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Showing posts from June, 2014

Bodies of Missing Israeli Teens Found in West Bank

Haaretz - The bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped 18 days ago in the West Bank have been found, it was announced Monday night. Their families have been notified.
In light of the dramatic developments in the case on Monday, the Israeli security cabinet called an emergency meeting for 9:30 P.M.
The bodies were found north of the Palestinian town Halhul, just north of Hebron.  Read more.

Blackwater manager claimed “he could kill” the State Department's chief investigator with impunity

NY Times - Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.  Read more.

FCC Internet Proposal: The Contemporary Pillage of the Commons

Rivera Sun @ Truthout - Seething below the surface of citizens' outrage at the FCC proposal to create a tiered, pay-to-play internet structure lays a story people know so well, it could be encoded in our DNA.
The rich and powerful are stealing the commons of the people.
Comcast, Verizon and other telecom giants are the new Lairds of the Highlands, the Marie Antoinettes, the Robber Barons of the 1890s.  Read more.

Will Detroit's Water be Privatized or Recognized as Commons?

Sharable.net - When it comes to a person’s fundamental needs being met - nothing is more basic and human, than to share.  Right now the people of Detroit are being attacked by an unelected regime that represents the interests of the banks and large corporations. Their latest campaign has been to turn residents’ water off. Approximately 300,000 people shut off from water, because this makes sense in their corporate model. Detroiters sharing with neighbors hits all-time high.  Read more.

Why Do We Hate the Poor?

Kim Redigan @ Common Dreams - Today, families in Detroit, living under an emergency manager imposed by a governor committed to privatizing every inch of the state, are having their water shut off.  A few days ago, the United Nations, at the behest of local activists, issued a statement on the shutoffs.
This is what it’s come to  –  appealing to an international body to uphold the basic human right to water.  Read more.

When Public Servants Demonize the Poor

Bob Lord @ Other Words - For years I’d wondered about the identity of a gaggle of anonymous commenters on Blog for Arizona, the website to which I frequently contribute. These guys weighed in a lot and were very eager to burnish the reputation of Arizona School Superintendent, John Huppenthal.
Ultimately, my fellow writers and I explored the source of the comments. With only modest effort, we figured out these commenters were all aliases of Huppenthal himself. Among other things, the 60-year-old official was posting from the Arizona Department of Education and providing details of his own childhood.  Read more.

The Plunder of Detroit and Iraq

Margaret Kimberly @ Black Agenda Report - The ugly face of empire and disaster capitalism is visible all over the world. Detroit, Michigan, was once a thriving city but was sent into a tailspin by the deindustrialization of the United States, white flight, and institutional racism which blamed black people who were in fact the victims of catastrophe. The coup de grace was delivered by big banks like UBS, Bank of America and Barclays, which sold risky derivatives schemes to corrupt Detroit politicians. When the financial deal inevitably headed south, the banks were the creditors first in line for a payout.  Read more.

The Human Narrative in Iraq Still Missing

Claudia Lefko @ Common Dreams - Dear Mazin. The greeting is always the same and easy, although sometimes I might be more formal and address him as Dr. Mazin. But then what? I stop typing. What now? How will I phrase my question?
Writing to friends in Baghdad is delicate and complicated, not to mention scary and sad. Sometimes after a particularly bloody week of car bombings and violence, when there are reports of many dozens of people dead and injured. I say: please let me know...read more.

Brazilian Workers Buck Union Officials to Strike

Claudia Costa @ Labor Notes - The World Cup is in full swing, and official propaganda from President Dilma Roussef’s administration portrays Brazil as a wonderland. But Brazilians have been exposing the truth in a full year of demonstrations, protests, and strikes.
The massive public spending on the World Cup has thrown into contrast the poor pay, high fares, and starved public services Brazilians endure. And the construction has driven up housing costs and displaced poor workers.  Read more.

Spain, Italy warn against investing in Israeli land theft

RT.com - Spain and Italy have joined France in advising their citizens not to invest in Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian Land.
The Italian Foreign Minister Frederico Mogherini told Italians on Friday “not to get involved in financial activity and investments” in settlements in the West Bank, Italian media reported.  Read more.

