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Showing posts from May, 2016

Used and Betrayed: 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats

Over 70 Prominent Scholars and Activists Call on Obama to Take Concrete Action in Hiroshima

Over seventy prominent scholars and activists, including Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to visit with Hibakusha, atomic bomb survivors, and to announce concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament when he visits Hiroshima this Friday after the Group of Seven economic summit in Japan.  Read more.

The Funny Business of Farm Credit

In May of 1998 we held a conference dedicated to two Government-sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In my statement to that assembly, I noted that both corporations had been enjoying good times, but cautioned that one of the unintended consequences of fat profits over a long period is the tendency of both government and private corporations to start believing in the fantasy of ever-rising profits. GSEs often escape the accountability that Congress or regulatory agencies should impose.  Read more.

Major US study finds link between cancer and cellphone radiation

With the majority of humans having access to a mobile phone the debate whether their use can cause cancer has been a heated one. Now a US government study has found a link between cellphone radiation and cancer in rats.
The unsettling findings are the result of a US$25 million study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) – a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – which has been underway for the past 2.5 years.  Read more.

Neck-and-Neck in California as Sanders Virtually Erases 50-Point Deficit

Less than two weeks before California's critical Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are locked in a dead heat in that state, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The same poll (pdf) shows Sanders outperforming Clinton in a hypothetical match-up against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.   Read more.

Will Sanders Appointees Shake Up the Convention?

What Bernie Sanders’s new endorsements say about his future plans

In the closing days of the Democratic presidential primary, is Bernie Sanders shifting to legacy mode?
It's a fair question to ask as he's taken what feels like a more prominent role in recent days endorsing progressive candidates across the country,. Over the weekend, he took sides in one of the most high-profile congressional primaries, and on Tuesday he asked his supporters for money to support the campaigns of eight state legislative candidates from California to his home state of Vermont.  Read more.

Legalization of Industrial Hemp in the US Is a No-Brainer

Outdoor clothing company Patagonia has released a new short film to advocate for the legalization of industrial hemp in the U.S.
The multipurpose plant, which has been used for centuries to make rope, textiles, foods, personal care products and more, became a controversial substance in 1937 due to the "Marihuana Tax Act," which basically lumped hemp with marijuana and made it...read more.

US Veterans lost benefits after VA declared them deceased

The Department of Veterans Affairs mistakenly declared more than 4,000 veterans dead and stopped their benefits between 2011 and 2015, seeking to crack down on fraud. The benefits were restored only after an intervention by a Congressman.
Representative David Jolly (R-Florida) first raised the issue with the VA in November 2015, after one of his constituents was declared dead and lost access to his benefits not once, but twice in the span of a few months.  Read more.

11 states file lawsuit challenging Obama’s transgender directive

Texas and 10 other states will sue the Obama administration over a directive that forces states to adjust their policy to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. Texas’s action was announced on Twitter by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot (R) on Wednesday, where he thanked his attorney general for deciding to bring the suit forward.  Read more.

Bernie Sanders Makes Bold Progressive Picks to Shape DNC Platform

Seizing on the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) reluctant concession allowing him to appoint five members to the committee that writes the party platform, Bernie Sanders on Monday announced a suite of picks that included activists across the progressive sphere.
Sanders' appointees to the 15-member Platform Drafting Committee include: racial justice activist and scholar Dr. Cornel West, 350.org co-founder and noted environmentalist Bill McKibben, Native American activist Deborah Parker, Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and James Zogby, a pro-Palestinian scholar as well as founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI).  Read more.

Baltimore police officer acquitted in Freddie Gray death

Baltimore police officer Edward Nero was acquitted on Monday of all charges in the 2015 death of black detainee Freddie Gray, the second setback for prosecutors in a case that triggered rioting and fueled the Black Lives Matter movement.
Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams, who heard the case in a bench trial, told a packed courtroom that Nero, 30, had acted as any officer would have during Gray's arrest in April 2015.  Read more.

Austria narrowly escapes electing far-right nationalist president

The Green Party’s Alexander Van der Bellen has won Austria’s presidential election, beating the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer in a neck and neck race, according to the Interior Ministry. A mere 0.6 percent of the mail-in ballot made the difference.
The Interior Ministry’s figures showed Van der Bellen won with a final total of 50.3 percent of the vote, with Hofer securing 49.7.  Read more.

