Apologies for the image but I find it very powerful, compelling, and completely demonstrative of the kind of horror our foreign policy is responsible for. This is seriously disgusting, but it gets worse:
A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.Unbelievable. The best part about the whole thing is that the media is hardly mentioning this story, as if it's a "normal" occurrence in war. As Lew Rockwell points out in this interview, there was a time when civilians weren't targeted during war and actually were spectators to some battles. Rockwell blames the tradition of targeting civilians during war on democracy and the adoption of the mentality that every citizens is represented by their country's policy. I can't disagree on that point.
Wikileaks also pulled out this gem, via HuffPost:
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- United Nations peacekeepers in Ivory Coast enticed underage girls in a poor part of the West African nation to exchange sex for food, according to a United States Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks.Well, as long as the transactions were consensual, I don't see a problem. Admittedly though, taking advantage of a hungry person isn't the most ethical in the world to do, but it sure does make the UN look like more of a joke than it already is.
Gary North has an article out today on 9/11 conspiracy theories. After reading it once, it took a bit to sink in how important this article is. North plays it very carefully and doesn't directly claim that the government committed the 9/11 atrocities but does a really good job pointing out some discrepancies on Building 7:
BUILDING 7I have never read anything on building 7 before so this is interesting. Now I should mention that I still kind of doubt that our government was competent enough to pull off something as big as 9/11. It makes more sense that our government's idiotic attempts at security could be thwarted by a bunch of dudes with box cutters. Nonetheless, it's never a bad thing to question what the government tells you, their record of truth-telling has always been spotty. After all, politicians specialize at lying. Unfortunately, questioning such things tends to bring a large amount of scrutiny on your mental condition as Rothbard recognized:
So, for most Americans, seeing is not believing. Most Americans do not remember this event. The media do not mention it. They never did. The 9-11 Commission report did not mention Building 7. For those few people who have seen the videos of its collapse, this can be somehow explained, they insist. They cannot say how the collapse made sense physically, any more than NIST could, even after 6 years of investigating, beginning in 2002. NIST blamed Building 7's fires on debris from the other two buildings, yet those buildings both collapsed without warning -- no signs of burning debris. The debris is assumed to have caused the fires. There is no cause-and-effect evidence. It is assumed to have been the cause.
According to NIST's site, the specific objectives of the investigation were these:
* Determine why and how WTC 1 and WTC 2 collapsed following the initial impacts of the aircraft and why and how WTC 7 collapsed; * Determine why the injuries and fatalities were so high or low depending on location, including all technical aspects of fire protection, occupant behavior, evacuation, and emergency response;
* Determine what procedures and practices were used in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of WTC 1, 2, and 7; and
* Identify, as specifically as possible, areas in current building and fire codes, standards, and practices that warrant revision.
http://www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/wtcYet Building 7 is not mentioned in the next page of findings. Notice objective 3: "Determine what procedures and practices were used in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of WTC 1, 2, and 7. . . ." On the next page, we read: "Objective 3: Determine what procedures and practices were used in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of WTC 1 and WTC 2." Building 7 was dropped down the memory hole one page later. This is how blatant the procedure was.
Anytime that a hard-nosed analysis is put forth of who our rulers are, of how their political and economic interests interlock, it is invariably denounced by Establishment liberals and conservatives (and even by many libertarians) as a "conspiracy theory of history," "paranoid," "economic determinist," and even "Marxist." These smear labels are applied across the board, even though such realistic analyses can be, and have been, made from any and all parts of the economic spectrum, from the John Birch Society to the Communist Party. The most common label is "conspiracy theorist," almost always leveled as a hostile epithet rather than adopted by the "conspiracy theorist" himself.It is no wonder that usually these realistic analyses are spelled out by various "extremists" who are outside the Establishment consensus. For it is vital to the continued rule of the State apparatus that it have legitimacy and even sanctity in the eyes of the public, and it is vital to that sanctity that our politicians and bureaucrats be deemed to be disembodied spirits solely devoted to the "public good." Once let the cat out of the bag that these spirits are all too often grounded in the solid earth of advancing a set of economic interests through use of the State, and the basic mystique of government begins to collapse.In the end, a friend of mine once said that the worst part of the whole 9/11 conspiracy matter is not necessarily that our government could have committed it, but the fact that we even question if our government is capable of such things. After all, the federal government has been responsible for the mass murders of Native Americans, countless wars of aggression, interning innocent Japanese citizens, and imprisoning foreign nationals without due process. I didn't even mention the atrocities committed during the Civil War.
Okay, enough with such serious stuff, let's see why James Altucher wants to abolish the presidency!
In wonderful contrarian prose, Altucher trashes the position of the president so check it out if you want a good laugh and a semi-serious proposal.
My proposal: We don’t need a President of the United States. In fact, he’s useless.First off, the Constitution doesn’t even address the powers of the Presidency until Article II. The Founders clearly thought the legislative branch was more important, i.e. the actual branch that creates laws, declares wars, etc.
And the laughs don't stop there, looks like we have another politician who put his foot in his mouth by giving away his true feelings, via Guardian:
In a sign of his frustration at the investigations into his alleged crimes and misdemeanours, Silvio Berlusconi vowed in July to leave Italy, which he described as a "shitty country" that "sickened" him.Ha! Who would have thought you could learn to hate the country you were elected to lead as it slowly drowns in its own fiscal hole. Looks like someone is going to resign before he gets handed a pink slip.
The Italian prime minister's astonishing remarks are contained in the transcript of a telephone conversation secretly recorded by police investigating claims he was being blackmailed about his sex life.
I will end with this interesting graph on average work week for industrialized countries from The Big Picture: