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Showing posts from February, 2014

Hurricane Carter’s deathbed plea: Ex-boxer battles for release of New York convict

The Star (Canada) - Former professional boxer and Toronto-based justice advocate Rubin (Hurricane) Carter says he’s dying and would like to see one final wish come true.
Carter, 77, wants New York State justice officials to take a fresh and unbiased look at what he considers the wrongful murder conviction of David McCallum of Brooklyn .  Read more.

Missouri Uses 'Mystery' Compound to Execute Convicted Murderer

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Though the official makers of the lethal drug pentobarbital now refuse to sell the lethal drug to those planning to use it for executing human being, that didn't stop the state of Missouri from finding some compounding agency from mixing up their own brew of it so that it could kill convicted murderer Michael Taylor early Wednesday morning.  Read more.

America's Secret Police

Aaron Leonard @ Truthout - In Betty Medsger's The Burglary: The Discovery of J Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI and Seth Rosenfeld's Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power, it is clear that an empire of the magnitude of the United States does not exist without a secret police.  Read more.

GMO crops appear to be a threat to the environment, USDA admits

RT.com - A new report published by the United States Department of Agriculture demonstrates that the vast majority of corn and soybean crops grown in America are genetically-engineered variants made to withstand certain conditions and chemicals.
But while GMO seeds have been sowed on US soil for 15 years now, the latest USDA report reveals that Americans still have concerns about consuming custom-made, laboratory-created products, albeit nowhere near as much as in Europe.  Read more.

Chokwe Lumumba: The Mayor Who Brought an Economic Democracy Vision to Mississippi

John Nichols @ The Nation - Chokwe Lumumba maintained a civil rights commitment that was rooted in the moment when his mother showed her eight-year-old son the Jet magazine photograph of a beaten Emmett Till in his open casket. The commitment was nurtured on the streets of Detroit, where Lumumba and his mother collected money to support the Southern Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the civil rights struggles of the early 1960s.  Read more.

Chokwe Lumumba (1947-2014): Activist and Revolutionary Mayor of Jackson, Miss.

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - Chokwe Lumumba—human rights attorney, civil rights activist and revolutionary Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi—unexpectedly died Tuesday of heart failure at the age of 66.
Before entering politics, Lumumba rose to prominence as a civil rights activist and human rights attorney—defending notable clients including Black Panther Assata Shakur. Lumumba served as a leading figure in the Republic of New Afrika, and co-founded the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.  Read more.

Richard Falk says Israel Guilty of 'Inhuman' and 'Degrading' Apartheid

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Israel's "systematic oppression" of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza appears to constitute the "inhuman" and "degrading" practice of "apartheid," charged a United Nations investigator.
Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, chronicles Israel's human rights abuses in a searing 22-page report to the U.N. Human Rights Council...read more.

Barack Obama: How "Thou Shalt Not" Became "Thou Shalt"

Karen J Greenberg @ TomDispatch - In January 2009, Barack Obama entered the Oval Office projecting idealism and proud to be the constitutional law professor devoted to turning democratic principles into action. In his first weeks in office, in a series of executive orders and public statements, the new president broadcast for all to hear the five commandments by which life in his new world of national security would be lived.  Read more.

Radioactive Fukushima Plume Due to Reach West Coast this Spring

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - A radioactive plume released from the Fukushima meltdown is expected to reach the west coast of the U.S. in April, said a panel of researchers in Honolulu Monday. However, without any federal or international monitoring, scientists are bereft of "actual data," guessing at the amount of radiation coming at us.  Read more.

Vigilantes with a Badge: The War Against the American People

John Whitehead @ The Rutherford Institute - The following incidents are cautionary tales for anyone who still thinks that they can defy police officers, even if it’s simply to disagree about a speeding ticket, challenge a search warrant or defend oneself against an unreasonable or unjust charge, without deadly repercussions. The message they send is that “we the people” have very little protection from the standing army that is law enforcement.
For example, Seattle police repeatedly tasered seven-months pregnant Malaika Brooks for refusing to sign a speeding ticket. While Brooks bears permanent burn scars on her body from the encounter, police were cleared of any wrongdoing on the grounds that they didn’t know that tasering a pregnant woman was wrong.  Read more.

Western Spy Agencies Infiltrating, Warping World of Online Activism

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - According to newly published documents, Western spy agencies like the GCHQ and NSA have developed sophisticated online operations in which covert agents infiltrate online communities, networks and forums in order to "manipulate, deceive"—even destroy the reputations of—targeted individuals and groups even if those people have not be charged, or necessarily accused, of a crime.  Read more.

