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Showing posts from June, 2012

Nora Ephron Remembered By Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman

MTV News - Nora Ephron's impact on the world of film — particularly romantic comedies, thanks to her memorable scripts for big-screen classics "When Harry Met Sally ..." and "Sleepless in Seattle" — was felt in the wake of the news that the screenwriter, journalist and director passed away on Tuesday at the age of 71 from pneumonia.  Read more.

African-American prisoner dies after nurse turns ambulance away

The Grio - The mother of a Minnesota prisoner has filed a lawsuit after her son died when a nurse turned an ambulance away that was sent the prison doctor after the inmate suffered a seizure. Xavius Scullark-Johnson, 27, was serving a five month sentence for a parole violation and was set to be released just three weeks after his death.  Read more.

Xavius Scullark-Johnson dies in prison after being denied medical care

TwinCities.com - Olivia Scullark's 27-year-old son was less than three months from getting out of prison when the state "put him to death," she believes.

The St. Paul man had seizures in his Rush City cell and collapsed, lying in his own urine overnight. Minnesota Department of Corrections nurses and correctional officers did not provide medical care for eight hours and one nurse turned away an ambulance, according to claims in a federal lawsuit seeking more than $1 million, filed Monday, June 25. Xavius Scullark-Johnson died.  Read more.

Is Barack Obama Morphing Into Dick Cheney?

Four Ways the President Is Pursuing Cheney's Geopolitics of Global Energy

Tom Dispatch - As details of his administration’s global war against terrorists, insurgents, and hostile warlords have become more widely known -- a war that involves a mélange of drone attacks, covert operations, and presidentially selected assassinations -- President Obama has been compared to President George W. Bush in his appetite for military action.  “As shown through his stepped-up drone campaign,” Aaron David Miller, an advisor to six secretaries of state, wrote at Foreign Policy, “Barack Obama has become George W. Bush on steroids.”  Read more.

The Jerry Sandusky Trial and Child Sexual Abuse's Walking Wounded

Ellen Magnis @ Guardian UK - One reason victims of abuse often suffer in silence is because they know we don't want to hear about it. But now we must listen.

Nobody asked me why I stopped talking for several months when I turned 11. As a child, my "normal" state was shy but impish, with my head buried in a book.

Silence was the only coping mechanism I could conjure. I didn't know how else to respond to the molestation of my young body and spirit by my alcoholic stepfather. I didn't speak for several months. That muteness was noticed by many, but attributed to other causes.  Read more.

Albert Einstein: Radical Citizen and Scientist

Peter Dreier @ Truthout - During a visit to California in 1931, physicist Albert Einstein, then living in Europe, asked to meet actor Charlie Chaplin, also an international celebrity and political radical. Chaplin invited him to the premier of the film "City Lights." As they posed for photographers, Chaplin commented, "They cheer for me because they all understand me and they cheer for you because nobody understands you."  Read more.

Veterans Forced to Attend Anti-Union Meetings on Army Base

In These Times - Jason Croic is a Marine combat veteran who served 28 months in Iraq. When he came home, he found a job working for $18 an hour as a mechanic on Stryker vehicles for General Dynamics Land Systems in Fort Lewis, Washington. Croic now has a new combatant, as his employer is attempting to stop him and his fellow contractors from joining Local 286 of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).

For the last six months, Croic and 120 of his co-workers, nearly half of whom are veterans, have been forced to attend anti-union meetings, in which General Dynamics managers make them watch films about why unions are bad. General Dynamics has routinely told workers that if they vote to join union that it will likely lead to General Dynamics losing their contract with the U.S. Army. On several occasions, General Dynamics has even flown some of their top corporate officials out on Lear jets from their corporate headquarters in Sterling Heights, Michigan, to explain to the wo…

Kansas Board of Health Revokes License of Doctor for Not Forcing Ten-Year-Olds to Give Birth

RH Reality Check - In a continuing effort to both curb access to abortion and reiterate their own opinion that there is never any situation where abortion could be necessary for a patient's well-being, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts has decided in favor of revoking Dr. Ann Neuhaus's medical license. Neuhaus, a colleague of Dr. George Tiller, assisted him by providing second opinions for mental health exceptions for late abortions.  Read more.

Prominent Americans urge Ecuador to accept Julian Assange's asylum request

Ben Quinn @ Guardian UK - A letter signed by leading US figures in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's application for political asylum in Ecuador has been delivered to the country's London embassy.

Among those who signed the letter were Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky and Danny Glover.  Read more.

Germany Swaps Nuclear for Solar and Wind Power

YES! Magazine - Germany, the world’s most aggressive adopter of renewable energy, is taking a bold leap toward a future free from nuclear energy. In March, the German government announced a program to invest 200 billion euros, or approximately $270 billion, in renewables. That’s 8 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the DIW Economic Institute in Berlin.  Read more.