Seeds of Suicide

May 22 has been declared International Biodiversity Day by the United Nations. It gives us an opportunity to become aware of the rich biodiversity that has been evolved by our farmers as co-creators with nature. It also provides an opportunity to acknowledge the threats to our biodiversity and our rights from IPR monopolies and monocultures.  Read more.

High-Ranking Official Reveals How Pentagon Punishes Whistleblowers

Pentagon officials tasked with protecting whistleblowers have lied under oath, illegally destroyed documents, and gone out of their way to ruin people's careers and lives for attempting to raise concerns about government abuses of power, according to a high-ranking Department of Defense (DoD) official, John Crane, who went public with his story on Sunday.  Read more.

One of the Inventors of Superdelagates Explains Their Purpose

When it comes to the issue of superdelegates, Elaine Kamarck is a rare triple threat. She was a participant on the 1981-1982 Hunt Commission, which instituted the controversial superdelegate system. She literally wrote the book on the presidential nomination system, Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know About How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates. And she’s a superdelegate herself, joining the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 1997 and voting at three conventions since.  Read more.

'Democracy in the US is a fraud’: Left Forum debates next steps for Sanders movement

A rigged democratic system, a “grotesque” military fighting unwinnable wars under the “drone commander in chief”, and the future of the movement behind presidential candidate Bernie Sanders were the focus of Day One at the Left Forum in New York City.
This weekend’s theme “Rage, Rebellion, Revolution” brings thousands to John Jay College from Friday through Sunday.
Journalist Chris Hedges, author and activist Tariq Ali, and Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin headlined the opening plenary with fiery remarks moderated by Laura Flanders.  Read more.

Brazil’s Neighbors Warn of President’s ‘Dangerous’ Ouster–but US Press Isn’t Listening

The effort to oust twice-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been big news in the United States. Since December 2015, when Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies began an impeachment process over Rousseff’s budget maneuvers, the New York Times has had 74 pieces that mention “Rousseff” and “impeachment,” according to the Nexis news database; the Washington Post has had 138 such stories.  Read more.

Nigerian schoolgirl rescued after two years as Boko Haram captive

A Nigerian teenager kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years ago has been rescued, the first of more than 200 girls seized in a raid on their school in Chibok town to return from captivity in the insurgents' forest lair, officials said on Wednesday.
Soldiers working together with a civilian vigilante group rescued the girl and her four-month-old baby near Damboa in the remote northeast, army spokesman Sani Usman said. They also detained a "suspected Boko Haram terrorist" called Mohammed Hayatu who claimed to be the girl's husband, he added.  Read more.

6 in 10 Americans Living on the Financial Edge

An unexpected medical bill or a dip in the stock market would be all it took to send two-thirds of Americans into financial distress, according to a new poll that finds lingering lack of confidence in the U.S. economy.
Despite reports of falling unemployment, growing wages, and rising consumer confidence, a full 57 percent of respondents to the...read more.

Why Do We Keep Learning New Secrets About 9/11?

The pointless alleged cover-up of the role of Saudi nationals in the attacks of September 11, 2001 is starting to come just a little bit unraveled. The Guardian had a provocative piece quoting John Lehman, a Republican member of the 9/11 Commission and a former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, to the effect that the investigation essentially buried the question of Saudi involvement.  Read more.

Disabled inmate who stole $5 in snacks ‘starved to death’ in Virginia prison – lawsuit

A mentally disabled Virginia man accused of stealing $5 worth of snacks from a convenience store was often left in isolation, without water in his cell, and essentially starved to death, according to a lawsuit from his family.
Twenty-four-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell was arrested in Portsmouth, Virginia in April 2015 for stealing a bottle of soda, a candy bar and a snack cake worth $5.05. After he was taken to jail and ruled unfit to stand trial – Mitchell suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and was described...read more.

Pope Francis criticizes Western interference in Middle East, Africa

Pope Francis has criticized Western powers for attempting to export democracy to countries in the Middle East and Africa without paying attention to local political cultures. The pontiff was speaking to the French Catholic newspaper, La Croix.
“Faced with current Islamist terrorism, we should question the way a model of democracy that was too Western was exported to countries where there was a strong power, as in Iraq, or Libya, where there was a tribal structure,” the pontiff said.  Read more.

