The odious Rahm Emanuel runs into trouble in Chicago

Rahm Emanuel, the former congressman and chief of staff to president Obama and now mayor of Chicago, represents the worst elements of the Democratic party, someone who is authoritarian and slavish in his devotion to the oligarchy. He had been a leader in the effort to destroy the Chicago public schools and hand them over to private interests and has been brazen in his favoring of cronies using the funds of the city.
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NYC mayor caves in to Orthodox Jews and risks children’s lives

In some Orthodox Jewish circles, it is the practice for infant boys to be circumcised, not by a doctor in sanitary conditions, but by a religious person known as a mohel who then sucks out some blood from the penis with his mouth. This extremely unhygienic practice can lead, and has led, to serious infections, and “City health officials linked 17 cases of neonatal herpes to direct oral suction in the last 15 years. Of those, two have died and two more suffered brain damage.”
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Black sites in Chicago

The disgraceful and criminal torture practices of the US government have not aroused as much anger and disgust here as they should have. People seem to find reasons to excuse them, using various arguments depending on their political views. The excuses range from the ‘ticking time bomb’ scenario that actually justifies torture to regretful expressions that because the people being tortured were ‘captured on the battlefield’ there exists the possibility that they may be guilty. These are arguments whose absurdity I will not even bother to refute. All these excuses have at their root the feeling that torture is being used only on other people, foreigners, and Muslims, people who are ‘not like us’. The rest of us are safe.
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Snowden documentary wins Oscar

Laura Poitras won an Academy Award yesterday for her documentary Citizenfour about Edward Snowden that I reviewed favorably. In this photo from the awards ceremony last night, we see the three winners: producer Dirk Wilutzky (far left), Poitras next to him, and editor Mathilde Bonnefoy (far right). Glenn Greenwald and Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills (who now lives with him in Moscow most of the time) joined them on the stage
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Climate change skeptic ‘scientist’ revealed to be on payroll of energy industry

The parallels between climate change deniers and those skeptics who argued that tobacco was not a health hazard are becoming more apparent every day. The tobacco industry spent huge sums of money to conduct their own ‘research’ and used the pronouncements of friendly scientists whom they had funded to argue that whether smoking was dangerous was an open question that was still unresolved, that the jury was out, and hence no action should be taken until further research was done, with that horizon constantly receding.
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Respect my authoritah!

The issue of police brutality has been in the news these days. My local newspaper the Plain Dealer on Sunday February 15, 2015 had an excellent special section dealing with all the lawsuits filed against the Cleveland police department that has resulted in $8 million being paid to those who sued them. This investigation was sparked by the killing of the young boy Tamir Rice and the harsh indictment by the Justice Department of the way the police act here, saying that it has a habit of using excessive force. The stories and photos of the bruised victims should be an eye-opener for people here.
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Racist soccer fans

The world of soccer just had another case where British fans disgraced themselves. White Chelsea supporters attending a game in Paris repeatedly blocked a black man from entering the Metro, shouting racist slurs at him and chanting “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it”. A bystander on the platform recorded the event and uploaded it and it went viral.
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NSA and GCHQ have accessed your phone’s encryption keys

Investigative reporters Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley have an explosive article in The Intercept based on yet more documents provided by Edward Snowden that shows that the intelligence agencies of the US and Britain have no compunction whatsoever about engaging in illegal actions and hacking into private companies in their desire to get as much spying power over everyone as they can.
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Why memories are unreliable

We all know that our memories are unreliable. We forget things that happened and we ‘remember’ things that didn’t. Recent events have put back in the spotlight the issue of false memories. I have written about my own experience with false memories. The fact that people can spontaneously create false memories or have them implanted by others have in the past led to the kinds of miscarriages of justice that occurred during the epidemic of reported abuse in day care centers a few decades ago.
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