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Showing posts from November, 2014

Ferguson protesters march to governor’s mansion

Washington Post - Late on a day when a large column of protesters began a 120-mile march to the governor’s mansion and several hundred more laid plans to expand the movement, Officer Darren Wilson announced his resignation from the police force where he served for six years before fatally shooting Michael Brown on Aug. 9.
Wilson said he was resigning because of threats of violence against the Ferguson Police Department or the public if he remained on the job, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Read more.

Egyptian court dismisses charges against Mubarak

Al Jazeera - An Egyptian court has thrown out charges against former President Hosni Mubarak, his interior minister, and six aides over the killing of protesters during the 2011 Egyptian uprising.
That same day, Chief Judge Mahmoud Kamel al-Rashidi also cleared Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, of corruption charges related to gas exports. The judge said too much time had elapsed since the alleged crime took place for the court to rule on the matter.  Read more.

Citizens' Ballot Initiative Another Casualty of Citizens United Decision

Truthout - We did not always have the citizens' ballot initiative, or referendum, in Massachusetts or elsewhere in America.
Not until the early 20th century did people in the states insist on this tool of democracy as a way to overcome what had become entrenched corporate and moneyed interests of the last Gilded Age. Now, after the Supreme Court has created rights of unlimited corporate campaign spending, we face a new Gilded Age. As the overwhelming effect of corporate money in the local casino and bottle bill initiatives show, even the ballot initiative process is now at risk.  Read more.

#BlackOutBlackFriday Protests Connect Ferguson with Consumer Boycott

Common Dreams - Marking a convergence of public anger and dissent on the annual shopping bonanza of "Black Friday," people drawing the connection between American consumer culture, economic disparity, and racial injustice are targeting retail stores and malls Friday to voice ongoing critiques of the events and underlying issues in Ferguson, Missouri now galvanizing  outrage across the country.  Read more.

Assange and Chomsky Appear Arm-In-Arm at Ecuadorian Embassy

Common Dreams - Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London arm-in-arm with American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky on Tuesday.
Assange has remained at the Embassy since 2012, when he was granted asylum by the Ecuadorian government. UK authorities have denied Assange passage to Ecuador and the embassy building has been guarded 24 hours a day by London police.  Read more.

Shaking the Heavens in Ferguson

Amy Goodman @ Democracy Now! - “As long as justice is postponed we always stand on the verge of these darker nights of social disruption.” So said Martin Luther King Jr. in a speech on March 14, 1968, just three weeks before he was assassinated.
Michael Brown’s killing in August continues to send shockwaves through Ferguson, Missouri, and beyond. Last Monday night, Saint Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch unleashed a night of social disruption when he announced that no criminal charges would be filed against Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Brown. McCulloch inexplicably delayed release of the grand jury findings until nightfall. The prosecutor’s press conference deeply insulted many, as he laboriously defended the actions of Darren Wilson, while attacking the character of the victim, Michael Brown.  Read more.

'Love Each Other': Support Floods in for Ferguson Public Library

Deidre Fulton @ Common Dreams - The Ferguson Municipal Library, a beacon of peace in a community wracked by unrest, has received a flood of donations in response to its decision to stay open following Monday's grand jury announcement—more than $175,000, or more than half its annual budget, in just two days.
The public library, which employs only one full-time librarian and serves about 21,000 local residents, acted as an ad-hoc school and community center when other public institutions shut down...read more.

Whitewashing White Power: Unorthodox police procedures emerge in grand jury documents

Washington Post - When Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson left the scene of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the officer returned to the police station unescorted, washed blood off his hands and placed his recently fired pistol into an evidence bag himself.
Those actions, described in grand jury testimony, violated protocols for handling a crime scene and securing evidence, according to experts in policing procedures and Justice Department documents.  Read more.

Donation of Prize Money by Canadian Activist Spurs Flood of Dollars to Tar Sands Fight

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, recipient of a prestigious Canadian literary prize, announced this week he is donating the $25,000 award to a grassroots coalition against TransCanada Corporation's "Energy East" pipeline.
His challenge to people across Canada and the world to double his contribution to the group Coule Pas Chez Nous (Don’t Let it Flow in Our Backyard) has resulted in a flood of donations totaling at least $326,000 (in Canadian currency), with more money continuing to pour in.  Read more.

No Justice in Ferguson

Campaign for America's Future - The Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. In the coming days, Wilson will sit down for major media interviews, and Thanksgiving dinner with his new wife. Michael Brown’s parents will sit with his empty chair, and the knowledge that the man who killed him is not only free, but all over the media — perhaps even celebrated in right-wing media, which may or may not stop short of celebrating their son’s death.
We knew this decision was coming. It’s heartbreaking, but it is not a surprise.  Read more.