New Pentagon Plan: A Few Less Troops, Same Old Empire

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - In a speech at the Pentagon on Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced a new budget plan that calls for the reduction of total soldiers across the U.S. military. But analysts say that although less troops on the ground in foreign countries would be a welcome development, the news highlights well-known plans for the U.S. to maintain its global military dominance by shifting to a more secretive, nimble, and technologically advanced force structure.  Read more.

Inside the Mind of James Clapper

Glenn Greenwald @ The Intercept - I’m going to have a story published later today about a new document, but until then, this new interview with (and profile of) Director of National Intelligence James Clapper by the Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake is worth spending a few moments examining. Last week, Lake published one excerpt of his interview where Clapper admitted that the U.S. Government should have told the American people that the NSA was collecting their communications records: as pure a vindication of Edward Snowden’s choice as it gets, for obvious reasons. But there are several new, noteworthy revelations from this morning’s article:  Read more.

Afraid, Apathetic, Indifferent and Hypocritical

Max Eternity @ Truthout - In America, everyone has a right to be and to be a part of, because every American matters, at least in theory—whether glorified or vilified—we all have civil rights—with each person respectfully deserving a place to express and be who they truly are, even if that place is in an asylum for sociopathic liars and the criminally insane.
Think: Condoleezza Rice, James Clapper, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Henry Paulson, and a growing list of others whose heinous transgressions are well documented and on the public record, including Barack Obama.  Read more.

Elderly nun among anti-nuke peace activists sentenced to prison

RT.com - A US judge has handed down sentences to three peace activists, including an 84-year-old nun, who were convicted of breaking into a Tennessee defense facility where enrichment material for nuclear weapons is held, and staging a protest on federal property.
Sister Megan Rice, 84, Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, and Michael Walli, 63, were found guilty in May of destroying US government property and causing more than $1,000 in damage to federal property in the demonstration.  Read more.

US, EU are ‘neck deep’ in plan to see pro-Western regime change in Ukraine

RT.com - Though the Ukrainian conflict is complex, with "its own dynamic," protesters are certainly emboldened by support from Western powers, Brian Becker, director of the anti-war ANSWER Coalition, told RT in an interview.
"The United States and NATO and the EU are together using their combined forces to signal to these demonstrators that 'We are with you,'" he said. The EU, NATO leadership and the Obama administration "are neck deep now in a plan to carry out regime change in this extremely important part of Europe, trying to integrate a former Soviet republic into the EU and, of course, into NATO ultimately."  Read more.

Documenting Darkness: How a Thug State Operates

Tom Engelhardt @ TomDispatch.com - To gain a reasonable picture of our national security state, five, 10, 20 Snowdens, each at a different agency or outfit, would have to step out of the shadows -- and that would just be for starters.  Then we would need a media that was ready to roll and a Congress not wrapped in “security” and “secrecy” but demanding answers, as the Church committee did in the Watergate era, with subpoenas in hand (and the threat of prison for no-shows and perjurers).  Read more.

FCC Considers New Net Neutrality Rules

Mike Ludwig @ Truthout - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Wednesday that it would write new net neutrality rules to prevent telecommunications companies from blocking, slowing or otherwise discriminating against web content. 
Last month, a federal appeals court threw out the FCC's 2010 net neutrality rules after a legal challenge from Verizon. The court said the FCC has some authority to protect consumers and regulate Internet service provides but declared the 2010 rules invalid because the agency had failed to classify the Internet as a "common carrier" service like telephones that could be regulated more like a public utility.  Read more.

Justice in a Postracial World

Truthout - Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and too many more unarmed young black men - killed. One feature seems prominent: the claims that it's not about race. And in so many cases, the bar to be reached for hate-crime prosecution to be successful is never reached; the assertion that "hate" factored into the commission of these crimes is hard to prove convincingly. In the case of the killing of Davis, Michael Dunn's defense attorney, Michael Stolla, said, "This is not a black-and-white issue. This is what [Dunn] would call a subculture-thug issue. It's not about race." Dunn's own letters from prison contain statements that seem to correlate with that, even as they also show the ways culture and race were fused together:  Read more.

Green Politics: Just High-End Consumerism?

