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Showing posts from February 22, 2014

Age of Austerity

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Paul Krugman, Conscience of a Liberal

FEBRUARY 22, 2014, 4:53 PM

Zachary Goldfarb defends the argument that we’ve been living in an age of austerity against conservative denialists. He’s right, of course — but I think there are more graphic ways to make the point.

One simple measure is the ratio of government spending to potential GDP — the ratio to actual GDP is somewhat inflated by the fact that GDP itself is depressed. And I would argue that you should look at expenditure by all levels of government — state and local as well as federal — partly because state and local austerity measures have in part been a political choice, partly because not providing sufficient federal aid to avert harsh budget cuts is another political choice. (The numbers are similar but less striking if you look only at federal expenditures). What you get is this:

U of T’s Citizen Lab wins Canada’s first MacArthur Foundation award

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[This is great! Extremely prestigious. Hopefully they'll do good work and thoroughly irritate Harper - the best part is that he can't even threaten to pull their funding! :-) *RON*]

OMAR EL AKKAD, The Globe and Mail, Thursday, Feb. 20 2014, 2:17 AM EST

One of the country’s most high-profile digital think tanks, the Citizen Lab has created for itself a reputation in the last few years as an investigator of digital rights abuses ranging from censorship to hacking to surveillance. Among the group’s many reports was one that detailed the filtering and surveillance tools used by the Syrian government. Following the report’s publication, the U.S. government issued a multimillion-dollar fine against Blue Coat Systems, an American firm whose tools were used by the Syrian government.

“For us, this award is a game-changer because it really allows us to create a permanent endowment,” said Citizen Lab director Ronald Deibert.

“For an organization like Citizen L…

The Routine Use of Fake Images and Video Footage by the Western Media

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See the original article here.

[Well timed, with stories out in the last couple of days about faked photos from the Venuzuelan anti-government demonstrations, and trumped-up "I Am Ukrainian" video.] *RON*
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, February 22, 2014


Image. CNN Report: “Chinese Cops”. Protest movement in India, 2008

It has become routine for the mainstream media including network TV to present fake images and footage of protest movements.

This process of manipulating the truth and presenting fake images is nothing new. When it is discovered, CNN or the BBC will invariably apologize for having used the “wrong image”, from the “wrong country” from its extensive archives.

The February anti-government riots in Venezuela were “documented” by numerous fake images.

“Here are some brutal cops, with nice woolly caps and fur collars to guard against the 24°C Caracas weather, I assume.”

Silencing the Scientist: Tyrone Hayes on Being Targeted by Herbicide Firm Syngenta

See the original article (and video) here.
[On the place of science and scientists in the corporatocracy. *RON*]
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales at Democracy Now!, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014

We speak with scientist Tyrone Hayes of the University of California, Berkeley, who discovered a widely used herbicide may have harmful effects on the endocrine system. But when he tried to publish the results, the chemical’s manufacturer launched a campaign to discredit his work. Hayes was first hired in 1997 by a company, which later became agribusiness giant Syngenta, to study their product, atrazine, a pesticide that is applied to more than half the corn crops in the United States, and widely used on golf courses and Christmas tree farms. When Hayes found results Syngenta did not expect — that atrazine causes sexual abnormalities in frogs, and could cause the same problems for humans — it refused to allow him to publish his findings. A new article in The New Yorker magazine uses court documents fro…

Here's the new American justice system at work

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[In case you were wondering why the US adamantly refuses to join or support the International Criminal Court. *RON*]

By Mark A. Goldman, opednews.com

Here's the new American justice system at work as reported by the BBC...

A Saudi man held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay has pleaded guilty to his role in an attack on an oil tanker in the waters off Yemen.

One can only assume that this plea bargain came about when the US promised to stop torturing Ahmed al-Darbi, 39, and credit him with time served if he would only admit to a crime, testify against other defendants at their trials for a few years, and promise not to sue the US later for mistreating him all those years while he was in prison.

That's just great. Now let's see if I got this right... the way this new justice system works is that you will first be put in prison where you will be mistreated for 11 years without a trial until you are tired of being tortured and agree …

Guns To Surpass Car Accidents As Leading Cause Of Deaths Among Young People

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BY CHELSEA PARSONS ON FEBRUARY 22, 2014 AT 9:26 AM
Guns kill a lot of young people in the United States. Not just in school shootings or horrific “accidents” between toddlers that tend to garner the most media attention, but in every day shootings in communities around the country that result in the deaths of thousands of children and teenagers.