Canadian leader provokes anger by closing Parliament

Canadian leader provokes anger by closing Parliament

By Ian Austen

OTTAWA: Canada’s parliamentary opposition reacted with outrage after Prime Minister Stephen Harper shut down the Legislature until Jan. 26, seeking to forestall a no-confidence vote that he was sure to lose and that might have provoked a constitutional crisis.

Harper acted Thursday after getting the approval of Governor General Michaëlle Jean, who represents Queen Elizabeth as the nation’s head of state. If his request had been rejected, he would have had to choose between stepping down or facing the no-confidence vote on Monday.

The opposition fiercely criticized the decision to suspend Parliament, accusing Harper of undermining the nation’s democracy.

“We have to say to Canadians, is this the kind of government you want?” said Bob Rae, a member of the opposition Liberal Party. “Do we want a party in place that is so undemocratic that it will not meet the House of Commons?”

That sentiment was echoed by constitutional scholars, who lamented that the governor general might have created a mechanism that future prime ministers could use to bypass the legislature when it seemed convenient.

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“This really has been a blow to parliamentary democracy in Canada,” said Nelson Wiseman, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto. “It has lowered the status of the elected Parliament and raised the status of the unelected prime minister.”

Thursday’s events had their origins in a hotly contested election that Harper’s Conservative Party won less than two months ago without achieving a majority, leaving it vulnerable to challenge. In light of that and the growing economic turmoil, Harper pledged to work closely with the opposition in Parliament.

But when he presented a proposed budget last week it had none of the stimulus programs that the opposition had sought to help Canada’s sagging economy. The final insult for the main opposition parties, the New Democrats and the Liberals, was a provision that would eliminate public financing for political parties. They considered it a deliberate slap because Harper’s Conservative Party is currently far better financed than they are.

With that, they began scrambling to put together a coalition with the backing of the separatist Bloc Québécois to displace Harper’s government.

Harper said he suspended Parliament to allow time to put together a budget that he will introduce in January, and once again spoke in conciliatory terms, inviting the opposition to participate in the drafting. “Today’s decision will give us an opportunity – and I’m talking about all the parties – to focus on the economy and work together.”

But Stéphane Dion, who leads the Liberals and who would become the coalition’s prime minister, dismissed the idea of working with Harper and said the Conservatives’ budget was unlikely to satisfy the opposition’s economic demands.

“We do not want any more of his words; we don’t believe them,” Dion told reporters before the closed doors of the House of Commons.

“We want to see changes, monumental changes.”

Opposition leaders said they would continue to try to form a new coalition, and strongly criticized Harper’s attempt to thwart them.

“He’s put a lock on the door on the House of Commons,” Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democrats, told reporters. “He refuses to face the people of Canada through their elected representatives.” The past several days have been filled with political turmoil, as the Liberals and New Democrats worked together on a plan to form a coalition, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, to replace Harper’s Conservative-led government. Such a turn would also be unprecedented in Canadian politics.

The news of the parliamentary suspension came after a two-and-a-half hour long meeting in Ottawa between Harper and Jean, the governor general. Harper, speaking to reporters during snow flurries outside of Rideau Hall, the governor general’s official residence, said: “The public is very frustrated by the current situation in Parliament and we are all responsible for it.”

In contrast to the relative indifference to the elections two months ago, the current situation has provoked a passionate debate in the country online, in public and through radio call-in shows.

The issue has also inflamed old regional tensions. In Western Canada, the main base of support for the Conservatives, political commentators are arguing that the coalition is an attempt by more populous Ontario and Quebec to deny political influence to the West.

At the same time, many Quebecers, particularly French speakers, have been offended by Conservative suggestions that they have no interest in remaining a part of Canada. In the House of Commons, where debate is not always temperate, the political rhetoric has been particularly heated.

Some Conservative members are suggesting that the coalition members are near-traitors. “That is as close to treason and sedition as I can imagine,” Bob Dechert, a Conservative member said on Wednesday, echoing a refrain widely heard from callers to radio programs in Harper’s home province of Alberta.

