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Showing posts from January, 2016

A more agitated Sanders tries to fend off attacks of nervous establishment

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders pulled up to a supporter’s garage in his hulking campaign bus, prepared to give a pep talk to a few dozen devotees who had been tirelessly knocking on doors for him in the final days before the Iowa caucuses.
But first he had something to get off his chest. Visibly agitated, Sanders teed off on a television ad being aired by his chief rival, Hillary Clinton, implying he’s on the wrong side of two key issues: gun control and women’s reproductive rights.
“Those are inaccuracies, and we can do better than that,” the Vermont senator told his huddled supporters...read more.

Dozens killed in Damascus suburb bombings, ISIS claims responsibility

A series of blasts have struck the outskirts of Syria's capital, Damascus. At least 45 people were killed in the mainly Shiite neighbourhood, Syria's Interior Ministry reported. The Islamic State terrorist group has taken responsibility for the attacks.
According to the ministry, “more than 45 people were killed and dozens were injured.” Police say that the death toll is set to rise...read more.

New Report Reveals Electric Utility Industry's Influence at Universities

In 1971, Lewis Powell, before becoming a Supreme Court Justice, authored a memo, now known as the Powell Memo, and sent it to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Powell called on corporate America to take an increased role in shaping politics, law, and education. Business leaders, Powell instructed, must marshal their resources to influence institutions that influence public opinion and wield political power – especially at universities. Four decades later, the public can see examples of Powell's instructions taking hold.  Read more.

Endless List of Racial Discrimination in US

From being victims of police killings to facing barriers to educational and health equity, African Americans are facing "systemic racial discrimination" and deserve reparatory justice, a United Nations working group said Friday.
Having just completed an 11-day mission with visits to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Jackson, Miss., Chicago and New York City, the five-member Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent say...read more.

Stockholm pogrom: Crowd of masked men hunt and beat up non-Swedes

Dozens of masked man went on an anti-immigrant rampage in Stockholm in an apparent retaliation for the stabbing death of a young Swedish woman at a refugee center earlier this week, local media reported.
The crowd of some 40 to 50 people went on a violent spree on Friday night at around 9 p.m. local time in and around the Swedish capital’s main railroad station...read more.

Hillary Clinton's 'Faux Feminism'

Why Bernie Sanders Is Winning the Hearts and Minds of America

If you’re lucky, once in your lifetime, maybe twice if you’re really lucky, you’ll get an opportunity to support a presidential candidate who speaks to your values on a very deep personal level. For me, that chance came the day Bernie Sanders announced his presidential campaign. My reason for supporting Bernie Sanders for president can be summed up in one word: authenticity.  Read more.

LIBOR Traders Get Off Scot Free in Rate-Rigging Scandal

Howard Zinn on taxes and class war

Radioactive Water From Fukushima Is Leaking Into the Pacific

"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Truthout shortly after a 9.0 earthquake in Japan caused a tsunami that destroyed the cooling system of Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan.  Read more.

Spike Lee releases new film about Michael Jackson

As a young artist, Michael Jackson knew he wanted to be legendary.
“I will be magic,” he wrote as a teenager, outlining his plans for his career. “I will be better than every great actor roped in one.”
Jackson’s drive to succeed and his striking talent as a singer, dancer and songwriter are the focus of Spike Lee’s new documentary...read more.

Outrage in Denmark as 17yo girl faces fine for using pepper spray against sex attacker

A Danish teenager who said she was sexually assaulted now faces a fine for using pepper spray against her attacker. The man who pulled her to the ground and tried to undress her fled the scene without any charges.
The incident took place in the center of the small town of Sonderborg in southern Denmark at about 10 p.m. local time Wednesday.  Read more.

The Poisoning of Flint Was Not an Accident - It Was a Crime

What does lead do to the human body? Infants and small children can suffer brain and nervous system damage, weakened immune systems and general physical collapse that can lead to death. Pregnant women have a higher risk of stillbirth or miscarriage. A raft of studies has pretty much concluded that lead can cause cancer. It causes cardiovascular diseases and kidney damage which, like cancer, can also kill. The people of Flint, Michigan, are now subject to all of these impacts and more, due to the lead in their water.  Read more.

As Sanders Slams Wall Street Elite, Clinton Ditches Iowa To Fetch Their Checks

Seemingly undeterred by the consistent critique that her close ties to the financial industry are hurting her campaign, The Intercept on Tuesday reports that with less than a week until the Iowa caucus, Hillary Clinton will soon leave the hotly-contested state to attend a pair of Wall Street-sponsored fundraising events.  Read more.

Video of Denver inmate dying at hands of deputies raises calls for federal investigation

Restraining practices have been called into question since Denver released a video showing the last moments a homeless man who died face-down while being restrained by five deputies. His family is now calling for a federal investigation into the incident.
The release of the video, which runs for more than 45 minutes...read more.

Obama Administration Enables Billionaire Takeover of US Public Schools

With the Walton billionaires doubling down in their efforts to accelerate the charter school industry and with the Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, throwing in $100 million to privatize traditional public schools, one might think that the U.S. Department of Education would be a major line of defense for America's public schools educating the most underserved students or even a bold investor in sustainable community schools that are truly public.  Read more.

Haitian Elections Cancelled As Popular Dissent Against Ruling Party Intensifies

Amid energetic protests fueled by shared criticisms from people in the streets and opposition political parties that the nation's political process is awash with fraud, the ruling government of Haiti on Friday cancelled national elections scheduled for Sunday by saying it could not guarantee the safety of voters.  Read more.

Survivor of US Drone Attack Says Obama Belongs on List of World's Tyrants

Faheem Qureshi’s uncles sat with their neighbors, chatting, cracking jokes and sipping tea, in their family’s lounge for male guests. Qureshi, almost 14, stood nearby, bored and restless, thinking about when he could go to the nearby playground where he and the other Ziraki village kids played badminton and cricket.  Read more.

Confined, isolated, killed: Primates used for secret ‘Frankenstein-like’ studies in Sydney

Hundreds of monkeys have been sent to Australia for what seem to be dubious medical experiments that raise “serious ethical questions,” the local environmental authorities have warned, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
More than 370 primates have been part of the research over the past 15 years, and the scientists who conduct the tests are most probably “entirely lacking” in expertise essential to...read more.

Learning From Dr. King and Confronting Gay White "Pinkwashing" in Israel

Only 26 percent of white Americans supported Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966. As a white Jewish American, I try to hold on to that truth more tightly even than the sepia-toned memory of Abraham Joshua Heschel at King's side. What can I learn, what can I use, in organizing for justice today, with the knowledge of how rare white solidarity with the Black-led struggle for freedom was and is. As a white Jew, it feels critical to interrogate where and how King's adversaries and their legacy might be alive today in our world, in our movements, in ourselves.  Read more.

A Drone Protestor Heads to Jail

Mary Anne Grady Flores is in jail today and American citizens everywhere can surely breathe a sigh of relief that we are safe from her criminal behavior at least for the next six months.
That’s the length of the sentence this 59-year-old peace activist in upstate New York began on Tuesday — one day after the United States honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for his commitment to nonviolent civil disobedience.  Read more.

Conflict in Syria Must End

More than 120 international organizations and agencies on Thursday released a letter appealing for an end to the crisis in Syria and to "the suffering endured by millions of civilians."
"[T]he war is approaching its sixth brutal year. The bloodshed continues. The suffering deepens," reads the letter...read more.

MIchigan Govenor Deflects Responsibility for Toxic Water Crisis

In Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State speech Tuesday night, the self-proclaimed nerd laid out the facts of the ongoing crisis that led to the lead poisoning of one of Michigan’s largest cities.
Snyder placed primary blame at the feet of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, the agency responsible for ensuring the safety of the water supply when Flint disconnected from the Detroit Water Authority and began to draw from the Flint River for the first time. “Government failed you at the federal, state, and local level,” Snyder said. “We need to make sure that this never happens again in any Michigan city.”  Read more.

How Corporations Have Corrupted the Open Records Process

The day before they convened for President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address, the House of Representatives passed the first major overhaul to the Freedom of Information Act in nearly a decade. Originally passed in 1967, the FOIA requires all federal agencies to disclose information requested unless it is exempted for reasons including personal and national security.  Read more.

UK Court Affirms "Journalism Isn't Terrorism"

In a landmark ruling, a British appeals court on Tuesday found that the UK's terrorism law violate the European Convention on Human Rights—a decision that came in the case of David Miranda, who was detained and searched at London's Heathrow airport in 2013 while carrying encrypted documents related to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.  Read more.

The Mirage of Justice

If you are poor, you will almost never go to trial—instead you will be forced to accept a plea deal offered by government prosecutors. If you are poor, the word of the police, who are not averse to fabricating or tampering with evidence, manipulating witnesses and planting guns or drugs, will be accepted in a courtroom as if it was the word of God. If you are poor, and especially if you are of color, almost anyone who can verify your innocence will have a police record of some kind and thereby will be invalidated as a witness. If you are poor, you will be railroaded in assembly-line production from a town or city where there are no jobs through the police stations, county jails and courts directly into prison.  Read more.