Creative Times Report - As environmentalism goes mainstream, corporations are marketing the word “green” as a panacea for the world’s climate crisis. Today the word describes a set of prescribed, mostly consumerist actions: buy local, organic and fresh; go vegan; eat in season; skip the elevator; take the stairs. “Green” has come to mean shopping at Whole Foods and possessing a Prius. Meanwhile, leading corporate polluters like BP and Exxon Mobil place commercials on CNN advertising their “green” practices.
It should come as no surprise, then, that “green” lifestyles don’t resonate with low-income communities; being “green” involves a set of behaviors that are financially or culturally inaccessible to millions of Americans.   Read more.

US formally introduces new weapon of mass destruction into its military aresenal

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - The U.S. Navy is getting ready to roll out its Laser Weapon System this year—a technology the military has touted as "revolutionizing" modern warfare.
A prototype of the weapon, which can target "asymmetrical threats" like drones and boat swarms, is set to be mounted on the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf later this year...read more.

The Terrible Toll of Secrecy

Dan Froomkin @ The Intercept - he Intercept’s inaugural exposé, by my colleagues Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, illuminates the deeply flawed interaction between omnipresent electronic surveillance and targeted drone killings –- two of the three new, highly disruptive instruments of national power that President Obama has pursued with unanticipated enthusiasm.  Read more.

Jordan Davis, Another Victim of a Murderous Historical Continuum

Dr. Wilmer J Leon III @ Truthout - The verdict is in. Michael Dunn was found guilty on three counts of attempted second-degree murder, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the most significant charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jordan Davis.
Instead of celebrating what would have been his 19th birthday, Davis' parents continue to mourn the legally unrecognized murder of their son. I can only imagine that this verdict is analogous to killing him again. Davis has become another victim of a murderous historical American continuum.  Read more.

Obama makes mockery of foreign service by "selling of public offices"

RT.com - The Obama administration is under fire for doling out an unprecedented number of plum diplomatic postings to political appointees, many of which go to top dollar campaign contributors, sidelining career diplomats.
One former ambassador called it the selling of public offices. Another State Department vet blasted it as a patronage practice reflective “of banana republics, dictatorships and two-bit monarchies.”  Read more.

Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm

NY Times - The list of those caught up in the global surveillance net cast by the National Security Agency and its overseas partners, from social media users to foreign heads of state, now includes another entry: American lawyers.
A top-secret document, obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States.  Read more.

PBS returns millions to anti-pension crusader who funded TV series

RT.com - A member station within the Public Broadcasting Service announced Friday that it would return a $3.5 million grant to a former Enron executive who first provided the money to fund an anti-pension series.
WNET, the New York City affiliate of PBS, said production on the planned series, dubbed “Pension Peril,” would be suspended indefinitely after journalist David Sirota of PandoDaily revealed the money was coming from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.  Read more.

Mexicans March To Oppose NAFTA, Defend Their Oil

David Bacon @ Truthout - Despite the fragmentation of Mexico's left movements, thousands demonstrated - against education and labor “reforms," attacks on indigenous rights by multinational mining companies, and privatization of the oil and electricity industries - on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Read more.

Giraffe death highlights Copenhagen Zoo's controlled circle of life

Sydney Morning Herald - To most Australians, zoos recreate a garden of eden, devoted to the production and nurturing of life where animals live to a healthy old age. The images from Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark where keepers ended the life of an 18-month-old male giraffe, named Marius, dissected the animal before a crowd of onlookers and then fed the remains to its lions shattered this illusion for many.  Read more.

Marius the giraffe slaughtered at Copenhagen zoo despite worldwide protests

Guardian UK - In the chilly dawn of Sunday morning a healthy young giraffe in a Danish zoo was given its favourite meal of rye bread by a keeper – and then shot in the head by a vet.
The death of Marius, an 18-month-old giraffe considered useless for breeding because his genes were too common, was followed by his dissection in front of a large crowd, including fascinated-looking children, prompting outrage and protests around the world.  Read more.

Hypocrisy in Sochi: On Slamming Russian Repression, But Rarely Our Own

Thomas S. Harrington @ Common Dreams - Oh, what fun it is to mock Putin and his attempts to present a civilized and modern face to the world.
In the Boston Globe this week, David Filipov who is manning the paper’s "life on the street" beat in Sochi, explains with clear scorn and condescension how, in Putin's Russia, those that want to protest against the government are relegated to doing so in "protest parks" far from the cameras and the crowds.  Read more.