Another massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico renews calls to ban offshore drilling

As Shell Oil and the US Coast Guard continued to clean up a large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, about 1,300 protesters from across North America marched in Washington, DC, to protest the Obama administration's offshore drilling plan.
Lindsay Meiman, an organizer with the climate justice group 350.org, said the spill "reinvigorated the sense of urgency to ban offshore drilling" already felt by the frontline communities in the Gulf and Arctic regions that sent activists to lead the protest.  Read more.

Trump Card: The Bully Who Exposes Our Bully Nation

Donald Trump's flagrant bullying -- much denounced even by the Republican Party establishment, with both President Bushes refusing to endorse him -- is no sign that he will lose the presidential nomination or election. The dirty secret is that GOP leaders secretly admire and envy his power as a bully. Worse, Trump's bullying resonates not only with his hardcore supporters, but also to many in the elite classes and much of the population.  Read more.

Medical Professionals and the Death Penalty

It's a brutal photo. Romell Broom holds his arms in front of him, palms out. Dozens of white adhesive squares mark the locations of all 18 attempts to insert an IV by members of an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction execution team in 2009. Broom had been sentenced to die for the 1984 rape and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton. After two hours, during which eyewitnesses claim Broom showed signs of pain and distress, the execution was called off.  Read more.

Very close ally to Donald Trump says President Obama should be murdered

The rabid, vile racism of Trump's former butler at his Florida Mar-a-Lago estate sucked the air out of the news for a few hours yesterday.
According to David Corn of Mother Jones, Anthony Senecal became a part-time "historian" of Mar-a-Lago after his retirement -- although the Trump campaign claims that they don't see each other anymore -- and has spent a lot of time on Facebook posting racist and other contemptible rants, including "express[ing] profound hatred for President Barack Obama and declar[ing] that he should be killed."  Read more.

Germany moving closer to 100% renewable energy

On a particularly sunny and windy day -- Germany's renewable energy mix of solar, wind, hydropower and biomass generated so much power that it met 88 percent of the country's total electricity demand, or 55 GW out of 63 GW being consumed.
This means, as Quartz reported, "power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity."  Read more.

Burning cars, tear gas: France hit by violent anti-labor reform rallies

Rennes has been engulfed by violent protests over labor reform that will see longer working hours for less money. The rallies have been happening since March 31, with hundreds of thousands taking to streets all over France.
In the latest protest, demonstrators set cars on fire, attacked a bank, vandalized buildings, threw objects at the City Hall and drew slogans on its walls.  Read more.

$12 Trillion Looted from Developing Countries and Hidden Offshore

Washington’s Military Addiction and the Ruins Still to Come

In Iraq and Syria, it’s been mission creep all the way.  The B-52s barely made it to the battle zone for the first time and were almost instantaneously in the air, attacking Islamic State militants.  U.S. firebases are built ever closer to the front lines.  The number of special ops forces continues to edge up.  American weapons flow in (ending up in god knows whose hands).  American trainers and advisers follow in ever increasing numbers...read more.

Quiet War, Sleeping Nation

Noam Chomsky, in his new book Who Rules the World?, quoting terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, says the Iraq War “generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.”
Perhaps this is something to think about as we watch and read the “news”: America’s quiet, background war, having burned through a few trillion dollars so far...read more.

West Point 'Fists-Up' Photo Is About Unity and Pride, Not Political Affiliation

Bee genocide: Nearly half of US honey hives collapsed in past 12 months

The shocking, and seemingly irreversible, destruction of the US honeybee population took a huge hit in the past year, with 44 percent of all hives collapsing between April 2015 and April 2016.
This was the second worst year for colony losses since the "Beepocolypse" started a decade ago, according to The Bee Informed Partnership, the collaboration between the US Department of Agriculture, research labs, and universities that is tracking the alarming numbers.  Read more.

Three deaths linked to recent Navy SEAL training classes

A sailor has died in three out of the last four Navy SEAL training classes, with one drowning days ago during a pool exercise and another committing suicide in April after failing to complete one of the U.S. military’s most demanding training programs.
A third sailor, who had been drinking heavily, died in November after his pickup truck rolled off the side of the road, less than three days after learning he had just barely missed the cut to continue training.  Read more.

