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- by Stephen Lendman
We only know about Tom Paine because Thomas Edison discovered him in the 1920s. Edison believed he was our most important political thinker, and it was essential that his writings and ideas be taught in the nation's schools. It's no exaggeration that there might never have been an American Revolution without this man's writings that had such a profound influence on the nation's founders and masses of people he reached through one of the few "mainstream" means of communicating of that period.
Paine was an unlikely man to have had such influence. He was humbly born and raised in England, was largely self-educated and decided to come to the colonies in 1774 after meeting Benjamin Franklin in London who encouraged and sponsored him to do it. It was a decision that changed the world, but who could have imagined it at the time.
Paine only began writing two years earlier when he took up the cause of excise (or customs) officers arguing in a pamphlet he wrote they were unfairly paid and deserved more. When he came to the colonies he chose the right place settling in Philadelphia where he began writing for the Pennsylvania Magazine, later became its editor and began working on Common Sense in 1776 that he published anonymously. It became an instant best-seller in the colonies and in Europe, made Paine internationally famous and was the most influential piece of writing of the Revolution.
- by Stephen Lendman
Longtime and now recently deceased confidant to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Uri Dan, published a book in France that may have been his 2006 one titled Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait in which he accused the former prime minister of assassinating Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yasser Arafat by poisoning him. Dan claimed Sharon got approval from George Bush by phone early in 2004 to proceed with his plan after he told the US president he was no longer committed to "not" liquidating the Palestinian leader who then was under siege and practically incarcerated in what remained of his Ramallah compound, most of which had already been destroyed by the Israelis in a lawless act of retribution against him.
- by Stephen Lendman
Borrowing the opening line from Dickens' Tale of Two Cities - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...." He referred to the French Revolution promising "Liberte, egalite and fraternite" that began in 1789, inspired by ours from 1775 - 1783. It ended a 1000 years of monarchical rule in France benefiting those of privilege and established the nation as a republic the way ours did for us here a few years earlier.
That was the good news. The bad was the wrong people came to power. They were the Jacobins who at first were revolutionary moderates and patriots until they lost control to extremists like Maximilien Robespierre who ushered in a "reign of terror" (The Great Terror sounding a lot like today's "war on terror") characterized by brutal repression against perceived enemies from within the Revolution who didn't get a chance to prove they weren't. In the name of defending it, individual rights were denied and civil liberties suspended. Laws were passed that allowed charging those designated counter-revolutionaries or enemies of the state with undefined crimes against liberty.
To: Queensland State Government
To: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
We are outraged that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Leanne Clare, has failed to lay any charges against the police officer responsible for the death of Palm Island man Mulrinji on November 19, 2004. Less than 2 months previously, the Qld Deputy Coroner, Christine Clements, found that Mulrinji was beaten by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, such that he sustained 4 broken ribs and his liver was sliced almost in two. The DPP's explanation (echoing the police) that Mulrinji "fell" is a completely unacceptable lie - contradicting the coroner, expert medical advice, and witnesses. Premier Beattie and Police Minister Spence's defence of the DPP's decision is disgraceful.
- by Anti-imperialist Camp
In last summer two hearings of a Israeli military court took place at the Ofer prison facility in the West Bank to try the secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Saadat, the biggest left wing faction.
Saadat refused to participate in the proceedings and to recognise the legitimacy of the tribunal as part of the Zionist occupation. The next hearing was announced for Mid January 2007.
Observers of the hearings reported that Saadat was brought to the court at early morning and had to wait in a metal container for hours. One could see the signs of the shackles on his arms. In both hearings he was almost beaten by the soldiers who tried to prevent him from speaking with the press. In one of the hearings they dragged the Al Jazeera journalist out of the room. The Ofer camp is known for cruel treatment and torture.
- by Stephen Lendman
Well almost, as explained below. Hugo Chavez Frias' reelection on December 3 stands out when compared to the greatest landslide presidential victories in US history. Except for the close race in 1812 and the electoral deadlock in 1800 decided by the House of Representatives choosing Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr, the very earliest elections here weren't hardly partisan contests at all as the Democrat-Republican party of Jefferson and Madison was dominant and had everything its own way. It was like that through the election of 1820 when James Monroe ran virtually unopposed winning over 80% of the vote. A consistent pattern of real competitive elections only began with the one held in 1824, and from that time to the present Hugo Chavez's impressive landslide victory beat them all.
Greens leader Bob Brown says he'll ask the federal government to back a royal commission into the death of Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee on Queensland's Palm Island.
Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare this week announced charges would not be laid against Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley over the November 19, 2004 death of 36-year-old Mulrunji.
The ruling followed the finding in September by Deputy State Coroner Christine Clements that Snr Sgt Hurley had struck Mulrunji and caused his fatal injuries at the police station on Palm Island, off Townsville.
"I will ask the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, to seek government backing for a royal commission to investigate both the death at the Palm Island police station and the Queensland decision not to prosecute the police officer involved," Senator Brown said in a statement.
Quote: Now the fact that a Director of Public Prosecutions fails to find sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction should not raise the level of public interest to the extent that this case has. What distinguishes this case is that only a few months before the DPP's decision was handed down, an inquest was held into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee which ran in open court for some weeks. The Deputy Coroner Christine Clements had said, referring to the scuffle in the Police Station that "these actions of Senior Sergeant Hurley caused the fatal injuries". Unquote
LEICHHARDT - 2007
(Federal Electorate - Far North Queensland)
I have prepared this poster with the Nimbin Environment Centre, which is being worked on by a graphic artist at the moment to give it more prominence.
With Peter Garrett selling us out and the Howard Government's Nuclear Australian dream, I think its time to bring it to public on this day when we converge at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
Little Johnny Howard appears on stage outside the Parliament giving out Australian of the year certificates. Last year we got close enough to the stage for him to see us.
Noted historian Eric Foner (pictured) in a December 7 article on OpEd News.com calls George Bush "the worst president in US history....(who) in his first six years in office....managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors." Equally noted historian Gabriel Kolko agrees, and along with his other comments, calls the Bush administration "the worst set of incompetents ever to hold power in Washington." And referring specifically to the war in Iraq, Kolko colorfully describes what former Reagan administration National Security Agency (NSA) chief General William Odom calls "....the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States" by saying the Bush administration "shocked and awed....itself." Hard to say it better than that.
Enter James Baker and the Iraq Study Group (ISG) that reported its findings publicly on December 6 after most of it was leaked well in advance making its release and full-court corporate media press hyping and griping anti-climactic as well as disappointing and disturbing. The ISG was formed in March with at least four crucial aims: