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Showing posts from September, 2011

Obama: A Disaster for Civil Liberties

LA Times - With the 2012 presidential election before us, the country is again caught up in debating national security issues, our ongoing wars and the threat of terrorism. There is one related subject, however, that is rarely mentioned: civil liberties.
Protecting individual rights and liberties — apart from the right to be tax-free — seems barely relevant to candidates or voters. One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.  Read more.

What's Behind the Scorn for the Wall Street Protests?

Salon - It's unsurprising that establishment media outlets have been condescending, dismissive and scornful of the ongoing protests on Wall Street.  Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishment-serving institutions and their loyalists.  That's just the nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, an inevitable by-product of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives (which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) are going to be hostile to those challenges.  As the virtually universal disdain in these same circles for WikiLeaks (and, before that, for the Iraq War protests) demonstrated: the more effectively adversarial it is, the more establishment hostility it's going to provoke.  Read more.

Japan Sizes Up Task of Fukushima Waste Disposal

Reuters @ Common Dreams - Six months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered reactor meltdowns, explosions and radiation leaks at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan's northeast coast, the size of the task of cleaning up is only now becoming clear.
Contaminated zones where radiation levels need to be brought down could top 2,400 square km (930 square miles), sprawling over Fukushima and four nearby prefectures, the ministry said in a report released on Tuesday.
Tokyo Metropolitan prefecture has a total area of 2,170 square kilometers (840 square miles).  Read more.

Post titleHow Revolution Turned Sour in the Birthplace of the Arab Spring

Independent UK - Not a day goes by for Manoubia Bouazizi when she does not think about her son with sorrow. "He was a dutiful boy, he had a long life ahead of him, he martyred himself for justice, for Tunisia, for his community," she declared. "People cannot forget that."
Her 26-year-old, street-trader son has been lodged in the world's memory, too, after his unhappy life and terrible death by self-immolation became the tragic symbol of a nation's suffering in the hands of a dictator's brutal and unforgiving regime. It was this act of despair, goes the narrative, which triggered the uprising in Tunisia and heralded the seismic regional shift that has become known as the Arab Spring.  Read more.

UN Bid Heralds Death of Palestine’s Old Guard

Jonathan Cook @ Common Dreams - Amid the enthusiastic applause in New York and the celebrations in Ramallah, it was easy to believe -- if only a for minute -- that, after decades of obstruction by Israel and the United States, a Palestinian state might finally be pulled out of the United Nations hat. Will the world’s conscience be midwife to a new era ending Israel's occupation of the Palestinians?  Read more.

Barack Obama VS Those Craaaazy Republicans: Is He the Lesser Evil, or the More Effective Evil?

Bruce Dixon @ Black Agenda Report - The last refuge of Obamaphiles is that no matter how many times the First Black President double-crosses us by cutting Medicare and Medicaid, no matter how completely be betrays his voters us by ignoring black unemployment, by deporting one million Latinos, by protecting the banksters responsible for the foreclosure crisis and by invading, bombing, occupying and subverting even more countries than the Cheney-Bush regime, his white supremacist tea party opponents are far worse. But what if Democrat Barack and the Republican tea partyers are just playing different positions on the same team?  Read more.

Working Class Europeans Hit the Streets

Inter Press Service - Headlines this week have been saturated with protests against unaffordable food, unfair taxes and unsustainable austerity measures, with one distinct difference setting these stories apart from countless others in recent history.

The people demanding reform are no longer marginalised Asians, Africans and Latin Americans, but poor, working class Europeans.

As citizens of Western Europe – particularly in Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, or PIGS – flood the streets of their once-stable countries demanding an end to cuts in public education, health care, youth programmes and housing subsidies, the big question at the annual fall convergence of the Bretton Woods Institutions is, "Who will solve the impending crisis in Europe?" Rana Foroohar wrote in Time Magazine last month, "While the crisis appears to be Europe's problem, if it results in a break-up of the euro zone or a growth-dampening series of costly bailouts, it will reverberate from Beiji…

Rethinking the TSA: No Longer Accepting Police Repression in Exchange for Safety

Truthout - Google "TSA stupidity" and you will find that almost one and a half million web sites have something to say about the subject. If the United States is to avoid another major terrorist attack on its air transportation system without placing greater restrictions on the civil liberties of air travelers, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had better get smart.

Everyone who travels by air in the United States has a depressing story to tell about airport screening. Media stories of a gravely ill 95-year-old grandmother forced to remove her adult diaper before being allowed on a plane and viral videos showing terrified children being intimately touched by TSA agents are more than depressing. They are a chilling commentary on the police state increasingly accepted by the American public in the name of security.  Read more.

Children's Art and Children's Rights

Claudia Lefko @ Common Dreams - We’ve been here before, confronting this question of children’s art, and why it creates such a stir. I wrote about it in May 2006 when Brandeis University cancelled an exhibit of Palestinian children’s art. This cancellation seems even more egregious because the museum in question is specifically a children’s museum.

Who objects to children’s art in a children’s art museum? And, what should we make of a children’s museum that allows the concerns of those constituents to censor the views of children, denying their right to expression? I’m talking about the Oakland Children’s Museum (MOCHA) and its decision to cancel the exhibit A Child’s View of Gaza, which was to have opened there this week, on September 24.  Read more.

Social Justice Food Is Not Just About Food

The Nation - Forty years after the publication of Diet for a Small Planet, thousands of farmers’ markets are thriving across the United States, countless young and well-educated people want to become farmers, community gardens are being planted in inner cities, Walmart is championing local foods, the White House boasts an organic garden—and the poorest workers in the United States are earning about $1.50 less for every hour they work.  Read more.

Defying US, Palestine Seeks UN Recognition for Statehood

Inter Press Service - If there were any lingering doubts the Palestinians would not be able to garner the support of an overwhelming majority of member states at the United Nations, they were laid to rest when the 193-member General Assembly Friday gave a rousing and rapturous welcome to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  Read more.

Man Executed for Alabama Shooting

Reuters @ Irish Times - A man convicted of the 1994 execution-style shooting of a store clerk in Alabama was put to death yesterday by lethal injection in the third US execution this week.

Derrick O'Neal Mason (37), was pronounced dead at 6.49pm local time at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Department of Corrections spokesman Grantt Culliver said. Mason spent 16 years on death row.  Read more.

War and Shopping: The Extremism That Never Speaks Its Name

John Pilger @ Truthout - Looking for a bookshop that was no longer there, I walked instead into a labyrinth designed as a trap. Leaving became an illusion, rather like Alice once she had stepped through the looking glass. Walls of glass curved into concentric circles as one "store" merged into another: Armani Exchange with Dinki Di Pies. Exits led to gauntlets of more "offers" and "exciting options." Seeking a guide, I bought a lousy pair of sunglasses: anything to get out. It was a vision of hell. It was a Westfield mega mall.
This happened in Sydney - where the Westfield empire began - in a "mall" not half as mega as the one that opened in Stratford, East London, on 13 September. "Everything" is here, reported the architectural critic Jonathan Glancey: from Apple to Primark, McDonalds's to KFC and Krispy Kreme. There is a cinema with 17 screens and "luxurious VIP seats," and a mega "luxury" bowli…

Occupy Wallstreet

Z Space @ Common Dreams - The Your Comfort Committee announced with a smile, "I have some good news tonight. I think we have enough blankets." This was greeted with applause and the raising of hands while wiggling and shaking the fingers - to indicate appreciation; or, as they say at Liberty Plaza, to indicate that you are "into it."

Occupy Wall Street, initially a call to action from Adbusters for a seemingly arbitrary date, has been occupying Ziccotti Park in downtown Manhattan since September 17th. The occupiers, who insist on their website that all decisions are "decided through a consensus process by the group, for the group," have lost at least five today to arrest by the NYPD.
  Read more.

Ahmadinejad blasts U.S. over "mysterious" 9/11

CBS News - Making reference to what he called the "mysterious September 11th incident" and the "slave masters and colonial powers" of the West, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad excoriated Western member nations in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The Iranian leader's appearance Thursday has been met with protests by groups infuriated by his past comments calling Israel a "tumor" that should be wiped off the map and suggesting that the Holocaust did not occur.

Ahmadinejad attacked the United States for it's history of slavery, causing two world wars, using a nuclear bomb against "defenseless people," and imposing and supporting military dictatorships and totalitarian regimes on Asian, African and Latin American nations.  Read more.

World Shocked by U.S. Execution of Troy Davis

CNN - Troy Davis may be dead, but his execution Thursday in the American state of Georgia has made him the poster boy for the global movement to end the death penalty.

World figures, including Pope Benedict XVI and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, human groups and commentators urged the execution to be halted -- but to no avail. On Wednesday Davis was put to death by lethal injection for the 1989 killing of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail despite doubts being raised over the conviction.  Read more.

Expanding Network of Drone Bases to Hit Somalia, Yemen

Inter Press Service - As Somalia undergoes its worst famine in six decades and Yemen slides into civil war, the administration of President Barack Obama is expanding its network of bases to carry out drone strikes against suspected terrorists in both countries, according to reports published in two major U.S. newspapers Thursday.  Read more.

New Study Says US Night Raids Aimed at Afghan Civilians

Inter Press Service - U.S. Special Operations Forces have been increasingly aiming their night-time raids, which have been the primary cause of Afghan anger at the U.S. military presence, at civilian non- combatants in order to exploit their possible intelligence value, according to a new study published by the Open Society Foundation and The Liaison Office.

The study provides new evidence of the degree to which the criteria used for targeting of individuals in night raids and for seizing them during raids have been loosened to include people who have not been identified as insurgents.  Read more.

The Long, Murderous Arm of the Law Has Killed Troy Davis

Colorlines - Let us not mince words: The state of Georgia just murdered Troy Davis. The state coroner will list homicide as his cause of death. But he wasn’t the first and, sadly, he won’t be the last person slaughtered in the name of U.S. law and order. There are today dozens more people scheduled to be killed by states, according to Amnesty International. Their likely deaths represent the ultimate act of perversity in a system that destroys untold thousands of primarily black and brown lives every day.  Read more.

Over 20,000 Nurses to Strike California Hospitals Thursday

SF Chronicle - As many as 23,000 registered nurses are expected to walk off their jobs Thursday at Kaiser Permanente, Children's Hospital Oakland and many Sutter Health medical centers in Northern and Central California.

The Kaiser strike - which will involve about 17,000 nurses represented by the California Nurses Association-National Nurses United - is in sympathy with 1,500 mental health and optometry employees at Kaiser facilities in Northern California represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers.  Read more.

Troy Davis execution delayed while US supreme court considers stay

Guardian UK - The execution of Troy Davis was delayed temporarily by the US supreme court on Wednesday night, in a dramatic intervention just as he was due to be put to death by lethal injection.

As the first news came in at the Jackson prison that houses death row, a huge cheer erupted from a crowd of more than 500 protesters that had amassed on the other side of the road.  Read more.

Troy Davis asks Supreme Court to stop execution

CBS News - Troy Davis, the condemned inmate who convinced hundreds of thousands of people but not the justice system of his innocence, filed an eleventh-hour plea Wednesday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Georgia authorities from executing him for the murder of an off-duty police officer.

Though Davis' attorneys say seven of nine key witnesses against him have disputed all or parts of their testimony, state and federal judges have repeatedly ruled against granting him a new trial. As the court losses piled up Wednesday, his offer to take a polygraph test was rejected and the pardons board refused to give him one more hearing.  Read more.

A Circle of Prayer for Troy Davis—and the Country That Would Kill Him

Colorlines - Georgia is preparing to kill Troy Davis at 7 p.m. tonight. He was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, based largely on eyewitness testimony. In the intervening years, seven out of the nine eyewitnesses have either recanted or contradicted their trial testimony and people ranging from Desmond Tutu to former Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr have urged the state not to go through with the dubious execution. But the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole refused to grant clemency yesterday.

Troy has refused his last meal, opting to fast and pray. If the state carries out its plans, he will be strapped to a gurney. Needles will be thrust into his arms, so that three different lethal injection drugs will flow through his veins. If there is no last minute intervention, Troy will die.  Read more.

EPA Grants Shell Permits for Alaskan Offshore Drilling

The Hill - The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday granted Royal Dutch Shell air pollution permits the company needs to begin drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast next year.

The permits allow the company to operate the Discoverer drillship and supporting icebreakers, oil spill response vessels and other ships in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, according to EPA.  Read more.

Progressives Vow to Challenge Obama in Democratic Primaries

Atlanta Journal-Constitution - The state Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday has denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis after hearing pleas for mercy from Davis' family and calls for his execution by surviving relatives of a murdered Savannah police officer.

Davis' case has already taken more unexpected turns than just about any death-penalty case in Georgia history and his innocence claims have attracted international attention. Its resolution was postponed once again when the parole board late Monday announced it would not be making an immediate decision as to whether Davis should live or die.

Davis, 42, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson. He was sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.  Read more.

Wall Street's Secret Oil Games

Senator Bernie Sanders - The top six financial institutions in this country own assets equal to more than 60 percent of our gross domestic product and possess enormous economic and political power. One of the great questions of our time is whether the American people, through Congress, will control the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, or whether Wall Street will continue to wreak havoc on our economy and the lives of working families.

I represent Vermont, where many workers drive long distances to jobs that pay $12 an hour or less. Many seniors living on fixed incomes heat their homes with oil during our cold winters. These people have asked me to do all that I can to lower outrageously high gasoline and heating-oil prices. I intend to do just that.  Read more.

All the Countries the US is at War with after 9/11

Institute For Policy Studies - September 11 commemorations were everywhere this past weekend. My own view is that the devastating attacks of September 11 were, along with an enormous human tragedy, a huge crime, a crime against humanity. But they did not threaten our country’s existence, they did not threaten our democracy. It was the acts of September 12, when the Bush administration decided to take the world to war in response, that threatened and continue to threaten our country, our democracy, our security, and the security of much of the rest of the world.  Read more.

Dr. King’s vision is grotesquely deformed in Obama’s hands

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - Barack Obama’s politically expedient decision to betray and abandon his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, exposed his cowardice and moral bankruptcy. In that moment, playing the part of Judas, he surrendered the last shreds of his integrity. He became nothing more than a pawn of power, or as Cornel West says, “a black mascot for Wall Street.” Obama, once the glitter of power fades, will have to grapple with the fact that he was a traitor not only to his pastor, the man who married him and Michelle, who baptized his children and who kept him spiritually and morally grounded, but to himself. Wright retains what is most precious in life and what Obama has squandered—his soul.  Read more.

Resisting the Corporate Theft of Seeds

Vandana Shiva @ The Nation - We are in a food emergency. Speculation and diversion of food to biofuel has contributed to an uncontrolled price rise, adding more to the billion already denied their right to food. Industrial agriculture is pushing species to extinction through the use of toxic chemicals that kill our bees and butterflies, our earthworms and soil organisms that create soil fertility. Plant and animal varieties are disappearing as monocultures displace biodiversity. Industrial, globalized agriculture is responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gases, which then destabilize agriculture by causing climate chaos, creating new threats to food security.  Read more.

The theft of the American pension

Salon - America is in the midst of a retirement crisis. Over the last decade, we've witnessed the wholesale gutting of pension and retiree healthcare in this country. Hundreds of companies have slashed and burned their way through their employees' benefits, leaving former workers either on Social Security or destitute -- and taxpayers with a huge burden that, as the baby boomer generation edges towards retirement, is likely to grow. It's a problem that is already affecting over a million people -- and the most shocking part is, none of this needed to happen.  Read more.

Georgia Rally to Save Troy Davis Marches for Justice

NY Times @ Truthout - As Troy Davis faces his fourth execution date, the effort to save him has come to rival the most celebrated death row campaigns in recent history.

On Monday, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles will give Mr. Davis what is by all accounts his last chance to avoid death by lethal injection, scheduled for Wednesday.  Read more.

Companies Ejected From London Arms Fair for 'Promoting Cluster Bombs'

Guardian UK - The world's largest arms fair has thrown out two exhibitors after they were found to be promoting cluster munitions that have been banned by the UK and condemned by more than 100 other countries.

The organisers of the London exhibition said they had been unaware that the material was available and an investigation had been launched. But campaigners rounded on the Defense and Security Equipment International fair, saying it was "unbelievable" that more thorough checks had not been undertaken.  Read more.

Obama Co-Opts the Labor Movement

Shamus Cooke @ Truthout - Sadly, labor's complete lack of action to organize their constituents and wider community is directly responsible for much of the Tea Party's success, with big corporate money being the other prop. This dynamic will become more volatile as the jobs depression lurches on; more working people will be lured by anti-immigrant and anti-Islam and anti-union "solutions" to the recession unless an alternative is put forward.

So, what's holding labor back? Predictably, it's the old ball-and-chain Democrats that continues to crush any initiative from organized labor. As long as labor leaders hold the delusional belief that they are a listened to and a respected "partner" of the Democrats - a party controlled by the rich and the big corporations - they will continue to give inflammatory speeches against corporations and Republicans, while attaching themselves to any pathetic jobs program proposed by the president.

Rising Poverty Reflects Diminishing American Dream

SF Chronicle - Even Americans who have become numbed by the monthly release of perpetually pessimistic unemployment numbers - a "jobless recovery" is the ultimate oxymoron - should be jolted by the release of the latest Census Bureau figures on the economic state of the nation's households.

The report offers a portrait of a nation that is drifting steadily into a land of haves and have-nots - with the latter group suffering the most in the past decade.  Read more.

The $2 Billion UBS Incident: 'Rogue Trader' My Ass

Matt Tabbi @ Rolling Stone - The news that a "rogue trader" (I hate that term – more on that in a moment) has soaked the Swiss banking giant UBS for $2 billion has rocked the international financial community and threatened to drive a stake through any chance Europe had of averting economic disaster. There is much hand-wringing in the financial press today as the UBS incident has reminded the whole world that all of the banks were almost certainly lying their asses off over the last three years, when they all pledged to pull back from risky prop trading. Here’s how the WSJ put it:  Read more.

Fed Up With Failure After Failure: Dems Rip White House for Going 'AWOL' on Mortgage Crisis

The Hill - Leading House Democrats are accusing the Obama administration of ignoring the lingering mortgage crisis and threatening tens-of-millions of Americans with foreclosure in the process.

The lawmakers – encouraged by Obama's mention of mortgage-relief in his address to Congress last week – were quickly deflated just days later when their efforts to learn the details of the White House plan proved unsuccessful.

"The administration has been AWOL on this issue," charged Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), "and the American people are suffering because of the mismanagement."

"In my entire political career, I've never seen anything this irresponsible," he added.  Read more.

Georgia Plans to Kill Troy Davis Next Week. Can It Still Be Stopped? (VIDEO)

Colorlines - The order was signed on Sept. 6, at 3:53 p.m. “Within a time period commencing at noon on the 21st day of September … Troy Anthony Davis shall be executed by the Department of Corrections.”

The precise date and time of the execution was set shortly thereafter: Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

The method will be lethal injection.  Read more.

Working, but Still Poor

New American Media - From the president to Congress to nearly every neighborhood in America, the focus today is on job creation. But for millions of Americans, just having a job doesn’t mean prosperity or anything like it.

Nearly one in six Americans lived in poverty in 2010, according to data released today by the Census Bureau. That’s 46.2 million people, the highest number ever recorded in the 52 years that poverty estimates have been calculated.  Read more.

Banking for California's Future

Yes! Magazine - AB 750, California’s bill to study the feasibility of establishing a state-owned bank that would receive deposits of state funds, has passed both houses of the legislature and is now on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown awaiting his signature.

It could be the governor’s chance to restore the state to its former glory.  Read more.

Senator Bernie Sanders: Is Poverty a Death Sentence?

Press Release - Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at a Senate hearing he chaired today cited dramatic evidence linking poverty and shorter life spans. A new census report, meanwhile, said more Americans than ever before lived in poverty last year.

Sanders citied evidence that living in poverty greatly reduces access to health care and shortens life spans. “This is the first time in our history that children born in certain parts of the United States can expect to live shorter lives than their parents’ generation,” according to a report released at the hearing.

A separate Census Bureau report also released today said that more than 46 million Americans, about one in six, lived below the poverty line in 2010.  Read more.

Targeting Dissent

Truthout and ACLU Massachusetts - How little - yet how much - has changed in the last 40 years. The COINTELPRO papers sound distinctly 21st century as they detail the monitoring of perceived threats to "national security" by the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), Secret Service, and the military, as well as the intelligence bureaucracy's war on First Amendment protest activity.   Read more.

Uninsured by Ron Paul, His 2008 Campaign Manager Died Owing $400,000 for Medical Care

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - Ron Paul knows something about uninsured men dying without health insurance. Kent Snyder, who was Paul's 2008 presidential campaign manager, died on June 26 of that year without any medical coverage. His hospital bills had accumulated to $400,000 at the time of his passing.  Read more.

Millions of workers including police, firefighters, health workers, teachers and prison officers could strike over bitter pension row

Daily Mail UK - A 'winter of discontent' looks imminent as Unison, the country's biggest public sector workers' union, gave formal notice today that its 1.1 million members will be balloted for industrial action in the bitter row over pensions.

The Government face the threat of the biggest outbreak of industrial action since the 1926 General Strike after unions served notice of ballots over the row which will see workers pay an extra 3.2 per cent in pension contributions.  Read more.

How Obama Became the Curator of the Bush Legacy

Mike Davis @ Tom Dispatch - Two years from now the staffs of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker will move into the most haunted building in the world.  There, the elite of American celebrity photographers, gossip columnists, and magazine journalists may meet some macabre new muses.

Aloft in the upper stories of 1 World Trade Center (where Condé Nast publishing has signed the biggest lease), they will gaze out their windows at that ghostly void, just a few yards away, where 658 doomed employees of Cantor Fitzgerald were sitting at their desks at 8:46 AM, September 11, 2001.

Not to worry: The “Freedom Tower” -- the boosters reassure us -- will be an enduring consolation to the families of 9/11’s martyrs as well as an icon of civic and national renaissance.  Read more.

Militias Funded by US Accused of Rights Abuses

Independent UK - Militias in Afghanistan funded by the United States are terrorizing the communities they were supposed to protect, murdering, raping and torturing civilians, including children, extorting illegal taxes and smuggling contraband, according to a damning new report from Human Rights Watch.

In a 102-page report entitled 'Just Don't Call It a Militia' the group documents how the Afghan government and the U.S. military have provided guns and money to paramilitary groups without adequate oversight or accountability. Because of their links to senior Afghan officials, many of these groups operate with impunity.  Read more.

Taliban Attack Across Kabul, Target U.S. Embassy

Reuters @ Common Dreams - Taliban suicide fighters launched a multi-pronged attack in Kabul on Tuesday, firing rockets toward the U.S. and other embassies in central Kabul, and sending two suicide bombers to the city's West later in the afternoon.

The Taliban have launched a high-profile attacks on multiple targets in the capital in the past, but this is the first time they have organized simultaneous assaults on such separate parts of the city.  Read more.

Did You Know Gertrude Stein Nominated Adolf Hitler for a Nobel Prize in 1938? It Gets Worse

Buzz Flash - An otherwise extraordinary art exhibit at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, is marred by leaving out some salient, but disquieting historical facts, namely: Prior to World War II, Gertrude Stein nominated Adolf Hitler for the Nobel Peace Prize; and, she survived the Nazi occupation of France and the Vichy puppet government thanks to at least one well-known French anti-Semite with close ties to the Vichy and Nazi regimes. Some details are still not clear, but the evidence of de facto tacit "collaboration" is.  Read more.

Somalia is Paying a Colossal Price in the War on Terror

Guardian UK - Famine is the result of conflict as well as natural disasters. The plight of dying multitudes here is also bound up with 9/11.

In the past three months, 150,000 people have arrived in the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya. About 80% of them are women and children and many have walked 100km to reach the sprawling, crowded camp of 440,000 that now counts as Kenya's third largest city. This is all we can see of Somalia's famine – the ones who manage to get out. Those suffering in Somalia are largely beyond the reach of the television cameras and the aid agencies. This is a catastrophe the world is finding it easy to forget.  Read more.

New Generations in Europe Tipping Into Homelessness

Reuters @ Common Dreams - After 18 years cooking moussaka and roast lamb in restaurants around Greece, Petros Papadopoulos prepares lunch for 50 in a place he never expected to end up -- as a resident of a homeless shelter in Athens.

The soft-spoken chef, who admits he is not giving his real name for fear his friends and relatives will find out about his situation, had just bought a flat and was hoping to start a family when his dream was crushed by Greece's economic crisis.  Read more.

Millennial Math: 9+11=1984

Randal Amster @ Common Dreams - It’s been a decade since the day that changed everything -- or at least, the one that finally laid it all bare. Over the years, I’ve tried to confront it, rewrite it, debunk it, historicize it, mock it, and ultimately ignore it, all to no avail. It’s not going anywhere, this Trojan Horse of the new millennium, this farce that launched a thousand ships. We’re stuck with it, even though no matter how we crunch the numbers it still doesn’t really add up. Or does it?

As it turned out, homeland insecurity was the perfect foil for the hegemony of Homeland Security. Now the architects of Total Information Awareness can legally be in our phone calls, our emails, our bank accounts, our library cards, our internet browsers, our peace groups, our medical records, our gonads, our heads, and our hearts. We’ve been hornswoggled, hoodwinked, and hijacked into accepting pervasive incursions into every vestige of individual liberty and political democracy -- all done qui…

AP Review Finds No WikiLeaks Sources Threatened

Associated Press @ Common Dreams - Federica Ferrari Bravo's story of meeting American diplomats in Rome seven years ago hardly reads like a James Bond spy novel or a Cold War tale of a brave informant sharing secrets to help the United States.

So it came as a something of a surprise to her to hear that in one of the 250,000-odd State Department cables released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, she was deemed a source so sensitive U.S. officials were advised not to repeat her name.

"I don't think I said anything that would put me at risk," the Italian diplomat said.  Read more.

President Carter created more jobs than Bush and Obama combined

Flager Live - George W. Bush peddled two of the country’s largest tax cuts in history in 2001 and 2003 as job creators. His two terms created the fewest jobs since Herbert Hoover. Put another way, 10 times more jobs were created during Jimmy Carter’s four years–yes, Jimmy Carter–when the top marginal tax rate was 70 percent, than the 1 million net jobs created during Bush’s eight years, when the tax burden was lowered to the 1920s’ insignificant levels. And the Republican priesthood still preaches tax cuts as a miracle cure.  Read more.

Major Media: Whistling Past the Wreckage of Civil Liberties

Extra! Magazine - When the USA Patriot Act* was rushed into law after the September 11 attacks, the erosion of civil liberties the Act represented—the broad powers it gave law enforcement to spy on people, and the creation of the dangerously ill-defined crime of “domestic terrorism”—met with little detailed scrutiny or principled challenge from major media.

Typical at the time was a Today show segment (NBC, 10/27/01) in which anchor Soledad O’Brien grilled a concerned legal advocate, “But, certainly, isn’t there a sense in wartime that you have to give up some of your privacies, especially when you’re talking about terrorists who exploited the free-doms that America offers in order to perpetuate their terrorist acts?”

When provisions of the Patriot Act were extended in May 2011, most people didn’t hear even a lopsided debate. NBC Nightly News (5/27/11), for one, focused its report on the presidential autopen used to sign the legislation.  Read more.

Hail to the True Victors of Rupert Murdoch's Revolutio

John Pilger @ Truthout - On 13 September, one of the world's biggest arms fairs opens in London, backed by the British government. On 8 September, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry held a preview entitled "Middle East: A vast market for UK defence and security companies." The host was the Royal Bank of Scotland, a major investor in cluster bombs. According to Amnesty International, the victims of cluster bombs are 98 percent civilians and 30 percent children.

The RBScotland has received £20 million in public money. The blurb for the bank's arms party reads: "The Middle East is one of the regions with the greatest number of opportunities for UK defence and security companies. Saudi Arabia ... is the world's top defence importer, having spent $56bn in 2009 ... a very worthwhile region to target."

Such are the Cameron government's priorities following the great "humanitarian" victory in Libya.  Read more.

Headlines or Not, the Iraq War is Not Over

Institute For Policy Studies - It might seem like cause for celebration after reading the New York Times headline, "Iraq War Marks First Month with No U.S. Military Deaths." But the smaller print on the page reminds us why celebrating is not really in order: "Many Iraqis are killed..." The cost of this war is still way too high — in Iraqi lives and in our money.

With so much attention and so many billions of our tax dollars shifting from Iraq to the devastating and ever more costly war in Afghanistan, it is too easy to forget that there are still almost 50,000 U.S. troops occupying Iraq. We are still paying almost $50 billion just this year for the war in Iraq. And while we don't hear about it very often, many Iraqis are still being killed.  Read more.

The Private Prison Industry Makes Crime Profitable

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - If you want to make crime a growth industry to create more jobs, just privatize prisons.

It's happening across the nation. Heck, crime has been an institutional engine for a huge work force even in the public sector. Think of the hundreds of thousands of lawyers, judges, clerks, prison guards, police, parole officers, social workers etc. depending upon keeping people incarcerated.  Read more.

Violence settles down in Egypt after attack on Israeli Embassy (VIDEO)

CNN - Clashes in Cairo largely subsided Saturday, a day after an attack on the Israeli Embassy heightened tensions in Egypt and Israel.

Earlier Saturday, streets in Cairo looked like a war zone as violence intensified between security forces and protesters. Gunfire pierced the air as rocks, burning tires and fires from Molotov cocktails littered the streets.

The turmoil left three dead and 1,049 injured, the Egyptian Health Ministry said, according to the the state-sponsored Al-Ahram newspaper.

The Giza police station next to the Israeli Embassy and several police vehicles were set on fire, Al-Ahram reported.

A senior Israeli government official expressed relief Saturday that the violence had largely subsided.  Read more.

New Documents Implicate Gov't Watchdog Group in 9/11 Cover-up

Jeffery Kaye and Jason Leopold @ Truthout - Senior Pentagon officials scrubbed key details about a top-secret military intelligence unit's efforts in tracking Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda from official reports they prepared for a Congressional committee probing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, new documents obtained by Truthout reveal.

Moreover, in what appears to be an attempt to cover up the military unit's intelligence work on al-Qaeda and Bin Laden prior to 9/11, a September 2008 Defense Department (DoD) Inspector General's (IG) report that probed complaints lodged by the former deputy chief of the military unit in question, the Asymmetrical Threats Division of Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC), also known as DO5, about the crucial information withheld from Congress, claimed "the tracking of Usama Bin Ladin did not fall within JFIC's mission."

But the IG's assertion is untrue, according to the documents obtained by Truthout, and the discrepancy underc…

Obama's Economy: Worse than Zero

Jack Rasmus @ Truthout - Last Friday, September 2, 2011, the latest jobs report was released by the US Labor Department. It showed no jobs created for the month of August. Zero. Zip. The report confirmed the growing evidence that the US economy was on a track toward a serious economic relapse, at minimum, or a possible even worse double-dip recession.  Read more.

How Did This Happen to America?

Truthout - It was while I was explaining to an Australian student that Rupert Murdoch was the reason America had gone batty that I realized how inadequate my answer to his question was.

“How did this happen to America?”  I was in Australia just after the debt-ceiling debacle, and by “this” the student meant the highchair spoon-banging in Washington that had nearly caused a world financial tailspin.

As we talked, I saw that “this” also meant other jaw-dropping news that had reached them down under – like the near-unanimity among Republican presidential candidates that global warming is a hoax; the Gallup finding that 40 percent of Americans believe...read more.

Postal Workers: The Last Union

Allison Killkeney @ Truthout - The recent attacks against the United States Postal Service (USPS) are more than signs of desperate times - a natural sunset moment for a service rendered archaic by FedEx and UPS. Rather, the Postal Service has been under constant, vicious assault for years from the right, who views this as an epic battle with the goal of finally taking down the strongest union in the country, the largest employer in the United States (second only to Wal-Mart,) and a means to roll the country ever closer toward the abyss of privatization.

The Postal Service, which is older than the Constitution itself, stands at a precipice.  Read more.

Analyst: While HP Reassesses Its Options, You Should Too

Read Write Enterprise - It's often said that business leaders make their companies in their own image. In that case, no two images ever stood in starker contrast with one another than the Hewlett-Packard of former CEO Mark Hurd, and the Hewlett-Packard of present CEO Léo Apotheker. Whether for better or worse, HP is becoming a different company than the one many enterprise clients signed their contracts with just a few years ago.

That fact has led one Forrester analyst to recommend this to his firm's clients: not that they dump HP, but that they make a careful re-assessment of their business relationship with the firm, taking into consideration whether a contingency plan for switching vendors might be in order.  Read more.

In Euro Zone, Banking Fear Feeds on Itself

NY Times @ Truthout - Remember the collapse of Lehman Brothers? Europeans certainly do.

As Europe struggles to contain its government debt crisis, the greatest fear is that one of the Continent’s major banks may fail, setting off a financial panic like the one sparked by Lehman’s bankruptcy in September 2008.

European policy makers, determined to avoid such a catastrophe, are prepared to use hundreds of billions of euros of bailout money to prevent any major bank from failing.  Read more.

It’s Time for a New—and Real—Populist Uprising

Buffalo News - Imagine this: Americans are frustrated by taxation policies that they consider to be unfair. They scoff at politicians who are either corrupted or uncaring. They demand a drastic fiscal policy change to address serious shortcomings in the economy.

This is not the story of recent American political history. It’s the 1890s.

In that decade from long ago, the Populist Party (also known as the People's Party) emerged as a viable alternative to the two main parties, which seemed to be ignoring the difficulties of average Americans.  Read more.

Despite Exploding Volcanoes, Iceland World's Most Peaceful Nation

Inter Press Service - When Johanna Sigurdardottir was sworn in as Iceland's head of government back in February 2009, she was described as the world's first openly gay prime minister.

But in a country with progressive political views and liberal social mores, her sexual orientation was never considered a liability.

She took power following a riveting financial crisis when Iceland was on the verge of becoming the world's first country to go bankrupt. But it defied the economic onslaught.  Read more.

Obama’s jobs plan: Go work for free!

American Prospect @ Common Dreams - On Wednesday, I posted an item titled “How Not to Solve the Jobs Problem.” The case in point is President Barack Obama’s embrace of a state program called Georgia Works, which tries to turn unemployment insurance into a kind of sing-for-your-supper “workfare” program.  Read more.

Today We Risk Arrest for Justice; Tomorrow We Organize for It

We Are Powershift - Today we sit to demand justice. Tomorrow, we’re getting back up to organize in our communities to ensure justice. And we’re calling on you to join us.

A growing movement of young people has been organizing to build a more clean and just economy that works for all of us, addresses the climate crisis and creates jobs for those who need them. Together, we will build an economy steered by communities, not corporations.  Read more.

The Zero Economy

Robert Reich - The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today no jobs were created in August. Zero. Nada.

Well, not quite. The strike at Verizon reduced the labor force by 45,000. Minnesota government employees returned to work, adding 22,000. So in reality, America added 23,000 jobs. Almost zero.

In reality, worse than zero. We need 125,000 a month merely to keep up with population growth. So the hole continues to deepen.  Read more.

Turkey to Challenge Gaza Blockade at International Court of Justice

Guardian UK - Turkey is to challenge Israel's blockade on Gaza at the International Court of Justice, amid a worsening diplomatic crisis between the once close allies.

The announcement by Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu appears to rebuff UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon's attempt to defuse the row over Israel's armed assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine people were killed.

Turkey dramatically downgraded its relations with Israel, cutting military ties with its former ally and expelling the country's ambassador over his government's refusal to apologise for the killings of eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish American last May.  Read more.

Libya: Here We Go Again

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - Here we go again. The cheering crowds. The deposed dictator. The encomiums to freedom and liberty. The American military as savior. You would think we would have learned in Afghanistan or Iraq. But I guess not. I am waiting for a trucked-in crowd to rejoice as a Gadhafi statue is toppled and Barack Obama lands on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit to announce “Mission Accomplished.” War, as long as you view it through the distorted lens of the corporate media, is not only entertaining, but allows us to confuse state power with personal power. It permits us to wallow in unchecked self-exaltation. We are a nation that loves to love itself.  Read more.

Nurses to Obama: Heal America, Tax Wall Street!

PRWatch - As President Obama gets ready for his big jobs speech Thursday, America’s nurses have a message for him. "Heal America, Tax Wall Street!" the signs read as nurses rallied in front of 61 Congressional offices this week. The nurses are proposing a bold alternative to the “cut, cut, cut” rhetoric emanating from Washington, D.C.

Their proposal? “It’s time for the Wall Street financiers who created this crisis and continue to hold much of the nation’s wealth to start contributing to rebuild this country and for the American people to regain their future,”  Read more.

The Jobs Mirage: How Much More Work Do Humans Really Need?

Jeffery J. Smith @ Truthout - While honest toil is honorable, a day to honor labor does make it easy to overlook certain realities, such as: Why do both left and right clamor for more jobs? Would those who get to opine for a living be willing to perform the jobs they'd impose upon others? And why jobs? If work is the only way one can be worthy of an income, why not also clamor for self-employment and start-ups? Must the jobless

look forward to having a boss their entire lives? And are more jobs needed, or even possible?

Instead of clamor for jobs, why not clamor for a shorter workweek and divide the necessary work among more people?  Read more.

A Decade After the 9/11 Attacks, Americans Live in an Era of Endless War

Washington Post - To grasp its sweep, it helps to visit Fort Campbell, Ky., where the Army will soon open a $31 million complex for wounded troops and those whose bodies are breaking down after a decade of deployments.

The Warrior Transition Battalion complex boasts the only four-story structure on the base, which at 105,000 acres is more than twice the size of Washington, D.C. The imposing brick-and-glass building towers over architecture from earlier wars.  Read more.

Famin In Somalia: A man-made disaster

Guardian UK - The emergency unfolding in and around Somalia is being portrayed by many aid organisations and the media in one-dimensional terms, such as "famine in the Horn of Africa" or "worst drought in 60 years". But only blaming natural causes ignores the complex geopolitical realities exacerbating the situation and suggests that the solution lies in merely finding funds and shipping enough food. Glossing over the man-made causes of hunger and starvation in the region and the difficulties in addressing them will not help resolve the crisis.  Read more.

Get out of the way of Eric Schneiderman!

Obama Pulls Back Proposal to Tighten Clean Air Rules

NY Times - The Obama administration is abandoning its plan to immediately tighten air-quality rules nationwide to reduce emissions of smog-causing chemicals after an intense lobbying campaign by industry, which said the new rule would cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, officials said Friday.

The Environmental Protection Agency, following the recommendation of its scientific advisers, had proposed lowering the so-called ozone standard from that set by the Bush administration to a new stricter standard that would have thrown hundreds of American counties out of compliance with the Clean Air Act. It would have required a major effort by state and local officials, as well as new emissions controls by industries and agriculture across the country.  Read more.

U.S. Awash in Oil and Lies, Report Charges

Inter Press Service - With four times as many oil rigs pumping domestic oil today than eight years ago and declining domestic demand, the United States is awash in oil. In fact, the U.S. exports more oil than it imports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration - and has done so for nearly two decades.

The country's oil industry is primarily interested in who will pay the most on the global marketplace. They call that "energy security" when it suits, but in reality it is "oil company security" through maximizing profit...read more.

Insurance costs are killing small business, say owners

McClatchy Newspapers - Politicians and business groups often blame excessive regulation and fear of higher taxes for tepid hiring in the economy. However, little evidence of that emerged when McClatchy canvassed a random sample of small business owners across the nation.

"Government regulations are not 'choking' our business, the hospitality business," Bernard Wolfson, the president of Hospitality Operations in Miami, told The Miami Herald. "In order to do business in today's environment, government regulations are necessary and we must deal with them. The health and safety of our guests depend on regulations. It is the government regulations that help keep things in order."  Read more.

North Dakota's Economic "Miracle" - It's Not Oil

YES! Magazine - North Dakota is the only state to be in continuous budget surplus since the banking crisis of 2008. Its balance sheet is so strong that it recently reduced individual income taxes and property taxes by a combined $400 million, and is debating further cuts. It also has the lowest foreclosure rate and lowest credit card default rate in the country, and it has had NO bank failures in at least the last decade.

If its secret isn’t oil, what is so unique about the state? North Dakota has one thing that no other state has: its own state-owned bank.

Access to credit is the enabling factor that has fostered both a boom in oil and record profits from agriculture in North Dakota.  Read more.

Turkey Expels Israeli Ambassador Over Flotilla Raid

NY Times @Truthout - Turkey said on Friday that it was downgrading its diplomatic and military ties with Israel and expelling its ambassador in a display of anger at Israel’s refusal to apologize for a commando raid last year on a Turkish protest flotilla bound for Gaza in which nine people died.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey would reduce its diplomatic representation in Israel to the level of second secretary — one of the lowest diplomatic ranks — and had ordered Israel’s ambassador, Gabby Levy, to leave Turkey by Wednesday. Reuters said Mr. Levy was currently in Israel and had canceled plans to return to Turkey.  Read more.

Iraqi Children in US Raid Shot in Head, UN Says

Kansas City Star - A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.

The unclassified cable, which was posted on WikiLeaks' website last week, contained questions from a United Nations investigator about the incident, which had angered local Iraqi officials, who demanded some kind of action from their government. U.S. officials denied at the time that anything inappropriate had occurred.  Read more.

California set to pass a Dream Act

NY Times @ Truthout - The California Legislature is poised to pass a law that would allow illegal immigrants to receive state-financed aid for college. Known as the California Dream Act, the bill underscores the ways states are navigating their own way through controversial immigration issues, as the Obama administration has been unable to make headway on plans for an overhaul of immigration laws.

While the state law would do nothing to provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, it would provide them with more education benefits than they have in any other state.  Read more.


A Decade of "Homeland Security"

Nancy Murray and Kade Crockford @ Truthout - On August 5, 2002, President George Bush declared, "We're fighting ... to secure freedom in the homeland." Strikingly, he did not use the word "nation," or "republic," but instead adopted a term, with its Germanic overtones of blood, roots and loyalty going back generations, for a country that is not the ancestral home of most of its citizens.

Soon after, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 created the massive Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an amalgam of 22 agencies and nearly 200,000 employees. The FBI and CIA remained outside the DHS, while the military, in October 2002, established its own Northern Command (NORTHCOM) to defend the "homeland."  Read more.