Economic War Against Iran Continues; Still No Evidence of a Weapons Program

Teachers In Crosshairs

David Macaray @ Common Dreams - During my twenty-odd years as a union rep in a big-time factory (a 44-acre paper mill), I had occasion to talk to over a hundred people about the things we most regretted in our lives.  It’s true.  That was our topic of discussion….regrets.  Things we hadn’t done but wish we had, things we had done but wish we hadn’t, and things we would do differently if we could go back and repeat them.  The whole gamut.

These conversations weren’t nearly as confrontational or melodramatic as they sound.  They weren’t exercises in psychodrama or brutal self-analysis so much as casual, idiosyncratic ways of passing time on swing-shift or graveyard.  They were fun.  In a highly automated, modern plant like ours you could do your job quite efficiently and still have time to swap life stories with your fellow workers.  Which is what we did.   Read more.

America: A Fire Sale to Foreign Corporations

Brian Moench @ Common Dreams - This maybe one of the most important stories ever ignored by the "lame stream, liberal" media. It’s unlikely you’re losing sleep over US trade negotiations, but the unfolding business agreement between the US and eight Pacific nations --the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- should cause every US citizen, from the Sierra Club to the Tea Party to get their pitch forks and torches out of the closet and prepare to “storm the Bastille.”  Read more.

Killer Drone Attacks Illegal, Counter-Productive

Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer @ Common Dreams - The Bush administration detained and tortured suspected militants; the Obama administration assassinates them. Both practices not only visit more hatred upon the United States; they are also illegal. Our laws and treaties prohibit torture. The Constitution forbids the government from depriving any person of life without due process of law; that is, arrest and fair trial. Yet President Obama has approved the killing of people, many of whom were not even identified before the kill order was given.  Read more.

Collapsing U.S. credibility

Glenn Greenwald @ Solon - Two Op-Eds in The New York Times this morning both warn of the precipitous decline of American credibility on matters of human rights and peace ushered in by the Obama presidency. Taken together, they explain much of why I’ve been writing what I’ve been writing over the last three years. The first is from Columbia Professor and cyber expert Misha Glenny, who explains the significance of the first ever deployment of cyberwarfare — by the U.S. (first under Bush and accelerated under Obama), along with Israel, against Iran:  Read more.

Jimmy Carter: United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights

Jimmy Carter @ NY Times - Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.  Read more.

Supreme Court Extends Power of Corporations to Buy Elections

John Nichols @ The Nation - The U.S. Supreme Court may still retain some familiarity with the Constitution when it comes to deciding the nuances of cases involving immigration policy and lifetime incarceration. But when it comes to handing off control of American democracy to corporations, the court continue to reject the intents of the founders and more than a century of case law to assure that CEOs are in charge.  Read more.

Yes, Barack Obama Thinks We're Stupid: Are We?

Matt Stoller @ Naked Capitalism - Recently, Barack Obama announced a laudable new policy position on immigration. His administration will no longer deport undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children by their parents, as long as they don't get in trouble with the law. These are people who are essentially Americans without citizenship, and the risk of deportation to a country they don't really know is a terrifying and unfair. Aside from this serving the cause of justice and human decency, this is a long overdue move to reward a constituency group, happening in an election year. It's worth understanding how this policy change came about, so that one can get a sense of the incentives that animate the White House policy shop.  Read more.

New LGBT Politics in the South and Midwest

Jamilah King @ Colorlines - The movement for LGBT rights and community has expanded well beyond the once-dominant circles of Washington, D.C., New York and California. Today, leaders in the South and Midwest are working to build their own political communities in their own ways—and increasingly, that means creating links between LGBT rights and the many other issues that impact their lives, including racial justice. In an accompanying article, "The New LGBT Politics," I explore how that work is shaping the movement's future. But just who are some of the folks leading that shift? Below are 10 such individuals and organizations—pastors and cyclists, artists and academics—who are helping to reshape the LGBT movement.  Read more.

Muslim Brotherhood Wins Egyptian Presidential Election

NY Times @ Truthout - Election regulators named Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood the winner of Egypt's first competitive presidential elections, handing the Islamist group a symbolic triumph and a new weapon in its struggle for power with the ruling military council.

After an hourlong speech in which he detailed dozens of specific inquiries down to the ballot-box level, the chairman of the election commission, Farouk Sultan, announced that Mr. Morsi had won 51.7 percent of the runoff vote completed last weekend. The other candidate, the former general Ahmed Shafik, won 48.3 percent.

In Tahrir Square, where hundreds of thousands had gathered to await the result, the confirmation of Mr. Morsi's win brought instant, rollicking celebration. Fireworks went up over the crowd, which took up a pulsing, deafening chant: "Morsi! Morsi!"  Read more.

Sincere Ignorance and Consciencious Stupidity

Henry Giroux @ Truthout - The American public is suffering from an education deficit. By this I mean it exhibits a growing inability to think critically, question authority, be reflective, weigh evidence, discriminate between reasoned arguments and opinions, listen across differences and engage the mutually informing relationship between private problems and broader public issues. This growing political and cultural illiteracy is not merely a problem of the individual, one that points to simple ignorance. It is a collective and social problem that goes to the heart of the increasing attack on democratic public spheres and supportive public institutions that promote analytical capacities, thoughtful exchange and a willingness to view knowledge as a resource for informed modes of individual and social agency. One of the major consequences of the current education deficit and the pervasive culture of illiteracy that sustains it is what I call the ideology of the big lie - which propagate…

What the JCPenney Dad Got for Father's Day

Advocate.com - This Father’s Day, Todd and I received one of the best gifts any person, father or not, can receive — the gift of overwhelming love and support.

Earlier this year, we were approached by representatives from JCPenney about our family being part of their Father’s Day catalog celebrating the diversity of real-life dads. We instantly agreed, knowing that this would be a great opportunity to “normalize” families like ours in the minds of millions of everyday Americans. Little did we know that it would create the media frenzy that it has, or a tidal wave of love and support.  Read more.

Poorer Nations Push for Universal Health Coverage as U.S. Squabbles

Bangor Daily News (Maine) - A few weeks ago, an article by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times caught my eye. It was titled “Global Push to Guarantee Health Coverage Leaves U.S. Behind” and it described how “even as Americans debate whether to scrap President Obama’s health care law and its promise of guaranteed health coverage, many far less affluent nations are moving in the opposite direction — to provide medical insurance to all citizens.”  Read more.

Disenchanted Egyptians Spoil Their Ballots

Al Jazeera (Blogs) - Many pro-revolution Egyptians, particularly young people who have become disenchanted with the quickly derailing transition process, have refused to vote for either the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi or Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister.

Some have joined the apparently growing number of those who are not voting, either to boycott the process or because they have simply lost interest. Others, though, have taken the additional step of spoiling their ballots.  Read more.

Eight Defendants Found Guilty in Occupy Trespass Case

John Knefel @ Truthout - The trial that pitted Occupy Wall Street (OWS) against Trinity Wall Street ended on June 18, with Judge Matthew Sciarrino ruling that all eight defendants were guilty of misdemeanor trespassing. In addition, defendant Mark Adams was found guilty of attempted criminal mischief and attempted possession of burglary tools. Adams was sentenced to 45 days in jail to be served on Rikers Island and was led from the courtroom in handcuffs. The other seven defendants were given four days community service and forced to pay a $200 mandatory court surcharge.  Read more.

How Can Labor Combat Obama's Secret "NAFTA of the Pacific"?

Labor Notes - The latest project of corporations seeking to ease movement of capital around the globe is the Trans Pacific Partnership, known by activists as "NAFTA of the Pacific."

Text of the proposal that leaked this week, released by the consumer group Public Citizen, indicate the free trade proposal will continue strong rights for investors and weak protections for labor, the environment, and local democracy.  Read more.

Department of Justice Accused of Undermining FOIA Ombudsman

Jason Leopold @ Truthout - The Obama administration continues to disseminate a flawed narrative about President Obama's commitment to open government. Just last week, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters during a press briefing that President Obama has taken steps, "unprecedented in American presidential administration history," to "enhance transparency."

But Carney's rhetoric is not supported by the facts, as has been documented time and again over the past three years.

Indeed, one veteran Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requester said, "there's no question about it," the Obama administration is "the worst on FOIA issues."

"This administration is raising one barrier after another.... It's gotten to the point where I'm stunned - I'm really stunned," Washington lawyer Katherine Meyer told Politico earlier this year.  Read more.

Michigan Lawmaker Banned From Speaking After Saying 'Vagina' in Abortion Legislation Debate

Common Dreams - Michigan state Rep. Lisa Brown (D) has been blocked from speaking on the House floor in an apparent attempt to punish her for using the word "vagina" on Wednesday during a debate on legislation on reproductive rights.

Speaking out against anti-abortion bills on the floor, Brown said “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina,” she said on the House floor. 'But no means no.'"  Read more.

Seven More States May Legalize Medical Marijuana in 2012

Ben Sherman @ Think Progress - Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. In the second half of 2012, seven more states will decide, either in the state legislature or via ballot initiatives, whether they will join them in legalizing the use of marijuana, in whole or in part.

Recent polling shows that 3/4 of Americans support the right to use state-sanctioned medical marijuana. Support for full marijuana legalization is at an all-time high of 50%.  Read more.

Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil

Wired - We like to think of the drone war as something far away, fought in the deserts of Yemen or the mountains of Afghanistan. But we now know it’s closer than we thought. There are 64 drone bases on American soil. That includes 12 locations housing Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, which can be armed.

Public Intelligence, a non-profit that advocates for free access to information, released a map of military UAV activities in the United States on Tuesday. Assembled from military sources — especially this little-known June 2011 Air Force presentation (.pdf) – it is arguably the most comprehensive map so far of the spread of the Pentagon’s unmanned fleet. What exact missions are performed at those locations, however, is not clear. Some bases might be used as remote cockpits to control the robotic aircraft overseas, some for drone pilot training. Others may also serve as imagery analysis depots.  Read more.

An Open Thank You Letter to Teachers

Zoe Well @ Common Dreams - Another school year is over, and there’s a good chance you haven’t been thanked for another year’s hard work. That might actually be quite an understatement. Not only may you have failed to receive real appreciation for your work, your salary and benefits may have been cut while your hours were increased. You may have had more students to teach and more requirements to fulfill. You may not even be sure you’ll be teaching next fall, depending upon budget cuts, even though you are a good and dedicated teacher.  Read more.

Police Raid Anti-Fracking Encampment in Pennsylvania

The New Obama Doctrine, A Six-Point Plan for Global War

Nick Turse @ Tom Dispatch - It looked like a scene out of a Hollywood movie.  In the inky darkness, men in full combat gear, armed with automatic weapons and wearing night-vision goggles, grabbed hold of a thick, woven cable hanging from a MH-47 Chinook helicopter.  Then, in a flash, each “fast-roped” down onto a ship below.  Afterward, “Mike,” a Navy SEAL who would not give his last name, bragged to an Army public affairs sergeant that, when they were on their game, the SEALs could put 15 men on a ship this way in 30 seconds or less.  Read more.

Revolution is the Only Way to Save Egypt

Guardian UK - The first foreign leader to travel to Egypt after President Mubarak's downfall was David Cameron. He arrived on a five-hour stopover to be greeted by Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, and now favorite to win this weekend's presidential election runoff.

The two prime ministers shook hands for their photo-op. Cameron went on to sell arms in the Gulf, and within days the revolution he claimed to celebrate began a sit-in to oust Shafiq.  Read more.

Egypt's Judicial Coup: Muslim Brotherhood-Run Parliament Dissolved, Military Gains Power

US Drone Wars Fuels Global Dismay with Obama Presidency

Guardian UK - The poll reveals particular hostility to US drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. Although Washington claims the attacks are carefully targeted at major terrorists, they frequently kill civilians.

The drone strikes are backed by 62% of Americans but have only minority support in every other country polled by Pew. The strongest overseas support for the US strategy is in Britain, where 44% approve and 47% are against. But in France, China, Mexico and Russia there are large majorities opposed to it.

The US president's standing remains strong in Europe, where he has an 80% approval rating – down just 6% on three years ago. But it is a different story elsewhere. The sharpest drop in confidence in Obama has been in China, where support has fallen from 62% in 2009 to just 38% this year.  Read more.

90,000 protest upcoming election in Mexico

CNN - Protesters marched and packed the main square of Mexico City on Sunday, slamming the candidate widely seen as the front-runner in next month's presidential elections.

Enrique Peña Nieto, the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate, leads in polls. His party -- better known as the PRI -- ruled for some 70 years, before losing the presidency in 2000. Demonstrators say his winning would be a step back for democracy in Mexico.  Read more.

Dear Bank of America, We're Not Leaving Our Homes

Yes! Magazine - The fight against unjust evictions just got fiercer as the national Occupy movement joins forces with community anti-foreclosure groups.

Since the real estate bubble burst, conditions for a national fight against foreclosures and evictions have seemed ideal. "Too big to fail" banks have refused to offer homeowners struggling with high mortgage payments any meaningful relief, despite receiving billions of dollars in public bailouts. More than one in five home mortgages in the country are "underwater" —with the mortgage greater than the market value of the home—resulting in about $700 billion in negative equity. Overall, more than 4 million homes were lost due to foreclosure between 2006 and 2011. In response, community organizations in cities throughout the country ramped up their work to keep families in their homes through local direct action.  Read more.

Recovery? What Recovery?

Ted Rail @ Common Dreams - “Worst U.S. Jobs Data in a Year Signals Stalling Recovery,” The New York Times ran as its lead headline on June 2. The Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy created 69,000 jobs during May. The three-month job-creation average was 96,000. Unemployment ticked up a tenth of a point, from 8.1 to 8.2 percent.

Once again, the media is downplaying a blockbuster story—recovery? what recovery?—by dulling it down with a pile of dry, impenetrable statistics.  Read more.

New Media—but Familiar Lack of Diversity

Extra! - Recent years have seen much rallying around “traditional” journalism in the face of its supposedly imminent demise, including the mythologizing of pre-Internet news media as a force of social cohesion. Lamenting the “culture of observing events from ‘inside’ a community,” Washington Post columnist and associate editor David Ignatius (5/2/10) contended:  Read more.

Canadian Pipeline Spills Crude Oil into Major River

Common Dreams - Oil company Plains Midstream Canada has announced that a large oil spill has erupted from its Plains' Rangeland Pipeline operations in West-Central Alberta. The company estimates up to 3,000 barrels of 'sour crude' oil has leaked into a large river system surrounded by 'pristine wilderness'. The spill is the second in 13 months from Plains Midstream, who has now halted operations as emergency crews attempt to clean up the spill.  Read more.

Turkish Court Indicts Senior Israeli Military Officials in Murders on Gaza Flotilla

Ann Wright @ War Is A Crime - Two years ago I was a passenger on the first Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was sailing to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. I watched from a small boat called the Challenger 1, as a much larger boat, the Mavi Marmara, with almost 600 passengers, was brutally attacked by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) commandos. 30 minutes later, our boat was attacked.  Read more.

Speaking Truth to Chevron: An Interview With Nigerian Eco-Feminist Emem Okon

Antonia Juhasz @ Ms. Magazine - Last week, leaders of communities harmed by oil giant Chevron descended upon the company’s annual shareholder meeting in San Ramon, California to demand environmental justice and human rights. Participants from as far away as Angola, Ecuador, and Brazil joined with the True Cost of Chevron network (of which I am a part) and some 150 local protesters to decry Chevron’s abuses both around the globe and here in the U.S., from California to Texas to Washington, D.C..  Read more.

Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops

NY Times News Service @ Truthout - The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.  Read more.

States to Residents: Forget Promises to Restore School Funding

Remapping Debate - When Wichita Public Schools Superintendent John Allison learned that, thanks to rising revenues, Kansas was projected to have a budget surplus of more than $300 million at the end of the year - the state’s first surplus since the recession - he hoped that the legislature would use the money to restore the hundreds of millions of dollars that it had cut from education in the last three years.

From 2008 to the end of the current fiscal year on June 30th, Kansas will have slashed school funding by nearly $700 per student, a decline of more than 12 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. In Wichita, the state’s largest school district, those cuts came to about $60 million of its $600 million budget, Allison said, and translated into large-scale layoffs; the closure of five schools; the elimination of programs such as driver’s education, art, and music; the curtailment of professional development for teachers; and the deferral of necessary maintenance to school buildings.

“…

Why I Returned My Medals

Graham Clumper @ Truthout - On 9/11, I watched the second tower crumble from my chair in history class. I was seventeen. There was never a question as to what path my future held. I was an American and my country was under attack. How could I look my children in the eye someday and tell them I wasn't a part of the biggest event of my generation? I bought into the idea of America liberating the Afghan people hook, line and sinker. I enlisted in the United States Army to become a Ranger; to liberate the women of Afghanistan and to end the tyranny of Islamic fundamentalism.  Read more.

Nuns On The Bus: Don't Mess With the Sisters

Abby Zimnet @ Common Dreams - In the latest salvo in their ongoing battle with a Stone-Age-minded Vatican - which has accused them of spending too much time supporting social justice and not enough blasting gay marriage - a group of Roman Catholic nuns is taking a nine-state bus tour this month to highlight their work with the poor and the damage that would be done by budget cuts proposed by Paul Ryan.  Read more.

Greek far-right Golden Dawn Mp slaps another member in LIVE Tv (with English subtitles)

UN backs probe into US drone civilian casualties

Agence France Press @ Khaleej Times (UAE) - The UN human rights chief on Thursday called for a UN investigation into US drone strikes in Pakistan, questioning their legality and saying they kill innocent civilians.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay made the remarks at the end of a four-day visit to the country, where US drone strikes have on average targeted Islamist militants once every four days under US President Barack Obama.  Read more.

IPV6 Launched Today

Tech News Daily - Did you notice anything odd with your Internet connection today? Probably not, but the Internet started changing in a big way under the hood, with websites and Internet service providers turning on a new technology to transmit data.

The Internet's been running on a system that was originally developed 35 years ago as part of an experimental project called ARPAnet in the U.S. Defense Department. That's when researchers created something called Internet Protocol version 4, or IPv4. [4 Decades of Clever Technology]  Read more.

The new, larger version of the Internet: IPv6

Walker Wins Recall, Democrats Win Control of the Senate Halting Right-Wing Agenda

PR Watch - After a 16-month long fight, an astonishing $63.5 million spent, and a people's uprising that attracted international attention and laid the groundwork for a movement that will last for years to come, Governor Scott Walker will keep his seat after Tuesday's recall election, winning 53-46 over challenger Tom Barrett. Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch also survived her recall challenge.

