by over-leveraged banks. The bursting of this bubble led to large falls in output and thus in tax revenue. Today’s government deficits are a consequence of the crisis, not a cause.

The nature of the crisis. When property bubbles burst on both sides of the Atlantic, many parts of the private sector slashed spending in an attempt to pay down past debts. This was a rational response on the part of individuals, but has proved to be collectively self-defeating, because one person’s spending is another person’s income. The result of the spending collapse has been an economic depression that has worsened the public debt.

The appropriate response. At a time when the private sector is engaged in a collective effort to spend less, public policy should act as a stabilising force, attempting to sustain spending. At the very least, we should not be making things worse with big cuts in government spending or big increases in tax rates on ordinary people.

•LBN: Turkey said on Thursday that it will be stationing antiaircraft batteries on the Syrian border, as United Nations envoy Kofi Annan announced he would convening an action group of diplomats in Geneva on Saturday. The move comes two days after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that every military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria in a manner that constitutes a security risk or danger would be considered as a threat and would be treated as a military target.

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I am still dissecting from South Africa.

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Supreme Court Expected To Shoot Down Health Care Reform Today, BBC Criticizes Its Own Arab Spring Reports

June 28th, 2012 - by:

Supreme Court Expected To Shoot Down Health Care Reform Today, BBC Criticizes Its Own Arab Spring Reports Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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June 28, Dissecting from Cape Town, South Africa

•••In case you missed it: My take on the political debates inside the ANC, South Africa’s ruling party

Update: It seems that President Zuma stole the thunder on his left by co-opting populist rhetoric and calling for more radical changes. One of his presumptive challengers, Cabinet Minister Toyko Sexwale tried to intevene in one debate and was shouted down. The Policy Forum Rejected Zuma’s “Second Transition” document that I discuss.

Advertisements for Myself (With apologies to Norman Mailer

••••What a deal! Special Offer:: Download My Film Plunder For Cheap!

•••Thank you Polar Levine/Polarity1 for this rockin’ hip-hop and critical collage for my upcoming birthdayPolarity 1 – Dissector

Listen Up: Podcast of Latest News Dissector Radio Hour On PRN.fm

Features personal reflections and readings from my recent books. Lots of intensity and passionate conviction.

•••PalTalk News Network: Interview on My Two New Books

Just Out From Cosimo Books: Occupy, Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

New Book: OCCUPY: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

The Other New Book From Your News Dissector From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

Both books can be ordered on Cosimo.com or from Amazon.com.

Today’s News and Views

•Thank you one and all for your birthday greetings via email, twitter and Facebook. I am humbled and delighted by all the kind words, messages of solidarity and supportive comments. Also to all the friends and colleagues old and new that took me out to dinner here in Cape Town, gave me an amazing gift in connection with my work on behalf or the struggle here, and to our intern Monie who sang some powerful songs so well.

I really feel like I am in my home away from home. Let us also also honor a colleague we have just lost Nora Ephron as memorialized in Vanity Fair

There are reports that the Supreme Court’s decision on health Care Reform, the so-called “Obamacare” will come down today, If the Court does not rule the RIGHT WAY (for the right) House Majority leader Bohner says he will introduce legislation to kill it.

AP: WASHINGTON (AP) – It seems as if the entire nation is holding its breath for the Supreme Court’s health care ruling – the presidential candidates, governors of virtually every state, insurers with billions at stake, companies large and small and countless millions of Americans concerned about their own medical care and how they’ll pay for it.

Daily Beast
: Who Will Get Hurt If The Health Care Reform is Killed?

Kids. Sick people. Southerners. These are just a few of the groups that could get shafted if the Supreme Court axes the Affordable Care Act.

•Harold Meyerson, Class War at the Supreme Court

On the eve of the Supreme Court’s much anticipated ruling on Obamacare, here is a simple test for detecting
the politics behind a decision: When reading the rulings, look for the double standards and answers to
questions not posed by the cases themselves. By those measures, the Supreme Court’s record in the past week
fairly reeks of the justices’ politics.

The Other View By Carl Gibson (RSN)

“This is why I’m hoping SCOTUS strikes down Obamacare; it will be Obama’s excuse to use his second term to push for actual healthcare reform.”

•Check out this piece from Feel About Health Care

Carolyn Baker: Collapse Fatigue Prevention: Colorado is Burning. Why?

Colorado Burning

 Two months later, the state of Colorado is in flames—and as I write these words, at least 12 wildfires here are uncontained. The worst (so far), the High Park fire west of Ft. Collins is only 55% contained, has burned nearly 100,000 acres, and will probably burn until the end of July.

Meanwhile, a wildfire which exploded this past Sunday in Colorado Springs has caused the partial evacuation of the U.S. Air Force Academy and is charring many historical landmarks, and quite ironically, the mountain from which Catherine Lee Bates penned “America The Beautiful.”



For years, climate research has been pouring out of this state, particularly Boulder, where I live, which along with the University of Colorado, has produced a number of renowned climate experts. Yesterday, a smaller fire broke out in Boulder, caused by a lightning strike, and again ironically, the National Center For Atmospheric Research was partially evacuated—the venue of some of the most pivotal climate research on the planet.

The climate-related pine beetle infestation has produced millions of dead trees in Colorado, and nothing has been done to remove them or to clearcut forests to alleviate the problem.

Years ago, fireworks and fires of all kinds should have been banned statewide and recreational wilderness shooting prohibited. Meanwhile, the energy and tourist industries have been carrying on business as usual, ignoring the tinder box which this state has become, especially in recent weeks with record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures and scorching winds, atypical for Colorado but showing no signs of going away anytime soon.

As a result of the current fire devastation in this state, which may have only begun since it is only the end of June, the tourist industry will suffer a huge blow, not to mention the overall economy of the state.

Yes, just when some of us in Colorado were experiencing “collapse fatigue,” climate change kicked us in the butt, and we are now experiencing “wildfire fatigue.”

This just after another failed UN conference in Rio on sustainability and environmental protection.

The reason many people experience collapse fatigue is that they are waiting for a dramatic, off-the-cliff event that will “prove” to themselves and their detractors that collapse is actually happening—and thereby bring civilization to its knees. Moreover, let’s be honest: Anyone who has researched collapse and is preparing for it has some last vestige of doubt, however miniscule, that the way of life we have known since birth will actually vanish. Why else do hundreds of people tell me that they feel schizophrenic about collapse as they continue knowing what they know, but interact with countless others who are clueless? Why else do some people confess that some part of them thinks they may be crazy for preparing?


Asylum for Julian Assange

The Guardian reports on “A letter signed by leading U.S. figures in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s application for political asylum in Ecuador has been delivered to the country’s London embassy.” Among those who signed the letter were Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky and Danny Glover. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jun/26/ecuador-julian-assange-asylum

The letter, organized by Just Foreign Policy, which is also signed by a number of whistleblowers, including those below, states: “The U.S. Justice Department has compelled other members of Wikileaks to testify before a grand jury in order to determine what charges might be brought against Mr. Assange. The U.S. government has made clear its open hostility to Wikileaks, with high-level officials even referring to Mr. Assange as a ‘high-tech terrorist,’ and seeking access to the Twitter account of Icelandic legislator Birgitta Jónsdóttir due to her past ties to Wikileaks.

“Were he charged, and found guilty under the Espionage Act, Assange could face the death penalty.

“Prior to that, the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of providing U.S. government documents to Wikileaks, provides an illustration of the treatment that Assange might expect while in custody. Manning has been subjected to repeated and prolonged solitary confinement, harassment by guards, and humiliating treatment such as being forced to strip naked and stand at attention outside his cell. These are additional reasons that your government should grant Mr. Assange political asylum.

“We also call on you to grant Mr. Assange political asylum because the ‘crime’ that he has committed is that of practicing journalism. He has revealed important crimes against humanity committed by the U.S. government, most notably in releasing video footage from an Apache helicopter of a 2007 incident in which the U.S. military appears to have deliberately killed civilians, including two Reuters employees.”

Coverage of Arab Spring Criticized

Note: My criticisms are very different than the criticisms by the “corporation’s bosses. Was it that the journalists got “carried away” or that there was so little reporting on the economic and political background and analyis of the internal political forces like the Muslim Brotherhood movement?

•Daily Mail: Criticisms of BBC Coverage Of Arab Spring

• Head of news admits reporters may have failed to explore both sides of the story
• Countries where regimes were not overthrown were ignored, says BBC Trust report by former UN director of communications
• Two thirds of mobile footage and other user-generated content was broadcast without any caveats

The BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring has been heavily criticized – by the corporation’s bosses.
Head of news Helen Boaden admitted that her journalists got carried away with events and produced ‘over-excited’ reports.
She told a BBC Trust report that in Libya, where reporters were ‘embedded’ with rebels, they may have failed to explore both sides of the story properly.

Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen was among those criticised in the study into coverage of the uprisings, which found that ‘excitement’ did sometimes ‘infect’ the reporting, which some viewers described as ‘too emotive’ and ‘veering into opinion’.

Other News of Note

•Fluent: ‘Bernie Madoff’s Brother To Plead Guilty’

•USA Today: Chicago decriminalizes possession of small amounts of pot


•Fluent:
‘Study: Crime Doesn’t Pay (Well)’

•BBC: Barclays fined over manipulation

Barclays Bank pays £290m in penalties and boss Bob Diamond gives up his bonus after it tried to manipulate the interest rates at which banks lend to each other.

•PressTV: Report on US Drone Warfare

• Fluent: ”Invisible War’: New Documentary Exposes Rape in the Military’

•The Atlantic: Young People Say Internet Is Shaping their Lives

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June 27: Happy Birthday To Me, South Africa’s Political Wars. Review of London Recruits, South

June 27th, 2012 - by:

June 27: Happy Birthday To Me, South Africa’s Political Wars. Review of London Recruits, South Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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“They Say It’s Your Birthday…”

Today’s the day I was born, so long ago, and so far away from where I am today in the rainy winter here in Cape Town, South Africa. At this point, every birthday is a blessing, a mitzvah.

The hospital in the shadow of the Cloisters in upper Manhattan under whose roof I emerged, had windows darkened as World War 11 raged across the seas. It is no longer there. Neither are my parents, Ruth and Jerry Schechter, who made that production possible. I guess my brother Bill and I can be considered orphans.

I emerged screaming and kicking in the early hours of that morning on the 27th of June, and, at times, I am still screaming and kicking, hopefully against injustice.

My mom later wrote a poem, “Near the Wall of Lion Shadows,” about what I felt like to her. You can read it here. Remember, it was her BIRTH day, too!

She is still around, all these years later, on YOUTUBE, reading one of her creations from one of her nine published books of poetry.

And here I am too, after so many decades, across the world, pursuing my muse, one of my many passions, the freedom and liberation of South Africa, a cause I have devoted many hours, years and decades to since I was 25. How privileged I have been to be able to contribute in a small way, by making so many TV shows and documentaries to raise public awareness. I am here in Cape Town making another one, on the making and meaning of a major motion picture, now in production, based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom.

I have been on that long walk for so many years and, despite all the problems I write about in the essay below, this is a different country than the one I first “infiltrated” in 1967. How rare is it to be part of a struggle that actually wins—not all the way, of course, but in ways that none of us imagined way back then.