PBS News: Once objective and honest, now just another corporate tool

David Sirota @ Pando Daily - On December 18th, the Public Broadcasting Service’s flagship station WNET issued a press release announcing the launch of a new two-year news series entitled “The Pension Peril.” The series, promoting cuts to public employee pensions, is airing on hundreds of PBS outlets all over the nation. It has been presented as objective news on  major PBS programs including the PBS News Hour.  Read more.

Deadly winter storm pounds East Coast

Reuters - A deadly and intensifying winter storm packing heavy snow, sleet and rain pelted a huge swath of the U.S. East Coast on Thursday, grounding flights and shuttering schools and government offices.
Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place from Georgia up to Maine, and the powerful system could blanket the Atlantic Coast over the next two days with 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cms) of snow, said Jared Guyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.  Read more.

'No Country for Brave Journalists': US Plummets in Press Freedom Rankings

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - It may be the 'country of the First Amendment,' but the United States once again received an abysmal ranking from Reporters Without Borders, an international press monitoring and journalism advocacy group, in its annual review of how well nations protect the rights of individual journalists and overall press freedoms.  Read more.

6,000 websites protest surveillance, honor Aaron Swartz

RT.com - More than 6,000 websites, including Reddit, Tumblr, Mozilla, are taking part in an online protest against government surveillance. The action marks two years since website blackouts against SOPA and PIPA and commemorates Aaron Swartz’s death.
The February 11 online protest, going by the title ‘The Day We Fight Back’, is supposed to see around 6, 200 websites each host a large banner at the top reading “Dear internet, we’re sick of complaining about the NSA. We want new laws that curtail online surveillance.”  Read more.

The Mobsters of Wall Street

Jim Hightower @ Creators.com - Assume that you ran a business that was found guilty of bribery, forgery, perjury, defrauding homeowners, fleecing investors, swindling consumers, cheating credit card holders, violating U.S. trade laws and bilking American soldiers. Can you even imagine the kind of punishment you'd get?  Read more.

The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet

Matt Taibbi @ Rolling Stone - all it the loophole that destroyed the world. It's 1999, the tail end of the Clinton years. While the rest of America obsesses over Monica Lewinsky, Columbine and Mark McGwire's biceps, Congress is feverishly crafting what could yet prove to be one of the most transformative laws in the history of our economy – a law that would make possible a broader concentration of financial and industrial power than we've seen in more than a century.  Read more.

Washington Govenor, Jay Inslee, Suspends Death Penalty

ABC News - Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday he was suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state, announcing a move that he hopes will enable officials to "join a growing national conversation about capital punishment."
The first-term Democrat said he came to the decision after months of review, meetings with family members of victims, prosecutors and law enforcement.
"There have been too many doubts raised about capital punishment, there are too many flaws in this system today," Inslee said at a news conference. "There is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system."  Read more.

New 100,000+ gallon coal slurry spill blackens North Carolina waterway

West Virginia Gazette - More than 100,000 gallons of coal slurry poured into an eastern Kanawha County stream Tuesday in what officials were calling a "significant spill" from a Patriot Coal processing facility.
Emergency officials and environmental inspectors said that roughly six miles of Fields Creek had been blackened and that a smaller amount of the slurry made it into the Kanawha River near Chesapeake.  Read more.

How the NSA Helps the US Assassinate

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - In the first investigative piece co-written for their new media venture, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill on Monday published a much-anticipated story—based on eye-witness accounts and leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden—describing how the National Security Agency uses its digital surveillance capabilities to assist the CIA and Pentagon as they carrying out controversial overseas assassinations ordered by President Obama. Read more.

Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State

Henry A Giroux @ Truthout - The revelations of whistle-blowers such as Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden about government lawlessness and corporate spying provide a new meaning if not a revitalized urgency and relevance to George Orwell's dystopian fable 1984. Orwell offered his readers an image of the modern state that had become dystopian - one in which privacy as a civil virtue and a crucial right was no longer valued as a measure of the robust strength of a healthy and thriving democracy. Orwell was clear that the right to privacy had come under egregious assault. But the right to privacy pointed to something more sinister than the violation of individual rights.  Read more.

The Occupy Zeitgeist in Egypt

Ahmed Teleb @  Truthout - On January 25, 2011, Egyptians shocked the world and themselves when tens of thousands besieged Tahrir (Liberation) Square in Cairo until Hosni Mubarak astonishingly resigned his 30-year rule on February 11. Nonplused, the demonstrators did not know how to follow through.  Read more.

