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Showing posts from April, 2011

Will Public Workers and Immigrants March Together on May Day?

David Bacon - One sign carried in almost every May Day march of the last few years says it all: "We are Workers, not Criminals!" Often it was held in the calloused hands of men and women who looked as though they'd just come from work in a factory, cleaning an office building, or picking grapes.
The sign stated an obvious truth. Millions of people have come to the United States to work, not to break its laws. Some have come with visas, and others without them. But they are all contributors to the society they've found here. Read more.

Anti-Union Forces Try to Knock Out New York City’s Hard Hats

Michele Chen @ In These Times - On Thursday, construction workers held hard hats in thick hands in the glow of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. In honor of International Workers' Memorial Day, they solemnly honored the sacrifices of fellow workers who had been injured or killed on the job. The scene embodied the heavy legacy of the city’s building trades: the labor that sculpted gotham's majesty, muscular but embattled, angled precariously against the city's powers that be.
Historically, the building trades unions have been known as shrewd political players and a formidable counterweight to developers and the city’s bureaucracy. Read more.

Egypt Warns Israel: Don't Interfere With Opening of Gaza Border Crossing

Haaretz - Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Sami Anan warned Israel against interfering with Egypt's plan to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis, saying it was not a matter of Israel's concern, Army Radio reported on Saturday.
Egypt announced this week that it intended to permanently open the border crossing with Gaza within the next few days. Read more.

Guantanamo Detainees Stage Hunger Strike to Protest Confinement Conditions

Truthout - Within the past month, more than 15 Guantanamo detainees protested an indefinite detention order signed by President Barack Obama in March that resulted in their relocation to another camp at the prison facility - where they said the conditions are worse - by staging a hunger strike, Truthout has learned.
Tanya Bradsher, a Department of Defense (DoD) spokeswoman, confirmed detainees staged a hunger strike...read more.

As a Holocaust Survivor, AIPAC Doesn’t Speak for Me

Hedy Epstien @ Common Dreams - At the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2004, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion Airport. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours, and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that their names were invisible.
The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite effect. It made me more determined to speak out against abuses by the Israeli government and military. Read more.

Vegan Food in Restaurants: The Changing Tide of Food Preferences

Kathy Freston @ Huffington Post - First off, let me tell you that I'm a friendly vegan! I'm not judgmental, and I truly believe that it's not my business to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't eat. I grew up in the South, greatly enjoying chicken-fried steak and barbecued ribs, and every kind of cheesy thing I could get my hands on. I loved meat; never thought about it. Until I thought about it. After a few years of transitioning, I've been vegan for seven years. And it seems I'm not alone. Read more.

Lessons for Progressives From Power Shift Youth

Amy Dean @ Truthout - Over the weekend of April 15, some 10,000 young organizers gathered in Washington, DC to build the movement to address climate change. The third Power Shift conference was overwhelmingly stocked with young people under the age of 30, and it offered a breath of fresh air for the wider progressive community. Read more.

All the WikiLeaks Fit to Print

Robert Scheer @ Truthdig - There is a craven disconnect between the eagerness of leading editors to exploit the important news revealed by WikiLeaks and their efforts to distance themselves from both the courageous website and Bradley Manning, the alleged source of documents posted there. Alleged is required when referring to the Army private so as not to repeat the egregious error of a constitutional-law-professor-turned-president who has already presumed Manning guilty of crimes for which he is not even formally charged. Read more.

Venezuela Institutes Windfall Oil Tax to Support Social Programs, Education

Associated Press @ Common Dreams - Venezuela is imposing a windfall profits tax on royalties from oil projects when crude prices are above $40 a barrel, seeking to squeeze as much as $16 billion mostly out of foreign oil companies, the government said Tuesday.
Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said the tax, which was decreed by President Hugo Chavez last week, will allow the government to collect between $9 billion and $16.3 billion this year. Read more.

The Really Smart Phone

WSJ Online - Researchers are harvesting a wealth of intimate detail from our cellphone data, uncovering the hidden patterns of our social lives, travels, risk of disease—even our political views.
'Phones can know,' says an MIT researcher. 'People can get this god's-eye view of human behavior.'
Apple and Google may be intensifying privacy concerns by tracking where and when people use their mobile phones—but the true future of consumer surveillance is taking shape inside the cellphones at a weather-stained apartment complex in Cambridge, Mass. Read more.

Tornado Ravages Alabama City; Storm Toll Grows

NY Times News Service @ Truthout - The death toll in five Southern states rose sharply Thursday morning to nearly 200 after devastating storms ripped through the region, spawning a deadly tornado in downtown Tuscaloosa, Ala., and leaving a trail of flattened homes and buildings in an area already battered by storms.
Across Alabama, at least 128 people were killed — 13 in the Birmingham area alone...read more.

President Obama Makes a Fair Trial of Bradley Manning Impossible By Declaring Him Guilty

Kevin Zeese @ War Is A Crime - The credibility of the military justice system is being undermined by the prosecution of Bradley Manning. His abusive punishment without trial violates his due process rights; his harsh treatment in solitary confinement-torture conditions violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment; and now the commander-in-chief has announced his guilt before trial making a fair trial impossible. A Bradley Manning exception to the Bill of Rights is developing as the Obama administration seeks Manning’s punished no matter what constitutional protections they violate.
On Thursday April 21, 2011 in San Francisco a group of Bradley Manning supporters protested the prosecution of Manning at a Barack Obama fundraising event. One of Manning’s supporters was able to question the president directly afterwards and during the conversation, Obama said...read more.

Statement by President Barack Obama on Release of His Birth Certificate

President Barack Obama, The White House @ Truthout - Hello, everybody. Now, let me just comment, first of all, on the fact that I can't get the networks to break in on all kinds of other discussions -- (laughter.) I was just back there listening to Chuck -- he was saying, it’s amazing that he’s not going to be talking about national security. I would not have the networks breaking in if I was talking about that, Chuck, and you know it.
As many of you have been briefed, we provided additional information today about the site of my birth. Now, this issue has been going on for two, two and a half years now. Read more.

Haiti's Displaced: Greedy Landlords and an Absentee Government

Truthout - Recently, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) delegation in Haiti visited the Barbancourt II displacement camp in Port-au-Prince. This camp is home to 310 families who lost their homes in the earthquake and have set up tents, tarps and corrugated metal structures with the few possessions they have left on the corner of an industrial company's property. We talked with camp leaders and other residents who told us that the owner has notified them that they will be evicted in a week. This is the latest in what has been a series of threats; last November, the owner showed up with 24 police with guns drawn. Read more.

WikiLeaks: Just 8 at Gitmo gave evidence against 255 others

McClatchy Newspapers - U.S. military intelligence assessing the threat of nearly 800 men held at Guantanamo in many cases used information from a small group of captives whose accounts now appear to be questionable, according to a McClatchy analysis of a trove of secret documents from the facility.
The allegations and observations of just eight detainees were used to help build cases against some 255 men at Guantanamo — roughly a third of all who passed through the prison. Yet the testimony of some of the eight was later questioned by Guantanamo analysts themselves, and the others were subjected to interrogation tactics that defense attorneys say amounted to torture and compromised the veracity of their information. Read more.

Chernobyl survivor warns of 'bombshell' in Japan

Asia Pacific News - A survivor of the Chernobyl disaster says people exposed to radiation from Japan's crippled nuclear plant will spend the rest of their lives fearing the "bombshell" of cancer and other dire illnesses.
Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear calamity and coincides with efforts to stop radiation seeping from the Fukushima plant after its cooling systems were knocked out by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Read more.

Chrissy Lee Polis, Victim In Maryland McDonald's Attack, Alleges Hate Crime

Huffington Post - A transgender woman whose brutal attack at a McDonald's restaurant in Maryland was captured on video that later went viral said Saturday she was the victim of a hate crime.
Twenty-two-year-old Chrissy Lee Polis told The Baltimore Sun that since the attack last Monday, "I'm just afraid to go outside now because of stuff like this."
The video posted online shows a woman being attacked and apparently having a seizure. Baltimore County police say a 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile and an 18-year-old woman faces an assault charge in the case. Read more.

Wanted: An Opposition Party, Not a Coalition

Huffington Post - Only two budget proposals are being 'taken seriously' in Washington right now. One adopts the rhetoric of "austerity economics," that grab-bag of right-wing misconceptions that's weakened the British economy and wounded its ruling coalition.
The other comes from the Republicans.
There's a third budget plan, too. It reflects the views most Americans hold - including, in some cases, most Republicans . But it's either being ignored or contemptuously dismissed by the People That Matter, apparently for that most traditionally British of reasons: it doesn't come from "the right sort of people."
What this country really needs right now...read more.

Higher Education Under Attack: An Interview With Dr. Henry Giroux

The Margins of Everyday Life - I spoke to Dr. Henry Giroux yesterday by phone. He told me that he could see snow outside his window, something I couldn't help laughing about since I am presently in Texas (who knows for how long), and it was nearly 95 degrees yesterday. Giroux, in my view, is a national treasure. He is a public intellectual who values democracy, and fosters critical thought both in the classroom and in his writing. It's a shame that he no longer lives here, but his reasons for leaving are entirely understandable. Read more.

Is It Fear of Uprisings or Altruistic Punishment?

Truthout - If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. - Frederick Douglass, 1857...read more.

President Obama speaks on Manning and the rule of law

Glenn Greenwald @ Salon - Protesters yesterday interrupted President Obama's speech at a $5,000/ticket San Francisco fundraiser to demand improved treatment for Bradley Manning. After the speech, one of the protesters, Logan Price, approached Obama and questioned him. Obama's responses are revealing on multiple levels. First, Obama said this when justifying Manning's treatment...read more.

(VIDEO) Obama on Manning: “He Broke the Law.” So Much for that Trial?

Fire Dog Lake - President Barack Obama made stunning accusations about accused Wikileaks whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning, directly asserting that Manning “broke the law.” Apparently the President of the United States of America and a self-described Constitutional scholar does not care that Manning has yet to be tried or convicted for any crime. Read more.

9/11 Responders To Be Warned They Will Be Screened By FBI's Terrorism Watch List (EXCLUSIVE)

Huffington Post - A provision in the new 9/11 health bill may be adding insult to injury for people who fell sick after their service in the aftermath of the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks, The Huffington Post has learned.
The tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake will soon be informed that their names must be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list, according to a letter obtained by HuffPost. Read more.