We still have so much work to do—here and there.

Thanks to all who sent Birthday greetings on Facebook. email, mail, phone and text. Roger that. I Wish I had time for more reflections but I don’t at the moment,

Now

South Africa’s Political Wars Begin To Resemble Our Own

Cape Town, South Africa: When I came to South Africa, I thought I was escaping the way our news programs are totally dominated by political coverage even though the election is months away and everyone knows none of this polling and hyped-up speculation matters until October.

The fight between the Democrats and Republicans is an obscenely costly affair which none of our political pundits care to investigate in terms of why so much is being invested and what the likely payoffs will be, and to whom.

Business Day, The Wall Street Journal of South Africa, featured an essay recently with a headline that offers insight into the motivation of politicians in both countries: “PUBLIC OFFICE JUST A WAY TO PILLAGE THE STATE.”

In the US, of course, we have two principal parties, almost like two wings on a plane. The Republicans, now the captive of the hard right and the Democrats, firmly ensconced in the center, partial to corporations but with some issues and positions that appeal to liberals and even, parts of the left.

Obama is posturing at being a progressive on domestic social issues while refusing to crack down on Wall Street fraud, and promoting Bush-style war on terror military interventions. Romney is running on a one point program: blame Obama for everything wrong in the world.

Both parties are beholden to money and the people who supply it. We are talking billions! Of course, this immense money power corrupts the whole system. The Supreme Court has just ratified the decision that allows it.

In South Africa, corruption doesn’t grow out of the competition between two parties with more in common that you’d think. Here, there’s only one party that really matters–The African National Congress (ANC) that is riven by factions, ambitious politicians and an environment of jostling for power and position. Corruption is embarrassingly all too blatant while basic needs go unmet.

No one quite expected this when the world cheered as Nelson Mandela was swept into office in 1994. He had an ambitious program for ending poverty and transforming the country. People spoke of the changes in South Africa as a “miracle,” branding the country a “rainbow nation.”

Reality quickly set it. Racial division was only one of many economic and social problems all impervious to quick fixes. The government soon found that it had to overcome many forms of resistance to change including the vested interests of the business sector, the status quo orientation of international agencies like the IMF and World Bank as well as the go-slow counsel of Britain and the US.

A long suppressed black middle class wanted what it thought was its due and wanted it now! Inexperienced politicians luxuriated with new perks and fancy cars quickly putting its needs as an elite ahead of demands from its constituencies. Corruption soon surfaced and was largely ignored. The unity of the liberation struggle gave way to power games of every kind.

The Mail &Guardian reports political scientist Achille Mbembe saying in a debate in Johannesburg, “after 18 years of relative complacency and self-congratulatory gestures” the ANC was realizing South Africa was an ordinary country and not a miracle.

South Africa’s miracle of the 90s “can now be better categorized as a stalemate”, he said. “ One of the main tensions in South African politics is that its constitutional democracy did not erase the apartheid landscape.”
But, then, AIDs emerged as a fatal health problem catching the country off guard. Its health infrastructure had been crippled by years of apartheid underfunding. Early projections suggested that virtually the entire State treasury would have to be diverted to stop millions from dying. There was denial and stigma.

That was one of the realities confronting Mandela’s deputy and successor, Thabo Mbeki. That may help explain his attempts to downplay the AIDS threat and find others to blame for it. Mbeki had ambitious notions of an “African renaissance,” and turned South Africa into a leading force on the Continent while also alienating members of the ANC at home who resented what they saw as arrogance and elitism.

Although re-elected by a big majority, he became a divisive force in the Party and was toppled before he could finish his second term. This was all evidence of democracy within the ANC, but teh unravelling of the unity that kept the movement going. (It just marked its 100th anniversary). New splits and splinters, as well as chaotic factions have emerged with the ANC’s own youth League demanding nationalization of the mines. (This demand was treated as an example of “radical populism” by some, and as a tactic to shake down industrialists for bribes by others even thought it did point to a certain laxness in the government’s unwillingness to crack down on business. Sound familiar?)

Former ANC exile and military chief Jacob Zuma who had been his deputy toppled Mbeki with supercharged populist rhetoric—he sang a Zulu song, “Bring Me My Machine Gun” during his camapaign—even though he was caught up in a personal corruption scandal that he narrowly slithered out of.

Now, some of the same pressures facing Mbeki are facing him, as supporters rally to his Deputy President Kglalema Mothlane or Zuma’s Minister of Settlements, the charismatic former guerilla turned billionaire, Tokyo Sexwale. Both seem poised to want to replace him

Meanwhile, the ANC is running a key policy conference to debate a document calling for a “Second Transition.” Mothlane recently sneered at the idea in a speech saying, “Second Transition! Second Transition! From where to where? What constituted the first transition?”

In response, President Zuma, has, according to the Mail & Guardian, “launched a veiled attack” on Kgalema for questioning the “Second Transition.” The crusading newspaper also reports:

“Supporters of ANC president Jacob Zuma will stop any attempts to discuss leadership issues at the ruling party’s policy conference this week.

On the first Day of The conference, Business Day Reported: “Africa National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma warned against ill discipline in the party on Tuesday, saying the party has acted against poor discipline in the past and would do so again.

This is the unyielding view of sources within the ruling party, who told the Mail & Guardian they will “suppress” any attempts to discuss succession within the ruling party.”

So much for the state of internal debate, yet clearly Zuma knows he’s facing a serious internal fight.
Even as the politicians scramble for positions, criticism mounts of how South Africa is being governed. Law Professor Koos Malan, challenges the way public office here is misused, writing, “public office somehow entitles public office-bearers to exploit the power and authority of public office to achieve maximum private gain…and to receive public accolades for these successes.”

As the country prepares to mark Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday in July, South Africa is also facing a dangerous downtown in its economy thanks to the world financial crisis, and soaring crime and unemployment.
The spirit of many here remains infectious but there’s trouble on the horizon.

Then

This is a review of a book I contribute to on an underground mission as part of a secret war against Apartheid I was part of in 1967

Business Day: From leaflet bombs to pro-ANC recordings, the London Recruits wiped the smirk off apartheid South Africa’s face

SINCE 1994, South Africa has built up an extensive oeuvre of struggle literature but its latest addition, London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid, is unlike anything else.

There were many secret wars in South Africa’s liberation, but this recollection of radical exploits in the late 1960s and early 1970s is unique. What’s remarkable about the stories of the London Recruits is that they stayed under wraps for so long.

Most remarkable are the details: of Young Communist League (YCL) members from all over the UK and Ireland sneaking into the country as fresh-faced newlyweds and harmless young travellers, with “the right skin colour” of course, only to post letters to local anti-apartheid sympathisers and, far more audaciously, unfurl huge banners from the top of buildings with slogans such as “ANC fights!”

Their most brazen acts, however, were the thousands of leaflets and recorded messages they smuggled into South Africa using suitcases with false bottoms. Using simple explosive devices they made “bucket bombs” from which were blasted insurrection confetti — plumes of pamphlets with the simple message: “THE ANC SAYS TO VORSTER AND HIS GANG: Your days are coming to an end … We will take back our country!”

The result was electric, coming at a time when the resistance movement was still reeling from the Rivonia trial that left black South Africans with a feeling of enduring defeat. In one instance, a leaflet bomb exploded outside the offices of the Rand Daily Mail just as a police officer was fiddling with it. The bomb’s discharge, though small, was still strong enough to cover the cop in black muck. The next morning, the Mail splashed a photo of the startled officer on its front page.

But the government of John Vorster expected as much from apartheid’s most vocal print-opposition at the time. The best newspaper punch, however, came from Vorster’s own Broederbond-led favourite read, Die Transvaler.

In one’s mind’s eye, you can almost see “old BJ” spluttering in his morning coffee reading the bold headlines: “ANC Shows its Teeth Again with Inflammatory Pamphlets”.

As if these cocky acts of agitation weren’t bad enough, amplifiers and cassette recorders hidden in abandoned cars and bicycle baskets would start broadcasting “Voice of the ANC” messages while black pedestrians were going about their business.

All in all, between rousing oratories beamed from bicycles and leaflet showers lifting the mood of the downtrodden, the work of the London Recruits wiped the smirk from the face of apartheid South Africa.

Why, though, has the lid been kept on the stories of these brave suitcase-carrying collaborators for so long?

The editor of London Recruits, Ken Keable, one of the first people to be recruited in 1967, grew up on a diet of communism and the need for activism, but after two missions, he spent 30 years being “too security conscious that the secret police of South Africa and Britain might pay him a visit”.

Keeping quiet for three decades can’t be easy and, in 2005, after his 60th birthday, Keable realised there was only one real remedy for the existential restlessness he was feeling: “I asked myself, if I felt death approaching, what would I most regret not having done?”

So he started recalling his role in the revolution: “I sat down and wrote and the memories just came tumbling out. In three days, I wrote the story. It was then that the idea came to me: I should get the others to do the same.”

The “others” came from all walks of life. Mostly they were electricians, engineers, telephonists, seamen and students from the London School of Economics (LSE), where Ronnie Kasrils, a leading agent provocateur and one of the National Party’s most wanted enemies of the state, was studying. It wasn’t too difficult for Kasrils to identify potential recruits for one of the liberation movement’s most left-field campaigns. At the time, LSE students were staging a sit-in against the appointment as college director of Walter Adams, formerly of University College Rhodesia and a perceived sympathiser of the government of Ian Smith. This part of London Recruits sets a very strong sense of what it must have been like as politically conscious students in the late 1960s in “swinging London”.

I t was all about “flower power”. Even the Beatles were making music that sounded more East than West and feverish anti-Vietnam War support was cresting a wave of sorts. In short, it was a period of rock ’n roll and resistance to anything that stank of totalitarianism — such as South Africa at the time.

The initial focus of student protest at the LSE being a wellspring for the London Recruits, however, blurs one of the book’s starkest realisations: that many of the recruits were rank-and-file YCL members filtered into the campaign through contact Kasrils had with comrades at the Communist Party of Great Britain.

In one chapter, Alice McCarthy recalls: “I don’t think I struck Ronnie as a woman with a revolutionary commitment. He looked at an East-ender who at the time wore false eyelashes and the shortest of miniskirts — not the image of a communist intellectual.”

That’s the real triumph of London Recruits — its personal accounts and vignettes of ordinary people participating in this most clandestine of campaigns. Often it’s hilarious, such as when Keable accidentally sets off a charge in his Durban hotel room. “It has haunted me all my life. I had just completed a degree in electrical engineering for goodness sake. How could I make such a mistake?”

Thankfully it happened during religious festivities, so Keable and his mate, Pete Smith, deftly blamed the explosion on a firecracker.

In another incident, Denis Walshe and Graeme Whyte had covered their hotel room with thousands of pamphlets they were prising apart for a leaflet shower the next day.

“Next thing — bang ! — in comes the maid. We were in a state of semi-panic. So we sat her down, gave the ANC salute and explained to her what the pamphlets were about.” Luckily she kept the strange scene to herself.

Some recruits didn’t have such luck, causing them to resist submitting their stories at first because of mental scarring.