Massive Coal Ash Spill Chokes North Carolina River as EPA Considers Waste Rules

Mike Ludwig @ Truthout - A ruptured Duke Energy pipe in Eden, North Carolina, caused the release of up to 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River. "The ecological disaster that is unleashed here is going to play out in the order of months, if not years," said Matt Wasson of Appalachian Voices.  Read more.

As TPP Opposition Soars, Corporate Media Blackout Deafening

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Last week, more than 550 groups, representing tens of millions of individual members, signed a letter to members of Congress urging them to vote against a push by President Obama for 'fast track' authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a so-called "free trade" now under negotation between the U.S. and eleven other Pacific rim nations.  Read more.

Noam Chomsky | Prerogatives of Power

Noam Choamsky @ Truthout - As the year 2013 drew to an end, the BBC reported on the results of the WIN/Gallup International poll on the question: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”
The United States was the champion by a substantial margin, winning three times the votes of second-place Pakistan.  Read more.

Hunger Strike at Menard Correctional Center Draws Solidarity, Support

James Anderson @ Truthout - About 15 prisoners in the High Security Unit at Menard Correctional Facility in Chester, Illinois, have been on hunger strike since January 15, 2014, to protest their placement and conditions of confinement.
When the Tamms Correctional Center closed its doors after activists campaigned against the harsh conditions and prolonged solitary confinement at the former "supermax" facility in Illinois, many prisoners were transferred to Menard.  Read more.

Elizabeth Warren: Let's Make Post Offices Mini-Banks

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - If you are poor and cash-starved, you might regularly turn to a payday loan lender by signing over your paycheck for a small loan. Once you do that, you will likely end up in a bind because interest rates (when combined with fees) can be as much as 1000%.  This means a poor or minimum wage working person is caught in a cycle of debt and paying off interest exponentially worse than exorbitant credit card rates.  Read more.

Fracking is draining water from US areas suffering major shortages - report

RT.com - Some of the most drought-ravaged areas of the US are also heavily targeted for oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing - a practice that exacerbates water shortages - according to a new report.
Three-quarters of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled in the US since 2011 were located in areas of the country facing water scarcity, according to research by the Ceres investor network. Over half of those new wells were in areas experiencing drought conditions.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in those wells required the use of 97 billion gallons of water, Ceres found.  Read more.

US Ambassador to Russia announces resignation

RT.com - Michael McFaul wrote in his twitter that he will quit the post of US Ambassador to Russia soon after the Sochi Olympics.
The diplomat also wrote that “he will miss Russia and its people” and in the subsequent tweet invited all those interested in the reasons behind the decision to read his blog hosted by the Russian-owned platform, Livejournal.  Read more.

Shocking Facts About America's For-Profit Prison Industry

Beth Buczynski @ Care2 - As long as their have been human societies, there have been criminals. Despite the best efforts of lawmakers and religions, humans can’t be trusted to do the right thing, even when we’re aware of the consequences. The prison system used to be a last resort, a place you sent people when other forms of punishment were ineffective. Now it’s grown into something much darker, and even less rehabilitative.  Read more.

President Obama: Deporter-in-Chief

Joanne Lin @ Blog of Rights/ACLU - The lead statement of the House GOP immigration standards released last week says, "Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First." While catchy, this phrase suggests that enforcement has not been taking place. The reality is that since 1996, our nation's singular immigration policy has been enforcement-first and enforcement-only. This folly of decades of enforcement-first has come at a tremendous cost – to American taxpayers who have funded it, to immigrant families torn asunder, and to all of our civil liberties.  Read more.

American Indians Say 'No Keystone XL Pipeline Will Cross Our Lands'

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Native American communities are promising fierce resistance to stop TransCanada from building, and President Barack Obama from permitting, the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.
"No Keystone XL pipeline will cross Lakota lands," declares a joint statement from Honor the Earth, the Oglala Sioux Nation, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred. "We stand with the Lakota Nation, we stand on the side of protecting sacred water, we stand for Indigenous land-based lifeways which will NOT be corrupted by a hazardous, toxic pipeline."  Read more.

‘Assange won’t come’: Swedish MPs urge end to whistleblower case

RT.com - Swedish MPs are calling on the prosecutors in the Julian Assange sexual assault case to travel to London and question the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been taking refuge since June 2012.
The members of the Swedish parliament say investigators should accept that Assange will not be leaving the embassy voluntarily.  Read more.