Canada Lost 70,600 Jobs, Most Since ‘82, on Factories

Canada Lost 70,600 Jobs, Most Since ‘82, on Factories

By Greg Quinn

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) — Canadian employment fell by the most since 1982 in November, led by manufacturing, a sign the world’s eighth-largest economy is falling victim to a global recession.

Employers shed a net 70,600 workers, almost three times as many as economists anticipated, after a gain of 9,500 in October. The unemployment rate rose to a two-year high of 6.3 percent from 6.2 percent the month before.

The figures come a day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Parliament to prevent being toppled by opposition parties who say he hasn’t done enough to help an economy that may have already slipped into recession. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney will probably cut interest rates by half a point to 1.75 percent on Dec. 9, the lowest in more than 50 years, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

“It makes a stronger case for the Bank of Canada to move 50 basis points” next week, said Millan Mulraine, an economics strategist at TD Securities Inc. in Toronto. “A case could be made they might do a bit more. Our official call is for 50, but central bankers have shown a willingness to do more.”

Factory owners slashed payrolls by 38,300 workers in November, the most since January 2006, and another 26,000 jobs were lost in transportation and warehousing. Employment in public administration fell by 26,700, after hiring in that sector jumped by 39,800 in October as Canada geared up for national elections on Oct. 14.

Currency Fell

The Canadian dollar weakened 1.5 percent to C$1.2950 per U.S. dollar at 9:28 a.m. in Toronto from C$1.2757 late yesterday.

The economy is suffering from weak demand in the U.S. and slumping prices for commodities such as oil and wheat, which generate about half the country’s export revenue. Automakers and forestry companies have been among the hardest hit.

Ontario, Canada’s manufacturing hub, fared the worst among provinces in November with a 66,000 net job loss. Ontario’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.1 percent from 6.5 percent in October, matching neighboring Quebec for the first time in more than three decades, Statistics Canada said.

Magna International Inc., North America’s largest auto- parts supplier, said Nov. 26 it will close two plants employing 850 workers in Ontario because of “difficult economic conditions” that have sapped vehicle production and demand.

Ontario Woes

Ontario’s job losses continued today, with Canadian Press reporting that General Motors Corp. plans to temporarily eliminate a 700-worker shift at an Oshawa plant in February. General Motors, Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. are seeking government loans to stay afloat and their plants in Ontario are among Canada’s biggest private employers.

Carney and Deputy Governor Pierre Duguay said in speeches last month that policy makers will likely need to cut the bank’s benchmark interest rate because risks to the economy “appear to have shifted to the downside.”

Gross domestic product in Canada will contract 1 percent in the current quarter and 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009, meeting the technical definition of a recession, according to government forecasts. Consumer spending is slowing and exports will probably decline next year on commodity prices and as U.S. and global demand wane.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Nov. 13 said there will be recessions in the U.S., Japan and the 15-nation euro zone economy next year.

U.S. Jobs

U.S. employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the fastest pace in 34 years, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The jobless rate rose to 6.7 percent, leaving it above Canada’s for a second month. That hasn’t happened for two straight months since 1981.

Harper yesterday “prorogued” or shut down the country’s legislature for more than seven weeks in a bid to stave off a challenge from opposition parties seeking to bring down his government. Harper, re-elected in October, said Governor General Michaelle Jean, who acts as the country’s head of state, agreed to his request to close Parliament until Jan. 26.

The government’s first order of business will be a budget scheduled for Jan. 27, Harper said, calling on the opposition to work with his administration on a “stimulus” package for the ailing economy.

The political crisis was sparked Nov. 27 when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented a fiscal update that included cuts to funding for political parties, limited civil servants’ right to strike and failed to offer a stimulus package to spur economic growth. Three opposition parties said they would oppose the plan and banded together.

Mortgage Delinquencies, Foreclosures Rise to Record

Mortgage Delinquencies, Foreclosures Rise to Record

By Kathleen M. Howley

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) — One in 10 Americans fell behind on their mortgage payments or were in foreclosure during the third quarter as the world’s largest economy shed jobs and real estate prices tumbled.

The share of mortgages 30 days or more overdue rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.99 percent while loans already in foreclosure rose to 2.97 percent, both all-time highs in a survey that goes back 29 years, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a report today. The gain in delinquencies was driven by an increase of loans with payments 90 days or more overdue.

“Until we see a turnaround in the job situation, we’re not going to see these numbers improve,” said Jay Brinkmann, chief economist of the Washington-based bankers group, in an interview. “We’re seeing more loans build up in the 90-days bucket as lenders work to modify loans and states put in place programs that delay foreclosures.”

The U.S. economy has shed 1.91 million jobs this year, while falling home prices have made it difficult for people who can’t pay their mortgages to sell their property. Payrolls declined in each month of 2008 through November, the Labor Department said today in Washington.

New foreclosures fell to 1.07 percent from 1.08 percent in the second quarter as some states enacted laws to temporarily stop home repossessions and lenders increased efforts to modify the terms of loans, Brinkmann said.

Home Sales Sink

“Some servicers keep a loan in a delinquent state until they see customers carrying through on their agreements, and then they’ll switch it to performing,” Brinkmann said.

U.S. home sales and prices began to tumble in 2006 after a five-year boom, dragging the economy into a recession that began in December 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The median home price in the fourth quarter probably will be $190,300, down 19 percent from the record $226,800 in 2006’s second quarter, according to a Nov. 24 forecast by Fannie Mae, the world’s largest mortgage buyer.

Purchases of existing homes in October slid to an annual rate of 4.98 million, lower than forecast, the National Association of Realtors said in a Nov. 24 report. The median price fell 11.3 percent from a year earlier, the most since the group began collecting data in 1968.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke yesterday urged using more taxpayer funds for new efforts to prevent home foreclosures, saying the private sector is incapable of coping with the crisis on its own.

Bernanke’s Plans

The Fed chief outlined four possible options, including buying delinquent mortgages and providing bigger incentives for refinancing loans. He called for addressing the “apparent market failure” where lenders aren’t modifying mortgages even in cases where it’s in their own economic interest to do so.

Bernanke’s proposed changes would go beyond those announced last month by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston, who oversees the FHA. The agency will change the amount of the loan a lender must forgive and allow banks to extend the payback time of a mortgage.

The bankers’ report cites percentages without providing the number of mortgages. The U.S. had $11.3 trillion of outstanding home loans at the end of June, according to Federal Reserve data. Mortgage lending fell to $80.8 billion in the second quarter, down from $764 billion a year earlier, the Fed said.

The Mortgage Bankers report is based on a survey of 45.5 million loans by mortgage companies, commercial banks, thrifts, credit unions and other financial institutions.

U.S. jobs losses highest in 34 years

U.S. jobs losses highest in 34 years

New figures from the U.S. Department of Labor reveal that the nation’s employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, sending the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent.

That’s the biggest monthly spike in job losses in 34 years, and it was much higher than the 320,000 job cuts economists were expecting.

The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 6.5 percent in October. At 6.7 percent now, unemployment is at a 15-year high.

According to the Labor Department, the job losses were spread across industries, from factories to financial firms to retailers. Sectors that showed increases in employment during November were education, health and government.

In San Antonio, unemployment rose slightly, to 5.1 percent, at of the end of October. In September, unemployment stood at 5.0 percent.

Blackwater joins fight against sea piracy

blackwater Motor Vessel McArthur

Blackwater joins fight against sea piracy


Blackwater’s executive vice president. “We have been contacted by ship owners who say they need our help in making sure those goods get to their destination safely. The McArthur can help us accomplish that.”

The International Maritime Bureau estimated that more than 100 ships have been attacked off Somalia alone since January. A total of 14 ships and 250 crew members are still being held for ransom.

Among them, the Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star and its cargo worth more than $100 million are still being held. The ship and its 25-member crew were seized on Nov. 14.

Just this week, pirates fired on a U.S. cruise ship carrying hundreds of passengers as it steamed across the Gulf of Aden on a 32-day cruise from Rome to Singapore.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said more than 70 companies, including shipping and insurance firms, have contacted the security specialists for information on the McArthur, although she did not elaborate. She said meetings are taking place this week in London to explain to those interested what the company can provide.