Sean Hosey, for example, was arrested, tortured and jailed for five years. But Keable displayed tenacious determination in collecting the stories. In one example, he reached a recruit, Katherine Levine, while she was shopping. “Here’s a woman, 60 years old, with a trolley in front of her, and she’s telling me how, when she was in her 20s, she pretended to be on her honeymoon while running guns across the borders of Zambia and Botswana.”

Because of all the secrecy, the recruits only met one another in 2005 in London: “Ronnie calls it a reunion but it really was a reception,” says Keable.

London Recruits, the final outcome of that meeting at SA House in London, is a blast, a collection of sublime stories nowhere else to be found in the annals of the struggle.

Other News:

•¥ahoo: Senate reaches deal on student loans

Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate say they have reached a deal to continue subsidizing student loans with an interest rate of 3.4 percent instead of allowing it to return to the normal rate of 6.8 percent. The extension would cost about $6 billion over the next year….

•Jimmy Who? A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the widespread abuse of human rights by authorizing drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists. Jimmy Carter, Americas 39 th president, denounced the Obama administration for clearly violating 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that the United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Instead of making the world safer, Americas violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends, Carter wrote.

•Charlie Rangel Wins Primary in New York, Hatch Beats Tea Party Challenge in Utah

Break Up At News Corpse

•NYT: Top executives at News Corporation will meet on Tuesday to discuss a potential breakup that would sever the media company’s underperforming newspapers from its lucrative entertainment assets.

The spinoff, which could be announced as early as this week, comes as News Corporation’s newspapers, once the foundation of Rupert Murdoch’s $50 billion media empire, face financial strain and a decline in print advertising. The company’s British publishing unit, meanwhile, is still reeling from a phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of its News of the World tabloid.

•PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel or Deputy Director Amy Mitchell 202.419.3650

Who Owns the News Media: PEJ’s New Interactive Database Details a Year of Major Ownership Changes in the News Industry

June 26, 2012 – Warren Buffet’s purchase of 63 newspapers from Media General Company and news Corp’s consideration of splitting the company in two, culminate a period of intense change in U.S. newspaper ownership, with new companies—including hedge funds and private equity firms—taking over.

In 2011, a total of 71 daily newspapers were sold as part of 11 different transactions, the busiest year for sales since 2007, according to the investment banking firm of Dirks, Van Essen & Murray.

The 2012 Who Owns the News Media database, compiled by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, details these and other news industry ownership changes in 2011 and the first half of 2012. In addition, PEJ provides a summary of major changes.

The newspapers were not the only media sector to undergo major changes. The last 18 months also saw local television sales reach new heights, the merging of Newsweek and the Daily Beast, Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal, the Huffington Posts’ movement into web TV and further reach among U.S. broadcast companies into the Hispanic market.

The 2012 interactive database contains financial statistics on 123 different companies that own U.S. news media outlets, their other investment properties and how they rank compared to other companies that own properties in that sector. The database offers figures on more than 4,000 radio and TV stations, newspapers and news websites.

•Public Knowledge: TV is stuck in the past

Ever wonder why you can’t buy an online-only subscription to your favorite TV channel, like HBO? Or why it’s so hard to access online content over your TV? What about being able to watch your favorite show without a cable subscription at all?

At tomorrow’s hearing on the future of video, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be asking the same questions.

Today’s protectionist regulations lock the existing outdated business model in place, favor incumbent media companies, and keep change at bay.

Tune in tomorrow at 10am to watch a wide range of witnesses discuss why – in a golden age of TV programming – the way you watch and pay for TV is stuck in the past.

•George Soros on the Euro Crisis ‘A Tragic, Historical Mistake by the Germans’

With the EU summit set to start on Thursday, pressure is on European leaders to find a way out of the euro crisis. Investor George Soros is pessimistic that a solution will be found and says time is extremely short. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he warns that Germany could develop into a hated, imperial power.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In Germany, once the motor of European integration, people are openly discussing the possibility of leaving the euro zone. Many Germans believe that a return to the deutschmark would be cheaper than to remain stuck in a flawed currency union. Are they right?

Soros: There is no question that a breakup of the euro would be very damaging, very costly, both financially and politically. And the biggest loss would be incurred by Germany. Germans have to bear in mind that, effectively, they have suffered practically no losses so far. Transfers have all been in the form of loans, and it is only when the loans are not repaid that real losses will be incurred.

Yahoo: Jesse Jackson Jr. On Medical Leave

Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been on “a medical leave of absence” from Congress since June 10, his office announced Monday.

A statement revealed that he “is being treated for exhaustion” and offered no additional details—the first public confirmation of Jackson’s absence. “He asks that you respect his family’s privacy,” the statement read.
Jackson, whose father is civil rights figure Jesse Jackson, emerged victorious from a March primary this year while remaining a target of a House ethics investigation related to the role he allegedly played in the process to fill President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. Jackson has maintained his innocence, rejecting any suggestions of pay-to-play politics. The House Ethics Committee reopened that case last October.

•Writer/Director Nora Ephron Dies at 71

Letter: I wanted to draw your attention to the Josh Fox’s vital new film, THE SKY IS PINK.

Josh has put it up on line here:

The film focuses on the urgent crisis we are facing here in New York, Cuomo is moving closer and closer to allowing fracking in New York state. He has put forward a five county drilling plan but it is possible that this will open up the rest of the state to drilling as well.

That’s all from me for now. Your news items and comment welcome. Write dissector@mediachannel.org
Please visit Mediachannel1.org


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South Africans Fight Apartheid–in Israel, Supremes Rule: Many Views, Manning Wins Docs, Iraq Shutters Media

June 26th, 2012 - by:

South Africans Fight Apartheid–in Israel, Supremes Rule: Many Views, Manning Wins Docs, Iraq Shutters Media Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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The News We Need To Know, The Views We Need To Consider

•BBC: Arizona migrant check ruled legal

The US Supreme Court strikes down key parts of an Arizona immigration law, but allows police to check immigration status of those stopped and arrested.

•AP: Arizona Officials Pleased

PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona officials claimed a partial victory Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the “show me your papers” provision of the state’s immigration law, while rights groups vowed to prevent it from ever taking effect. While the court struck down most of the law, it preserved a section that requires police to check the status of people stopped for various reasons…

•The Atlantic: How This Ruling May lead To Healthcare Decision

•Fluent: ‘Supreme Court throws out Montana ban on corporate campaign spending

*Comment by Pubic Citizen: “Oro y Plata.

That’s the state motto of Montana. It’s Spanish for “Gold and Silver.”

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued another ruling that allows those with the most gold and silver — figuratively speaking, at least — to spend as much money as they want trying to take over our democracy.

In summarily striking down a Montana law that limited corporate electioneering in Big Sky Country, the Supreme Court doubled down on its absurd assertion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations have a right to distort our elections by spending without limit for the sake of securing the allegiance of politicians and policy makers.

This Supreme Court is not going to overturn Citizens United (not, at any rate, any time soon).

•NYT: Justices bar Mandatory Life Sentences for Juveniles. Four vote FOR.

•BBC: New Greek finance chief resigns

Greece’s newly nominated finance minister, Vassilis Rapanos, resigns due to ill health less than a week after being appointed to the post.

•Marketwatch: U.S. stocks down again on Europe worries

South Africa Report

Since I am in South Africa, I have been preparing some reportage from here. This first piece first appeared on The PressTV website:

South Africans Fight Apartheid—In Israel

Cape Town, South Africa: I am writing from South Africa, the land that won its war against apartheid.

Even though 22 years have passed since Nelson Mandela left prison, in a crucial turning point in his “Long Walk To Freedom,” the apartheid past has not totally disappeared. It is evident in the structural economic gaps between rich and poor that persist, as well as forms of self segregation and inter-group hostility.

It’s also not surprising that a country that suffered so long under the yoke of a racist system of imposed racial division would be sensitive to the presence of any similar appearing system of apartheid elsewhere in the world.

Many South Africans see contemporary parallels of their experience in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where they condemn a replay of apartheid as Israel constructs walls and barriers in the name of security and treats Palestinians the way the old South Africa treated people of color.

As a result, South Africans who became active in their fight for freedom identify with the cause of Palestinians who, they argue, are oppressed by a form of unacknowledged racism that has led to old-style South Africa-like police occupations, forced relocations, and abuses of all kinds justified by discriminatory and repressive legislation.

This issue is frequently in the press. In the past week, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu was on page one of a Cape Town newspaper responding to a decision by a Jewish South African journalist to repudiate her religion in solidarity with the suffering of the people of Palestine.

The anti-apartheid icon who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission here years ago has been outspoken in his criticism of Israeli conduct and shares the view that there is apartheid there.

The Israelis have been stung by his morally based condemnations and criticisms by others here including Nelson Mandela.

But, Tutu was not persuaded by this journalists’ action, arguing that her religion was not responsible for decisions by politicians in Israel who often invent a Biblical rationale for actions that are internationally scorned as human rights violations.

Interestingly, the pro-apartheid Security police involved in torturing prisoners used to tell their victims that they were there because they had been misled by “the Jews.”

(In the Middle East itself, stereotypes and labels can reduce political differences to religious or ethnic factors with all sides frequently speaking of “The” Arabs and “The” Jews as if these communities are monolithic and homogenous. As for the wall, on July 24th 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared the Israeli Wall “contrary to international law” and instructed that its construction end. Israel ignored the decision.)

Tensions flared recently as Israel moved to deport African immigrants after riots broke out. There were ugly statements by some extremist government officials that were widely seen in Africa as racist and demeaning. A column by Montli Makhanya in this week’s Sunday Times lambasts Israeli attitudes and is headlined, “Take Heed of the World’s Disgust At This Official Racism.”

Israeli newspapers have carried articles criticizing the treatment of Immigrants too. A few years back, Haaretz featured an article by an Israeli arguing, “Israel’s apartheid is worse than South Africa’s…The system preserving this apartheid is more ruthless as it is equipped with the lie of being ‘temporary.’
The debate over whether or not Israel practices apartheid is an intense one here as many activists rally behind what’s called a BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), all tools that were used for years by opponents against South Africa’s white dominated regime.

A long time ANC leader and former of Minister of Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, himself a South African Jew, is active in the movement challenging Israel.

When a South African Artists Against Apartheid placed radio ad denouncing apartheid in Israel was challenged in Court, the artists prevailed, writing, “In a bold ruling defending the right to freedom of expression and political speech, the South African media watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), unequivocally dismissed all complaints relating to the SA Artists Against Apartheid radio advert that called for the boycott of Israel and compared Israel to Apartheid South Africa.”

This year in March, 9 universities in South Africa, participated in the annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), an international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, film screenings and multimedia displays) held in cities and campuses across the globe.

These events were supported this year by South African struggle stalwarts including Achmed Kathrada who was imprisoned alongside Nelson Mandela in Robben Island, and Zackie Achmat, the country’s leading anti-AIDS campaigner.

Pro-Israeli students have denounced these events insisting they distort the truth and are not “balanced.”

The Jewish Deputies organization in South Africa invited former South African journalist Benjamin Pogrund and Palestinian activist, Bassem Eid, of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, to tour the country to challenge the idea that Israeli and South African apartheid are linked.

They wrote in the Mail & Guardian:

“Nelson Mandela’s words in support of Palestinian freedom were flung at us (and also appear in propaganda leaflets issued by Palestinian-supporting organizations). He was quoted as saying: “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

That resonates strongly among South Africans and Mandela did indeed say that, on 9 December 1997, on the occasion of Palestinian Solidarity Day. But it’s actually half of what he said in the context of freedom for all people. His other (omitted) words explain the context and the dishonesty of the propagandists in singling out Israel:”— without the resolution of conflicts in East Timor, the Sudan and other parts of the world.”

“…we both spoke in bleak terms about peace prospects in the near future; second, we each castigated our own leaderships for double-talk and pretence and for their lack of boldness and vision and we pointed to the growth of Jewish settlements on the West Bank as undermining the chances of an independent and viable Palestinian state.

We stressed that we welcomed interest in our part of the world—but warned that some members of Palestinian solidarity movements have never visited the occupied territories and they damage the Palestinian cause abroad because they act out of ignorance and they foster division and hatred between Arabs and Jews; they do not help to bring peace.”

The intentions of these may have been good but they doesn’t seem to recall that most of the people who condemned apartheid and protested it overseas never visited South Africa. Did they really have to? And did the people who came here then really know what was going on with media censorship in place and so many activists behind bars?

And so the debate continues, not only in South Africa but in other parts of the world where the example of South Africa resonates not only for the evil done in the name of apartheid, but for its example as a people that did struggle for, and win, liberation with global support.

Significantly, the South African struggle led by Mandela was initially non-violent but then took on an armed character triggered by state violence. It was only when it promoted unity among oppressed peoples, provided respected leaders who enlisted mass support and the solidarity of people worldwide, for all its peoples that real negotiations could occur and elections held.

The ANC led by building popular alliances around a morality-based agenda for justice and democracy. There are lessons here for those struggling in the Middle East.

More News

CLG: WikiLeaks suspect wins battle over US documents

•A US military judge ordered prosecutors Monday to share more documents with WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning after defense lawyers accused them of hiding information that could help their client’s case. For months, Manning’s defense team has demanded access to reports by government agencies, including the CIA, that assessed the effect of the leak of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. Judge Denise Lind ruled that government prosecutors must provide “damage assessment” reports from the CIA, the State Department, the FBI, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (Oncix) and other documents that were relevant for the defense.

•Iraqi Police Given Orders to Shut Down 44 Local and Foreign Media Agencies

An official document has been obtained by the JFO, revealing that security forces in Iraq have received orders from the authorities to shut down the offices of 44 media agencies. Included are prominent local TV channels and radio stations such as Sharqiya and Baghdadia satellite television stations and foreign-owned media such as BBC, Radio Sawa and Voice of America. On June 20, followers of cleric Muqtada al Sadr held a demonstration in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, in which they protested restrictions on Iraqi media, as well as calling for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to be held at the Iraqi parliament.

•NPR: FBI Checking 100 Suspected Extremists In Military

•Bloomberg: Child Prostitution Crackdown Nets 104 Arrests, U.S. FBI Says

•¨US News: James Clapper, top U.S. intelligence official, tightens security rules to avert leaks to media

•News Republic: US teen shooter’s (Zimmerman) lawyer calls for his release

•Fluent News: ‘Syria disputes downed jet story’

•AP Exclusive: AlQaeda trains Norwegian to attack

STOCKHOLM (AP) – A Norwegian man has received terrorist training from al-Qaida’s offshoot in Yemen and is awaiting orders to carry out an attack on the West, officials from three European security agencies told The Associated Press on Monday. Western intelligence officials have long feared such a scenario – a convert to Islam who is trained in terrorist methods and can blend in easily

•LA Times: USGS: Sea level in Atlantic ‘hot spot’ rising faster than world’s

•Bloomberg: Chase Receives Corporate Welfare

•BBC: UK Lulzsec hackers plead guilty

Two members of a computer hacking group plead guilty to attacking several high profile websites, but deny other charges.

This NewsDissector.net blog is Danny Schechter’s attempt to offer a compendium of important news from diverse sources as well as personal information and analysis. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org

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Muslim Brotherhood Wins Election In Egypt, Mandela’s Long Walk, I Meet Fellow ‘London Recruits”

June 25th, 2012 - by:

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Monday, June 25, My big birthday just TWO days away, dissecting from Cape Town, South Africa

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The News We Need To Know, The Views We Need To Consider

The Big News: “The Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, Mohamed Mursi, has been named the fifth president of Egypt after narrowly beating off competition from rival, Ahmed Shafiq, in the hotly-contested presidential elections’ runoffs.”

•The View From Egypt:AlAhram, Cairo:‘Don’t obey me if I don’t fulfill promises’: President-elect Mursi tells Egyptians

In his first speech on state TV after being elected Egypt’s first post-uprising president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood promises he will be “the leader of all citizens”

…Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi becomes Egypt’s first freely-elected, non-military head of state – but his diminished presidential authority under last week’s ‘constitutional addendum’ raises question marks

•NYT: Islamacist Makes History

•AlJazeera: Tens of Thousands Celebrate

•The Guardian Reports “Guarded Optimism”

•Washington Times: Right, Natch, Blames Obama: Egyptian secular and liberal parties sounded dissatisfaction over the reported support of the U.S. for Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, Mohamed Mursi, but affirmed they would accept the results of the elections….

•Andy Borowitz, Satirical Comment: Fox News Reports: Egypt Follows US in Electing Muslim President
Positive Sign for Obama, Hannity Says

CAIRO (The Borowitz Report) – In its historic first democratic election, Egypt has followed the lead of the United States in electing a Muslim president, the Fox News Channel reported today.

Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, noted that in electing Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptians were echoing the decision of American voters in 2008.

“The similarities between Obama and Morsi are striking,” he said. “Both come from radical political parties, and both have unfamiliar, foreign-sounding names. One key difference, of course, is that Morsi makes no secret of being a Muslim.”

Mr. Hannity predicted that the two Presidents could have a close working relationship going forward: “I’m sure President Obama has already called Morsi to congratulate him, one Muslim brother to another.”

Mr. Hannity said that the election of Mr. Morsi may be just the latest result in a trend that augurs well for Mr. Obama’s own re-election hopes: “In recent months, Egypt elected a Muslim, France elected a Socialist, and Kenya elected a Kenyan.”

In other Egyptian news, a hospital spokesman said today that former President Hosni Mubarak, declared “clinically dead” just days ago, continues to make a remarkable recovery: “Today he was able to eat, say a few words, and wire four billion dollars to Switzerland.”

*MET WITH THE LONDON RECRUITS IN CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA LAST NIGHT

Meet The Men Who Went To South Africa 40 Years Ago

Photo: Czerina Patel

I was part of a group of men I never met called The London Recruits (See the Book from Merlin) who were sent by the ANC into South Africa on secret missions in the late sixtes and early 70′s. We never met each other until last night in Cape Town. We will be speaking on the Campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT) at 5 PM Today and again at the Book Lounge in Cape Town on Tuesday at 5.

NEW Essay on AlJazeera: Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom

“I have fought against white domination. I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
- Nelson Mandela, April 20, 1964

New York, NY – On May 29, 2012, Nelson Mandela took what may be the last step in his long walk to freedom when he moved from a leafy suburb in Johannesburg to a new home in his ancestral village of Qunu in rural Transkei in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

When he spoke to the UN nearly 20 years ago, he suggested that move would be imminent so he could live out his final years to become “as old as the trees”. But he was too busy responding to global political challenges to really retire.

He turns 94 on July 18. The occasion will be marked by an international day of service in his honour.

Over the years, despite sporadic visits to his birthplace, he remained in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, as a living icon, and the patriarch of a large and sometimes troubled family, flitting in out of news attention when he was sick, or receiving visiting dignitaries such as Michelle Obama.

Clearly his body has been slowing down but his mind remained alert.

In recent years, Mandela has been seeding his legacy through his own Centre for Memory, a branch of his foundation, with a collection of quotations, perhaps in the spirit of the one Mao wrote, as well as Conversations With Myself, a book of personal reflections which dealt with his own peronal flaws and failures as well as the great achievements that propelled him onto the world stage as perhaps the most respected leader on Earth. I am listening now to the audiobook, as read by the great South African John Kani.

Perhaps the biggest monument to his image will be the major motion picture based on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, now filming across his country with a cast largely composed of great South African actors and produced by the country’s most visible filmmaker, Anant Singh.

Going underground

Singh has brought me to South Africa to work with him on a documentary to be produced alongside the movie. It will be the seventh documenting this inspiring political leader that I have been privileged to make.

Read the Rest on AlJazeera.com

Critics of Obama Health Care Law To Hold Press Conference in DC Today

•Ruling Obama Mandate Unconstitutional is Good for Health Care: A Single Payer Perspective

A group of doctors and single payer groups who earlier this year filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court to strike down the Obama mandate will hold a press conference at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. June 25 at 10 am.

The group will discuss their brief to the Supreme Court, popular support for implementing a single payer “Medicare for all” system,and the constitutionality of such a system.

•Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast “The Democrats should see an adverse decision as a chance to put the other guys – the Republicans in Congress, Romney, and the court’s ideological majority – on the defensive.”

•Washington Post: Lawmakers reworked financial portfolios after talks with Fed, Treasury officials during economic crisis

At least 34 members of Congress recast their financial portfolios following phone calls or meetings with high-ranking Treasury Department and Federal Reserve officials at various points during the emerging economic crisis between 2006 and 2009, according to a Washington Post examination of appointment calendars and congressional disclosure forms.

The lawmakers, many of whom held leadership positions and committee chairmanships in the House and Senate, changed portions of their portfolios a total of 166 times within two business days of speaking or meeting with the administration officials.

•Thousands of Israeli protesters smash windows of banks in Tel Aviv, clash with police

•Meet Sheldon Adelson, a major political donor. Even the New York Times can’t conceal its disgust in this hard hitting editorial.

What Sheldon Adelson Wants

“No American is dedicating as much of his money to defeat President Obama as Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who also happens to have made more money in the last three years than any other American. He is the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political donation in history to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation’s needs.

Mr. Adelson spent $20 million to prop up Newt Gingrich’s failed candidacy for the Republican nomination. Now, he has given $10 million to a Mitt Romney super PAC, and has pledged at least $10 million to Crossroads GPS, the advocacy group founded by Karl Rove that is running attack ads against Mr. Obama and other Democrats. Another $10 million will probably go to a similar group founded by the Koch brothers, and $10 million more to Republican Congressional super PACs.

That’s $60 million we know of (other huge donations may be secret), and it may be only a down payment. Mr. Adelson has made it clear he will fully exploit the anything-goes world created by the federal courts to donate a “limitless” portion of his $25 billion fortune to defeat the president and as many Democrats as he can take down.

One man cannot spend enough to ensure the election of an unpopular candidate, as Mr. Gingrich’s collapse showed, but he can buy enough ads to help push a candidate over the top in a close race like this year’s. Given that Mr. Romney was not his first choice, why is Mr. Adelson writing these huge checks?

The first answer is clearly his disgust for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supported by President Obama and most Israelis. He considers a Palestinian state “a steppingstone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people,” and has called the Palestinian prime minister a terrorist. He is even further to the right than the main pro-Israeli lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which he broke with in 2007 when it supported economic aid to the Palestinians.

Mr. Romney is only slightly better, saying the Israelis want a two-state solution but the Palestinians do not, accusing them of wanting to eliminate Israel. The eight-figure checks are not paying for a more enlightened answer.

Mr. Adelson’s other overriding interest is his own wallet. He rails against the president’s “socialist-style economy” and redistribution of wealth, but what he really fears is Mr. Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on companies like his that make a huge amount of money overseas. Ninety percent of the earnings of his company, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, come from hotel and casino properties in Singapore and Macau. (The latter is located, by the way, in China, a socialist country the last time we checked.)

Because of the lower tax rate in those countries (currently zero in Macau), the company now has a United States corporate tax rate of 9.8 percent, compared with the statutory rate of 35 percent. President Obama has repeatedly proposed ending the deductions and credits that allow corporations like Las Vegas Sands to shelter billions in income overseas, but has been blocked by Republicans.

Mr. Obama’s Justice Department is also investigating whether Mr. Adelson’s Macau operations violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, an inquiry that Mr. Adelson undoubtedly hopes will go away in a Romney administration. For such a man, at a time when there are no legal or moral limits to the purchase of influence, spending tens of millions is a pittance to elect Republicans who promise to keep his billions intact.

•A Two Income Family Is Poorer Today Than A One Income Family Was in 1970

•Be Warned: American Austerity Is Coming

•More Partisan Payback in The Hill: Issa predicts House will vote Holder in contempt

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) predicted Sunday that Republicans and Democrats would vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress this week.

•LBN: Damaging Comments By Jerry Sandusky’s Lawyer Could Help Convicted Child Abuser On Appeal

Damaging comments by a lawyer for Jerry Sandusky could help the convicted Penn State child molester on appeal, veteran New York defense lawyers said yesterday. He had an ethical obligation to represent his client as zealously as possible, said Manhattan defense lawyer Lori Cohen. It’s hard to reconcile a zealous defense with his public comments. In a shocking statement before the verdict, Sandusky’s defense attorney Joe Amendola said he’d die of a heart attack if his client were acquitted of all charges.

•Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Calls On US NOT to Extradite British Web Director

••Lewsis Lapham, Tom Dispatch: A tour de force ride through an American era in which technological feats are matched only by magical thinking –- Lewis Lapham, “Magic and the Machine, Living in an American Age of Techno-Wonder and Unreason”

RIP: Luke Niddrie, a young man I meet as a child in South Africa, a son of a family that put me up on many trips there, and who are now in mourning because of a terrible car accident that claimed a life so full of promise. So Sad. So tragic. What more can I say? Viva Luke, Viva!

Thanks for being here. Your comments welcome to dissector@mediachannel.org Please also visit Mediachannel1.org

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Cashless Americans, Now, Spain Needs A Bailout, Court Could Rule on Healthcare This Week

June 24th, 2012 - by:

Cashless Americans, Now, Spain Needs A Bailout, Court Could Rule on Healthcare This Week Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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Sunday, June 24, My big birthday just three days away, dissecting from Cape Town, South Africa

••••What a deal! Special Offer:: Download My Film Plunder For Cheap!

•••Thank you Polar Levine/Polarity1 for this hip and critical collage for my upcoming birthdayPolarity 1 – Dissector

Listen Up: Podcast of Latest News Dissector Radio Hour On PRN.fm

Some personal reflections and readings from my recent books. Lots of intensity and passionate conviction.

•••PalTalk News Network: Interview on My Two New Books

Just Out From Cosimo Books: Occupy, Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

New Book: OCCUPY: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

The Other New Book From Your News Dissector Now From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

Both books can be ordered on Cosimo.com or from Amazon.com.

The News We Need To Know, The Views We Need To Consider

When I came to South Africa, I thought I was escaping the way our news programs are totally dominated by partisan political coverage even though the election is months away and everyone knows none of this polling, and speculation really matters until October.

The fight between the Democrats and Republicans is an obscenely costly affair which none of our political pundits care to investigate in terms of why so much is invested, and what the likely payoffs will be and for whom.

Business Day, The Wall Street Journal of South Africa, featured an essay with headline that might offer insight into the motivation of politicians in both countries: “PUBLIC OFFICE JUST A WAY TO PILLAGE THE STATE.

In the US, of course, we have two parties- The Republicans, now the captive of the hard right, and the Democrats who are firmly ensconced in the center, partial to corporations but with some issues and positions that appeal to liberals and even, parts of the left.Obama is posturing at being a progressive on domestic social issues while refusing to crack down on Wall Street fraud, and promoting Bushian war on terror policies.

Both parties are beholden to money and the people who supply it. Of course, money power corrupts the whole system.

In South Africa, the corruption doesn’t grow out of the competition between two parties with more in common that you’d think. given the ideological polarization.

South Africa only as one party that really matters –The African National Congress (ANC) which is riven by factions, ambitious politicians and an environment of jostling for power and position. Corruption is embarrassingly blatant while basic needs go unmet.

I will be writing more about the debates here in the weeks ahead.

Health Care Ruling May Come This Week In US

WASHINGTON (AP) – Their positions are clear. President Barack Obama ardently defends his federal health care overhaul. Republican challenger Mitt Romney adamantly opposes it. But this coming week, when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the law, both sides will be scrambling for political gain no matter the
outcome.

•Stephen Lendman on Elections: America calling Russian elections illegitimate is a joke, says correspondent Lendman. “US Elections are scripted theater. Secrecy and back room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process. Candidates are pre-selected. Big money owns them. Key outcomes are predetermined.”

Preemptive aggression is official US policy.

Forbes: The Dangers Of Fracking: Concerns Turn To Worker Health Hazards And Potential Silica Exposure

Murder At The Emmys

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) – Two people have been found dead in what investigators believe was a murder-suicide at the Beverly Hilton, just hours before the Daytime Emmy Awards are being held at the posh hotel, police said Saturday. Police responding to a report of a shooting late Friday found a man and a woman dead from gunshot wounds in a hotel room

Now, more on the disaster than awaits us.

CNN: 43% of Americans Go Without Cash For A Week

•Max Keiser RT: Banks Are Dead

•The USD Trap Is Closing: Dollar Exclusion Zone Crosses The Pacific As Brazil Signs China Currency Swap


….while the expansion of the “dollar exclusion zone” was actually quite glaring to anyone who dared to look, one thing was obvious: it was confined to Asia. No more cou rtesy of the following FT headline: “Brazil and China agree currency swap.” More: “Brazil has provided a vote of confidence in China’s efforts to promote the renminbi as a reserve currency by becoming the biggest economy yet to agree a swap deal with Beijing. Brazil and China announced the R$60bn (US$29bn) local currency swap after a bilateral meeting between Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, and Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, on the sidelines of the Rio+20 environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro.””

•New Book: Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System By Scott Patterson

Summary via publisher, Crown Business A news-breaking account of the global stock market’s subterranean battles, Dark Pools portrays the rise of the “bots”- artificially intelligent systems that execute trades in milliseconds and use the cover of darkness to out-maneuver the humans..\\

• Why Greece’s Collapse Will cause a financial doomsday

•LBN: Spain To Seek Bailout

Spain is set to formally request a bailout for its banks by Monday, Finance Minister Luis de Guindos said. The country needs tens of billions of euros to bolster its beleaguered banks, but Spain has been slow to make a formal request for the funds. Guindos told finance ministers in the 17-member euro zone that they can expect to have his country’s formal request by Monday, calling the process a mere formality. Euro-group president Jean-Claude Juncker said Spain needs to pursue [a] clear and ambitious strategy, which needs to be implemented swiftly and communicated early. It is not yet known whether Spain’s proposal will include an estimated total of funds needed to salvage its economy.

•Mike Taibbi, RS/RSN: Wall Street’s Bid Rigging Scandal

•Reuters: Ecuador ambassador leaves Britain to discuss Assange case

•Reuters: Vatican hires U.S. journalist from FOX NEWS to help media relations

•Daily Beast on Spill Over of US War Efforts in Somalia: Kenya Terror Threat ‘Imminent’

•BBC: Sudan unrest, Austerity protests spread in Khartoum

•AP: Turkey Threatens Retaliation

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Syria said Saturday it shot down a Turkish reconnaissance plane because the plane entered its airspace, insisting it was “not an attack” as both sides desperately tried to de-escalate the episode before it exploded into a regional conflagration. Turkey threatened to retaliate but did not say what action it would take as it searched for the aircraft’s two missing pilots.

••••Rory O Connor on PBS News HourCould Facebook Get Squashed by a “Better Mousetrap?”

☛ http://tinyurl.com/7ckl5n6

Part of his Making Sen$e of financial news series, economic correspondent Paul Solman speaks with author and longtime media blogger Rory O’Connor about social media security, privacy violations and what, if anything, could take Facebook down. [VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT]

•Media Tenor: TAX POLICY A NON-ISSUE FOR NETWORKS; ROMNEY BENEFITS FROM SILENCE

Coverage of politics in US TV news, June 1-June 18, 2012

Boston, June 23, 2012: Although the debates over the public budget, debt and tax expenditure top the economic agenda in the media, the major TV networks have been silent on Obama and Romney’s tax policies – indicating that solutions to these issues may not be a voter concern, according the Media Tenor International.

“Romney has been vocal about wanting to scrap various deductions in the tax code and about lowering tax rates,” says Casey Smith, analyst at Media Tenor. “But he has been very vague about the logistics of carrying out his actual policies. So far, the media has not taken interest in these policy details.”

Of all the political coverage on the major TV networks, very little is still devoted to the economic issues that are driving consumer sentiment, but the overwhelming share of negative tonality from NBC, FOX and CBS is having more of an impact on Obama, who has proven vulnerable to consumer confidence.

“This election is less about the candidates and their actual policies than it is about wanting a change in power,” adds Smith. “The fact that the networks and journalists are not responding to Romney’s lack of detail in his policy solution to address the public deficit indicates that the media criticisms of Obama are enough to give Romney an advantage.”

In contrast to Obama, media coverage on economic issues related to Romney revolve around his own statements. Negative tonality from journalists and Romney on Obama are having an impact on Obama’s media image and poll ratings.

This week, Romney pulled ahead of Obama in the polls.

•CLG: The CIA’s Polish Connection

CIA Wanted ‘Torture’ Cage for Secret Prison: Official

A Polish official says that prosecutors have a construction order that proves the CIA wanted a cage for terror suspects built at a secret ‘black site’ prison inside Poland. Senator Jozef Pinior claims Krakow prosecutors have a document that shows a local contractor was asked to build a cage at Stare Kiekuty, a Polish army based used as a CIA prison for ‘al Qaeda’ terror suspects in 2002 and 2003. Asked if he was sure the cage was for humans, Pinior told the Polish paper Gazeta Wyborcza, “What was it for? Exotic birds?” He said he has not seen the construction order, but that the Krakow prosecutor’s office, which is investigating the prison, has a copy of it.

