Did A Man Really Walk On The Moon?

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Oscar winner faces 9/11 backlash

I think we’re lied to about a number of things,” the Paris-born 32-year-old is seen saying in French.

“We see other towers of the same kind being hit by planes, are they burned?” she asks. “There was a tower, I believe it was in Spain, which burned for 24 hours.

“It never collapsed. None of these towers collapsed. And there [in New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing collapsed.”

The Twin Towers, she claims, were a “money sucker” that would have cost much more to modernise than to destroy.

The actress goes on to cast doubt on the Moon landing of 1969. “Did a man really walk on the moon?” she asks.

“I saw plenty of documentaries on it and I really wondered. In any case I don’t believe all they tell me.”

Seriously though, does anyone still believe the official Moon landing story? And as for November the 9th…

J.K.


Minorities

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One per cent of Americans now in jail
US prisons hit new high: 1 in 100 adults jailed

The report, published by the Pew Centre using data partly supplied by the US Justice Department and Bureau of Prisons, acknowledges that the increase in the incarceration rate coincides with steep declines in violent crime, but questions whether the correlation between the two phenomena is direct.

It says that nationwide there are now 1.6 million people in prisons, translating into one in every 99.1 adults. It has never been so high and can be traced back to a surge of prison sentences handed down through the 1990s, although the rate has continued to trend upward since 2000.

The findings also underline America’s position as the most prison-heavy country in the world, far outstripping China, which has the second highest rate of imprisonment as well as Russia, ranked third.

For minority groups the picture is especially bleak. One in every 36 Hispanic adults is currently behind bars, while the number for African American men is one in 15. More stunning is the rate of imprisonment for black men aged 20 to 34, where one out of every nine is now serving time.

Welcome to Prisonland.

J.K.


Under Investigation

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US patrol shoots Iraqi civilian

The US troops in Iraq have shot dead a civilian who approached their patrol near the town of Miqdadiya, north of Baghdad, the military said.

One report quoting the military said it the man had a cast on his broken arm under his jacket, which troops had mistaken for an explosives vest.

He had ignored instructions to stop and a warning shot, the military said.

There have been a series of bomb attacks in the Muqdadiyah area, which the US has blamed on al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Iraqi police said the man was elderly, hard of hearing and suffering from mental disabilities, although the US military could not confirm this.

“There was nothing suspicious found on him but the incident is under investigation,” said military spokesman Maj Brad Leighton.

“It was a mistake… an unfortunate incident,” he added.

An American soldier makes a mistake and an innocent civilian dies.  That’s a high price to pay for incompetence.

J.K.


The True Cost Of War

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This is not, then, pure neocon ideology at work, says Stiglitz: “Ideology of convenience is a better description.” It is an ideology illustrated even more clearly in another fact that Stiglitz can’t believe – that Bush put through tax cuts while going to war. In Stiglitz and Bilmes’s reading, this was downright underhand. Raising taxes, and resorting to the rhetoric of shared sacrifice used in the world wars, for example, would have made Americans more aware of exactly what the war was costing them, and would have provoked opposition sooner. The solution was to borrow the money, at interest of couple of hundred billion dollars a year, which, by 2017, will add up to another trillion dollars or so. This government will be gone in nine months; subsequent administrations, and generations, will have to pay it off.

At the same time, Stiglitz and Bilmes argue, the Federal Reserve colluded in this obfuscation, because it “kept interest rates lower than they otherwise might have been, and looked the other way as lending standards were lowered, thereby encouraging households to borrow more – and spend more.” Alan Greenspan, by this account, encouraged people to take on variable-rate mortgages, even as household savings rates went negative for the first time since the Depression. Individuals were taking on unprecedented debt at the same time as a long housing bubble made them feel wealthy (and less concerned with derring-do abroad) – a scenario echoed on this side of the Atlantic.

J.K.


Nakba

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Israel’s warning: rocket fire from Gaza will result in a Palestinian ‘holocaust’
Israeli minister warns of Holocaust for Gaza if violence continues
Israel warns of invasion of Gaza

Dozens die in Israel-Gaza clashes
Israeli raids on Gaza kill 32

On one occasion, a house east of the Jabaliya refugee camp was struck – two children, a brother and sister, were killed.

Later, a 15-year-old girl and her 16-year-old sister were also killed.

In another attack, a mother was killed as she was preparing breakfast for her children, medical workers said.

“We are in the middle of a total war. We hear the rockets and the explosions everywhere… we cannot leave our homes,” a Jabaliya resident, Abu Alaa, told the AFP news agency.

They’re shooting at everything that moves.”

Mother making breakfast for children; militant. Sisters (15 and 16 years old); militants. Children (brother and sister); militants.

An Israeli government minister warned yesterday that increasing rocket fire from Gaza would bring Palestinians a Shoah – the Hebrew word normally used to denote the Nazi Holocaust inflicted on Jews during the Second World War.