“More than 70 different companies have reached out to find out our capabilities,” she said.

As a company with a 50,000-person database of former military and law enforcement professionals, Blackwater says it is uniquely positioned to assist the shipping industry in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere.

Formerly known as Blackwater USA and founded in 1997 by former U.S. Navy SEAL members Erik Prince and Al Clark, the company recently focused on expanding operations and services, and acquired the McArthur for use in combating terrorists and for special missions.

The refurbished ship has what the company has described as state-of-the-art navigation systems, full Global Maritime Distress and Safety System communications, SEATEL broadband satellite communications, dedicated command and control battlefield air support, helicopter decks, a hospital, multiple support vessel capabilities, and a crew of 45 highly trained personnel.

Formerly a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel, the McArthur was put in service in 1966 and decommissioned in 2003. Reconfigured and modified in 2006, the ship is now considered a Blackwater Worldwide maritime security support craft. Blackwater´s aviation affiliate can provide the helicopters, pilots and maintenance required to support escort missions in the Gulf of Aden.

Company spokesmen said the dramatic increase of pirate attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden had led to parallel cost increases for the shipping industry, resulting in 10-fold insurance increases this year alone. They said that with the added danger pay offered to crews willing to make the journey, pirate ransom demands that reach into the millions, and lengthy negotiations for hijacked ships, if left unaddressed the cost of the piracy boom to the shipping industry — and consumers buying their goods — will only increase.

“Some shippers have taken the step of arming their crews, or hiring private security to ride on board cargo ships,” the company said. “Rather than having armed guards on a cargo vessel, the McArthur´s ability to accompany a ship and deploy helicopters to patrol the area provides a safer option for the shipping industry.

The McArthur is a multipurpose maritime vessel designed to support military and law enforcement training, peacekeeping, and stability operations worldwide.

Blackwater Worldwide is the largest of the State Department’s three private security contractors. Of the 987 contractors Blackwater provides, 744 are U.S. citizens. At least 90 percent of its revenue comes from government contracts, two-thirds of which are no-bid contracts. The company is currently contracted by the U.S. government to provide security services in the Iraq war.

Twenty-seven Blackwater employees have been killed during various security missions in Iraq. In March 2004, four Blackwater employees were ambushed and killed in Fallujah, and their bodies were hanged on bridges.

In September 2007, Blackwater employees in Baghdad fatally shot 17 Iraqis, at least 14 of whom were killed “without cause” according to the FBI. Witnesses told investigators the attack was unprovoked, although Blackwater maintained that its guards were under attack and responded accordingly.

The Iraqi government initially said it expected to refer criminal charges to its courts in connection with the incident, but in October 2007 immunity from prosecution was granted by the State Department. While the Justice Department said any immunity deals offered to Blackwater employees were invalid, legal experts have said the U.S. government is unlikely to allow a trial in the Iraqi courts, because there is little confidence that trials would be fair.

Liar, Liar!! Barack Obama’s Secretary of War


Liar, Liar!! Barack Obama’s Secretary of War

by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

with less than 5% of the world’s population, the US outspends the other 95% of the planet combined on things military

Until 1947, the United States habitually told the truth about at least one thing. The job title of the Pentagon’s highest ranking civilian was the Secretary of War. But the recent slaughter of tens of millions in the Second World War had given the Pentagon’s real function a bad name. So Democrat Harry Truman rebranded the Department of War, naming it the Department of Defense.  From that day, the Secretary of War became the Secretary of Defense. War plants, war expenditures and bloodthirsty war industries became more benign-sounding defense plants, the defense expenditures and the patriotic defense industry.

Today, with less than 5% of the world’s population, the US outspends the other 95% of the planet combined on things military, including a network of more than 725 bases in a hundred foreign countries. The bucks that pay for US Marines in Somalia, for B-52s in the Indian Ocean, nuclear-armed fleets in the Persian Gulf and much more don’t come out of any imperial war budget. They’re part of the national defense budget.