In the early hours of the morning, word came from Southeastern Wisconsin that former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, beat incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, with 36,255 votes to Wanggaard's 35,476 votes, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting. Combined with two other successful Senate recalls in August of 2011, this win means Democrats flipped the Senate from Republican control and put a halt to the Walker agenda.  Read more.

Afghan Children Dead After US Air Assault: Report

Common Dreams - 17 civilians have been killed in a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan, according to a local official in Logar province.

Al-Jazeera reports that the target of the strike was the house of a tribal elder in the district of  Baraki Barak, citing the head of the Logar provincial council.

Denying the loss of innocent life, NATO said it knew of only two light injuries to civilians during the pre-dawn missile strike on Wednesday.  Read more.

Election Countdown 2012: In Quebec, It's Not the Fees, It's the Debt

Washington Post - Russia’s do-as-it’s-told parliament showed unusual signs of defiance Tuesday when a minority of lawmakers seized on a mostly unexplored tactic here — the old-fashioned-filibuster — and fought hard and long against a bill that would impose huge fines on protesters.

They had no hope of success — Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party holds 238 of the 450 seats in the State Duma, the parliament’s lower house — but they scored a huge victory nonetheless, making Russians pay attention to a normally rubber-stamp body that rarely makes news. On Tuesday evening the Duma dominated Twitter, running ahead of tweets about two quarreling pop stars and even forcing “Today Is National Hug Your Cat Day” into third place.  Read more.

Colin Powell: Another War Criminal Cashes In

Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis @ Common Dreams - One could be forgiven for thinking there's anything honorable or honest about Colin Powell. For more than two decades now the Washington media has portrayed the former Secretary of State as something of a real life action hero, a reluctant warrior whose greatest fault – should they deign to mention any – was just being too darn loyal to a guy named George and his buddy Dick. What you might have missed is that Powell is a war criminal in his own right, one who in more than four decades of “public service” helped kill people from Vietnam to Panama to Iraq who never posed a threat to America. But don't just take some anti-war activists' word for it: Powell will proudly tell you as much, so long as he can make a buck from doing it in a book.  Read more.

The Myth of Opportunity

Joseph Stiglitz @ Project Syndicate - America likes to think of itself as a land of opportunity, and others view it in much the same light. But, while we can all think of examples of Americans who rose to the top on their own, what really matters are the statistics: to what extent do an individual’s life chances depend on the income and education of his or her parents?  Read more.

Russia: Reject Restrictions on Peaceful Assembly

Human Rights Watch - The upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, has today endorsed with unusual speed a set of restrictive amendments to the law on public rallies and the administrative code. The State Duma, or lower parliamentary chamber, had adopted the amendments in both their second and third (final) readings on June 5. The bill will become law after signature by President Vladimir Putin.  Read more.

Wisconsin: Walker Recal FAIL

Common Dreams - NBC News, CNN, and others have now declared that the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker has failed. Precincts are still reporting, however, as of 10:30 PM EST.

Democratic challenger Tom Barrett conceded defeat just after 11:00 PM EST.  Read more.

BP accused of attack on academic freedoms after scientists subpoenaed

Guardian UK - A pair of scientists have accused BP of an attack on academic freedom after the oil company successfully subpoenaed thousands of confidential emails related to research on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

The accusation from oceanographers Richard Camilli and Christopher Reddy offered a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes legal manoeuvring by BP in the billion-dollar legal proceedings arising from the April 2010 blow-out of its well.  Read more.

BP: Science out of context

Boston Globe - Late last week, we reluctantly handed over more than 3,000 confidential e-mails to BP, as part of a subpoena from the oil company demanding access to them because of the Deepwater Horizon disaster lawsuit brought by the US government. We are accused of no crimes, nor are we party to the lawsuit. We are two scientists at an academic research institution who responded to requests for help from BP and government officials at a time of crisis.  Read more.

Bloomberg Backs Plan to Limit Arrests for Marijuana

NY Times - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Monday that he would support a proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to significantly curb the number of people who could be arrested for marijuana possession as a result of police stops.

Mr. Cuomo urged lawmakers on Monday to change state law to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view, an offense that critics say leads to unfair charges against thousands of people who are ordered to empty their pockets during police stops that have proliferated under the Bloomberg administration's stop-and-frisk practice.  Read more.

The Transparently Secretive Chamber of Commerce

Robert Weissman @ Public Citizen - Well, the Big Business guys are transparent about one thing: They can't stand the idea of the public holding them to account for their attempts to buy elections and influence policy, or even that they be prevented from corrupting the government contracting process through campaign spending.