Power Shift: How the Youth Climate Movement is Changing the Game

YES! Magazine - The 10,000 young people who gathered in Washington, DC, for the third Power Shift came prepared to get things done. They traveled in groups from campuses, high schools, and neighborhoods across the country. They brought stories of campaigns to get local food on campuses, to shut down coal plants and stop natural gas fracking, and they educated themselves with speeches, documentaries, and stories from the front lines of the dirty energy battle—places like the Gulf coast, which is still struggling from the aftermath of the oil spill.
But they did more than learn about issues and listen to inspiring speeches. At Power Shift, much of the time was spent in trainings and regional organizing sessions on the serious business of mobilizing a powerful movement for clean energy and social justice. Read more.

St. Louis Tornado Causes Damage, Injuries At Lambert Airport

Huffington Post - An apparent tornado tore through a section of St. Louis' Lambert Field on Friday, lifting the roof off a concourse, injuring several people and forcing the airport's closure.
Planes were diverted to other locations as emergency crews probed the debris for more wounded. Mayor Francis Slay said Lambert would be shut down "indefinitely." Read more.

Earth Day: Environmental education has failed. But we can fix it.

Christian Science Monitor - We’ve both been participating in Earth Day events since they began back in 1970. We’ve manned booths that teach people about water pollution, we’ve organized environmental clean ups in the Santa Monica Bay and judged Earth Day posters at schools in Pakistan. But regardless of what we have done or where we have done it, we’ve been struck by one simple, glaring fact. Despite more than 40 years of organized Earth Day events, and the heightened awareness of environmental issues that they create, humanity collectively continues to degrade the Earth. Read more.

BP Oil Spill: A tragic drama that continues to unfold

Buzzflash - Oil spills do not discriminate. They can equally pollute expensive real estate as well as low income communities, rendering the property uninhabitable for decades.
Once upon a time, before the oil lobbyists bribed congressional representatives for seizing oil from offshore drilling, Santa Barbara and Avila were postcard perfect beaches on the coast of California. The sea and the long white sandy beaches shimmered in the quiet sunlight. No doubt about it, California's central coast landscapes are breathtaking.
Then it happened, in 1969, Santa Barbara got hit with Union Oil's thick and gooey toxic oil spill. Read more.

Libya Fighting: U.S. Warns Of 'Stalemate' As Misrata Battle Rages

Reuters @ Huffington Post - The top U.S. military officer said air strikes had hobbled Libyan forces but the conflict was moving into "stalemate" as Muammar Gaddafi's troops pressed on with their punishing siege of rebel Misrata.
Rebels welcomed U.S. plans to deploy unmanned aircraft, typically operated remotely from the United States. But it emerged that bad weather had forced the first two drones sent to Libya to turn back.
"It's certainly moving toward a stalemate," said Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military's joint chiefs of staff, addressing U.S. troops during a visit to Baghdad. Read more.

Quarter-Million Dead and Not Counting

Donna Smith @ Common Dreams - After this past weekend of horrific storms and tornadoes, it was clearly appropriate for our elected officials to declare a federal disaster in some areas. With the designation comes some federal money and help for the storm-ravaged areas and residents. Few would quarrel with our government stepping up and stepping in when so many lives and so many livelihoods have been damaged and lost. It is the right thing to do, and some suffering will be mitigated.
Over the past four years since the making of SiCKO, Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, an estimated 45,000 people each and every year have died simply because they lacked access to healthcare. Read more.

Liberals Pitted Against White House on Trade

Politico @ Common Dreams - The White House’s free trade negotiations with South Korea, Colombia and Panama are about to look like a piece of cake, compared to the work ahead to get House Democrats to agree on the details.
Already Republicans are on board, another show of President Barack Obama’s ability to work with the GOP while irking his party’s liberal base. Read more.

One Hundred and Fifty Years After General Strike, Bay Area Workers Still Fighting for Justice

David Bacon @ Truthout - In the 150-year history of workers in the San Francisco Bay Area, the watershed event was one that happened 70 years ago - the San Francisco general strike. That year, sailors, longshoremen, and other maritime workers shut down all the ports on the West Coast, trying to form a union and end favoritism, low wages and grueling 10- and 12-hour days. Ship owners deployed tanks and guns on the waterfront and tried to break the strike.
At the peak of this bitter labor war, police fired into crowds of strikers, killing two union activists. Read more.

One Year After BP Oil Spill: Communities Lead While Congress Fails

Green for All - One year ago today, British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit exploded in the Gulf of Mexico — a catastrophe that most Americans will never forget.
11 people lost their lives. According to Good, roughly 5 million barrels of oil gushed uncontrollably into the Gulf – eventually covering more than 60 miles of shoreline. Areas of the shore remain oil-soaked to this day. Read more.

Canada’s Health Care: An Alternate Universe

Elizabeth Rozenthal @ Common Dreams - I recently returned from a visit of several days to an alternate universe: Canadian health care.
As a physician who has practiced in the United States for 44 years, I have experienced many aspects of our health care system, including its terrible inequities.
Although some Americans get very good health care, there are many who get little or none. Then there are others who get too much: tests, procedures and drugs that they don’t need. The whole system is fragmented, chaotic, inefficient and terribly expensive. We are not getting good value for our enormous expenditure on health care. Read more.

Obama, War President

Mathew Rothchild @ The Progressive - In 2008, many voters viewed Barack Obama as the peace candidate, but he’s turned into a war president.
On the campaign trail, he promised to get all combat troops out of Iraq by the spring of 2010. Read more.

Bradley Manning to Be Moved From Quantico

Wired Magazine - WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning is being moved from the Quantico brig where he is currently being held to the prison at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas, according to the Pentagon.
The Associated Press reported that the move is connected to criticism about how the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia, has treated the Army soldier. But at a press conference on Tuesday, the Army’s general counsel downplayed the criticism.
“I won’t say that his conditions at Quantico had nothing to do with this,” said Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s general counsel, but also added that “the fact that we have made a decision to transfer him should not be interpreted as a criticism of the place he was before." Read more.

The New Corporate World Order

Robert Scheer @ Truthdig - The debate over Republicans’ insistence on continued tax breaks for the superrich and the corporations they run should come to a screeching halt with the report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal headlined “Big U.S. Firms Shift Hiring Abroad.” Those tax breaks over the past decade, leaving some corporations such as General Electric to pay no taxes at all, were supposed to lead to job creation, but just the opposite has occurred. As the WSJ put it, the multinational companies “cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show.” Read more.

Obama's Mexicogate?

Foreign Policy In Focus - A secret operation to run guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels — overseen by U.S. government agents — threatens to become a major scandal for the Obama administration.
The operation, called “Fast and Furious,” was run out of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) office in Phoenix, Arizona. ATF sanctioned the purchase of weapons in U.S. gun shops and tracked the smuggling route to the Mexican border. Reportedly, more than 2,500 firearms were sold to straw buyers who then handed off the weapons to gunrunners under the nose of ATF. Read more.

Researchers Say Oil Dispersants Still an Issue in the Gulf

Mike Ludwig @ Truthout - Scientists are still working to understand the ecological and human health impacts of the environmental disaster that followed BP's Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico one year ago. While it may too soon to identify the long-term consequences of the disaster, a growing body of evidence reveals that the massive release of oil combined with the unprecedented amount of chemical oil dispersants applied by BP is still an environmental threat a year later. Read more.

BP Still Being Awarded Lucrative Government Contracts

Jason Leopold @ Truthout - BP continues to receive tens of millions of dollars in government contracts, despite the fact that the British oil company is under federal criminal investigation over the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and twice violated its probation late last year.
Last week, the Defense Logistics Agency awarded Air BP, a division of BP Products North America, a $42 million contract to supply fuel to Dover Air Force Base for the next month and a half. Read more.

'US helped Israel with UN Gaza war probe'

The Herald Sun/Australia - The US worked behind the scenes to help Israel contain United Nations probes into possible war crimes committed during the 2008/'09 Gaza war, Foreign Policy reported today.
The online foreign affairs magazine cited exclusive WikiLeaks cables, detailing moves by Washington's UN ambassador Susan Rice to prevent a more thorough UN investigation of alleged abuses in the conflict. Read more.

A year after Horizion's Gulf oil well disaster, congress fails to pass a single bill strengthening prevention laws

Huffington Post - Soon after his son Gordon died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion last April, Keith Jones made eight trips to Washington D.C. to push for stronger safety measures in offshore oil drilling and to increase the compensation paid to victims of the tragic accident. He met with President Obama, who apologized for the families' "unimaginable grief" and cradled Gordon's baby boy Maxwell in his arms. Read more.

Top ‘U.S.’ Corporations Outsourced More Than 2.4 Million American Jobs Over The Last Decade

Think Progress - The Wall Street Journal reports today that Corporate America certainly isn’t doing its part to help bring America out of its economic malaise. The paper surveyed employment data by some of the nation’s largest corporations — General Electric, Caterpillar, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Chevron, Cisco, Intel, Stanley Works, Merck, United Technologies, and Oracle — and found that they cut their workforces by 2.9 million people over the last decade while hiring 2.4 million people overseas.
The paper notes that this is actually a sharp reversal from trends in the late 1990s, when these major companies were creating more jobs in the United States than overseas. Read more.

Waiting for the spark

Ralph Nader @ Common Dreams - What could start a popular resurgence in this country against the abuses of concentrated, avaricious corporatism? Imagine the arrogance of passing on to already cheated working people and the jobless enormous corporate losses? This is achieved through government bailouts and tax escapes.
History teaches us that the spark usually is smaller than expected and of a nature that is wholly unpredictable or even unimaginable. But if the dry tinder is all around, as many deprivations and polls reveal, the spark, no matter how small, can turn into a raging inferno. Read more.

Secret Memos Expose Link Between Oil Firms and Invasion of Iraq

Independent UK - Plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world's largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.
The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain's involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair's cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Read more.

Obama ran against Bush, but now governs like him

McClatchy News - He ran as the anti-Bush.
Silver-tongued, not tongue-tied. A team player on the world stage, not a lone cowboy. A man who'd put a stop to reckless Bush policies at home and abroad. In short, Barack Obama represented Change.
Well, that was then. Now, on one major policy after another, President Barack Obama seems to be morphing into George W. Bush. Read more.

Obama's Dirty Energy Fixation

"As radioactivity levels continue to spike in Fukushima, Obama's support for nuclear power is unwavering"

Other Words - Just days after a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami unleashed a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, President Barack Obama signed a nuclear power cooperation agreement with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. Like Japan, Chile is seismically active. It suffered the sixth-most powerful earthquake--8.8--ever recorded on a seismograph only last year.
The irony of peddling nukes in an earthquake zone after a devastating nuclear accident was apparently lost on Obama. Read more.

Antarctic Penguin Population Declines with Krill

Inter Press Service - WASHINGTON, 11 Apr (IPS) - Two species of Antarctic penguins have declined sharply over the past 30 years as their chief food source has been devastated by a combination of other predators, over-fishing, and rapidly melting sea ice caused by global warming, according to a new study released here Monday by the National Academy of Sciences. Read more.

"Sweet Mickey" Hitches Haitian Recovery to Washington Bandwagon

Inter Press Service - WASHINGTON, 8 Apr (IPS) - With hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in destitution as the country flounders under political, economic and climate wreckage, critics say celebrations of the inevitable profits of disaster capitalism have already begun between the right- wing President-elect Michel Martelly and his neoliberal allies in Washington.
In a statement released here Thursday, the chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen proclaimed, "Once Haiti's new government is in place, it will be incumbent on its leadership to undertake& reforms necessary to allow all Haitians to participate in a formal economy."
She went on to laud "new opportunities for U.S. companies seeking to do business in& Haiti as it continues on its path of recovery" under Martelly, who went by the moniker "Sweet Mickey" during his former career as a pop singer. Read more.

BP Handling of Claims Slammed by Gulf Residents

Dahr Jamail @ Inter Press Service - NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, 17 Apr (IPS) - Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, paid by BP to administer the firm's 20-billion-dollar compensation fund, has become the focal point of anger for Gulf residents who are angry, frustrated and desperate for help following last year's massive oil disaster.
"Most of the people I care about are hungry, they've lost their house, they're losing their cars," Cherri Foytlin, the co-founder of Gulf Change, a community organisation in Louisiana, told IPS. Read more.

Throw Out the Money Changers: A speech by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - We stand today before the gates of one of our temples of finance. It is a temple where greed and profit are the highest good, where self-worth is determined by the ability to amass wealth and power at the expense of others, where laws are manipulated, rewritten and broken, where the endless treadmill of consumption defines human progress, where fraud and crimes are the tools of business.
The two most destructive forces of human nature—greed and envy—drive the financiers, the bankers, the corporate mandarins and the leaders of our two major political parties, all of whom profit from this system. Read more.

Ethnic Media Still Lack Visibility at Media Reform Conference

New American Media - Mohsin Zaheer, editor of Sada-e Pakistan, has been at every National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) since its inception in 2003. He said he has also seen the lack of attention the conference has given to ethnic media.
Zaheer, at last weekend’s NCMR held in Boston, said that by just looking at the conference’s concurrent sessions, ethnic media apparently did not have an equal priority as traditional independent media counterparts have. Read more.

GOP Spreads Corporate Tax Disinformation, America Fights Back (VIDEO)

Allison Kilkenney @ The Nation - US Uncut launched another nationwide day of protest this week involving around forty participating chapters. The activism strategies again ranged from traditional protest to more creative forms of occupations such as San Francisco’s flash mob in a Bank of America.
This latest campaign follows a busy week for the fledgling organization. US Uncut, along with the Yes Men, have been at the center of the media’s attention following their successful pranktivist duping of the AP. Read more.

Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically

Associated Press @ Yahoo News - As millions of procrastinators scramble to meet Monday's tax filing deadline, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.
The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992. Read more.

Liberals Are Suckers

Sally Kohn @ The Washington Post - The list of liberal laments about President Obama keeps getting longer: He extended the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Health-care reform didn’t include a public option. In the frantic final hours of the budget negotiations, instead of calling the GOP’s bluff, he agreed to historic cuts in progressive programs. And Wednesday, in response to conservatives’ focus on the deficit, Obama said that we have to “put everything on the table.”
What is the problem here? Is it a lack of leadership from the White House, a failure to out-mobilize the tea party or not enough long-term investment from liberal donors?
The real problem isn’t a liberal weakness. It’s something liberals have proudly seen as a strength — our deep-seated dedication to tolerance. Read more.

State by State: G.O.P. Pushes to Deregulate Environment

NY Times - Weeks after he was sworn in as governor of Maine, Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite, announced a 63-point plan to cut environmental regulations, including opening three million acres of the North Woods for development and suspending a law meant to monitor toxic chemicals that could be found in children’s products.
Another Tea Party ally, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, has proposed eliminating millions of dollars in annual outlays for land conservation as well as cutting to $17 million the $50 million allocated in last year’s budget for the restoration of the dwindling Everglades. Read more.

Al Gore to Young Advocates: Battle Industry Lobbyists to Turn the Tide on Climate

The Hill - Al Gore told young green energy advocates Friday that progress on global warming must come from a strong grassroots movement that can counter the oil and coal lobbies, which he alleged have “paralyzed” governments.
Gore – who compared action on global warming to the Civil Rights movement – was the keynote speaker at Power Shift 2011, a Washington, D.C. conference attended largely by college students. Read more.

NY Times calls Quadaffi "dictator" says US seeking place for his refuge

NY Times - The intense search for a country to accept Colonel Qaddafi has been conducted quietly by the United States and its allies, even though the Libyan leader has shown defiance in recent days, declaring that he has no intention of yielding to demands that he leave his country, and intensifying his bombardment of the rebel city of Misurata.
The effort is complicated by the likelihood that he would be indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, and atrocities inside Libya. Read more.

Van Jones At Power Shift 2011: ‘While They’re Stuck On Stupid In DC, Your Generation Is Rising’

Brad Johnson @ The Wonk Room - In a passionate keynote address, green jobs leader Van Jones exhorted the 10,000 youth climate activists at the Power Shift conference in Washington DC to “shift the power” and lead the clean power revolution. He argued that both parties need to be held accountable for their failures, and that activists must explain that the climate movement isn’t just about “hippie power” but that it is a vision of liberty and justice for all.
Van Jones had harsh words for the national political establishment. “You have to be wise enough to hold both parties to high standards,” he said: Read more.

Tornadoes rip through Southeast

Huffington Post -Vicious storms and howling winds smacked the Deep South, killing at least seven people in Alabama including three family members whose homes were tossed into nearby woods.
In Alabama's Washington County, about 50 miles north of Mobile, a mother and her two children were among those killed, said state emergency management agency director Art Faulkner. One person was reported dead in Mississippi's Greene County.
Combined with earlier reported fatalities in Arkansas and Oklahoma, the confirmed death toll had risen to 17 by early Saturday – the nation's deadliest storm of the season. Read more.

A Year On, BP Oil Still Mars Gulf Communities, Public Scrutiny Dries Up

Michele Chen @ In These Times - The April 14 meeting proceeded efficiently, as scheduled, for BP shareholders. For the workers, environmentalists and community members rallying in protest, though, the day of reckoning had yet to arrive.
The government and media may be moving on from aftermath of the Deepwater disaster, but the scars left behind by the spill are still raw and festering. Read more.

The Real Housewives of Wall Street

Matt Tabbi @ Rolling Stone - America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that great untamed socialist menace called a unionized public-sector workforce that Republicans are always complaining about. According to popular legend, we're broke and in so much debt that 40 years from now our granddaughters will still be hooking on weekends to pay the medical bills of this year's retirees from the IRS, the SEC and the Department of Energy.
Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?
Most Americans know about that budget. What they don't know is that there is another budget of roughly equal heft, traditionally maintained in complete secrecy. After the financial crash of 2008, it grew to monstrous dimensions, as the government attempted to unfreeze the credit markets by handing out trillions to…

Tokyo Power to Compensate 50,000 Evacuees

NY Times News Service @ Truthout - The Tokyo Electric Power Company announced plans on Friday to distribute 50 billion yen, or $600 million, in initial payments to 50,000 people evacuated because of the accident at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as technicians continued to struggle to repair cooling and electrical systems at the damaged reactors.
Masatake Shimizu, the company’s president, said that single-person households would receive about $9,000 and larger households would receive about $12,000. Read more.

Playing With Fire in Iraq

Raed Jarrar @ Truthout - April 9 marked the eighth year of the fall of Baghdad. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis marched in the streets of Iraqi cities - from Mosul to Basrah, from Baghdad to Fallujah - to protest the ongoing military occupation. Read more.

Most House Democrats Reject Obama's Austerity Budget Deal With GOP

John Nichols @ The Nation - President Obama cut a budget deal with congressional Republican leaders that outlined draconian cuts to needed programs while doing little if anything to address a supposed fiscal crisis. As such, it was a classic austerity agreement that served the special interests that dominate the upper ranks of both parties while ill-serving the great mass of Americans.
Congress has approved the deal that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says "moves America in exactly the wrong direction. Read more.

New Health Care Advocacy Group Launches With $5 Million In The Bank

Huffington Post - The newest health care advocacy campaign already has millions of dollars in the bank. Launched by Democratic lawmakers and reform proponents, the two-part program is meant to frame the debate around the law during the 2012 election cycle.
On Thursday, Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass.), former Gov. Jim Doyle (D-Wis.) and several Democratic operatives launched the latest variation of a pro-health care, non-governmental organization. The project has a dual track: a 501c(3) group, called “Know Your Care,” to promote the Affordable Care Act, and a 501c(4) group, “Protect Your Care,” to lobby on the law's behalf. Read more.

Recognising Palestine?

Al Jezeera - What do you do if your decades-long campaign to bring about an independent Palestinian state on those fractions of historic Palestine known as the West Bank and Gaza Strip have resulted in total failure?
The answer seems to be, if you are the Western-sponsored Palestinian Authority (PA) in Israeli-occupied Ramallah, to pretend you have a Palestinian state anyway, and to get as many other countries to join in this charade as possible.
This appears to be the essence of the PA strategy to gain admittance for the "State of Palestine" to the UN General Assembly by September. Read more.

Frankenfoods in Your “Natural” Foods Store: Whole Foods or Whole Hypocrisy?

Common Dreams - After two decades of biotech bullying by Monsanto and Food Inc., aided and abetted by Democrats and Republicans alike in Washington D.C., a grassroots movement of organic consumers and farmers is rising up across the United States. Inspired by the success of their European counterparts in driving genetically engineered crops and foods off the market, not through an EU ban, but through mandatory labeling, several thousand protesters took to the streets on March 26 in 30 different cities, under the banner of “Rally for the Right to Know,” and “Millions Against Monsanto.” Read more.

Endless War in Lybia?

Radio Free Europe - NATO foreign ministers have endorsed calls for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi to leave power, amid divisions among alliance members on the campaign to protect civilians in the North African country.
At a meeting in Berlin, NATO foreign ministers agreed the alliance would continue its Libya mission as long as was needed.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the mission was to protect civilians, and "we will do what it takes to fulfill that mission." Read more.

Millionaires demand that Obama raise tax on rich

Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength - We are writing to urge you to stand firm against those who would put politics ahead of their country.
For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled. Read more.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo: Taking Progressives for Granted

Ralph Nader @ Common Dreams - When liberals and progressives have nowhere to go, New York’s new Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo can move toward the corporatist-right of the political spectrum with impunity. Brandishing an inherited $10 billion state deficit, Cuomo has earned the following description in the April 7th edition of The New York Times:
“He has clashed with unions, who he believes have helped drive the state toward bankruptcy. He has been praised by prominent conservatives like Sarah Palin and Rudolph W. Giuliani. And he has taken thousands of dollars in campaign money from the New York billionaire David H. Koch, who with his family has helped finance the Tea Party movement…read more."

We're not being told truth about Lybia

Johann Hari @ Independent UK - Most of us have a low feeling that we are not being told the real reasons for the war in Libya. David Cameron's instinctive response to the Arab revolutions was to jump on a plane and tour the palaces of the region's dictators selling them the most hi-tech weapons of repression available. Nicolas Sarkozy's instinctive response to the Arab revolutions was to offer urgent aid to the Tunisian tyrant in crushing his people. Barack Obama's instinctive response to the Arab revolutions was to refuse to trim the billions in aid going to Hosni Mubarak and his murderous secret police, and for his Vice-President to declare: "I would not refer to him as a dictator." Read more.

I Remember America

William Rivers Pitt @ Truthout - It has not always been this way. Maybe we're all suckers for the down-the-memory-hole 24-hour news cycle nonsense that has afflicted this country for far too long already, because it is getting harder and harder to remember the simple fact that it has not always been this way.
This, however, is how it is now. Read more.

Obama still ordering air strikes in Lybia

Huffington Post - U.S. fighter jets have continued to strike inside Libya even after the United States turned the mission over to NATO last week, Pentagon officials disclosed for the first time Wednesday.
Eleven U.S. fighter jets were assigned to NATO for the Libya mission and kept conducting combat operations after the U.S. handed over control of the Libya mission to NATO on April 4, the Pentagon said.
The revelation triggered questions because U.S. military officials have said consistently that American fighter jets would only conduct strikes in Libya if NATO makes a special request and it is approved by top Pentagon leaders. Read more.

Jeffery Sachs: The People's Budget

Jeffery Sachs @ Huffington Post - Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People's Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan's almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People's Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems. Read more.

Governors Cut Taxes — and Medical Aid to the Poor

L.A. Times - In their drive to cut medical assistance to the poor while pushing tax breaks benefiting the affluent, congressional Republicans are following the lead of a group of governors who have championed this approach to balance state budgets.
The strategy — reprising the supply-side economics of the Ronald Reagan era — has caught on with conservatives who say that lowering taxes for corporations and wealthy taxpayers will boost state economies. Read more.

Has BP really cleaned up the Gulf oil spill?

Guardian UK - There are few people who can claim direct knowledge of the ocean floor, at least before the invention of the spill-cam, last year's strangely compulsive live feed of the oil billowing out of BP's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico. But for Samantha Joye it was familiar terrain. The intersection of oil, gas and marine life in the Mississippi Canyon has preoccupied the University of Georgia scientist for years. So one year after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana, killed 11 men and disgorged more than 4m barrels of crude, Joye could be forgiven for denying the official version of the BP oil disaster that life is returning to normal in the Gulf.
The view from her submarine is different, and her attachment is almost personal. On her descent to a location 10 miles from BP's well in December, Joye landed on an ocean floor coated with dark brown muck about 4cm deep. Thick ropes of slime draped acro…

Bolivia Set to Pass ‘Law of Mother Earth’ (VIDEO)

Guardian UK - Bolivia is set to pass the world's first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country's rich mineral deposits as "blessings" and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.
The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. Read more.

Chris Hedges: Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.
Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These i…

Pete DeFazio To Obama: 'Act Like A Democrat' (VIDEO)

Huffington Post @ MSNBC - President Obama needs to start acting like a Democrat, Oregon Rep. Pete DeFazio said earlier this week.
Co-founder of the House Progressive Caucus, DeFazio said that he and other caucus members will be pressuring the president to keep his campaign promises and "act like a Democrat," adding that the biggest mistake House liberals made in November was to not push back against the president when he failed to represent the party. Read more.

Bradley Manning: Former Obama professor and other top US legal scholars voice outrage at 'torture'

Guardian UK - More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.
The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign. Read more.

France Burqa Ban Takes Effect; Two Women Detained

Huffington Post - France's new ban on Islamic face veils was met with a burst of defiance Monday, as several women appeared veiled in front of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral and two were detained for taking part in an unauthorized protest.
France on Monday became the first country to ban the veils anywhere in public, from outdoor marketplaces to the sidewalks and boutiques of the Champs-Elysees. Read more.

Charter Schools Outsource Education to Management Firms, With Mixed Results

Pro Publica - Since 2008, an Ohio-based company, White Hat Management, has collected around $230 million to run charter schools in that state. The company has grown into a national chain and reports that it has about 20,000 students across the country. But now 10 of its own schools and the state of Ohio are suing, complaining that many White Hat students are failing, and that the company has refused to account for how it has spent the money.
The dispute between White Hat and Ohio, which is unfolding in state court in Franklin County, provides a glimpse at a larger trend: the growing role of private management companies in publicly funded charter schools. Read more.

Sex Workers File Civil Rights Suit Against Louisiana's "Crime Against Nature" Law

Jordan Flahtery @ Truthout - The third week of February, attorneys from New Orleans-based and national organizations brought a federal civil rights complaint against Louisiana's 205-year-old "crime against nature" statute, a law designed to penalize sex acts associated with gays and lesbians. The law, as enforced, specifically singles out oral and anal sex for greater punishment for those arrested for prostitution, including a requirement that those convicted register as sex offenders in a public database. Advocates say the law has further isolated women on the fringes of society, including those who are forced to trade sex for food or a place to sleep at night. Read more.

Latin America Shakes Off the US Yoke

Guardian UK - On Thursday, the United States expelled the ambassador from Ecuador, in retaliation for Wednesday's expulsion of the US ambassador from Ecuador. This now leaves the United States without ambassadorial relations in three South American countries – Bolivia and Venezuela being the other two – thus surpassing the Bush administration in its diplomatic problems in the region.
US Ambassador Heather Hodges was declared "persona non grata" and asked to leave Ecuador "as soon as possible", after a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks showed her saying some disparaging things about Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa. Read more.

As One-Month Tsunami Anniversary Approaches, Japan's Nuclear Fears Far From Over

Radio Free Europe - In the Japanese city of Minamisoma, just 18 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Tsunakawa family has returned to retrieve pets and other belongings from their home.
The family was forced to flee after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima plant, causing radiation leaks and rendering their town and others nearby part of a nuclear evacuation area.
Minamisoma looks like a dead zone, with police in protective suits continuing to search for bodies of people killed in the disaster. Read more.

How the Media Promotes Ignorance and Stifles Debate

Rania Khalek @ Common Dreams - Friday night, my eyes were glued to to the news, as I awaited any and all emerging details about the possible government shutdown. As outlets began reporting that republicans and democrats had finally reached a deal, I immediately felt a sense of relief. Thank goodness, I thought, so much unnecessary suffering averted. But the relief didn’t last long, because in the pit of my stomach was fear for the many millions of people who will be affected by the $38 billion in budget cuts passed by congress. Unfortunately, the media feels differently, preferring to discuss ad-nausium the budget cut’s political ramifications for the two parties.
The same thing happened when the GOP was determined to shutdown the government if democrats did not sign on to defunding Planned Parenthood. Again, the media’s focus was not on the health of the 3 million people the organization treats every year, by providing cancer screenings, HIV and STI checks, and contraceptives. The…

Pendleton, Oregon Cowboy Town, Promotes Solar Energy With No-Interest Loans

Huffington Post - A cowboy grasping the reins of a bucking bronco has long been the image of this farm and ranch town. It's the emblem of the annual Pendleton Roundup, a celebration of the city's colorful past, when pioneers on the Oregon Trail settled the prairie.
Today, solar panels might just outnumber cowboys.
Rural Pendleton is blazing an unlikely renewable energy trail, offering no-interest loans to spark interest in solar power and a group-buy philosophy to get better prices. More than 50 residents installed systems last year, and the program was expanded to more residents and to include businesses this year.
Oregon earned a reputation for being a green leader years ago, with adoption of the first bottle bill in 1971 to encourage recycling and efforts to keep its beaches public. Read more.

Egypt Protesters Defy Military After Crackdown

Yahoo News - Several hundred protesters who held an overnight sit-in in Cairo's Tahrir square after a deadly military crackdown stayed on on Sunday after the army backed down on a threat to disperse them.
The protesters, who blocked the square with a charred army truck, barbed wire and beams, chanted against military chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who has been in charge since president Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February.
"The people demand the toppling of the field marshal," they chanted, after spending a nervous night waiting for the army to carry out its warning that it would enforce a three-hour pre-dawn curfew. Read more.

Death Toll rises in Deadly Gaza Strikes

Agence France-Presse - An Israeli tank round killed a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip early on Saturday, bringing to 12 the overall toll from the deadliest 24 hours of violence since a devastating war more than two years ago.
A truce declared by Palestinian armed groups in the enclave unravelled even before it could take hold as militants fired dozens of mortar rounds and rockets into southern Israel and the military retaliated.
Hamas put security forces and emergency services in Gaza on 24-hour alert amid the escalating tit-for-tat violence and despite calls for an end to the hostilities from both the European Union and the United Nations. Read more.

The Strange Politics of Fitzwalkerstan: GOP Clerk "Finds" Votes to Reverse Defeat of Conservative Wisconsin Justice

John Nichols @ The Nation - Suppose the Democratic governor of Illinois had proposed radical changes in how the state operates, and suppose anger over those proposed changes inspired a popular uprising that filled the streets of every city, village and town in the state with protests. Then, suppose there was an election that would decide whether allies of the governor controlled the state’s highest court. Suppose the results of that election showed that an independent candidate who would not be in the governor’s pocket narrowly won that election.
Then, suppose it was announced by a Democratic election official in Chicago that she had found 14,000 votes in a machine-controlled ward that overwhelmingly favored the candidate aligned with the Democratic governor. And suppose the Democratic official who “found” the needed ballots for the candidate favored by the Democratic governor had previously been accused of removing election data from official computers and hiding the information on a …

States’ Shameful Trade-Off: Putting Prisons over Public Schools

In These Times - The state lawmakers who are pushing hard for "austerity" aren't so much enemies of government “waste” as they are expert money launderers in the business of politics. Education is at the center of their shell game.
Across the country, conservatives are fixated on a curious formula for deficit reduction: wholesale disinvestment in schools (coupled with erosion of union rights and working conditions for teachers), plus a race to pump tax breaks for the rich and stifle health care for the poor. And in many areas, one sacred cow continues to fatten while students starve: our bloated prison system. Read more.