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Ancient Peru was run by female monarchs, a new study argues

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 20:37
Ceremonial Mask, Peru, North Coast, La Leche Valley, Batan Grande region, Sican Culture, A.D. 900-1100 Location: Dallas Museum of Art – link

Women in ancient Peru, far from being marginalized and invisible, were political and economic decision-makers, according to a new study that challenges many traditional takes on the country’s history. Historian Maritza Villavicencio sets out the findings that run counter to previous hypotheses that high-ranking pre-Columbian women in Peru were mere “priestesses” in “Mujer, poder y alimentacion…

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Danish MP and Irish activist denied access to Bahraini dissident

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 20:34

A Danish MP and an Irish human rights activist have been denied entry to Bahrain after they cited their reason as visiting a prominent Bahraini prisoner. Lars Aslan Rasmussen and Brain Dooley wrote on their visa application “To visit jailed human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja” as their purpose of their visit. Dooley, a senior adviser to…

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New York State Sues Trump to Stop Census Citizenship Question

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:49

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman formally announced on Tuesday that the state would be suing the Trump administration for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The suit is part of a multi-state legal challenge that includes attorneys general from 18 states, six cities and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors, who all argue…

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Physicist says America is in a state of pure news polarization

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:47

MIAMI — Americans are consuming more news than ever — and it’s driving us further and further apart. That’s according to a new paper from Neil Johnson, a physicist who now runs the University of Miami’s Complexity interdisciplinary group, which is examining collective behavior in a number of fields. Johnson and his team have found that…

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On Martin Luther King and the battles that outlived him

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:44

April 4 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Although five full decades have passed since the American civil rights leader was martyred in 1968, his words are just as relevant today, if not more relevant than ever in the age of Donald Trump. King was prophetic in his assessment…

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says new Roseanne is anti-Trump satire

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:41
link

*Roseanne Barr makes it no secret that she openly supports Donald Trump and on the revival of her series, “Roseanne,” her character, Roseanne Conner, defends her decision for voting Trump. Despite all of that, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar argues in his latest column for The Hollywood Reporter that “Roseanne” is actually anti-an Trump show that is…

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Ethiopia dissidents hopeful but wary over new PM

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:34

They’ve been harassed, arrested and prosecuted, but Ethiopia’s dissidents say they feel quietly hopeful after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed extended an olive branch to them in his inaugural speech. Referring to opposition politicians as “brothers,” and apologising to people hurt in recent anti-government protests, Abiy struck an unexpected conciliatory tone after he was sworn in to…

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Egyptian journalists speak out in support of arrested website editor

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 15:32

Egyptian journalists have spoken out in support of a detained news website editor, saying state authorities targeted him over the outlet’s coverage of the country’s recent presidential elections. Police in Cairo on Tuesday raided the office of the Masr al-Arabia news website and arrested its editor-in-chief, Adil Sabry. He has since been held at Dokki police…

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Watchdog’s report catalogs arrests and assaults of US journalists

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 13:24

Journalists in the United States were assaulted 45 times last year, and 34 were arrested while covering news, a report from a media rights watchdog said Tuesday. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, in its first annual assessment of threats to journalistic freedom in the United States, cited a total of 122 incidents including…

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REVEALED: Facebook’s Troll Farm Problem Worse than Thought

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 13:22

Facebook has removed more than 270 accounts it deteremined to be controlled by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russia-based “troll farm” accused of meddling in democracy by spreading propaganda. The rogue profiles included 70 accounts on Facebook, 65 accounts on Instagram and 138 Facebook pages, Alex Stamos, the company’s chief security officer (CSO), announced on…

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Is modern Bangladesh turning into one-party state?

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 13:17

Dhaka, Bangladesh – The controversial jailing of former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and the state persecution of dissent have raised fears of even the next parliamentary election turning into a violent sham. Fear of a 2014 repeat, when the parliamentary elections were boycotted by almost all the opposition parties and marred by large-scale violence and…

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Circus Trump – A Dream Come True for the Establishment

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 20:07
Graphic by DonkeyHotey

A few days ago we had a children’s party at our house. While sitting around the kitchen table, the subject of ghost stories came up and one of the nine-year-olds exclaimed: “What if Trump popped up at the window!”

Image thanks to H. Michael Karshis

The other day I was sitting on the train reading one of my favorite North American magazines which has undercurrents of anarchy, anti-consumerism and is full of great writing. But before I actually started to browse through it I thought to myself: ”Wonder how many pages before I see him”. One, two, three, four … there he was – complete with grotesque scowl. Yet another one, to add to the many thousands already published in the ordinary media. With a sigh I put the issue back in my rucksack.

And when I attempt to gauge the temperature of the political debate, visiting traditional as well as alternative and progressive news sites regardless of whether in my own country or the United States; there he is. Day after day, same old thing.

Even when I’m sitting in the audience among progressive activists, within less than a few minutes his name is whispered.

How long is this going to last? This is one of the worst political psychosis I’ve experienced; a political traffic jam that just won’t clear.

And everyone is contributing: politicians, film directors, activists, intellectuals and, not least, the news media. According to surveys, he is the president who, during his first year, has had by far the most attention. And, also according to surveys, he is the president most disliked by the media for 25 years. Moreover, there is an unusually large amount of focus directed on him as a person. He has transformed news media into something that more resembles celebrity gossip. They point their fingers, their jaws drop in shocked amazement, they speculate as well as persistently cite facts that will support their self-image as innocent victims of this monster. He shouts back, they respond and boo. This hate-love drama becomes apparent to those who stand outside the ring and see the two opponents, each wearing a clown’s red nose, chasing each other round and round in their media/political circus act.