Mr Vilnai declared: “As the rocket fire grows, and the range increases – and they haven’t yet said the last word on this – they are bringing upon themselves a greater Shoah because we will use all our strength in every way we deem appropriate, whether in air strikes or on the ground.”

Israel’s project nears it’s final phase; the final solution of the Palestinian problem. And the rest of the world watches.

J.K.


That’s Opposed To The Mission Of A University

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Row over Bush’s ‘censored’ library

While presidential libraries are usually seen as a coup for any university, bringing with them prestige and tourists, the Bush library has provoked anger among academics and religious leaders.

A number of academics at SMU and elsewhere in the US believe the war on Iraq and the president’s views on issues such as gay rights and torture made the university an unsuitable location.

Alarm has also been expressed over the independent institute that will fund research promoting Bush’s ideas and vision. Academics have also said that an executive order, signed by Bush, which gives presidents and their families more control over presidential papers, could result in material being censored.

Benjamin Hufbauer, an associate professor of art history at the University of Louisville, said the agreement at SMU was “totally different” to that of other universities hosting presidential libraries, reports the Inside Higher Ed website.

“Academics everywhere should be concerned about this. Clearly this goes against the idea of dispassionate inquiry, of looking at things on the basis of fact and merit. If it’s ideological, that’s opposed to the mission of a university,” Hufbauer said.

The Rev William McElvaney, a professor emeritus of preaching and worship at SMU’s theology school, added: “As long as that executive order is in place, it’s really a censored library. What self-respecting university would accept a censored library?”

The religious thinktank Ekklesia said some Christians believed Bush’s views were against church teachings, and reported that those opposed to the library would continue their fight in court.

The Rev Andrew J Weaver, a united Methodist pastor and SMU alumnus who has led a petition against the library plan, said: “SMU has signed something that is totally out of bounds, and it’s only a matter of going to court with them. It will be David vs Goliath, but David won the first time.”

Announcing the decision on Friday to house the centre at SMU, which counts the first lady Laura Bush among its alumni, the university’s president, R Gerald Turner, said it was a “great honour to be chosen as the site of this tremendous resource for historical research, dialogue and public programmes”.

The library will contain documents and artefacts from the Bush administration, while the museum will house permanent and travelling exhibitions. Both will be operated by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The institute will be run by the George W Bush Presidential Library Foundation. It will have its own board and at least one seat will be allocated to the university. Joint programmes may be run between SMU and the institute.

In a letter to the university, Bush said: “I look forward to the day when both the general public and scholars come and explore the important and challenging issues our nation has faced during my presidency – from economic and homeland security to fighting terrorism and promoting freedom and democracy.”

It must be such an honour for the Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

J.K.


Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

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Obama camp claims smear over turban photograph
Clinton accused of smear over Obama picture
Robed Obama picture ignites row

With her back against the wall, Hillary Clinton has been accused of turning to the sort of smear tactics more commonly associated with Republicans, in an attempt to block her opponent Barack Obama from getting the Democratic nomination. Over the weekend her campaign allegedly circulated a photograph of Mr Obama wearing the turban and traditional dress of a Somali elder.

For the past year the Obama team has been fighting back against a whispering campaign that he is a dangerous Muslim. Mr Obama was born a Christian and attends a United Church of Christ congregation in Chicago. Whoever is responsible for the release of the photograph, ahead of votes in Texas and Ohio next week, it appears to be an attempt to use rumour and innuendo to derail Mr Obama’s buoyant campaign.

Mr Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, said: “On the very day that Senator Clinton is giving a speech about restoring respect for America in the world, her campaign has engaged in the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election. This is part of a disturbing pattern that led her county chairs to resign in Iowa, her campaign chairman to resign in New Hampshire, and it’s exactly the kind of divisive politics that turns away Americans of all parties and diminishes respect for America in the world.”

Mr Obama’s foreign policy adviser, Susan Rice, who worked on Bill Clinton’s National Security Policy staff, said the circulation of the photograph was divisive and suggested “that the customs and cultures of other parts of the world are worthy of ridicule or condemnation“.

The photograph was taken while the African-American candidate was on a five-country congressional visit to the continent in 2006. It would be innocuous enough if Mr Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, was not seeking to become the first black president of the US and if his middle name was not Hussein.

In recent days, Mrs Clinton’s attacks on Mr Obama have become more strident and shrill, as he has narrowed her lead in the polls. A Quinnipiac University poll out yesterday showed her leading in Ohio by an 11-point margin with 51 percent, whereas less two weeks ago she had held a 21-point lead.

“We’ve seen the tragic result of having a president who had neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security. We can’t let that happen again,” she said yesterday at a foreign policy speech in Washington.

Religion. Intolerance. Racism. Genocide. Culture. Murder. Rape. War. Farce. Tragedy. America.

J.K.