California Judges Favor Big Banks for Personal Gain

Darwin BondGraham @ Truthout - Why do the banks keep winning in court against borrowers alleging wrongful foreclosure, fraud and other abuses? Many borrowers and their lawyers say there's a judicial bias favoring the banks over homeowners, and that this bias is revealed by the economic position of the judges themselves. Most California judges are wealthy, and many of them hold significant investments in financial corporations and bonds, oftentimes even in the very same banks and mortgage lenders that have been sued by thousands of Californians over alleged fraud, deception and wrongful foreclosure.  Read more.

A Bitter Harvest: California, Marijuana and the New Jim Crow

Chris Moore-Backman @ Truthout - Marijuana is the single largest agricultural commodity in California, and it is the primary vehicle for the war on drugs' racialized arrest and incarceration system, which has our prisons bursting at the seams nationwide. Great numbers of predominantly white men and women grow, harvest and process marijuana in California for distribution throughout the United States. Local law enforcement and the communities they represent - communities whose economies are marijuana-dependent - benefit from letting this part of the illegal process go mostly undetected, while the crackdown happens almost exclusively in poor inner-city neighborhoods of color.  Read more.

Data Storms and the Tyranny of Manufactured Forgetting

Henry Giroux @ Truthout - The current mainstream debate regarding the crisis in Iraq and Syria offers a near perfect example of both the death of historical memory and the collapse of critical thinking in the United States. It also signifies the emergence of a profoundly anti-democratic culture of manufactured ignorance and social indifference. Surely, historical memory is under assault when the dominant media give airtime to the incessant war mongering of politicians such as Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham and retro pundits such as Bill Kristol, Douglas Feith, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz - not one of whom has any credibility given how they have worked to legitimate the unremitting web of lies and deceit that provided cover for the disastrous US invasion of Iraq under the Bush/Cheney administration.  Read more.

The Ghoulish Face of Empire

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - The black-clad fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, sweeping a collapsing army and terrified Iraqis before them as they advance toward Baghdad, reflect back to us the ghoulish face of American empire. They are the specters of the hundreds of thousands of people we murdered in our deluded quest to remake the Middle East. They are ghosts from the innumerable roadsides and villages where U.S. soldiers and Marines, jolted by explosions of improvised explosive devices, responded with indiscriminate fire. They are the risen remains of the dismembered Iraqis left behind by blasts of Hellfire and cruise missiles, howitzers, grenade launchers and drone strikes. They are the avengers of the gruesome torture and the sexual debasement that often came with being detained by American troops. They are the final answer to the collective humiliation of an occupied country, the logical outcome of Shock and Awe, the Frankenstein monster stitched together from t…

How Inequality Shapes the American Family

Lynn Stewart @ AlterNet - How do you decide who to marry, or whether to marry at all? How many children to have? Whether to engage in short-term hookups or long-term partnerships?
We don't like to think that economic forces outside our individual control can shape the most intimate aspects of our lives. But a growing body of evidence suggests that inequality is changing not only American family structures, but the roles men and women play and the calculations they make...read more.

Obama's Deportation Machine

Rania Khalek @ Truthout - With immigration reform stalled in Congress and President Obama's refusal to slow deportations, grassroots organizations across the country are pushing back at the local level against one of the prime drivers of deportation: ICE detainers. And they are winning.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has tracked more than 100 cities and counties that refuse to honor requests to detain immigrants...read more.

Man flies drone aircraft to monitor police

LA Times - Torrance resident Daniel Saulmon, 42, has been flying his drone around the South Bay for about a month. He created a website on which he regularly posts videos shot at police DUI checkpoints and traffic stops that he says helps monitor possible abuses of power.
"My attorney told me there isn't really much regulation on them," said Saulmon, whose recordings are well known to South Bay officers. "I don't think it's a substitute for a hand-held camera, but it’s definitely a complement."  Read more.

Israel Launches Air Strikes In Syria

Sarah Lazare  @ Common Dreams - Israel launched multiple air strikes across Syria on Sunday in response to an attack on an Israeli defense contractor’s vehicle in the Israel-occupied Golan Heights on the Syria border.
In a statement released Monday, the Israeli military stated, "IDF targeted nine Syrian military positions, confirming direct hits."  Read more.

Farming for the Future

Dahr  Jamail @ Truthout - As the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) continue to escalate, drought, wildfires, flooding and other extreme weather events continue to intensify and last longer as a result.
In parts of Africa, the sociopolitical translation of this means wars over water, crops and animals, as drought and the ensuing conflict spinning out of it have become the norm.  Read more.