Bazaar Circus Anti-Trump Poster by HEAVY WEIGHT ART on street sign at 15th and U Street, NW, Washington DC on Sunday afternoon, 15 October 2017 by Elvert Barnes Photography

Some people probably think that this is some kind of speech in defense of Trump. But in this report, I have no wish particularly to condone Trump and his policies – I will neither support nor despise them. Here he is neutral, if anyone still remembers what political objectivity is. Yes, I understand the outrage; his contempt for women, disdain of ethnic groups, climate denial, opportunism, rudeness, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – but nevertheless: there are more important things in the world than his views on these issues.

For example, that the western world is experiencing social decline, or the increase in public apathy and indifference to today’s democracy. You who still choose not to prioritize subjects such as the decay of civilizations in favor of the man with the blonde forelock, just consider that Trump would never have been elected if people hadn’t been so indifferent to the old society.

Are you also aware that in your Trump-mania, you are now standing side by side with the most destructive forces? Those who also do not want him as he creates imbalance in their conservative “ecosystem”, a growing western caste system, where ever fewer people are being given ever more. Those who neglect human dignity and democratic participation. When you look contemptuously at those who voted for the monster and vilify them with rhetorical conservative catchwords as ‘populists’, you are supporting not only political technocrats and corporate capitalists but also lobbyists and globalists. They stand right behind, thanking you for your attention or, more accurately, lack of attention.

A ‘Banksy-esque’ artwork in the UK © Neil Owen

Thriving in this political darkness are weeds such as, for example, David Letterman’s interview with Barack Obama after his departure; a self- righteous, democratic feel-good interview that came across as passé as Hollywood’s touched up presidential portraits. Or the well-meaning Morgan Freeman in his series “The story of us”, where he admiringly interviews Bill Clinton about the excellence with which democracy is pursued in the “free world”. I mean, exactly who is free here? You can’t move a metre without being beholden to someone else. You are an economic piece of Lego in a model that you never asked for or had any influence over.

Do you protest against Trump because you want to turn the clock back or because you want to create something new?

The point is that it is not the political figureheads who determine the system in the United States or anywhere else but an unwritten agreement between economic, political and media interests; a culture maintained by an establishment. The president or government are appointed by the system, they don’t change the system. They can create political and economic turbulence around the world, but they never change the status quo, they act within the framework that loses credibility day by day. Meanwhile, the progressive social innovators, system critics and social pioneers have been at the circus. They have been there for a few years now, watching the same performance over and over again: “Trump the Chump”. Enclosed in a political tent without oxygen – yet another silly political pantomime at which we are expected to boo or applaud. A dream that has come true for The Establishment.

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To obstruct mayor critical of Putin, Russia just cancels the vote

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 13:57

Regional lawmakers voted Tuesday to cancel direct elections in Russia’s fourth-largest city, a move condemned by the mayor, a critic of President Vladimir Putin. Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman, who was elected in 2013 for five years, has been the only top regional official who publicly voiced criticism of Putin and openly supported opposition leader Alexei Navalny.…

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Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman

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South Korea embroiled in DR Congo voting machine controversy

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 13:39

South Korea’s government has officially distanced itself from a firm providing electronic voting machines to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where tensions are running high ahead of a presidential poll in December. In an email sent to AFP on Tuesday, the South Korean embassy in Kinshasa spelt out what it called the government’s “official position,”…

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How Bank Lobbyists Get Away With Showering Lawmakers With Gifts

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 11:11

A new report shows that a leading Republican member of the House of Representatives has been meeting with banking lobbyists to discuss legislation to deregulate the country’s largest banks, and how to get more Democrats to come over to the dark side. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss this. Transcript: Mike Papantonio: A…

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A Look at Recently Felled African Liberation Movement Leaders

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 11:02

The leaders of two key African countries resigned their posts within 24 hours of each other in mid-February. South Africa’s Jacob Zuma finally buckled under pressure from his own party to resign the presidency. The following day, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his decision to step down in the face of sustained mass protests and…

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New Netflix Brazilian corruption series exposes political divisions

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:58
President of Brazil Michel Temer – link

A campaign to delete Netflix subscriptions has begun in Brazil, following the launch of the series called The Mechanism, exploring corruption in Latin America’s biggest economy. The line between artistic licence and misrepresentation is becoming the topic of a political discussion online. According to Tweet Binder – a hashtag tracking service, there were close to 2,000…

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College suspends professor for defaming Bangladesh PM’s father

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:53

Bangladesh’s most prestigious university has suspended a professor for writing a column critical of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s father, as the ruling party cracks down on dissent in a tense election year. Morshed Hasan Khan was “suspended until further notice” from Dhaka University, its vice-chancellor said Tuesday, after the student wing of the Awami League staged…

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Martin Luther King Jr. Was a True Radical Activist for Democracy

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:51

This article originally appeared on The Conversation. Martin Luther King Jr. has come to be revered as a hero who led a nonviolent struggle to reform and redeem the United States. His birthday is celebrated as a national holiday. Tributes are paid to him on his death anniversary each April, and his legacy is honored in…

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Hungary media crackdown triggers revival of homemade ‘samizdat’ news

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:48

As a student in 1980s communist Hungary, Janos Laszlo used to help out in the famous “samizdat” movement that published underground, homemade news in Soviet Bloc eastern and central Europe. Fast-forward to 2018 under strongman Prime Minister Viktor Orban — who is running for re-election on Sunday and dominates Hungary’s media landscape — and Laszlo is…

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