The latest: They are so terrified even of having their political spending disclosed that they are pushing in Congress legislation that would prohibit the government from requiring contractors to disclose their campaign-related spending.  Read more.

A $1 Cigarette Tax Starts a $47 Million Brawl in California

NY Times - California has some of the toughest antismoking laws in the country — it is illegal, in some places, to smoke in your own apartment — and boasts the second-lowest per capita smoking rate in the 50 states. But for all the disdain toward smoking, it has been 14 years since California raised its cigarette tax, a tribute to the power of the tobacco industry here and the waning of this state’s antitobacco dominance.  Read more.

Ending Lockout, Teamsters Wrap Agreement With Sotheby’s

Jenny Brown @ Labor Notes - Teamster art handlers voted to settle their dispute with Sotheby's yesterday, ending a 10-month lockout that became a symbol of Occupy Wall Street's fight against the austerity agenda of the 1%.

The union's creative tactics put a spotlight on inequality in the most unequal city in the U.S. While the workers who moved the art faced wage cuts and unstable jobs, art buyers dressed to the nines paid millions for paintings.  Read more.

Israel Reneges on Hunger Strike Agreement, Palestinian Prisoners May Renew Strike

Common Dreams - Within two weeks after an agreement reached between Palestinian hungers strikers in Israeli prisons, Israel has begun to renege on the deal.

Days after announcing the end of the strike, Israel renewed administrative detention orders for 30 prisoners, according to Palestinian prisoners minister Issa Qaraqa.  Read more.

Round 2: Egypt protesters maintain occupation of Tahrir; demands, strategy still in process

Ahram Online (Egypt) - For the second day demonstrators are still occupying Tahrir Square in Cairo to protest against what they consider a disappointing verdict announced on Saturday against Mubarak, his sons, his minister of interior and six of his senior aides.

Numbers have started to build up in Tahrir Square's sit-in by the early hours of Sunday evening, reaching few thousands at press time as opposed to a few hundreds in the morning.

A number of a marches from across Cairo set off at 5pm and were all scheduled to wind up at the Square.  Read more.

All 67 Florida Election Supervisors Suspend Governor Rick Scott's Voter Purge

Judd Legum @ Think Progress - On Thursday, the Justice Department demanded Florida Governor Rick Scott end his extensive purge of registered voters from the rolls because it was in violation of federal law. Scott still hasn’t formally responded but his county election supervisors have already taken action.  Read more.

"No Matter What the Result, We Will Continue to Resist," Says Mexican Electrical Workers Union Leader

David Bacon @ Truthout - Humberto Montes de Oca is the international secretary for the Mexican Electrical Workers union. Two years ago, its 44,000 members were all fired when the Mexican government took over generating stations by force to set the stage for privatizing electricity. Montes de Oca describes the role the union has played on the left in Mexico, its resistance to privatization and the way fired workers are now forced to migrate to survive. He was interviewed by David Bacon.

Somebody Else's Atrocities

Noam Choamsky @ Truthout - In his penetrating study "Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-Opted Human Rights," international affairs scholar James Peck observes, "In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us" – whoever "us" is.  Read more.

Microphone Grabbed Out of Hands of Reporter Questioning Honeywell CEO

Mike Elk @ In These Times - For the last two years, I have covered union busting efforts by Honeywell, their close connections to President Obama and how federal agencies have assisted Honeywell in three different labor struggles since Obama came to power. In particular, I covered a 14-month lockout at Honeywell uranium plant in Metropolis, Illinois, where Honeywell cheated on tests for replacement workers, who later caused several releases of radioactive gas into the atmosphere. Instead of their picket line with the striking workers as he promised to do during his campaign, Obama decided to fly with top Democratic donor and Honeywell CEO David Cote to India while the lockout was still going on. (Today, Obama and Cote will appear at Honeywell's Minneapolis facility for an event on the economy).  Read more.

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak gets life sentence

LA Times - The life sentence imposed on toppled President Hosni Mubarak for complicity in the deaths of hundreds of protesters marks an unprecedented milestone in Egypt's path toward democracy yet serves as a reminder of the political limitations challenging rebellions that have swept the Arab world.

Mubarak epitomized the calculating autocrat, and Saturday's verdict reverberated across a region that has seldom seen the strong so precipitously tumble in popular revolt. But behind the image of the disgraced leader propped up on a stretcher in the defendants' cage remains a nation not fully free of his grasp.  Read more.

Mubarak Sentenced to Life in Prison for Protester Deaths

Bloomberg - Ousted President Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters during last year’s uprising, a verdict that triggered unrest two weeks before Egypt’s divisive presidential runoff.

Also sentenced yesterday to life for complicity in the deaths was Mubarak’s long-time security chief, Habib El-Adli. Both men plan to appeal. The deposed president and his two sons were acquitted of corruption charges, while six senior police officials who had been charged were also cleared of wrongdoing in a case billed by state media as the “trial of the century.”  Read more.

George Zimmerman's bond revoked as judge rules he 'deceived' court

Guardian UK - George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch captain accused of murdering Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, had his bail revoked on Friday for "deceiving" a court over the amount of donations made to his defence fund.

Circuit judge Kenneth Lester Jr ordered that Zimmerman, 28, must turn himself in within 48 hours after hearing from prosecutors that the defendant and his wife Shellie had more than $135,000 available to them from donations to a PayPal account set up on his private website soon after his arrest in April for the shooting on 26 February.

Assistant state attorney Bernie de la Rionda told Lester that the couple did not declare the money at an earlier hearing, at which Zimmerman was freed on bail of $150,000.

"This court was led to believe that they didn't have a single penny," he said, adding that Zimmerman's wife had "flat out lied".  Read more.

Obama At Large: Where Are The Lawyers?

Ralph Nader @ Common Dreams - The rule of law is rapidly breaking down at the top levels of our government. As officers of the court, we have sworn to “support the Constitution,” which clearly implies an affirmative commitment on our part.

Take the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The conservative American Bar Association sent three white papers to President Bush describing his continual unconstitutional policies. Then and now civil liberties groups and a few law professors, such as the stalwart David Cole of Georgetown University and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, have distinguished themselves in calling out both presidents for such violations and the necessity for enforcing the rule of law.  Read more.

US To Heavily Increase Warships in Asia

Agence France Press @ Yahoo! News - The United States will shift the majority of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020 as part of a new strategic focus on Asia, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta told a summit in Singapore.

The decision to deploy more ships to the Pacific Ocean, along with expanding a network of military partnerships, was part of a "steady, deliberate" effort to bolster the US role in an area deemed vital to America's future, he said on Saturday.  Read more.

‘Green Economy’: New Disguise for Global Capitalism's Old Tricks?

Inter Press Service @ Common Dreams - Though the current global economic and financial crises are undoubtedly devastating much of the world, they present the perfect opportunity for remodeling our economic system, according to participants at the ninth annual Terra Futura (Future Earth) exhibition of ‘good practices’ in social, economic and environmental sustainability held here [Florence, Italy] from May 25-27.  Read more.

The Disaster Capitalism Curriculum: The High Price of Education Reform (Episode I)

Dan Acher and Adam Bessie @ Truthout - "Education is the civil rights issue of our generation," presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced in a recent press conference, where he also claimed that our public schools are in a state of "national emergency." Former Governor and former Bain Capital CEO Romney is now portraying himself as a civil rights hero, fighting against systemic racism and inequality that provides American children a "third world education." And the cause of this emergency? It's not the foreclosure crisis, persistent unemployment, nor the 21 percent childhood poverty rate - after all, the multimillionaire, who made $27 million in 2010, is "not very concerned about the very poor," as they're already taken care of. Rather, this grave civil rights injustice has been inflicted by excessively powerful "special interests" and "union bosses" that put their needs in front of the poor, minority children. And R…

Quebec Government Walks Out on Student Negotiations

Guardian UK - Quebec's premier, Jean Charest, has suspended negotiations with university students aimed at ending weeks of protests over proposed rises in tuition fees – a development that could lead to a long summer of demonstrations and clashes with police.

Charest said after four days of talks they had reached an impasse and a huge gap remained. It would be "up to the silent majority to express itself" at elections due in 18 months.  Read more.

John Edwards...not guilty

Tampa Bay Online - John Edwards' campaign finance fraud case ended in a mistrial Thursday when jurors acquitted him on one of six charges but were unable to decide whether he misused money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress while he ran for president.

The trial exposed a sordid sex scandal that unfolded while Edwards' wife was dying of cancer, but prosecutors couldn't convince jurors that the ex-U.S. senator and 2004 vice presidential candidate masterminded a $1 million cover-up of his affair.  Read more.

Canada Drops Opposition to Water as Human Right

Inter Press Service - Canada, in a dramatic political turnaround, has signaled its willingness to recognise water and sanitation as a basic human right.

As negotiations continue over the Rio+20 plan of action on sustainable development to be adopted in Brazil next month, Canada became one of the last Western nations to drop its opposition to a reference to water as a human right in the document titled "The Future We Want."  Read more.

Britian's High Court Denies Assange Extradition Appeal

Common Dreams - The British Supreme Court today has rejected Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's appeal against extradition to Sweden.

The decision paves the way for the Australian born Assange to be transferred to Sweden to face questioning stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct, though the Supreme Court in a rare move, did grant his legal team 14 days to consider a further challenge.  Assange has not been charged with a crime in Sweden, and is only wanted for questioning.  Read more.