Israeli General Compares Modern Israel to 1930s Germany

Washington Post Squeezes Four Anti-Sanders Stories Out of One Tax Study Over Seven Hours

It’s not news that the Washington Post’s editorial board has been lobbying against Sen. Bernie Sanders since the beginning of his improbable presidential campaign. Sometimes this editorial ethos seems to extend to other parts of the paper, as it did in March, when the Post managed to run 16 negative stories about Sanders...read more.

Michael Ratner, Radical Attorney & Human Rights Crusader, Dies at 72

Michael Ratner, the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, died today in New York City. For the past four decades he has been a leading champion of human and civil rights, from leading the fight to close Guantánamo to representing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to holding torturers accountable, at home and abroad.  Read more.

Bernie Sanders Keeps Winning Primaries and Keeps Shaping the Anti-Trump Agenda

For the second Tuesday in a row, Bernie Sanders has won a Democratic primary in a state that Hillary Clinton won in the party’s 2008 nomination race. Last week he took Indiana from Clinton. This week he has taken West Virginia.
The Sanders win in West Virginia was a big one. The senator secured 51 percent of the vote to 36 percent for the former secretary of state. He carried every county in the state—taking several with over 60 percent of the vote.   Read more.

Fire Remains Hot as Bernie Takes West Virginia

West Virginia really likes Bernie Sanders. He swept the Democratic primary yesterday, winning 51.4 percent to Clinton’s 36 percent, even in the face of the mainstream media essentially declaring the race over.
Speaking in Salem, Ore., Sanders described the key to his victory: “West Virginia is a working-class state, and like many other states in this country, including Oregon, working people are hurting. And what the people of West Virginia said tonight, and I believe the people of Oregon will say next week, is that we need an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.”  Read more.

Ten Ways Israel is Just Like Saudi Arabia

On the surface, it would seem that Saudi Arabia and Israel would be the worst of enemies and indeed, they have never had diplomatic relations. After all, the Saudis have championed the cause of the Palestinians, who are oppressed by the Israelis. Israelis say they are besieged by Muslim extremists, and many of these extremists are motivated by the intolerant, Wahhabi ideology born and bred in Saudi Arabia.
But beneath the surface, these two old adversaries actually have a lot in common and have become the strangest of bedfellows.  Read more.

Praying for Palmyra: Russian maestro leads orchestra in ruins of ancient city

A Russian symphony orchestra led by Valery Gergiev has given a unique performance in ancient Palmyra, recently liberated from Islamic State militants. The concert was devoted to the victims of extremists, and intends to instill hope that peace can triumph over war and terrorism.
The symphony orchestra concert was titled “Praying for Palmyra - Music revives ancient ruins” and was performed in the Roman Theater of Palmyra, one of the few sites still...read more.

First Nation Wins Historic Victory Over Mammoth Coal Export Terminal

In a move being hailed as a landmark victory for the climate movement, Pacific Northwest communities, and tribal members alike, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday denied federal permits for the largest proposed coal export terminal in North America.
"This is big—for our climate, for clean air and water, for our future," declared Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.  Read more.

After riots and accusations of institutuional racism, Ferguson, Missouri swears in African-American police chief

The Missouri city of Ferguson, site of protests after the 2014 shooting of a black teen by a white police officer, has sworn in a new police chief. Delrish Moss will head a mostly-white police force in a community that is two-thirds black.
Most recently the supervisor of public information and community relations for the Miami Police Department in Florida, Moss, 51, was sworn-in as Ferguson police chief on Monday afternoon.  Read more.

Deptment of Justice Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against North Carolina for 'State-Sanctioned Discrimination'

In direct response to a lawsuit filed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory filed earlier in the day against the federal government, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch held a press conference Monday afternoon to announce the Justice Department is now filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state.  Read more.

The Police Killing of Dion Avila Damon

Many questions have surfaced following the police killing of 40-year-old Dion Avila Damon on April 12 in Denver, Colorado. Police technician Jeff Motz fired seven shots through the front windshield of Damon's car, killing him in front of his wife and stepson.
The Denver Police Department stated that Damon had a warrant for a suspected bank robbery and he was under surveillance.   Read more.

The Media Myth of the Working-Class Reagan Democrats

Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, we are likely to get all sorts of mainstream media analysis about how his narrow pathway to Election Day victory runs through white working-class America, the way Ronald Reagan’s did, while the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, must corral young people, minorities and the well-educated.  Read more.

