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Friday, Apr 18th

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How Many People Equal Too Many in America? Life Less Plesant

“The bad news is that since the late 1960s, 1.9 billion more people have arrived on the planet than have left,” Mann said. “Even if future rates of fertility are the lowest in history, as is likely, the children of today’s children, and their children’s children, will keep replacing themselves, and the population will increase vastly. Nothing will stop that increase, not even AIDS. Pessimists estimate that by the end of the decade another 100 million people will be infected by HIV. Almost ten times that number will have been born. Barring unprecedented catastrophe, the year 2100 will see 10 to 12 billion people on the planet.”

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Subverting Democracy Through Electoral Fraud

In America and elsewhere, electoral fraud isn't new nor should anyone be surprised it occurs. But as technology improves, so are better ways found to pre-arrange outcomes. It's easier than ever today so more time, effort, money and other resources are earmarked for it. The result:

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Lehman Fails, Cops Get Caught Eating Doughnuts: Jonathan Weil

What happened this weekend at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is nothing short of remarkable, and I'm not just talking about its death. Sunday night, one by one, stunned Lehman employees were filmed by TV news crews leaving Lehman's offices carrying away boxes and duffel bags full of heaven knows what.

Is there anybody left in the government with a pulse? Where's the yellow police tape? How about a cease-and-desist order to prevent document destruction? Are we supposed to believe that everything carted out of Lehman this weekend was a personal effect?

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Jews attacking Jews

The equation "anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism" has thus become the new orthodoxy, and has even earned the seal of approval of the European Union. Its racism and anti-Semitism monitoring center (the Federal Rights Agency) produced a "working definition" of anti-Semitism, with examples of five ways in which anti-Israel or anti-Zionist rhetoric is anti-Semitic. The 2006 report of the U.K.'s All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism urged the adoption of the EU definition, and the U.S. State Department's 2008 report "Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism" is also based on it.

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Can Religion be Humanized?

For thousands of years, the world has been in an almost constant state of religious tension, dispute and violence. During this time, humanity has been hit with a continual wave of religious fanaticism that enslaves the body, mind and soul to a heinous and oppressive ideology. This pathology is obviously innate to the human mind, unfortunately.

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Those who are tasked to police this democracy are blinded by confetti

The real problem with the Bush years is not so much what he did but that America's political class enabled him to do it

Under George Bush the US has tortured, disenfranchised, lied, spied and, on more than one occasion, flouted its own constitution. Those who would not go along were fired or demoted. Those rulings it could not garner support for it simply classified or hid. Those inquiries it could not prevent it thwarted. When Major General Antonio Taguba tried to pursue his investigation of Abu Ghraib up the chain of command he was stopped. "I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority," he told the New Yorker.

Its violation of international law is ultimately a matter for the international community. But its violation of American laws is a matter for the American public. However, it is now clear that the political consequences of these transgressions will range from negligible to non-existent. The Bush administration should be led away in handcuffs - either indicted or impeached. Instead it is about to leave the scene of the crime in broad daylight while those tasked to police this democracy - notably politicians and the press - blind themselves with confetti. 

Such are the lasting consequences of Bush's crooked tenure. Casting him as inept and unethical is not difficult. He is the most unpopular president for six decades. Some have been loathed more - but none by so many for so long. But understanding how he managed to do it demands a wider lens.

For he could not do it alone. The US is not an elected dictatorship. The president is supposed to stand at the helm of a system of checks and balances. The reason there was no balance was because there were no checks. The real problem with the Bush years is not so much that he did what he did, but that he managed to gain the consent of America's political class in enabling him to do it. His political estrangement is not because he tried, only because he failed. 

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Moving to the Center of Elite Consensus

"Moving to the Center" is not a move to where the center of public opinion is, but it is a move to the center of where elite consensus is. Once the boundaries of that elite consensus are understood, then we can comprehend the limits of our public choices and more importantly what will be allowed within the confines of our electoral system.

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