Pre-War Propaganda Mounting on Iran

From Reader Supported News:

By Seymour Hersh, Democracy Now!
22 November 11

Propaganda used ahead of Iraq War is now being reused over Iran’s nuke program.

While the United States, Britain and Canada are planning to announce a coordinated set of sanctions against Iran’s oil and petrochemical industry today, longtime investigative journalist Seymour Hersh questions the growing consensus on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. International pressure has been mounting on Iran since the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency revealed in a report the “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear activities, citing “credible” evidence that “indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” In his latest article for The New Yorker blog, titled “Iran and the IAEA,” Hersh argues the recent report is a “political document,” not a scientific study. “They [JSOC] found nothing. Nothing. No evidence of any weaponization,” Hersh says. “In other words, no evidence of a facility to build the bomb. They have facilities to enrich, but not separate facilities to build the bomb. This is simply a fact.”

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BPA spikes 1,200 per cent after eating canned soup: Study

From The Ottawa Citizen:

November 23, 2011

WASHINGTON – People who ate canned soup for five days straight saw their urinary levels of the chemical bisphenol A spike 1,200 per cent compared to those who ate fresh soup, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

The randomized study, described as “one of the first to quantify BPA levels in humans after ingestion of canned foods,” was done by Harvard University researchers and appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s November 23 issue.

“We’ve known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body,” said lead author Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.

“This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use.”

The chemical BPA is an endocrine disruptor that has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animal studies at levels of 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight and higher, though it remains uncertain if the same effects cross over to humans, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Penn State Scandal: Mother Of Alleged Jerry Sandusky Victim Claims Mistreatment By Son’s School

From Huffington Post:

Ryan D. Buell
November 23, 2011

Court records refer to him simply, as Victim One. Outside of a four-and-a-half page section about him in the grand jury indictment of ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, little else has been discussed about him publicly.

Last week, his mother (whom I will refer to as “Mother One”) removed him from Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall, Pa., where he was a senior and an all-star athlete. In an interview conducted last week, she explained why she pulled him from the school.

“They were not helpful,” Mother One said of the school’s administrators. “They wanted me to go home and forget about it.”

Mother One also alleges that since the Sandusky scandal erupted, fellow students and the high school’s football coach (who also serves as assistant principal) have all targeted her son with verbal attacks and threats of violence.

She also claims that the school’s principal tried to convince her and her son not to report their allegations against Sandusky to the police, and that as recently as this month, refused to treat threats of violence against her son by other students as credible.

Central Mountain High’s principal, Karen Probst, and its football coach, Steve Turchetta, did not return phone calls seeking comment about Mother One’s complaints.

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Saluting Rapists

From Common Dreams:

by Robert C. Koehler
Published on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by

Remember that awkward silence that fell across the nation back in ’94 when Bill Clinton’s surgeon general used the M-word?

Jocelyn Elders, speaking at an AIDS conference at the U.N. about reducing the risk of sexually transmitted disease, said that masturbation “is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.”

Clinton, rather than defend frank, honest talk about sexuality at the national level and condemn its opposite, caved under the weight of the gasps and titters and fired Elders, explaining that the outspoken surgeon general’s comments reflected “differences with Administration policy and my own convictions.” Differences on masturbation? A couple years later, the Monica scandal erupted and things were a little clearer — oh yeah, this is how we talk about sex in America.

Are we a serious nation or what?

What passes for sexual openness is mostly commercial exploitation. In reality, sex is still in the closet as a subject of serious national discussion, despite all the complications associated with it. Sex scandals are a media staple, of course, but in recent weeks we’ve been rocked by a new wave of sex abuse scandals — rape scandals — the dark, disturbing power of which, as always, lies in the likelihood that there are a lot more revelations and accusations still to come, more authority figures’ reputations to be shattered, more honor-steeped traditions to be exposed as hollow.

When sex is hidden in the shadows — when it’s something you can’t talk about (but you can brag about) — it easily becomes one more tool of domination, wrapped in an unspeakable shame that preserves its secrecy. The crime of rape is the crime of predation, the crime of “I own you.” And it is an institutional failure first — on college campuses, in the U.S. military — as evinced by breaking news stories reporting not merely allegations of sexual molestation over a long period of time, but of their quiet cover-up by those in charge, granting de facto impunity to the victimizers. The pattern is always the same.

By fascinating coincidence, two recent developments highlighting the endemic problem of sexual abuse in the U.S. military are in the news just as the child-molestation scandal in college sports programs and other macho domains has begun to widen.

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Shocker? USC Study Calls Hollywood ‘Hooked’ on Sexualizing Women & Girls

From Reuters:

By Joshua L. Weinstein at TheWrap
Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:18am EST

Women and girls were sexualized in the top 100 grossing movies of 2009, a new study by University of Southern California researchers shows.

The study says also reports that women continue to be under-represented behind the camera, accounting for only 3.6 percent of directors, 13.5 percent of writers and 21.6 percent of producers in 2009, according to the study.

“The landscape of cinematic content is … grossly imbalanced,” the study, by Stacy L. Smith (left), Marc Choueiti and Stephanie Gall, of the Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism, concludes. “Females are not only infrequent, but they are also stereotyped and sexualized in popular motion picture content.”

The study says that “clearly, females are not as valued as males on screen, behind-the-camera or as consumers of motion picture content.”

According to the study, 13-to-20-year-old females are as likely as 21-to-29-year-old women to be shown wearing sexually revealing clothing or to be partially nude; 33.8 percent were shown in what the study considered “sexy” clothing; and 28.2 percent were shown with exposed skin in the cleavage, midriff or upper thigh.

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Student Occupiers: It’s the Debt, Stupid

From Mother Jones:

By Kiera Butler
Wed Nov. 23, 2011

College students have, to some extent, always been poor and hungry. But in the past few years, undergrads’ plight has become truly dire. It’s not hard to see why the Occupy Wall Street movement has struck a chord on campuses.

Just check out these stats: Unemployment among college grads is twice what it was in 2007. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for 16-24-year-olds is twice the national average; grads under 25 are twice as likely to lack a job than their older peers. The New York Times reports that just half of students who graduated in 2010 had a job in the spring of 2011, and even those who did get jobs were often way overqualified:

An analysis by The New York Times of Labor Department data about college graduates aged 25 to 34 found that the number of these workers employed in food service, restaurants and bars had risen 17 percent in 2009 from 2008, though the sample size was small. There were similar or bigger employment increases at gas stations and fuel dealers, food and alcohol stores, and taxi and limousine services.

Earlier this week, students from an OWS offshoot called Occuppy Student Debt pledged to refuse to pay back their student loans. Some of the members of the group have shared their stories on the group’s site. Here’s one entitled “Suckit Sallie”:

I was one of those kids who always pushed hard and dreamed big. I skipped a grade, was in all the right AP classes, one of 2 or 3 black student on the honor roll, and went out of state for college @ 17 and had no doubts I would make it in life. I used the government and Sallie Mae to make it through grad school within 6 years, and expected to be somewhere way different than where I am now…..

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William Engdahl on the dusk of American exceptionalism

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