Poland shaken by case alleging an illicit CIA prison there

For years, the idea seemed unthinkable, absurd. A secret U.S. detention center in a remote corner of Poland, where ‘Al Qaeda’ suspects were brutally interrogated by the CIA? About as likely as “the Loch Ness monster,” is how one Pole described it recently. That monster is now rearing its head. Cloistered inside government offices, surrounded by classified documents, Polish prosecutors are building a case that could result in criminal charges against the nation’s former spy chief and even, some say, against former senior political leaders. The prosecutors’ investigation centers on a Polish military garrison that allegedly hosted a CIA “black site” where foreign detainees were subjected to internationally condemned interrogation torture techniques, such as waterboarding, during 2002 and 2003.

That’s all I have for you this Sunday Morning. Please also visit, Mediachannel1.org for more media news including a report on a new channel aiming to challenge AlJazeera. Your comments to dissector@mediachannel.org

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SANDUSKY GUILTY; Costs Of Terror War, Sanitzing Vietnam, ‘Obamacare’ Ruling May Not Matter, Scary Germs

June 23rd, 2012 - by:

SANDUSKY GUILTY; Costs Of Terror War, Sanitzing Vietnam, ‘Obamacare’ Ruling May Not Matter, Scary Germs Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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Saturday June 24, big birthday minus three, dissecting from Cape Town, South Africa

••••What a deal! Special Offer:: Download My Film Plunder For Cheap!

•••Thank you Polar Levine/Polarity1 for this hip and critical collage for my upcoming birthdayPolarity 1 – Dissector

Listen Up: Podcast of Latest News Dissector Radio Hour On PRN.fm

Some personal reflections and readings from my recent books. Lots of intensity and passionate conviction.

•••PalTalk News Network: Interview on My Two New Books

Just Out From Cosimo Books: Occupy, Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

New Book: OCCUPY: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

The Other New Book From Your News Dissector Now From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

Both books can be ordered on Cosimo.com or from Amazon.com.

The News We Need To Know, The Views We Need To Consider

•NYT: Sandusky Guilty of Sexual Abuse of 10 Young Boys

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted Friday of sexually abusing young boys, completing the downfall of a onetime local hero in a scandal that shook a proud Pennsylvania community, a prominent American university and the world of major college football.

A jury in Centre County Court convicted Sandusky, 68, of sexually assaulting 10 boys, all of them children from disadvantaged homes whom Sandusky, using his access to the university’s vaunted football program, had befriended and then repeatedly violated. The jury, seven women and five men, more than half with ties to Penn State, returned a verdict on the second day of deliberation.

Sandusky stood stoically as the jury foreman read off the verdicts on the 48 counts against him. The foreman said guilty 45 times. Many of the charges, which include rape and sodomy, carry significant prison terms, and it seems likely that Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Sandusky was taken into custody after the verdicts were read.

US: Under Romney, Bain’s companies sent jobs abroad’

•Fluent: ‘Obama courts Hispanic supporters’

•The Atlantic: “Obamacare Ruling May Not Matter”

•News Republic, Hill bargainers: Student loan deal seems near

Egypt (LBN): Thousands of Egyptians packed into Cairos Tahrir Squarethe site of the famous revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak’s regime on Friday as they awaited the results of the nations first presidential election.

While the ruling military said Egyptians have the right to assemble peacefully in the square, they said they will deal firmly with attempts to harm the public interest.

Members of Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood party camped out overnight in the square, and they expected to be joined later in the afternoon by secular protesters. The Muslim Brotherhood has claimed their candidate for president, Mohamed Morsi, is the legitimate winner of the election, although Mubaraks former deputy, Ahmed Shafiq, has declared himself the victor. The official results are expected this weekend.

•Portside: Coup in Paraquay

What Will Washington Do About Fernando Lugo’s Ouster in Paraguay?

This hasty, trumped-up impeachment of President Lugo amounts to a coup d’etat. The US must back democratic process

•Guardian: Julian Assange asylum application may take time, says Ecuador president

•BBC: Breivik trial ends with walkout

The Breivik trial ends in Norway with a walkout by families of victims in protest at the killer’s attempts to justify the massacre.

•NPR: Annan Says Iran Should Be Consulted In International Plan For Syria

•Sri Lanka: Plight of 10,000 captured LTTE fighters: A UN sequel to Rwanda?

Just over a week prior to World Refugee Day 2012, damning evidence of grave human rights abuses, and war crimes committed against captured members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by Sri Lankan security forces came to light. On June 9, 2012, this was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Refugees, IDPs, and POWs of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE).

Telegraph: 9/11 judge facing calls to step down over Abu Ghraib trial


•The Arithmetic of Counter-Terror: US spending $5 billion to catch each terrorist

Giraldi, The Costs Of The War On Terror

The United States is engaged in what most Americans still refer to as a global war on terror or, in shorthand form, a war on terror. The Obama administration avoids the expression because it is a legacy of the Bush years and because it uses the expression “war,” so it refers to “overseas contingency operations,” which has a nicer sound and does not appear to be so preemptive or premeditated. It also fudges the reality of what is taking place by pretending that the process is reactive, which it is not. The unrelenting expansion of U.S. military intervention is in response to many diverse overseas developments, most of which are not genuine threats. This was recently demonstrated by the White House decision to extend the U.S. terrorism fight to the entire continent of Africa.

Terrorism is clearly a dying profession, both literally and metaphorically. The Report on Terrorism does not list how many terrorists were killed in 2011, perhaps fearing that the definitions and numbers could easily be challenged, but it does provide detailed breakdowns of the terrorism victims, a number around which there is considerably more consensus.

Worldwide terrorist attacks in 2011 were down 12% from 2010 and 29% from 2007. Most attacks, and most victims, roughly 65%, came from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Somalia. Al-Qaeda, the gold-standard terrorist group, is in sharp decline, staging far fewer attacks worldwide except in one country, Somalia. Somalia’s al-Shabab claims to be an al-Qaeda affiliate, though that means little in practical terms. Engaged in what is essentially a civil war, it bombs and executes its opponents. Each shooting or bombing is therefore counted as a terrorist attack. Its ability to threaten the United States is close to nil, however, and even Washington is waking up to the fact that the threat al-Shabab does pose is largely because the group has been radicalized by U.S. involvement in the conflict.

For me, the report’s statistics always invite a cost/benefit analysis. So how many Americans were actually victimized by terrorism in 2011 and what is Washington spending to deal with the threat? First of all, a definition of American is not so simple. Some American citizens who have been terrorism victims are in fact dual nationals who have a U.S. passport for one reason or another but who are natives of another country and have chosen to live there. Far from being singled out as American targets, the dual nationals are generally perceived as indigenous to their countries of residence.

But even including all U.S. passport holders or permanent residents, the numbers are disappointing for those who have imagined a world awash with militants all of whom are seeking Americans to kill while planning to travel to the United States so they can blow themselves up. No Americans were killed by terrorists inside the United States. Only three American citizens were kidnapped by overseas terrorists in 2011 (in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, all of which were war zones), and only 17 were killed in foreign lands (15 in Afghanistan, a war zone). Not to minimize in any way the horror of becoming a terrorist victim, the numbers are only 0.3% of all terror-related kidnappings and only 0.1% of terror-related killings. Most, possibly 97%, of people killed or kidnapped are Muslims targeted by indigenous terrorist groups that are fighting to change or take control of their own governments. Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations has determined that the number of Americans killed in terrorist attacks is comparable to the number crushed to death by falling television sets or furniture each year.

Senior Church Official in Philly Guilty of Sex Abuse Cover-up

odi.org.uk: Eurozone Crisis Is Crippling Developing Countries

Developing world facing US$238 billion bombshell as euro zone crisis continues

Economies across Africa and the developing world face a serious decline in exports, investment, remittances and aid as a result of the continued crisis affecting Europe, according to experts at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The developing world is expected to bear a cumulative output loss of US$ 238 billion over 2012-13 because of the continued deepening of the crisis in the euro area. It is also estimated that a 1% drop in export growth could on average hit growth in poor developing countries by up to 0.5%.

Analysis of country vulnerability to possible financial and real shocks of the euro zone crisis suggests that Mozambique, Kenya, Niger, Cameroon, Cape Verde and Paraguay are amongst those most at risk.

Author Dr Isabella Massa said:

“There are three broad ways in which the euro zone crisis will affect developing countries – through financial contagion, as a knock-on effect of fiscal consolidation in Europe to meet austerity needs, and through a drop in the value of currencies pegged to the euro.

The EU remains the largest single export market for poorer countries, although it is the emerging BRIC economies which are their main source of imports.

Poor countries are vulnerable to the euro crisis not only because of their exposure (due to dependence on trade flows, remittances, private capital flows and aid) but also because of their weaker resilience compared to 2007, before the onset of the global financial crisis.

•More Icelandic bankers arrested

“Iceland’s special prosecutor into the banking crisis has confirmed that raids have taken place today and that arrests have been made. The Central Bank of Iceland is among the institutions under investigation.

Special Prosecutor, Olafur Thor Hauksson told Visir.is that house searches are taking place in at least three places today as part of investigations into the central bank, MP Bank and Straumur Bank.

Stefan Johann Stefansson at the central bank confirmed that agents were in the building conducting searches; and it has also been confirmed that searches are underway at MP Bank and ALMC (formerly Straumur).

An ALMC spokesman said that the premises are indeed being searched and that the bank’s staff members are doing their best to help.

In other news, four people have so far been arrested today in connection with the special prosecutor’s investigation into Landsbanki. One of the arrested parties is Jon Thorsteinn Oddleifsson, former Landsbanki treasury boss; and it is not yet known who the other three are.

According to Visir.is sources, the arrests concern a brand new section of the wider case against the bank and are not directly connected to searches and arrests made last week.

John Grant: ThisCan’tBeHappening, The Vietnam War and the Struggle For Truth


Vietnam, a story of virtually unmitigated disasters that we have inflicted on ourselves and even more on others.
-Bernard Brodie, 1973


The Vietnamese won the Vietnam War by forcing the United States to abandon its intention to militarily sustain an artificially divided Vietnam. The history is clear: It was the US, not the Vietnamese, who scotched the unifying elections agreed on for 1956 in the Geneva negotiations following the French rout at Dien Bien Phu. Why did the US undermine these elections? As Dwight Eisenhower said in his memoir, because everyone knew Ho Chi Minh was going to win in a landslide of the order of 80% of the population of Vietnam.
So much for Democracy.

“We can lose longer than you can win,” was how Ho described the Vietnamese strategy against the Americans. Later in the 1980s, a Vietnamese diplomat put it this way to Robert McNamara: “We knew you would leave because you could leave. We lived here; we couldn’t leave.”

The Vietnam War was finally over in 1975 when the North prevailed over the US proxy formulation known as South Vietnam, which then disappeared as a “nation,” as many thousands of our betrayed Vietnamese allies fled in small boats or were subjected to unpleasant internment camps and frontier development projects deep in the hostile jungles.

In a word, the Vietnam War was a debacle for everyone involved.

Now, we learn the United States government is planning a 13-year propaganda project to clean up the image of the Vietnam War in the minds of Americans. It’s called The Vietnam War Commemoration Project. President Obama officially launched the project on Memorial Day with a speech at the Vietnam Wall in Washington. The Project was established by Section 598 of the 604-page National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2008. It budgets $5 million a year.

•Candidate Norman Solomon Reports from His Congressional Race In Northern California

With the latest vote count in our race for Congress, the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the margin “is only getting tighter” between Republican Dan Roberts and me.

Across the entire district, the Chronicle noted, Roberts is now just 757 votes ahead — and the estimated more than 9,000 ballots that remain to be counted are all in Sonoma County, where I did very well on Election Day.



With completion of the vote count just a few days away, our campaign’s election protection work continues to be essential.

Scary on NPR: Drug-Resistant Germ In Rhode Island Hospital Raises Worries

•••Hi From CapeTown where its cold and rainy. I haven’t had much time yet to get into local politics. I hope you find the News Dissector blog of value. Please also see our updated Media Channel at Http://mediachannel1.org.

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TGIF: Financial Crisis Has Barely Begun, Courts Configure Future, Busted: CIA In Syria War

June 22nd, 2012 - by:

TGIF: Financial Crisis Has Barely Begun, Courts Configure Future, Busted: CIA In Syria War Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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Friday June 22, reporting from Cape Town, South Africa

••••What a deal! Special Offer:: Download My Film Plunder For Cheap!

•••Thank you Polar Levine/Polarity1 for this hip and critical collage for my upcoming birthdayPolarity 1 – Dissector

Listen Up: Podcast of Latest News Dissector Radio Hour On PRN.fm

Some personal reflections and readings from my recent books. Lots of intensity and passionate conviction.

•••PalTalk News Network: Interview on My Two New Books

Just Out From Cosimo Books: Occupy, Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

New Book: OCCUPY: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

The Other New Book From Your News Dissector Now From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

Both books can be ordered on Cosimo.com or from Amazon.com.

In Case You Missed This: New Essay on AlJazeera: President Obama as ‘warrior-in-chief’

Reuters: The Financial Crisis Has Barely Begun

•Down Down Again: NEW YORK (AP) – Relentlessly gloomy reports about the health of the world economy rocked Wall Street on Thursday, stirring more worry about the stalled recovery and sending the stock market to its second-worst decline this year. The bad economic reports kept piling up: Manufacturing slumped in China. A closely watched unemployment figure jumped to its highest level in nine months.

*Rolling Stone/RSN, Matt Taibbi: The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

•Moodys Cuts Credit Ratings Of Big Banks

NEW YORK (AP) – Moody’s Investors Service has lowered the credit ratings on some of the world’s biggest banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, reflecting concern over their exposure to the violent swings in global financial markets. The downgrades late Thursday ultimately are a measure of Moody’s view on the ability of the banks to repay their debts.

•IMF Chief Warns Of Great Stress On Euro

LUXEMBOURG (AP) – The head of the International Monetary Fund warned Thursday that the euro is under “acute stress” and piled pressure on Germany by advocating a series of measures to pull Europe out of its crisis that its Chancellor Angela Merkel has strenuously opposed. Christine Lagarde urged leaders of the 17 countries that use the euro to consider jointly issuing debt…

At Home: Judges Dominate the News

LBN: The judge overseeing Penn States former assistant football coach Jerry Sanduskys child sex abuse trial has thrown out three of the 51 charges. (Sandusky’s Adoptive Son says he was abuses and is willing to testify.)

The Supremes

l. Make it harder for unions to assess their members for political activism

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that unions must give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases or special assessments that all workers are required to pay in closed-shop situations.

2. Dump Fines For Indecency

Daily Beast: FCC Indecency Policy Tossed Out

WSJ: Lewd, crude, and SCOTUS-approved—the Supreme Court tossed out Federal Communications Commission prohibitions on nudity and naughty words on Thursday in a decision that avoided ruling on what some saw as First Amendment issues tied to the case. Broadcasters including Fox and ABC had been found in violation of FCC regulations dating back to 2002 and 2003. In the court’s opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the FCC “failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent.”Kennedy said that the FCC remained “free to modify its current indecency policy.”

Comment: In response to decision in Fox v. F.C.C. by the Supreme Court of the United States, the following statement was issued by Jonathan Rintels, Executive Director of the Center for Creative Voices in Media:

The Center for Creative Voices in Media welcomes today’s ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States in Fox v. F.C.C. overturning the Commission’s findings of “indecency” against Fox in the Billboard Music Award cases and ABC in the NYPD Blue case. Creative Voices was an intervening party in the case, arguing forcefully that the lack of adequate Commission notice on what constituted indecency had a “chilling effect” on protected First Amendment speech, negatively impacting creative media artists and the American public.

We regret, however, that the Court declined to overturn the Commission’s indecency policy as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, which it certainly is. As a result of the Court’s actions, creative media artists now likely face many more years of uncertainty as to what precisely is or is not “indecent” under FCC policy, and whether that policy is consistent with the First Amendment.

Daily Beast Exposes: “America’s Robed Radicals”

As the Supreme Court prepares to drop major decisions on Obamacare and Arizona’s controversial immigration law, conservative complaints about the court’s “judicial activism” are hollower than ever. The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky shows why the Roberts court is one of the most radical in American history, and how its decisions are dividing the country.

Coming Soon: Repeal of Health Care Reform?

Right-wing Now Going After Financial Reform in the Courts

CEI: Unchecked Power of Consumer Financial Protection Board Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2012 – The State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, today filed a lawsuit asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to hear its case challenging the constitutionality of provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (SIC) and the 60 Plus Association are also joining this community bank as plaintiffs in the same action, requesting the Court to invalidate the law because of the unprecedented, unchecked power it gives the government.

“No other federal agency or commission operates in such a way that one person can essentially determine who gets a home loan, who can get a credit card and who can get a loan for college,” said Jim Purcell, CEO of State National Bank.

“Dodd-Frank effectively gives unlimited regulatory power to this so-called Consumer Financial Protection Board, also known as CFPB, with a director who is not accountable to Congress, the President or the Courts. That is simply unconstitutional.”


Europe: Greek Government Expected To Unravel

World Affairs Journal: Was The Vote in Greece Really for The Euro?

“The results of Sunday’s legislative elections in Greece have been widely hailed as a vote “for the euro,” with news services painting the elections as a virtual “referendum” on eurozone membership. Oddly enough, last fall, when then Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou proposed holding an actual referendum on eurozone membership, the move was greeted with horror by the entirety of the European establishment, and Papandreou was forced to beat a hasty retreat.

“Backin the euro” in the present context means, more precisely, for the austerity measures that the European powers-that-be have made clear are the condition both for European bailout funds and for continued Greek euro membership. If the elections indeed represented a “referendum” on the euro, however, upon closer examination of the results, it is by no means obvious that the euro won.

The official winner of the elections was New Democracy: along with the Greek socialists of Pasok, one of the two parties that have traditionally dominated Greek politics. Both parties signed off on the bailout deal. On Sunday, New Democracy managed to eke out a slim victory over the anti-austerity leftist coalition Syriza. It did so, however, with less than 30 percent (29.66 percent) of the vote. Pasok obtained barely 12 percent (12.28 percent) of the vote. This represents a decline of a whopping 32 percentage points from its 44 percent score in the pre-bailout 2009 elections.

Together, the two euro-austerity parties thus garnered a mere 42 percent of the vote. It is only the peculiarities of Greek electoral law, which gives the first party past the post a 50-seat “bonus” in Parliament, that will allow the two supposed ideological rivals now to form a coalition.

BaselineScenario.com: Simon Johnson, What’s Austerity Got To Do With It?

Most of the current policy discussion concerning the euro area is about austerity. Some people – particularly in German government circles – are pushing for tighter fiscal policies in troubled countries (i.e., higher taxes and lower government spending). Others – including in the new French government — are more inclined to push for a more expansive fiscal policy where possible and to resist fiscal contraction elsewhere.

The recently concluded G20 summit is being interpreted as shifting the balance away from the “austerity now” group, at least to some extent. But both sides of this debate are missing the important issue. As a result, the euro area continues its slide towards deeper crisis and likely eventual disruptive break-up.

The underlying problem in the euro area is the exchange rate system itself – the fact that these European countries locked themselves into an initial exchange rate, i.e., the relative price of their currencies, and promised to never change that exchange rate. This amounted to a very big bet that their economies would converge in productivity – that the Greeks (and others in what we now call the “periphery”) would in effect become more like the Germans. Alternatively, if the economies did not converge, the implicit presumption was that people would move – i.e., Greek workers go to Germany and converge to German productivity levels by working in factories and offices there.

It’s hard to say which version of convergence was more unrealistic.

In fact, the opposite happened. The gap between German and Greek (and other peripheral country) productivity increased, rather than decreasing, over the past decade. Germany, as a result, developed a large surplus on its current account – meaning that it exports more than it imports. The other countries, including Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, had large current account deficits – they were buying more from the world than they were selling. These current account deficits were financed by

Egypt On The Edge

AP: CAIRO (AP) – Authorities delayed Thursday’s planned announcement of the winner of Egypt’s presidential election, likely for several days, hiking tension as allegations of fraud swirled and each candidate declared he was the victor. Amid the atmosphere of political confusion, the Muslim Brotherhood claimed there was an organized campaign of allegations against it to mar the election

LBN: Tahrir Square was alive again with demonstrators overnight, and Egyptian voters continued to wait Thursday for a result in the countrys presidential election as anxieties mounted in the country. As government officials counted votes after allegations of fraud in the Egypts run-off between a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and former intimate of ousted ruler Hosni Mubarak, one member of the election committee said not to expect results before Sunday, at the earliest. The delay has put Cairo and all of Egypt on edge, with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a powerful Islamist group, saying that they were prepared to stage street protests against the country’s military rulers.

•John Pilger: U.S. Crimes Against Humanity?
History is the Enemy as ‘Brilliant’ Psy-ops Become the News

History is buried with the dead and deformed of Vietnam and Bhopal. And history is the new enemy.

* Eric Schmitt, NYT: U.S. Arming Syrian Opposition Fighters

C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

•David Usborne, ICH: Tensions Between UK and Russia Soared Over Syria-bound Helicopters

Britain came alarmingly close to a dangerous clash with Moscow when David Cameron was asked to consider giving an order to forcibly board a ship headed towards the English Channel carrying three Russian-made helicopters for delivery to Syria.

•John Bryson Resigns As U.S. Commerce Secretary

••Essay on Consortium News: Strangling The Republic

CN: For several decades, Corporate America has been squeezing the life out of what’s left of the democratic Republic, applying steady pressure from well-funded right-wing media and political groups. This year, under the cloak of Citizens United, the deed might finally be completed, observes Beverly Bandler.

“The Hostile Takeover” of the United States by Corporate America and the plutocrats is now well advanced and brazen. Corporations and their CEOs have achieved unprecedented power. Of the world’s 100 largest economies, 51 are now global corporations. And they have created a different world. A 2005 Citigroup report to its investors advised: “the World is dividing into two blocks — the Plutonomy and the rest.” [Plutonomy is defined as a country where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few, a condition now associated with the United States.] Thomas Jefferson in a 1800 portrait by Rembrandt Peale. A super-elite has been created that, writes Chrystia Freeland, view themselves “increasingly as a global community, distinguished by their unique talents and above such parochial concerns as national identity, or devoting ‘their’ taxes to paying down ‘our’ budget deficit.” In the United States, the super-rich of Corporate America, who seem to have detached themselves from national loyalty and obligations, can now promote or destroy a U.S. politician or a political party.”>The End of Democracy

A 2005 Citigroup report to its investors advised: “the World is dividing into two blocks — the Plutonomy and the rest.” [Plutonomy is defined as a country where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few, a condition now associated with the United States.]