Buying Up the Planet: Out-of-Control Central Banks on a Corporate Buying Spree

Ellen Brown @ Web of Debt - When the US Federal Reserve bought an 80% stake in American International Group (AIG) in September 2008, the unprecedented $85 billion outlay was justified as necessary to bail out the world’s largest insurance company. Today, however, central banks are on a global corporate buying spree not to bail out bankrupt corporations but simply as an investment, to compensate for the loss of bond income due to record-low interest rates. Indeed, central banks have become some of the world’s largest stock investors.  Read more.

Poland's Finance Minister comparies compares ties with US to giving oral sex

RT.com - The Polish Foreign Minister believes his country’s alliance with the US is worth nothing and compared his government’s stance to giving oral sex and receiving nothing in return, a Polish magazine said, citing a leaked recording of a private conversation.
Excerpts from the alleged exchange between FM Radoslaw Sikorski and Jacek Rostowski, an MP and former finance minister, were published Sunday by Wprost, which promised a full transcript and audio files later on Monday or Tuesday.  Read more.

US invasion and occupation in Iraq has resulted in 460,000 deaths since 2003

RT.com - Almost half a million deaths in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 were caused by war and occupation, according to new research. The figure is around four times bigger than most previous estimates.
An estimated 460,000 deaths in Iraq from March 2003 to mid-2011 were caused by violence during the war with the US and the subsequent occupation by coalition forces, according to a statistical research published in PLOS (Public Library of Science) Medicine journal, an open access source.  Read more.

Infant dies in hot car after being left for 4 hours by her father

USA Today - A Florida man whose daughter died last week after spending hours in a hot pickup said nothing during his first appearance in front of a judge Saturday.
A stoic Steven Lillie, with hands and feet shackled, stared straight ahead wearing a green anti-suicide smock as he listened to his attorney Jennifer Collins Mostert, who negotiated the terms of his release. Lillie faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child.  Read more.

39 women illegally sterilized in California prisons

RT.com - Four California prisons illegally sterilized 39 women over a six-year period, a damning new report by the California State Auditor reveals.
Of the 144 inmates who underwent bilateral tubal ligations, commonly referred to as having your tubes tied, from fiscal years 2005-06 to 2012-13, auditors found nearly one-third were performed without lawful consent.  Read more.

Guns, Denial and Insanity

John Morlino @ Truthout - Unless you've been hiding in a cave for the past few weeks - an increasingly attractive alternative for anyone concerned about this topic - you're acutely aware that mass shootings in the United States seem to be occurring at roughly the same rate as bullets fired from an assault rifle.  Read more.

US Funds "Terror Studies" to Dissect and Neutralize Social Movements

Glen Ford @ Black Agenda Report - The U.S. Department of Defense is immersed in studies about...people like you. The Pentagon wants to know why folks who don’t themselves engage in violence to overthrow the prevailing order become, what the military calls, “supporters of political violence.” And by that they mean, everyone who opposes U.S military policy in the world, or the repressive policies of U.S. allies and proxies, or who opposes the racially repressive U.S. criminal justice system, or who wants to push the One Percent off their economic and political pedestals so they can’t lord it over the rest of us. (I’m sure you recognize yourself somewhere in that list.)  Read more.

Thousands rally in London against govt austerity

RT.com - A “no more austerity” march is gearing up in the British capital and RT’s Sara Firth says tens of thousands have already come to demand an alternative to the “greed and selfishness” of the Con-Dem coalition.
The rally, which also includes a festival, was called by The People's Assembly Against Austerity, an broad coalition of anti-government groups that embraces trade unions and other campaigners.  Read more.

Tony Blair "should be lecturing on Iraq from the dock at the International Criminal Court’

John Wright @ RT.com - ​It has been heartening to witness the backlash against former British Prime Minister Tony Blair over his attempt to deny any responsibility for the chaos and carnage that has engulfed northern and eastern Iraq in recent days.
While thousands of ISIS Sunni extremists are engaged in a determined attempt to reach Baghdad, leaving a trail of carnage in the process, Tony Blair remains resolute in claiming that there is no connection...read more.

How Secret Partners Expand NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet

The Intercept - Huge volumes of private emails, phone calls, and internet chats are being intercepted by the National Security Agency with the secret cooperation of more foreign governments than previously known, according to newly disclosed documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The classified files, revealed today by the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information in a reporting collaboration with The Intercept, shed light on how the NSA’s surveillance of global communications has expanded under a clandestine program, known as RAMPART-A, that depends on the participation of a growing network of intelligence agencies.  Read more.

Want to Prevent PTSD? End Unbridled US Militarism

Gary Olson @ Common Dreams - Because my 33​-​year-old father was on the verge of embarking for Europe and the allied invasion of Italy, my birth certificate reads: U.S. Army Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia. When he finally returned, PFC Lee Olson's decorations included a Purple Heart Medal for ​​shrapnel wounds suffered from a German hand grenade in the Battle of Monte Cassino, one of the longest, bloodiest and most costly land campaigns of World War II.  Read more.

Soccer Is Democratic. The World Cup Is Oligarchy

Foreign Policy in Focus - It's the biggest sporting event in the world. Fans from virtually every place on Earth don jerseys, scarves, and caps and head to the nearest bar to chug an ice-cold beer while passionately yelling and cheering their team on—hopefully to victory.
The World Cup only happens every four years, and for most of us, there's nothing like it.  Read more.

A Tiny, Secret, Street Art Monument In Boston Remembers Trayvon Martin

Greg Cook @ The Artery - For about four years, Matthew Hincman had been eyeing the old stump of a lamppost at the corner of Eliot and Centre streets in Jamaica Plain’s Monument Square. It stood there, with two screws sticking pointing up, as if calling for something to go on top.
“Ripe for intervention,” he figured.
And he got to thinking about the granite monument tower on the other side of the square to a couple dozen West Roxbury men who died in the Civil War. Long forgotten men, he thought. “There’s no collective memory around those historical monuments any more,” he says.
“Who do we memorialize?” he began to ask himself. “Why do we memorialize them in the public space?”  Read more.

WikiLeaked Doc Reveals Wall Street Plan for Global Financial Deregulation

Common Dreams - WikiLeaks published a previously tightly-held and secretive draft of a trade document on Thursday that, if enacted, would give the world's financial powers an even more dominant position to control the global economy by avoiding regulations and public accountability.
Known as a Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), the draft represents the negotiating positions of the U.S. and E.U. and lays out the deregulatory strategies championed by some of the world's largest banks and investment firms.  Read more.

Scott Walker: The Karl Rove, "Secret Email," "Criminal Scheme" Candidate

John Nichols @ The Nation - Scott Walker, an ardent Ronald Reagan fan from his youth, was never likely to follow Reagan's footsteps to the White House. The Wisconsin governor lacks his hero's way with words, skill for crossing lines of partisan and ideogical division (especially within the Republican Party), and confidence on the national campaign trail.  Read more.

Dick Cheney Should Be Rotting in The Hague, Not Writing Editorials

Thom Hartman @ Truthout - If there's one person who has absolutely zero business criticizing anyone for how they're running the country, it's Dick Cheney.
This should be obvious to pretty everyone by now, but apparently the Wall Street Journal didn't get the message. Today, the paper published an editorial by Cheney and his daughter Liz in which the former Vice President blasts the "collapsing Obama doctrine" of foreign policy."  Read more.

American Apparel ousts Dov Charney 'for cause,' cites misconduct investigation

LA Times - Dov Charney, the controversial chairman of American Apparel, was ousted Wednesday by the company's board of directors, which said the action "grew out of an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct."
The board voted to replace Charney as chairman and "notified him of its intent to terminate his employment as president and CEO for cause," according to a statement.  Read more.

Detroit Shuts Off Water to Thousands

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - As thousands of people in Detroit go without water, and the city moves to cut off services to tens of thousands more, concerned organizations have taken the unusual step of appealing to the United Nations to intervene and protect the "human right to water."  Read more.

Michael Ratner: Lift Assange Out of Legal Limbo

Michael Ratner @ USA Today - A whistle-blower living in exile in Russia. A publisher seeking the asylum he has already been granted while his sources are imprisoned. This isn't the cast of a summer blockbuster. It's a perfect storm of real-life cases that make it clear that constitutional guarantees of a free press and government accountability are rhetorical devices, not political realities.  Read more.

5 Links Between Higher Education and the Prison Industry

Rolling Stone Magazine - American universities do a fine job of selling themselves as pathways to opportunity and knowledge. But follow the traffic of money and policies through these academic institutions and you'll often wind up at the barbed wire gates of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, the two largest private prison operators in the United States. In the last two decades the private prison industry has exploded, growing 784 percent at the federal level, and helping the United States to achieve the highest incarceration rate in the world. CCA operates 69 facilities throughout the United States, GEO operates 55; both typically mandate that 90 percent of their beds be filled at all times. In the last two years alone CCA has defended itself against charges of fraudulent understaffing of its facilities, medical neglect and abuse of inmates. Read more.

New legislation forces the FCC to ban Internet fast lanes

Washington Post - Democratic lawmakers will unveil a piece of bicameral legislation Tuesday that would force the Federal Communications Commission to ban fast lanes on the Internet.
The proposal, put forward by Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), requires the FCC to use whatever authority it sees fit to make sure...read more.

Iraq crisis: Barack Obama sends in US troops

Guardian UK - The Obama adminstration has ordered the urgent deployment of several hundred armed troops in and around Iraq, after the rampant insurgency in the country forced the first talks between the US and Iran over a common security interest in more than a decade.
Barack Obama discussed the crisis with national security team on Monday night after earlier notifying Congress that up to 275 troops could be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for personnel and the US embassy in Baghdad.  Read more.

"Iraq" Is Still Arabic for "Vietnam"

Ira Chernus @ Common Dreams - When George W. Bush and the neocons launched their war in Iraq, critics coined the slogan, "'Iraq' is Arabic for 'Vietnam.'" The point was obvious: Another long quagmire of a war in an inhospitable foreign land would lead once again to nothing but death, suffering, and defeat for America.  Read more.

Alabama Overturns Anti-Sodomy Law

USA Today - Civil rights organizations in Alabama are cheering a state appeals court ruling that declared part of a state sexual misconduct law as unconstitutional.
Under the statute, consensual oral and anal sex was banned in what the court determined was an act aimed at criminalizing homosexual activities. Read more.

Doing for the Poor and Doing to the Poor

Dean Baker @ Truthout - Washington is full of well-meaning types who want to help the poor. The list of prospective helpers includes not only the standard liberal do-gooder types talking about programs like pre-K education, but also conservatives like Paul Ryan who argue that taking away food stamps and other benefits will give low-income people the motivation they need to go out and get a job.  Read more.

Real Goal of Iraq War in 2003: Oil and Inciting Terrorism to Create Permanent Conflict

Steven Jonas @ Buzzflash - US Wars? Wins? Losses? Aren't those answers self-evident? Well, if the objectives of the various wars are taken into account, indeed they aren't. Let us start with Vietnam.
The standard interpretation of the US War on Vietnam is that the US lost it. The classic picture is of that last helicopter taking off from the roof of the soon-to-be former US Embassy in Saigon. But if one considers the original US objectives the intervention-to-become-war in Southeast Asia, it was actually a win.  Read more.

Desmond Tutu: Anti-Apartheid Archbishop advocates Divestment from Israeli

Robert Naiman @ Truthout - As Presbyterians meeting in Detroit consider divestment from three companies linked to the Israeli occupation of Palestine - Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett Packard - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the leader who more than any other human being alive is associated with the successful use of divestment to help overturn apartheid in South Africa, is calling on Presbyterians to choose divestment from the Israeli occupation.  Read more.

Recent ruling by international court allows Japan to continue to use loophole to kill whales

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - Japanese officials announced Friday that the country had killed 30 minke whales in the northwestern Pacific as part of its stated "research" program that allows for the taking of the marine mammals.
The UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in March that Japan must halt its JARPA II Antarctic whaling program, stating that it is not for purposes of scientific research as the country had claimed.  Read more.

What We've Lost Since 9/11

Peter Van Buren @ TomDispatch - America has entered its third great era: the post-constitutional one. In the first, in the colonial years, a unitary executive, the King of England, ruled without checks and balances, allowing no freedom of speech, due process, or privacy when it came to protecting his power.  Read more.

America must do something about gun violence

Gilles Rouseau @ Salon.com - This Sunday will be the second Father’s Day that I will spend without my daughter, Lauren. Lauren was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School and she was shot and killed in the massacre there. So when Richard Martinez stood up and said, “Not one more,” days after his 20-year-old son was shot and killed by a man with a history of serious mental illness, I knew all too well the horror that he was feeling in that moment. When he said that he’d rather have people channel their anger and frustration into calling on their legislators to act in lieu of sending their condolences, I shared his sentiment.  Read more.

‘Inventing terrorists’: New study reveals FBI set up terrorism-related prosecutions

RT.com - Nearly 95 per cent of terrorist arrests have been the result of FBI foiling its own entrapment plots as a part of the so-called post-9/11 War on Terror, a new study revealed.
According to the report entitled ‘Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution’, the majority of arrests involved the unjust prosecution of targeted Muslim Americans.  Read more.

Fukushima’s Children are Dying

Harvey Wasserman @ Common Dream - Some 39 months after the multiple explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times (40x) normal.
More than 48 percent of some 375,000 young people—nearly 200,000 kids—tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smoldering reactors now suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. The rate is accelerating.  Read more.

Woman dies in jail while serving sentence for her kids’ unpaid school fines

Salon.com - A Pennsylvania woman died in a jail cell over the weekend while serving a 48-hour sentence for her children’s unpaid school fines. Eileen DiNino was found dead on Saturday in a Berks County jail cell where she was midway through the sentence that would have eliminated around $2,000 in fines and related court fees related to her children’s attendance at school. Police have said her death is not considered suspicious, but the cause has yet to be determined. She was 55 years old and a mother to seven children.  Read more.

The Dangers of a World Without Net Neutrality

Electronic Frontier Foundation - Last month the FCC released its proposal for America's new network neutrality rules. Unfortunately, the agency's proposal included rules that would permit Internet providers to prioritize certain websites, e.g., make deals with some services for a faster and better path to subscribers. While the FCC claims it is not endorsing such deals, the proposed rules will inevitably be read as exactly that.  Read more.

Economic Recession Linked to 10,000 Suicides

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - A new study has linked the economic recession to 10,000 suicides across North American and Europe, and revealed a "looming mental health crisis."
Researchers from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine used data from the World Health Organization on suicides in Canada, the U.S. and 24 EU nations and found an increase in the number of suicides from 2008 to 2010.  Read more.

Electronically Stalked by Corporations

Julia Angwin @ ProPublica - The marketers that follow you around the web are getting nosier.
Currently, many companies track where users go on the Web—often through cookies—in order to display customized ads. That's why if you look at a pair of shoes on one site, ads for those shoes may follow you around the Web.  Read more.

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

Guardian UK - A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."  Read more.

Mexico City Bans Circus Animals in Shows

Lizabeth Paulat @ Care2 - The idea of using animals in the circus has been controversial for some time. Although some circus employees insist they use humane methods, and form incredible bonds with the animals, numerous activist groups claim that abuse happens more often than not.
Recently, Mexico City has decided that any instance of abuse was simply too much. They've joined six other states within the country, banning animals in circus acts.  Read more.

Chile Scraps Dam Project in 'Greatest Triumph of the Nation's Environmental Movement'

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - In a decision hailed as "the greatest triumph of the environmental movement" in the country, Chile on Tuesday rejected a controversial dam project.
The HidroAysén project in the seismically active area would have included five dams on two rivers in Patagonia—the Baker and Pascua—and, according to International Rivers, would have resulted in...read more.

Activist, actress Ruby Dee dies at 91

Philly.com - Ruby Dee, 91, the trailblazing actress, activist and American social conscience, died Wednesday night of natural causes at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y., surrounded by her three children and seven grandchildren.
She had outlived soul mate Ossie Davis, her husband of 56 years, by nearly a decade.  Read more.

Spike Lee’s Tribute to Ruby Dee

Daily Beast - Ruby Dee, the legendary actress, poet, and Civil Rights activist, passed away on Wednesday in New York. She was 91.
Born Ruby Ann Wallace, the Harlem native was a dynamo on stage and screen, starring in the 1961 film A Raisin in the Sun, winning Obie and Drama Desk Awards for the play Boesman and Lena, and earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her turn as the feisty mother to Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington, in the 2007 film American Gangster.  Read more.

Fossil Fuel Giants Hijacking UN's Green Energy Fund

Inter Press Service - When the United Nations inaugurated the first-ever global forum on renewable energy last week, it provided a laundry list of financial pledges aimed at achieving one of the world body’s most ambitious goals: sustainable energy for all (SE4ALL) by 2030.
The forum specifically focused on the developing world where one out of five people are without access to basic energy: electricity.
According to the United Nations, Norway is expected to spend about 330 million dollars for global renewable energy this year, while Bank of America’s Green Bond has pledged some 500 million dollars over three years as part of a 10-year 50-billion-dollar environmental business commitment.  Read more.

Teachers Sound Alarm over 'Anti-Public Education' Ruling

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - In a ruling with broad implications for public education across the United States, a California court on Tuesday struck down key workplace protections for the state's public school teachers by siding with student plaintiffs—backed by powerful political forces— who claimed such policies negatively impacted the quality of their learning.
Issued by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu, the decision sparked outrage from teachers unions and public education advocates across the country.  Read more.

Google Adds Graffiti to Its Art Portfolio

NY Times - There’s a portrait of an anonymous Chinese man chiseled into a wall in Shanghai, a colorful mural in Atlanta and black-and-white photographs of eyes that the French artist JR affixed to the houses of a hillside favela in Rio de Janeiro. These are among the images of more than 4,000 works included in a vast new online gallery of street art that Google is unveiling here on Tuesday.
Called the Street Art Project, the database was created by the company’s Paris-based Google Cultural Institute. Using images provided by cultural organizations worldwide, some of which were captured with...read more.

The Fall of Mosul and the False Promises of Modern History

Juan Cole @ Informed Conmment - The fall of Mosul to the radical, extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a set of historical indictments. Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city, population roughly 2 million (think Houston) until today, when much of the population was fleeing. While this would-be al-Qaeda affiliate took part of Falluja and Ramadi last winter, those are smaller, less consequential places and in Falluja tribal elders persuaded the prime minister not to commit the national army to reducing the city.
It is an indictment of the George W. Bush administration, which falsely said it was going into Iraq because of a connection between al-Qaeda and Baghdad. There was none.  Read more.

What Palestinian Unity Is All About - The Real Task Ahead

Ramzy Baroud @ Common Dreams - Palestinians are yet to achieve national unity despite the elation over the ‘national unity government’ now in operation in Ramallah.
One has to be clear in the distinction between a Hamas-Fatah political arrangement necessitated by regional and international circumstances, and Palestinian unity. What has been agreed upon in the Shati’ (Beach) refugee camp in April, which lead to the formation of a transitional government in the West Bank in June, has little to do with Palestinian unity. The latter is a much more comprehensive and indispensable notion. Without it, the Palestinian people risk losing more than a unified political platform, but their ability to identify with a common set of national aspirations wherever they are in the world.  Read more.

Eric Cantor’s loss puts the many divisions of the GOP in sharp relief

Washington Post - The universal reaction to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) primary loss Tuesday night was a combination of shock and stunned disbelief. But it was as much a reflection of the status quo within a divided Republican Party, a condition that will continue to roil the GOP and challenge party leaders into the future.  Read more.

European Union launches probe of tax breaks for Apple, Starbucks, Fiat

LA Times - European Union officials said Wednesday they had launched an investigation into whether Ireland and two other member nations were providing improper tax breaks to Apple Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Fiat Group.
The announcement came as the U.S. and other fiscally challenged countries have been trying to crack down on corporations funneling profits through foreign subsidiaries to avoid or reduce tax payments.  Read more.

Revealed: How Obama administration arms police to the teeth with battlefield weapons

RT.com - The Pentagon has an awful lot of leftovers, but luckily for law enforcement agencies across the United States they aren’t going to waste.
Millions of dollars’ worth of military gear is distributed to local police forces on an annual basis, and these regular exchanges are occurring from coast to coast...read more.

Russia launches Baltic drills alongside NATO Saber Strike war games

RT.com - The Baltic Sea and skies are getting crowded as Russia launches military training of its assault forces in the exclave of Kaliningrad in answer to the double war-games being conducted by joint NATO forces on the territory of the three Baltic States.
NATO’s decision to conduct dual war games next to Russian borders in the Baltic has not been left unaddressed by Russia’s Defense Ministry, which prepared a surprise training of first strike forces – marines, paratroopers and long-range bombers - right in the backyard of the NATO military maneuvers.  Read more.

The James Risen Case Cuts to the Heart of "Freedom of the Press"

Thom Hartman @ Truthout - If the Senate doesn't screw things up, we might finally get the kind of media shield law that our democracy requires.
Late last month, the Republican-controlled House of Representative passed the so-called Commerce, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 4660) by a margin of 321 to 87.
On its own, there's nothing all that interesting about H.R. 4660. It's your basic cut-and-dry appropriations bill that lays out how a handful of federal agencies, including the Justice Department, can spend their money. H.R. 4660 is the kind of bill that Congress passes all the time without much media attention.  Read more.

Zombie Resurrection

Karen Garcia @ Sardonicky - New York Times restaurant critic turned op-ed columnist Frank Bruni has reanimated the long-discredited generational theft blame game -- accusing  Boomers rather than Banksters of creating the dire straits a whole lost generation of young Americans finds itself thrashing in.
The cult of plutocratic austerians, who'd temporarily retreated to their crypts when Thomas Picketty and wealth inequality became all the rage, are back on another rampage, this time trying to disguise themselves as fun young hipsters.  Read more.

Revealed: Thousands of Irish orphans were used as ‘drug guinea pigs’

RT.com - Over 2,000 care-home kids were secretly vaccinated against diphtheria in the 1930s in medical trials undertaken by international drugs giant Burroughs Wellcome, Irish media reveal. Among the testing sites was a recently discovered mass grave.
The medical records cited by the Irish Daily Mail show that some 2,051 children and babies across several Irish care homes may have been subjected to the practice.   Read more.

Human Rights Watch: Israeli Shooting of Teens a 'War Crime'

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - The May 15 shooting of two Palestinian teens by Israeli forces may amount to a war crime, Human Rights Watch stated Monday.

Nadim Nawareh and Mohammed Salameh, both 17* years old, were marking the Nakba or "catastrophe" by participating in a demonstration near the Ofer military prison in the West Bank city of Beitunia when they were fatally shot. Another teen, 15-year-old Mohammad Abdullah Hussein al-Azzeh, was also wounded in the incident.  Read more.

What's Gender Got to Do With Policing and Prison?

Victoria Law @ Waging Nonviolence - When Yraida Guanipa, a mother of two living in Miami, was sentenced to prison, both her sons were under the age of six. During her 10-and-a-half year sentence, she saw her sons a total of six times. But she was one of the fortunate ones. Guanipa, who was incarcerated at the federal prison camp in Coleman, Fla., nearly 300 miles from her family in Miami, learned that the distance and cost of travel prevented many other women from receiving visits from their children at all. Guanipa had read about a church in West Virginia that provided free transportation for the children and families of women incarcerated at the federal prison there and decided that she would find a way to create a similar opportunity for the mothers at Coleman.  Read more.

Louisiana Gov. signs bill killing lawsuits against oil and gas companies

RT.com - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has flouted the advice of his own attorney general and scores of legal scholars by signing a bill which blocks a levee board’s lawsuit against oil and gas companies, who are accused of destroying the state’s coast.
"This bill will help stop frivolous lawsuits and create a more fair and predictable legal environment, and I am proud to sign it into law," Jindal said in a written statement Friday.  Read more.

Happy 80th Birthday, Bill Moyers

Peter Drier @ Common Dreams - Bill Moyers, who turned 80 on Thursday, has been one of the most prolific and influential figures in American journalism. Not content just to diagnose and document corporate and political malpractice, Moyers has regularly taken his cameras and microphones to cities and towns where unions, community organizations, environmental groups, tenants rights activists, and others were waging grassroots campaigns for change. Moyers has given them a voice. He has used TV as a tool to expose political and corporate wrongdoing and to tell stories about ordinary people working together for justice.  Read more.

The Unlucky Unemployed

Paul Krugman @ Truthout - Matt O'Brien, a reporter at The Washington Post, recently wrote an interesting, if depressing, article on long-term unemployment in the United States, making the point that it is basically a matter of bad luck: if someone gets laid off in a bad economy, he has a hard time finding a new job; and the longer he stays unemployed, the harder it becomes to find work.  Read more.

The Big Snub in Paris

Eric Margolis - Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin were ships passing in the night while in Paris for the G-7 meeting.
The American president reportedly refused to dine with Putin, who was being hosted by France’s president Francois Hollande as part of the D-Day commemoration.  Read more.