‘Frisco Five’ continue hunger strike

Over a dozen protesters demanding the resignation of San Francisco Police Chief Gregory Suhr over cop shootings have reportedly been arrested in angry exchanges at City Hall.
A show of solidarity with hunger strikers dubbed the “Frisco Five”, who are calling for Suhr to quit, turned ugly on Friday as protesters clashed with riot police.  Read more.

FCC Officially Approves $90 Billion Telecom Merger

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a $90 billion merger between three telecom corporations, a move that consumer advocates warn will create a "price-gouging cable giant."
According to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, the conditions of Charter's acquisition of Time Warner and Bright House Networks will include data caps for broadband customers and fees for online services, including for video providers.  Read more.

Panama Papers 'John Doe' Steps Out of Shadows

The anonymous source behind the Panama Papers stepped out of the shadows on Friday to offer justification for what has been called the biggest leak in history.
The whistleblower's gender and name remain secret, as does their occupation. German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the leaker's initial contact, has authenticated that the statement came from the Panama Papers source.  Read more.

London Elects First-Ever Muslim Mayor

Labour candidate Sadiq Khan resoundingly won London's mayoral race on Friday, overcoming an "appalling dog whistle campaign" to become the city's first Muslim mayor.
"Right across London, black, white, and brown have gone out and voted for unity," former minister and Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy told The Independent. "This is the first time an ethnic minority politician has been given a mandate from millions of people."  Read more.

'All You See is Red Flames': State of Emergency as Wildfire Rages in Alberta

A state of emergency has been declared in the Canadian province of Alberta, where a massive wildfire has grown to five times its initial size and continues to rage.
An estimated 1,600 destroyed homes and businesses had been destroyed, and a mandatory evacuation order was expanded late Wednesday to encompass additional communities in and around the tar sands capital of Fort McMurray. Between 80,000 and 90,000 people have fled since...read more.

Tar sands sparks epic wildfire and threatens to engulf Canadian city as 88,000 flee

A massive wildfire that has forced the evacuation of all 88,000 people in the western Canadian oil city of Fort McMurray and burned down 1,600 structures has the potential to destroy much of the town, authorities said on Wednesday.
With a few neighborhoods already in ruins, worsening fire conditions Wednesday pushed walls of flames towards thousands of more homes in the...read more.

Inequality Will Get Worse Until There’s a Revolution

Imagine, after a deep sleep, you suffered the fate of Rip Van Winkle and woke in the spring of 2040. What might you find?
Among other things, maybe a presidential candidate railing against America’s concentration of wealth. Except this time, it’s not the 1 percent that owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent — it’s the top hundredth of a percent.  Read more.

Cruz Folds as Trumps Vows to Show U.S. How to "Win Bigly" Once Again

After thanking his family and calling his ascendency in the 2016 Republican primary race a "beautiful thing to behold," Donald Trump didn't waste any time employing his most popular campaign slogan on Tuesday night as he claimed victory in the Indiana primary – a win that nearly assures his nomination at the party's convention after his closest rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced he was ending his campaign.  Read more.

Mass Evacuation as 'Apocalyptic' Inferno Engulfs Canadian Tar Sands City

A raging wildfire in a Canadian tar sands town has forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed several residential neighborhoods, offering a bleak vision of a fiery future if the fossil fuel era is not brought to an end.
The blaze in Fort McMurray, Alberta, started over the weekend, doubled in size on Monday, and grew into an inferno on Tuesday. It is expected to worsen on Wednesday as strong wind gusts and record high temperatures persist.  Read more.

Italian Court Rules Stealing Food is Not a Crime If You are Poor and Hungry

Stealing food if you are hungry and poor is not a crime, Italy's highest appeals court ruled on Monday.
Judges with the Supreme Court of Cassation overturned a theft conviction against a Ukrainian man who stole $4.50 (€4.07) of sausage and cheese from a supermarket in Genoa in 2011, finding that he had taken the food "in the face of immediate and essential need for nourishment."  Read more.

Bernie Sanders Wins Indiana – And The Political Debate

Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist insurgent, won Indiana convincingly Tuesday night – 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent – over Hillary Clinton, the establishment moderate. This is a remarkable victory, a statement of the extent and scope of the Sanders surge.
Indiana is a Wonder bread state – Midwestern, centrist, largely white, religious. It gave us the blond and bland Evan Bayh...read more.