A super-elite has been created that, writes Chrystia Freeland, view themselves “increasingly as a global community, distinguished by their unique talents and above such parochial concerns as national identity, or devoting ‘their’ taxes to paying down ‘our’ budget deficit.”

In the United States, the super-rich of Corporate America, who seem to have detached themselves from national loyalty and obligations, can now promote or destroy a U.S. politician or a political party.

•Via Portside, Adele M. Stan, WaPo’s Dana Milbank Pushes Lie About Van Jones and Occupy

On June 18, Van Jones gave a hard-hitting speech to
progressive activists in which he praised the Occupy movement
while chiding the older, more established iterations of left-
wing activism for abandoning the cause because of
disappointment in President Barack Obama. But if you read Dana
Milbank’s coverage in the Washington Post, you’d think
precisely the opposite had happened. In a piece representing
either the worst of lazy-reporter hackery or outright
dishonesty, Milbank wrote that Jones used his speech to slam
the Occupy movement — a false charge if there ever was one.

Letter: Another Embarrassment in Obama land:

Jackie Newberry writes;

“Does Meth & Heroin Cause More Deaths Than Marijuana?”

Congressman Steve Cohen asks fact-based questions to DEA Chief Leonhart. This is a 5+ minute excerpt, and her defensive misinformation and level of ignorance is quite telling and, frankly stunning. This is her job, about which she should be an informed expert. It’s what happens when law enforcement instead of health and treatment experts are in charge. http://is.gd/pqiP6T

And this is where billions of our tax dollars are going every year
I’m watching the full 1 1/2 hours. http://www.c-span.org/Events/DEA-Administrator-Testifies-at-House-Judiciary-Oversight-Hearing/10737431736/#

Ciao for Now. Thanks for being here. Is this blog still of use/value? Comments/thoughts/Stories. I am missing the New York heat wave while experiencing South Africa’s cold wave. Write dissector@mediachannel.org

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Asylum for Julian Assange? Issa Charges Holder With Contempt, Fed: Economy Weakens, Earth Summit Sell Out

June 21st, 2012 - by:

Asylum for Julian Assange? Issa Charges Holder With Contempt, Fed: Economy Weakens, Earth Summit Sell Out Posted in the Category: Uncategorized

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Friday June 21, reporting from Cape Town, South Africa

••••What a deal!: Download My Film Plunder For Cheap!

•••Thank you Polar Levine/Polarity1 for this hip and critical collage for my upcoming birthdayPolarity 1 – Dissector

Listen Up: Podcast of Latest News Dissector Radio Hour On PRN.fm

Some personal reflections and readings from my recent books. Lots of intensity and passionate conviction.

•••PalTalk News Network: Interview on My Two New Books

Just Out From Cosimo Books: Occupy, Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

New Book: OCCUPY: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

The Other New Book From Your News Dissector Now From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

Both books can be ordered on Cosimo.com or from Amazon.com.

In Case You Missed This: New Essay on AlJazeera: President Obama as ‘warrior-in-chief’

•LEAD STORY: Chris Spannos, NYTeXaminer: Julian Assange Seeks “Political Asylum” Under Universal Declaration for Human Rights

Ravi Somaiya tells Times readers that “according to statements from the embassy
and officials in Quito,” Assange is seeking “protective asylum” from the Swedish
and American governments. In its own statement, and where Somaiya seemingly quotes
from, the London Embassy of Ecuador uses different words to describe the legal context
of Assange’s request…

Read the rest of this article.

•Fluent: ‘Assange Faces Arrest If He Leaves Ecuador Embassy’ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Comments on Julian Assange’s Request for Asylum

•Glenn Greenwald (RSN): “Given the travesty that is American justice, WikiLeaks’ founder is entitled to seek asylum and well-advised to fear extradition.”

Daniel Ellsberg, signed a petition calling on Ecuador to grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Ellsberg stated: “Political asylum was made for cases like this. Freedom for Julian in Ecuador would serve the cause of freedom of speech and of the press worldwide. It would be good for us all; and it would be cause to honor, respect and thank Ecuador.” http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6213

Coleen Rowley, a former FBI Special Agent and Division Counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of Time Magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She said today: “An unbelievably cruel irony exists in witnessing powerful western political figures threaten Julian Assange, someone with a unique track record of supporting whistleblowers without any viable outlet for disclosing their superiors’ illegal orders and activities. WikiLeaks’ efforts combating undue secrecy, exposing illegal cover-ups and championing transparency in government has already benefited the world. And I’m convinced, more than ever, that if that type of anti-secrecy publication had existed and enabled the proper information sharing in early 2001, it could have not only prevented the 9/11 attacks but it could have exposed the fabricating of intelligence and deceptive propaganda which enabled the Bush Administration to unjustifiably launch war on Iraq.”

Ray McGovern, who was a U.S. army officer and CIA analyst for 30 years, now works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He just wrote the piece “Julian Assange’s Artful Dodge,” which states: “Not only is Julian Assange within his rights to seek asylum, he is also in his right mind. Consider this: he was about to be sent to faux-neutral Sweden, which has a recent history of bowing to U.S. demands in dealing with those that Washington says are some kind of threat to U.S. security. Glenn Greenwald on Tuesday provided an example:

“‘In December 2001, Sweden handed over two asylum seekers to the CIA, which then rendered them to be tortured in Egypt. A ruling from the U.N. Human Rights Committee found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for its role in that rendition (the two individuals later received a substantial settlement from the Swedish government).’

“For those of you thinking, Oh, but that was under the Bush administration and that kind of thing is over, think again. In 2010 and 2011, the hysteria surrounding WikiLeaks’ disclosures of U.S. misconduct and crimes around the world brought cries from prominent American political figures seeking Assange’s designation as a terrorist, his prosecution as a spy and even his assassination.

“Rep. Peter King, R-New York, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has called for WikiLeaks to be declared a terrorist organization and Assange to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917, a position shared by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

“‘The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.’

“Others have gone even further, demanding that Assange be put to death, either by judicial or extrajudicial means. …

“Four weeks before Assange sought asylum, he interviewed Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for Episode 6 of The World Tomorrow (Assange’s program Tuesdays on RT [formerly Russia Today]). Assange asked Correa why he has advocated that WikiLeaks release all its cables. Correa responded:

“‘First, you don’t owe anything, have nothing to fear. We have nothing to hide. Your WikiLeaks have made us stronger’ with the damaging revelations showing the attitude of the U.S. embassy toward the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian government.’

“Correa continued: ‘On the other hand, WikiLeaks wrote a lot about the goals that the national media pursue, about the power groups who seek help and report to foreign embassies. … Let them publish everything they have about the Ecuadorian government. You will see how many things about those who oppose the civil revolution in Ecuador will come to light. Things to do with opportunism, betrayal, and being self serving.’

“Correa made the point that when WikiLeaks cables became available to the national media in Ecuador, they chose not to publish them — partly because the documents aired so much ‘dirty linen’ about the media themselves. He added that when he took office in January 2007, five out of seven privately owned TV channels in Ecuador were run by bankers. The bankers were using the guise of journalism to interfere in politics and to destabilize governments, for fear of losing power.” http://consortiumnews.com/2012/06/20/julian-assanges-artful-dodge/

Watch: The Assange-Correa interview:

•AP: NATO protesters indicted on 11 counts

Some of the Rest Of The News

•Press TV: Senate Refuses To Restore Funding for Food Stamps In Blow To The Poor

•AP: WASHINGTON (AP) – Message from liberals to President Barack Obama: Your economic message is muddled, go after Wall Street harder. With the November election looming, some of the president’s most ardent backers are fretting that the incumbent Democrat isn’t successfully making the case for a second term at a time of economic turmoil. And they argue that he should sharpen his message…

•AP Immigration a Key Issue

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – No longer a backburner issue, immigration is roiling the presidential contest as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney seek to court the nation’s swelling Hispanic population. The outcome could influence political battle lines and shape American politics for generations. By week’s end, both candidates will address the same Latino political convention in Florida,

The Hill: House panel votes to place Holder in contempt of Congress

A House panel voted Wednesday to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a subpoena, defying an assertion of executive privilege from President Obama.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa (Calif.), approved a resolution along party lines to place Holder in contempt after battling him for months over access to internal agency documents about the gun-tracking operation Fast and Furious.

The vote came shortly after Obama escalated the conflict by sending a letter to the committee claiming executive privilege over the documents that the panel had sought.

The resolution to place Holder in contempt will now move to the House floor. If Republican leaders opt to
schedule it for a vote, it would require only a simple majority to pass.

•News Republic: Obama campaign says it expects to be outspent

•Salon: Obama goes to war with GOP secret money – Campaign Finance

LBN: The Hunt for Osama bin Laden

In the months before the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the CIA unit dedicated to hunting for Osama bin Laden complained that it was running out of money, and analysts considered the likelihood of catching the terror leader to be extremely low, according to government records published Tuesday. The declassified documents, dated between 1992 and 2004, are heavily blacked out and offer little new information about what the U.S. knew about the al-Qaida plot before 2001. Many of the files are cited in the 9/11 Commission report, published in 2004. The commission determined the failure that led to 9/11 was a lack of imagination, and U.S. intelligence agencies did not connect the dots that could have prevented the attacks.

•For Another view, See my report on AlJazeera.com above.

• Reuters: UN investigator decries US use of killer drones

(Reuters) – A U.N. investigator has called on the Obama
administration to justify its policy of assassinating
rather than capturing al Qaeda or Taliban suspects,
increasingly with the use of unmanned drone aircraft that
also take civilian lives.

Christof Heyns, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial,
summary or arbitrary executions, urged Washington to
clarify the basis under international law of the policy,
in a report issued overnight to the United Nations Human
Rights Council. The 47-member Geneva forum is to hold a
debate later on Tuesday.

Guardian: UN report on Rwanda fueling Congo conflict ‘blocked by US’

Congolese officials rebuke US for ‘stifling’ inquiry over claims Kagame’s army is backing Bosco Ntaganda mutiny

•Profiles in Courage: ‘Earth Summit II’ diplomats agree on ‘weak’ text

•Fluent: ‘FAQ: Flame virus’

Economy

•BBC: ** US economy growth forecast is cut **
The US central bank cuts its forecast for economic growth in 2012 and takes steps to reduce long-term borrowing costs.

•Ellen Brown: Why Congress Won’t Touch Jamie Dimon: JPM Derivatives Prop Up US Debt

•The Atlantic: Economic History in Four Slides

•Fluent: ‘Chinese artist Ai Weiwei barred from court’

•Guardian: Photo of the Day

The time differences and work load here make it hard to devote as much time as I would like to blogging. But there’s plenty here to provoke some thought. Your comments to dissector@mediachannel.org

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