The Racist History of the 2nd Amendment and Why it Matters Today

A Dream and a Plan — the Full Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. day, 2016. This year, as in the past, we’ll hear excerpts from his 1963 speech, “I Have a Dream,” and references to his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize — but probably nothing about his 1967 plan to make the dream come true.
Yet his plan is now imperative, more relevant than when he was alive. Americans must act to...read more.

The Last 3 Percent: San Francisco's Banished Black Population

This story is prompted by a picket sign I saw at a recent anti-police brutality protest sponsored by two San Francisco families, one Latino and one Black, whose sons were shot dead in separate incidents following a barrage of police bullets.
Among the crowd of 150 activists standing in the pouring rain in front of the police-barricaded Bayview police station, were four young people holding a sign that simply read, "The Last 3 Percent."  Read more.

Ultra-Rich 'Philanthrocapitalist' Undermining Global Democracy

From Warren Buffett to Bill Gates, it is no secret that the ultra-rich philanthropist class has an over-sized influence in shaping global politics and policies.
And a study (pdf) just out from the Global Policy Forum, an international watchdog group, makes the case that powerful philanthropic foundations—under the control of wealthy individuals—are actively undermining governments and inappropriately setting the agenda for international bodies like the United Nations.  Read more.

Why Bernie Sanders is the best candidate in the running for the White House

Today — on what happens to be Dr. King's birthday — I am proud to endorse the presidential candidate who I believe most embodies the values and ideals of the man who scared the hell out of the American government and was assassinated in 1968 after so bravely fighting against the Vietnam War and for income equality.  Read more.

The Most Durable Economy in the World?

The Deeper, Uglier Side of TPP

Another One Bites the Dust: Arch Coal Declares Bankruptcy

Arch Coal had a sizable debt payment due in December, but opted to defer payment to mid-January in a desperate attempt to buy itself more time with debt-holders. The company worked out deal with some of its priority bondholders (folks who own almost $2 billion of Arch debt) which included a formal restructuring under the supervision of a bankruptcy court.  Read more.

The Rise of Shadow Banks and the Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act

Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve had an important role - to solely act as a "lender of last resort" to traditional commercial banks. But during the crisis, the financial support was extended to many non-banking firms like money market mutual funds, the commercial paper market, mortgage-backed securities market and the tri-party repo market. Besides the extensive lending, non-commercial banks (also known as shadow banks) like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were first to fail, triggering one of the worst financial crises across the world.  Read more.

Haiti, Six Years Later

On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, leaving hundreds of thousands dead, more than a million displaced and virtually shutting down Haiti’s already weakened government. Out of the devastation, however, came some measure of hope. Haitians came together following the quake, acting in unison to rebuild their shattered nation and make it stronger than ever. The international community pledged $10 billion toward the country’s relief and reconstruction efforts.  Read more.

The Blood of the Earth: Agriculture, Land Rights and Haitian History

Yesterday, January 12, 2016, on the sixth anniversary of the 7.0 earthquake, Haitians mourned the countless lives lost. Among the many aftershocks they face is disaster capitalism, in which the Haitian elite and foreign corporations - backed by the US government, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank - are grabbing lands for extraction and mega-development projects. Ricot Jean-Pierre is a social worker and program director at the Platform to Advocate Alternative Development in Haiti (PAPDA), tells how inequitable control of land has devastated the vast majority throughout Haitian history, from enslavement to today.  Read more.

The Real Terrorists: The .01%

They consist of 16,000 individuals, about the size of a crowd at a professional basketball game. The inequality horror they've fomented is reaching far beyond the half of America that is in or near poverty, for it now impacts those of us well above the median, those of us in the second highest of four wealth quartiles.   Read more.

Sanders erodes Clinton's lead in Iowa

With her lead in the Democratic presidential race in Iowa effectively vanished, Hillary Clinton tore into insurgent rival Bernie Sanders here Tuesday over a litany of issues from health care to gun control.
Clinton charged that Sanders’s policy proposals were unrealistic, that the Vermont senator would...read more.

The Hypocrisy of Obama’s Gun Control Crusade

President Barack Obama took to the stage last week to announce the latest initiative in his crusade to make it more difficult for Americans to purchase firearms. He even shed some tears for American children killed in mass shootings. But there is a blatant hypocrisy in Obama’s position on domestic gun control given that he has bombed more countries during his time in office than any president since World War Two.  Read more.

Postscript: David Bowie, 1947-2016

This was not supposed to happen. Ever. Because he had been so many people over the course of his grand and immense career, it was inconceivable that he wouldn’t continue to be many people—a myriad of folks in a beautiful body who would reflect times to come, times none of us could imagine but that he could. He always got to the unknown first.  Read more.