‘Abused, tasered’: Watchdog says Met Police racially-profiled black firefighter

RT.com - Six Metropolitan Police officers who allegedly dragged a black off-duty fireman from his car and shot him with a Taser should face charges of racial discrimination, a statutory watchdog says. The victim claims he was simply requesting assistance.
Edric Kennedy-Macfoy says the officers in question behaved in a wild and unpredictable manner when he addressed them in North London to offer them a description of a man he had seen hurling a rock at a police vehicle.  Read more.

The Poor Suffer From Hunger - Not the Munchies

Jill Richardson @ OtherWords - Thanksgiving is an occasion when we gather with our families for festive meals. It's also a time when many of us donate to help the less fortunate celebrate with their families.
This holiday binds us all together: At least once a year, you should be able to sit around a table with your loved ones, enjoying turkey and mashed potatoes. If a bit of charity is needed to extend this joy to everyone, then many of us are glad to pitch in.  Read more.

Scholarship, Mentor Program Helps Children of Incarcerated Parents Go to College

Eleanor J. Bader @ Truthout - Yasmine Arrington, the 21-year-old founder of Scholar Children of Incarcerated Parents, or ScholarCHIPS, was 3 years old when her father went to prison and a high school student when she founded the philanthropic program that helps children of incarcerated parents go to college.  Read more.

US Defense Sec. Hagel resigns over apparent disagreements with White House

RT.com - United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down from his post atop the Pentagon, the Obama-appointee said Monday from the White House.
Flanked by US President Barack Obama and the vice president during a Monday morning announcement, Hagel, 68, acknowledged that he submitted his resignation, confirming reports that started to circulate earlier that day in the press.  Read more.

Big Pharma—Crony Capitalism Out of Control

Ralph Nader @ Common Dreams - Two recent news items about the voracious drug industry should call for a supine Congress to arouse itself and initiate investigations about the pay-or-die drug prices that are far too common.
The first item—a page one story in the New York Times—was about the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation, which fifteen years ago invested $150 million in the biotechnology company Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop a drug for this serious lung disease.  Read more.

White House Simply Doesn't "Want Public to Know" Scope of CIA Torture

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Members of Intelligence Committee say White House is stalling release of torture report as high-level disagreement over what American people can know about abuses by CIA reaches boiling point; Transparency advocates tell lawmakers with access to report, 'Just read it into the record.'  Read more.

The Strict Father Is at the Core of Conservative Ideology and Values

George Lakoff (Book Excerpt) @ Truthout - Liberals tend not to understand conservatives, and their confusion is showing. On the one hand liberals see conservatives in disarray and react with glee at the fragmentation: the Tea Party vs. Libertarians vs. Neocons vs. Wall Street. Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, brought down by a Tea Party unknown. John Boehner unable to control his majority in the House. Republican primary challenges everywhere.  Read more.

Arts Students Are Motivated More by Love of Subject Than Money or Future Careers

The Conversation - Science and engineering subjects are often presented as better career choices for students than the arts or humanities. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, recently said that STEM subjects – sciences, technology, engineering and maths – unlock doors to all sorts of careers and that pupils who study maths to A Level earn 10% more over their lifetime.  Read more.

California Robocop replace human security guards in Silicone Valley

RT.com - Autonomous “Robocop”-style robots, equipped with microphones, speakers, cameras, laser scanners and sensors, have started to guard Silicon Valley.
The security robots, called Knightscope K5 Autonomous Data Machines, were designed by a robotics company, Knightscope, located in Mountain View, California.  Read more.

The Siege of Julian Assange Is a Farce

John Pliger @ Truthout - The siege of Knightsbridge is a farce. For two years, an exaggerated, costly police presence around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. Their quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee from gross injustice whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His true crime is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.  Read more.

How GOP Operatives Clandestinely Used Twitter to Bypass Election Laws

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - According to reporting by CNN on Monday, it appears that during this year's mid-term elections shadowy outside Conservative campaign groups and official Republican Party campaigns may have used public, though "hidden in plain sight," Twitter accounts and secret codes to communicate with one another in a clandestine scheme designed to get around campaign finance laws that make direct communication and coordination between the two illegal.  Read more.

California Tells Court It Can’t Release Inmates Early Because It Would Lose Cheap Prison Labor

Think Progress - Out of California’s years-long litigation over reducing the population of prisons deemed unconstitutionally overcrowded by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, another obstacle to addressing the U.S. epidemic of mass incarceration has emerged: The utility of cheap prison labor.
In recent filings, lawyers for the state have resisted court orders that they expand parole programs, reasoning not that releasing inmates early is logistically impossible or would threaten public safety, but instead that prisons won’t have enough minimum security inmates left to perform inmate jobs.   Read more.

In NYC, once a payphone, soon a superfast Wi-Fi hub

c|net - New York City plans to turn its lowly public payphone network into what it claims will be the biggest and fastest free municipal Wi-Fi network in the world.
City leaders revealed the $200 million plan, called LinkNYC, on Monday at City Hall. The project will replace the Big Apple's thousands of payphone installations with thin, sleek, 9.5-foot-tall hubs providing unlimited Internet access at super-high speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.  Read more.

Shell Oil Loses Arctic Drilling Lawsuit

EcoWatch - Shell Oil seems to be on a losing streak these days.
In early October it was announced that the Greenpeace campaign to get Danish toy company LEGO to sever its nearly 50-year partnership with the oil giant was successful. Its Arctic drilling has been plagued with misadventures such as a drilling rig running aground on New Year’s Eve 2012. It was forced to abandon its drilling plans for 2013 and 2014, although it has said it plans to try again for 2015.  Read more.

The Super-Rich and Sordid Tales of Selfishness

Paul Buchheit @ Common Dreams - If the mainstream media made the effort to analyze and report the facts, the whole country would know about a level of selfishness that has spiraled out of control since the economists of the Reagan era convinced the wealthiest Americans that greed is good for everyone. Here are four extreme examples of that selfishness.  Read more.

James Risen: The Profiteers of Endless War

Mark Karlin @ Truthout - In a revealing interview with Truthout about his new book Pay Any Price, journalist James Risen provides evidence of how the United States has become enmeshed in an endless war. He also discusses how the post-9/11, military-surveillance state has enriched - with little oversight or accountability - many opportunists. Risen tells Truthout: "Four trillion dollars is the best estimate for the total price tag of the war on terror, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and much of it has gone to shadowy contractors. It is one of the largest transfers of wealth in American history, and yet it has gone largely unnoticed."  Read more.

Changing the Priorities of a 'Prison-Happy Country'

Brennan Center for Justice - We've done many good things over the last 20 years to reduce violent crime. More communities across our country now employ strategic approaches to improve safety, ranging from community policing to the current Smart on Crime initiative. We should congratulate ourselves for these achievements.

But we have made mistakes. One big one is promising states money to build prisons if they agreed to lengthen prison sentences.  Read more.

Most People in the US Aren't Even Aware of the Nation's Unending Wars

Jackie Marcus @ Buzzflash - Recently, Common Dreams ran an article entitled, "As New War Rages, Mainstream Media Silences Debate, Study Finds." Indeed most of the people in the US probably go through the day without ever thinking about the nation's ceaseless wars.
Many US voters are disgusted with both major political parties for reasons that go back a long way.
If elected Republicans think that they have a mandate as a result of the November 4th elections, they are laboring under a grand delusion.  Read more.

Wall Street Takes Over More Statehouses

David Sirota @ Truthdig - No runoff will be needed to declare one unambiguous winner in this month’s gubernatorial elections: the financial services industry. From Illinois to Massachusetts, voters effectively placed more than $100 billion worth of public pension investments under the control of executives-turned-politicians whose firms profit by managing state pension money.  Read more.

Missouri KKK: We will use ‘lethal force’ against Ferguson protesters

RT.com - The Missouri chapter of the Ku Klux Klan is threatening to use “lethal force” against protesters in Ferguson who threaten their safety, equating some demonstrators to “terrorists.”
Frank Ancona, leader of the KKK’s Missouri operations, has been distributing fliers in the metropolitan St. Louis area warning protesters in Ferguson that those who have threatened police officers and their families will be met with violence themselves.  Read more.

The Obama Administration.... Standing Up For Poor and Working People Since... Never

Bruce Dixon @ Black Agenda Report - In warehouses and in retail, wage stealing by bosses, forcing people to work off the clock, and compelling them to wait in half hour long lines without pay for exit security checks are shockingly commonplace practice. Though all are pretty much illegal, and according to economist Dr. Richard Wolff, the amount corporate employers steal from the wages of workers year is roughly three times the monetary value of all the nation's armed robberies, state and federal prosecutors rarely bother to investigate or indict.  Read more.

Student loans are a bridge to nowhere

Robert Shetterly @ Common Dreams - When I’m visiting schools and colleges around the country I ask students what issues concern them most. I used to expect them to say climate change or war, jobs or pollution, money in politics or corruption. I know better now. I expect them to say managing college debt.

As you know, that debt burden of student loans has nearly quadrupled in the past 10 years. Today it stands at $1.18 trillion. The average liability per student—whether they earn a degree or not—is nearly $30,000.  Read more.

Tiny spacecraft lands on comet 300M miles away

USA Today - After a nerve-racking 7-hour descent, a miniature spacecraft drifted softly onto the surface of a comet more than 300 million miles away from Earth on Wednesday morning. It was the first craft in history to land on a comet, and the apparently successful feat provoked hugs, cheers and joyous laughter in the control room in Germany.  Read more.

Same sex marriage now legal in Kansas and South Carolina

Reuters - Gay marriage advocates won another two victories on Wednesday as the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Kansas to become the 33rd U.S. state where same-sex couples can wed and a federal judge struck down South Carolina's ban.
The high court declined a request from Kansas officials to block U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree's Nov. 4 ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.  Read more.

Russia ends dollar/euro currency peg, moves to free float

RT.com - The Bank of Russia took another step towards a free float ruble by abolishing the dual currency soft peg, as well as automatic interventions. Before, the bank propped up the ruble when the exchange rate against the euro and dollar exceeded its boundaries.
"Instead, we will intervene in the currency market at whichever moment and amount needed to decrease the speculative demand,” the bank’s chairwoman, Elvira Nabiullina, said in an interview with Rossiya 24 Monday.  Read more.

Journalists Silenced as Killers Walk Free

Inter Press Service - A new report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) shows that nine out of 10 cases of journalist killings go unpunished.
The report found that between 2004 and 2013, 370 journalists were murdered “in direct retaliation for their work” and that in 90 percent of these cases there was total impunity – “no arrests, no prosecutions, no convictions.”  Read more.

Why Innocent People Plead Guilty

Jed S. Rakoff @ New York Review of Books - The criminal justice system in the United States today bears little relationship to what the Founding Fathers contemplated, what the movies and television portray, or what the average American believes.
To the Founding Fathers, the critical element in the system was the jury trial, which served not only as a truth-seeking mechanism and a means of achieving fairness, but also as a shield against tyranny.  Read more.

Money, Politics, and Poverty: Ready for a Paradigm Shift

Joe Abro @ TalkPoverty.org - Give Directly has garnered a lot of attention lately for advocating and implementing a radical new approach to fighting poverty in Kenya and Uganda: unconditional cash transfers.
The NGO simply targets places where there is extreme poverty and provides individuals with direct transfers of cash. In order to do this they are utilizing digital technology – providing people with cell phones and then making mobile account payments to them.  Read more.

International Criminal Court Capitulates to Israel by Overlooking Acknowledged War Crimes

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - The International Criminal Court is being accused of "defying justice" following Thursday's announcement that prosecutors will not further investigate or press charges against Israel for its 2010 deadly assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla bearing humanitarian aid from Turkey.
The ruling came despite the court's acknowledgement that Israel likely committed war crimes.  Read more.

In Paris, students protest police brutality

RT.com - School students across Paris have set up barricades to protest police violence and marched on a city squares after a 21-year-old student was killed nearly two weeks ago by a police flash grenade. Action is escalating across the country.
Bins were stacked up in front of school gates to use as barricades and sit-ins were organized atop the lower-level barriers. “Do not forget, do not forgive,” one of the students’ signs read, as they sat on bins blockading entrances to schools. Some of the bigger barricades were several meters high.  Read more.

The Mass Shooting in Mexico

Foreign Policy in Focus - Following a week of accolades abroad, President Enrique Peña Nieto returned home to face the worst political crisis of his administration. Protests rage after local police forcibly disappeared 43 students of Ayotzinapa, a rural teaching college in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero. As the investigations continue, the crisis has laid bare the violence and corruption that control large parts of the nation.
Led by youth, protestors across the country blame the government for the attack and others like it. As the father of one of the missing students said, “The government knows where they are.” His tone expressed deep fatigue and even deeper pain.  Read more.

Tense stand-off between Million Mask March protesters and police in London

RT.com - Protesters and police engaged in a tense stand-off with sporadic scuffles erupting across central London amid mass acts of civil disobedience. At least 10 Million Mask March protesters were detained after breaching cordons and inciting police to fight.
London police confirmed ten people were arrested amid sporadic clashes between the Million Mask March protesters and police officers.  Read more.