GMO: The Biggest Food Con

Vandana Shiva @ The Asian Age - We, as a society, have become indifferent towards material pollution — growing mountains of garbage, polluted rivers, including the sacred Ganga and Yamuna that now resemble nalas (drains), and the polluted air we breathe. But there is a more serious and invisible pollution — one that affects our mind.  Read more.

Is Freeing a Duck Terrorism?

Ryan Shapiro @ Truthout - A lawsuit filed today seeks to strike down the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Politicians, industry and law enforcement too long employed the rhetoric and apparatus of national security to counter effective animal advocacy, labeling those who exercise constitutionally protected rights "terrorists."  Read more.

Pete Seegar and the NSA

Cindy Cohn @ Deelinks Blog/EFF - The world lost a clear, strong voice for peace, justice, and community with the death of singer and activist Pete Seeger last week. While Seeger was known as an outspoken musician not shy about airing his political opinions, it’s also important to remember he was once persecuted for those opinions, despite breaking no law. And the telling of this story should give pause to those who claim to be unconcerned about the government's metadata seizure and search programs that reveal our associations to the government today.  Read more.

The Populist Moment

Richard Eskow - Of all the myths that circulate in Washington, perhaps none is more prevalent or intractable than the one that says that the United States is a "moderate" nation – and that the "center" of public opinion lies somewhere between the views of conservative Democrats and those of less extreme Republicans (a relative term at best).
The polling data shows conclusively that this is wrong, but the mythology refuses to die.  Read more.

NSA Receiving Data of Tens of Thousands of Internet Users

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Every six months, data from tens of thousands of accounts linked to Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and other cyber giants is turned over to the U.S. government at the behest of the secret FISA court.
This is according to information published Monday by tech companies as part of a deal reached with the U.S. Justice Department last week, in what is widely seen as a bid to show they had minimal complicity in the National Security Agency’s Prism spying program that has sparked public outrage.  Read more.

Financial world shaken by 4 bankers' apparent suicides in a week

RT.com - The apparent suicide death of the chief economist of a US investment house brings the number of financial workers who have died allegedly by their own hand to four in the last week.
50-year-old Mike Dueker, who had worked for Russell Investment for five years, was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State, says AP.
Local police say he could have jumped over a fence and fallen 15 meters to his death, and are treating the case as a suicide.  Read more.

Christie, Clapper and other Officials who should be in Jail

Juan Cole @ Informed Comment - The vindictiveness toward Edward Snowden in official Washington has nothing to do with law-breaking and everything to do with the privileges of power. The powerful in Washington may spy on us, but we are not to know about it. Snowden’s sin in their eyes was to level the playing field, to draw back the curtain and let the public see what the spies were doing to them The United States has become so corrupt that the basic principle of the law applying to all equally has long since became a quaint relic. We are back to a system of aristocratic privilege. If we had a rule of law and not of men, Edward Snowden would be given a medal and the following officials would be on the lam to avoid serious jail time.  Read more.

Bully Nation

Truthout - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has appropriately been called a bully. This has implications well beyond Christie. His calling out has the potential to shift the growing public conversation about bullying from a pyschological narrative about abusive individuals to a new discourse on institutionalized bullying, carried out by ruling institutions and elites.
The current focus on bullying - like much of the discussion about guns and gun violence - has tended to focus on individuals and mental health. It is a therapeutic narrative. Bullying is seen primarily as a psychological problem of individuals. The victim needs therapy, better communication or adaptation skills. Bullies are characterologically flawed and need therapy or perhaps legal punishment.  Read more.

Connecting the Dots for a Better World

Rethinking Schools - The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom this past summer produced some brilliant commentary about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. One of the sharpest of these was a short essay that Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, posted to her Facebook page. We want to quote at length from this essay because we think that it holds valuable—even essential—lessons for those of us working to defend and improve public schools.  Read more.

The Crime of the Century

Peter G Cohen @ Truthout - Well-being cannot be measured by the Gross Domestic Product.  It cannot be improved by continuous economic growth, no matter what the majority of economists may say. No amount of profits from the sale of nuclear reactors abroad will preserve our genes, which took billions of years to develop. Sharing, preserving and replacing the natural living systems that we humans have damaged or destroyed is far more important to life than growing the bottom line.  Read more.