David Bowie Dies at 69; He Transcended Music, Art and Fashion

David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personas, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday.

His death was confirmed by his publicist, Steve Martin, on Monday morning. No other details were provided.  Read more.

The Real Terrorists: The .01%

They consist of 16,000 individuals, about the size of a crowd at a professional basketball game. The inequality horror they've fomented is reaching far beyond the half of America that is in or near poverty, for it now impacts those of us well above the median, those of us in the second highest of four wealth quartiles.  Read more.

"Domestic Terrorism" and the Master's Tools

Angry White Men with Guns™ have occupied commonly held land, claiming once again, public space for their private use. And generally that is the history of this entire settler colony (and much of the world), but today's headlines refer to the Bundy brothers , who with fellow militia members, have laid siege to the federal Malheur Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon.  Read more.

Gun Culture and the American Nightmare of Violence

Gun violence in the United States has produced a culture soaked in blood - a culture that threatens everyone and extends from accidental deaths, suicides and domestic violence to mass shootings. In late December, a woman in St. Cloud, Florida, fatally shot her own daughter after mistaking her for an intruder. Less than a month earlier, on December 2, in San Bernardino, California, was the mass shooting that left 14 people dead and more than 20 wounded  Read more.

Why the Feds Punk Out When Confronting White Rightwing Insurgents

The armed right-wing activists that seized control of a federal wildlife sanctuary compound in eastern Oregon have already committed – and conspired to commit – enough serious criminal violations of U.S. law to land each of them in federal prison for the rest of lives. Of course, as Wajahat Ali points out in The Guardian newspaper, if the gunmen were Muslim or Black, they’d already be dead.  Read more.

Campbell Soup to label U.S. products for GMO ingredients

Campbell Soup Co said it will label all its U.S. products for the presence of ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms, becoming the first major food company to respond to growing calls for more transparency about ingredients.
The world's largest soup maker also said it supports the enactment of federal legislation for a...read more.

Brain Damaged Children Suffer the Consequences of Anti-Regulation in Michigan

Antipathy to environmental protection and disdain for the government's role in protecting the public's well-being have been prominent themes of the Republican Party in the era of the Tea Party. The scandal of toxic levels of lead in Flint, Michigan's municipal water supply reveals how dangerous these ideas become when put into practice. Thousands of children in Flint are now facing the lifelong...read more.

Narcotics Cop Caught Transporting $2 Million of Marijuana in Drug Bust

A California police officer was recently busted after driving 247 pounds of marijuana all the way across the country. Yuba County Deputy Christopher M. Heath was caught in York, Pennsylvania with a shipment of marijuana that was worth over $2 million. Heath was reportedly on vacation from his job at the Yuba County Police Department at the time of his arrest. Read more.

Florida’s Lowell Correctional Institute: A Women’s Prison From Hell

At Central Florida's Lowell Correctional Institute, the largest women's prison in the country, the most salacious of women-in-prison movie scenarios meets a real life "Dante's Inferno"; in this case, the nine circles of suffering embody day-to-day life. A recent Miami Herald I-Team investigation found Lowell Correctional Institute to be a cesspool of corruption, where prisoners have been forced to exchange sex for basic necessities...read more.

Why aren’t we calling the Oregon occupiers ‘terrorists’?

As of Sunday afternoon, The Washington Post called them "occupiers." The New York Times opted for "armed activists" and "militia men." And the Associated Press put the situation this way: "A family previously involved in a showdown with the federal government has occupied a building at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon and is asking militia members to join them."  Read more.

Bundy Militia Claims Indigenous Paiute Land as Oregon Land

Some of the same armed "militia" involved in the Cliven Bundy affair in Nevada have occupied federal land in Oregon formerly reserved for the Northern Paiute. Ironically, the "legal" basis for starting a fight with the federal government is that sovereignty "really" belongs to Oregon rather than the Paiutes, who have seen their federal rust land shrink from...read more.

The "Sharing Economy" Lie: Apple, Pfizer and Uber are middle-class killers

Capitalist enterprises have little incentive to work for ordinary people, and instead they do whatever is necessary to enrich the owners of their corporate stock. Choosing the leading job-killing industry is a difficult task with so many candidates. But technology, pharmaceuticals, and the "sharing economy" are clearly in the running.  Read more.

Undocumented Students Push Forward Fight for Education and Immigrant Rights

Oliver Merino of Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated from high school in 2007. Though 24 percent of the students at his school were Latino, and a majority of those were undocumented, teachers and counselors were not aware of the post-high-school options available to their graduates. "There was absolutely no type of support," Merino said.  Read more.