In that spirit, the president-elect has named what the media are calling his “national defense team”. The new Secretary of War is the same as the old one. He’ll be Robert Gates, a Reaganite and Bush family operative who has headed the Department of War since 2006.

If this were a just society, rather than looking at another year or two in the president’s cabinet, Robert Gates would be well into serving a long stretch for war crimes and lying to Congress. It’s really that serious. When officials in the CIA and other intelligence agencies, or high ranking military and civilian suits at the Pentagon lie to us, it’s not in the same league as a big city mayorfibbing about text messages on his cell phone or how some contract was awarded. When War Department and intelligence officials in and out of uniform lie, it’s about who and how many are, have been, or will be killed. They lie about why they died or will die, and at whose hands. They aren’t above lying about contracts either.

Robert Gates has been lying about matters of life, death and empire for a long time. A National Security Administration staffer in the Carter administration, Gates appears to have been involved in the October Surprise, helping delay the release of US hostages by Iran in order to damage the re-election chances of Jimmy Carter in 1980. When Reagan’s campaign manager William Casey was tapped to head the CIA, Robert Gates was part of the new team. Casey promoted Gates to head of CIA’s analytical division and later to deputy CIA director because of his willingness to embellish and fabricate intelligence saying what policymakers wanted to hear. In a recent Baltimore Sun article worth reading in its entirety, Robert Parry quotes former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman as saying

Gates consistently told his analysts to make sure never to ‘stick your finger in the eye of the policymaker.

It didn’t take long for the winds of politicization to blow through the halls of CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia.

Bill Casey and Bob Gates guided the first institutionalized ‘cooking of the books’ at the CIA in the 1980s, with a particular emphasis on tailoring intelligence dealing with the Soviet Union, Central America, and Southwest Asia,’ Goodman wrote.

Casey’s first NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] as CIA director, dealing with the Soviet Union and international terrorism, became an exercise in politicization. Casey and Gates pushed this line in order to justify more U.S. covert action in the Third World.

In 1985, they ordered an intelligence assessment of a supposed Soviet plot against the Pope, hoping to produce a document that would undermine Secretary of State [George] Shultz’s efforts to improve relations with Moscow. The CIA also produced an NIE in 1985 that was designed to produce an intelligence rationale for arms sales to Iran.”

When congressional Democrats in 1993 refused to pursue investigations of Iran-contra and other off-the-books intelligence operations Gates must have breathed a sigh of relief

It’s pretty certain that Robert Gates has lied each and every time he has been sworn in before Congress. His lies have cost the lives of many tens of thousands, and obscured the reasons for their deaths. When Ronald Reagan declared that Nicaragua, a country with the population of Philadelphia (minus the suburbs) and fewer than two functioning elevators constituted a military threat to the US, this was the work of Robert Gates. The US intervention in Central America cost at least 30,000 lives in Nicaragua alone. Gates was also at the center of US provision of arms and intelligence to both Iraq and Iran as they fought a seven year war that killed two million people. He orchestrated intelligence reports that deliberately exaggerated Soviet military expenditures and threat posture to justify Reagan’s rant about meeting the menace of the “Evil Empire” and his unheard of increase in US War Department spending. After serving as CIA director under the first president Bush in 1991 where he remained well into the Clinton administration.

When congressional Democrats in 1993 refused to pursue investigations of Iran-contra and other off-the-books intelligence operations Gates must have breathed a sigh of relief. He remained at CIA until well into Clinton’s first year, and eventually sought the help of the Bush family in getting named president of Texas A&M.

The second Bush administration asked Gates to serve on its Iraq Study Commission, which advocated permanent bases, the privatization of Iraqi oil, and the maintenance of tens of thousands of US troops in-country for the foreseeable future. From there, Gates was named deputy, and eventually successor to Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of War. As late as last year, when Alan Greenspan admitted what everybody has always known, that the Iraq war was about the oil, stupid, Gates ran to the press to say:

I know the same allegation was made about the Gulf War in 1991, and I just don’t believe it’s true.”

“I think that it’s really about stability in the Gulf. It’s about rogue regimes trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. It’s about aggressive dictators,” Gates said.

“After all, Saddam Hussein launched wars against several of his neighbors,” Gates said. “He was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.”

Sure he’s lying. But it’s supposed to be OK. Robert Gates is, after all, a lifetime member of the nation’s bipartisan foreign policy elite. He could have been just following orders, and his orders at the time were to protect his boss George Bush. Although he took sides against his boss Jimmy Carter back in the day, maybe Gates has learned his lesson. Maybe now the Secretary of War will lie to us with his old Reagan-era enthusiasm on behalf of his new boss Barack Obama. Or maybe not. The question is, whether Robert Gates is lying for his current, his past or his future bosses, as long as his lips are moving in public, who’s the winner? Not peace, not democracy. Not change, and certainly not the legacy of Dr. King, whose mantle Barack Obama dons at every opportune moment.

Not a few Obama supporters are wringing their hands at the selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The Secretary of State, according to its own web site, has fewer than 5,000 employees. But the Department of War employs more than two million uniformed personnel, hundreds of thousands of civilians, an undisclosed six figure number of armed mercenaries, and thousands of contractors with millions more employees. The Pentagon disposes of tens or hundreds of billions in secret budgets which are accountable to nobody, not even Congress, and it fields at least half a dozen intelligence agencies, along with a far-flung network of secret prisons and torturers to staff them. It’s not hard to see where the real power is, and where it will remain despite the new administration’s promise of “change”. The only question remaining is how this vast, unaccountable and fundamentally anti-democratic machinery will be employed by the new administration. Here’s a clue.

Journalist I.F. Stone reminded us half a century ago that ‘all governments lie.’

Millions of Barack Obama’s voters are under the impression that he will speedily withdraw US troops from Iraq. For them, the appointment of Robert Gates is not a good sign, but it is consistent with the gap between what Obama’s most ardent supporters persuade themselves that they hear, and what the president-elect and his advisors have actually said all along. As the New York Times admitted last week.

…While Mr. Obama’s most heartfelt supporters in the antiwar movement may have heard “end the war” as a promise to end the American troop presence in Iraq in 16 months, the president-elect has spoken only of a timeline for withdrawing combat troops, not all American forces.

Fifteen American combat brigades are in Iraq, but the total number of American troops there amounts to the equivalent of more than 50 brigades, including forces there on missions to support, supply, transport, protect and care for the combat forces, and train and support the Iraqi security forces, which would be expected to continue at least through 2011…

Some Army planners predict that 30,000 to 50,000 — and as many as 70,000 — American troops will remain in support and training missions well into late 2011, and beyond, should the Iraqis invite them.

Pegging the US force in Iraq at 50 brigades leaves out a nearly equivalent number of mercenaries. If their number is only half that of US uniformed troops, we’re looking at the equivalent of 75 brigades. President-elect Obama pledges to withdraw 15 of these, and only if conditions permit, if the Iraqis “step up”, if commanders on the ground think it’s wise, and so on.

Clearly there will have to be a lot more lies told before this is over. Perhaps the president-elect believes he needs a brazen and proficient lying bureaucrat at the War Department. But is this what the American people need? Is this what they voted for?

Journalist I.F. Stone reminded us a half century ago that “all governments lie”. But chances are, he didn’t mean this the way some of the president-elect’s supporters will, as a reason to excuse rather than oppose whatever lies our First Black President and his appointees are inclined to tell us — for our own good, of course. If we still have principles, souls and backbones of our own, we must always question and we can never excuse lies told us for the sake of empire, no matter who tells them.

If any glimmer of an independent movement for peace and justice still exists, it’s time for us to engage in our own rebranding exercise. Activists who aim to carry on the work of Dr. King and the movement he led must take the lead in de-legitimizing the institutions that exist to lie and deceive us along with their functionaries. It’ll be easy. All we have to do is tell the truth, and demand the truth from our government. As a beginning, we should insist on calling Mr. Robert Gates exactly what he is in all our conversations, our articles, emails and blogs, our ordinary public and private discourse. He is the Secretary of War. And a career liar.

Atlanta-based Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)

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