Californians Vote to Weaken Mass Incarceration

Matt Ford @ The Atlantic - California's Proposition 47 wasn't one of the most followed votes in Tuesday's midterm election, but it could change thousands of lives soon. Under the ballot initiative, dozens of nonviolent property and drug crimes will be reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, potentially freeing tens of thousands of prisoners. Funds that would have otherwise been spent on their incarceration will now be funneled into mental health and drug-treatment programs.  Read more.

"Prison Inflicts Mass Violence": Bill Ayers Interviews Maya Schenwar

Bill Ayers @ Truthout - "The struggle to end the prison nation is not an isolated fight," writes Maya Schenwar in her newly released Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better (Berrett-Koehler). In her hands - and in a more robust context - the battle to topple the vast gulag that cages huge numbers of our fellow human beings is a fight to rethink what a good society ought to look like, and what the good life might mean.  Read more.

Voters Reject Oil Titan Chevron, Elect Progressive Bloc in Richmond, California

Nadia Prupis @ Common Dreams - A slew of progressive candidates were elected in Richmond, California on Tuesday night in a resounding defeat of corporate power, after a multi-million-dollar opposition campaign funded by Chevron brought national attention to the race but failed to take control of City Hall.
Local politician Tom Butt, a Democrat, was elected mayor with 51 percent of the vote, beating the Chevron-backed candidate, Nat Bates, by 16 points.  Read more.

Hawaiians Win Community GMO Victory Over Monsanto

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - Residents of Maui County in Hawaii, frequently referred to as 'GMO Ground Zero,' claimed a victory Tuesday evening when a measure to ban the planting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) passed with 50.2 percent.
Agribusiness giants Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, which for decades have run enormous growing and testing operations on the island, spent nearly $8 million dollars to defeat the ban, making it the most expensive campaign in Hawaii's history...read more.

"Poverty isn’t about how hard you work...it’s about how much money you make"

Robin Dickinson @ YES! Magazine - The ER doctor looked grave as he pulled his stool close to the hospital bed where I was sitting with my husband and two small children. “I’m really sorry to have to tell you this. There’s no easy way.” As a family physician, I recognized those words: We’re trained to warn someone before we tell them bad news. Then I realized he was saying I’d had two strokes.  Read more.

Pay Rent or Drink Water: The Human Rights Crisis in Detroit Escalates

Ben Ptashnik @ Truthout - Despite mass protests, the emergency management water shutoffs in Detroit have resumed, even as UN experts publish a press release calling the water disconnects "contrary to human rights" and activists decry them as "genocide."
The corporate-led humanitarian crisis in Detroit is escalating, forcing local activists to appeal for international intervention.  Read more..

If you threaten US interests, you may be destroyed – ex-London mayor Livingstone

RT.com - It’s time for the UK to have an independent foreign policy and stop being a cheerleader for Washington, says former London mayor, Ken Livingstone. But politicians know that posing a threat to US interests may end badly for you, he told RT.
Livingstone, a vocal critic of Britain’s military involvement in Iraq, believes that since as far back as the First World War, the United States, with Britain’s help, has intervened on numerous occasions all over the Middle East just to control the flow of oil.  Read more

Public Prisons, Private Profits

Victoria Law @ Truthout - When her daughter was first incarcerated in Arizona's Perryville State Prison, "Rae" sent her money orders bought at the local cash-checking place or from Walmart. But those took too long to clear, leaving her daughter without needed supplies, so she began driving to the post office to buy money orders. Throughout her daughter's four years in prison, Rae has sent her money twice a month - $100 on the first of the month and whatever she can afford (usually $50 or less) on the 15th of the month.  Read more.

Ebola: A Disease of Extraordinary Poverty

Nicholas Powers @ The Indypendent - When he coughed, I flinched. As the train left Jamaica Station, I studied the people with airport luggage. What if one of them has Ebola? The deadly virus has spread through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and was carried by an infected jet passenger to Dallas, where he died. Then, a doctor was diagnosed with it right here in New York. Had it spread? Was it on this train? Shaking my head, I realized that we’re infected with something worse than Ebola.  Read more.

Thousands Protest Racist Washington "Redskins" Football Team

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - Arriving in Minnesota to play their scheduled Sunday afternoon match, Washington football players were greeted by thousands of Native Americans and supporters who were there to declare: "We are not your mascot!"
According to the Washington Post, at least two thousand demonstrators carried signs, banged drums and chanted outside the University of Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, in what organizers expect will be the largest-ever protest against the name...read more.