Lakota Lead the Fight Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

As the start of 2016 shatters last year's record as the hottest year on record, the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation) once again find themselves on the front lines of the battle against the fossil fuel industry.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have established a Spirit Camp at the mouth of the Cannonball River in North Dakota...read more.

The Trump Test Before Us

Donald Trump is now the leader of the Republican Party. It's real – he is one step away from the White House. Here's what else is real:
Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. There's more enthusiasm for him among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls.  Read more.

20 tasings in 30 mins: No charges for police officers over the electrocution of black man in handcuffs

Prosecutors in Virginia will not charge police officers in South Boston for their part in the death of a man who was shot with a taser 20 times in 30 minutes while handcuffed in police custody, according to a new report.
Linwood Lambert was pronounced dead about an hour after he was taken into police custody in South Boston, Virginia, on May 4, 2013, following reports of a noise disturbance at a motel. Police decided to take Lambert, who later admitted he had used cocaine, to a nearby hospital, telling him they were not taking him to jail. When Lambert became agitated and ran out of the police squad car toward the hospital, police subsequently tased him repeatedly despite his pleas for them to stop.  Read more.

Drones will stay in the air for weeks, track whole populations – Snowden

Solar-powered drones will stay in the air for weeks tracking the movements not just of individuals, but whole populations, Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, wrote in an article published Tuesday.
Making drones more persistent is a capability which the US has “been pursuing forever,” Snowden wrote in The Intercept.  Read more.

Italian Court Rules Stealing Food is Not a Crime If You are Poor and Hungry

Stealing food if you are hungry and poor is not a crime, Italy's highest appeals court ruled on Monday.
Judges with the Supreme Court of Cassation overturned a theft conviction against a Ukrainian man who stole $4.50 (€4.07) of sausage and cheese from a supermarket in Genoa in 2011, finding that he had taken the food "in the face of immediate and essential need for nourishment."  Read more.

Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance

"I've been waiting 40 years for someone like you.” Those were the first words Daniel Ellsberg spoke to me when we met last year. Dan and I felt an immediate kinship; we both knew what it meant to risk so much — and to be irrevocably changed — by revealing secret truths.
One of the challenges of being a whistleblower is living with the knowledge that people continue to sit, just as you did, at those desks, in that unit, throughout the agency, who see what you saw and comply in silence, without resistance or complaint. They learn to live not just with untruths but with unnecessary untruths, dangerous untruths, corrosive untruths. It is a double tragedy: What begins as a survival strategy ends with the compromise of the human being it sought to preserve and the diminishing of the democracy meant to justify the sacrifice.  Read more.

The Pentagon Shouldn’t Get to Absolve Itself for Bombing a Hospital

The Pentagon just made it official: No war crime was committed when a U.S. plane attacked the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan last year, killing 42 patients and health workers and injuring many more.
At least, that’s the conclusion of its own investigation — nearly all of which remains classified.  Read more.

Detroit Schools Shuttered as Lawmakers 'Illegally' Withhold Teacher Pay

Ninety-four of 97 Detroit Public Schools (DPS) remained shuttered on Tuesday as the ongoing city-wide teacher "sickout" prompted calls for Michigan lawmakers to "stop playing political games and do the right thing for Detroit's students, educators, and community."
The Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) announced a second day of action after the city and state lawmakers failed to assure the union that teachers will be paid their full yearly salary.  Read more.

May Day Rallies Worldwide Demand Workers' Rights

Workers on Sunday marked May Day across the globe with rallies in cities from Paris, to Istanbul, to Manila.
Some of the protesters faced violence from police. According to reporting by Reuters, "Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon and detained more than 200 people after scuffles broke out at May Day celebrations in Istanbul and some anti-government protesters tried to breach a ban on access to the main Taksim square."  Read more.

Daniel Berrigan Dead at 94

Daniel Berrigan—Jesuit priest, peace activist, poet, author, and inspiration to countless people—died on Saturday. He was 94 years old.
When America magazine asked a then-88-year-old Berrigan if he had any regrets over the course of his long life, he replied, "I could have done sooner the things I did, like Catonsville."  Read more.

Australia rejects large land sale to China

The Australian government has blocked the purchase by a Chinese-led consortium of 11 million hectares belonging to the country’s largest private landowner.  The deal worth $289 million (A$371 million) to purchase one percent of the country's territory has been rejected twice in six months by authorities because of national interest.  Read more.