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Showing posts from October, 2010

Net Neutrality and Broadband Access: A Civil Rights Issue

Max Eternity @ Truthout - "Every man is our brother, and every man's burden is our own. Where poverty exists, all are poorer. Where hate flourishes, all are corrupted. Where injustice reigns, all are unequal." - Whitney Moore Young Jr. Is net neutrality just a matter of the marketplace, or is it also a matter of ethics - a civil rights issue? And if the latter, how should broadband optimally serve the nation? It's a question the Digital Divide Institute (DDI) asks on its website, where it addresses what it calls the five domains of innovation - public policy, finance, technology, management and ethics - the cornerstones of DDI's Meaningful Broadband initiative. Read more .

Paycheck Fairness Act: More Than Pocket Change Is at Stake

Huffington Post - After the crash, the downturn was dubbed a "mancession." As the meme continues to circulate, the Roosevelt Institute's New Deal 2.0 blog asked leading thinkers to help sort fact from fiction. Are men suffering more than women in a weak economy? Is Washington doing enough to address female unemployment? How do we ensure a jobs agenda that's fair and equitable? In the fifth part of an ongoing series, "The Myth of the Mancession? Women & the Jobs Crisis", Fatima Goss Graves explains why the recession makes Congressional action on equal pay urgent. Last month, the Census Bureau released data that show that the gender wage gap is stagnant. In 2009, women who worked full-time, year-round made 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This 23 percent gap in wages represented no change from the prior year. The wage gap for women of color was even more staggering than for women overall. In 2009, Black and Hispanic women only m

Panetta and Obama Gut CIA Oversight

Truthout - President Barack Obama and CIA Director Leon Panetta have managed to accomplish what the Bush administration and three CIA directors failed to do over a five-year period - significantly compromise the position of the CIA's statutory Inspector General (IG) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In announcing the completion of the CIA's internal review of the tragic suicide bombing at an agency base in Afghanistan in late December, Panetta acknowledged that the review was prepared by senior officers of the CIA's counterintelligence division, that the report would be provided to the OIG in "keeping with past practice," and that - despite the deaths of seven agency operatives and contractors - no one would be held accountable. Read more .

Fishermen Report Louisiana Bays Filled With Oil

Truthout. - On Saturday, October 23, Truthout spotted what appeared to be massive areas of weathered oil floating near Louisiana's fragile marshlands in both East and West Bays along the Mississippi River Delta. In addition, at least two more oil leaks were spotted near oil and gas platforms along Louisiana's embattled coastline. Four days prior, federal on-scene cleanup coordinator for the BP oil disaster, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, declared there was little recoverable surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Read more .

Now We Know: Wikileaks Expose Brings US Cruelty in Iraq to Light

William Rivers Pitt @ Truthout - I've been writing about the war in Iraq for going on ten years now. My first words on the subject were published eight months before the invasion was undertaken, and the war has been a grim drumbeat in my work ever since. I've been thinking a lot lately about those writers who were tasked to cover the war in Vietnam. After ten years chronicling the same grim topic, did they wish for a day when they could write about something else, finally? I know I do. Iraq has been like a tumor in my mind, always there, always growing, and by all appearances totally inoperable and incurable. Read more .

Massive stretches of weathered oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico - Just three days after the U.S. Coast Guard admiral in charge of the BP oil spill cleanup declared little recoverable surface oil remained in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana fishers Friday found miles-long strings of weathered oil floating toward fragile marshes on the Mississippi River delta. The discovery, which comes as millions of birds begin moving toward the region in the fall migration, gave ammunition to groups that have insisted the government has overstated clean-up progress, and could force reclosure of key fishing areas only recently reopened. Read more .

Biggest Document Leak in History Exposes America's Hostile Takeover of Afghanistan

The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism - Twelve weeks ago the Bureau of Investigative Journalism was given access to the biggest leak of military documents in history. These documents formed a database of nearly 400,000 military logs recorded over six years of the Iraq war and covering the years 2004 to 2009. There are over 37 million words used to recount military significant actions that took place across the entire country. This material provides an unrivalled portrait of one of the most controversial wars of the modern age. For the first time the files reveal just how much the American military detailed the escalating violence in Iraq, and how this contrasts markedly to what the politicians said in public. This is the story behind the pronouncements – the uncensored detail Washington did not want us to know. Read more.

Hemp Is the Far Bigger Economic Issue Hiding Behind Legal Marijuana

Henry Wasserman @ Alternet - Prop 19 will open up California to hemp, a multi-billion-dollar crop that has been a staple of human agriculture for thousands of years. Hemp is the far bigger economic issue hiding behind legal marijuana. If the upcoming pot legalization ballot in California were decided by hemp farmers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, it would be no contest. For purely economic reasons, if you told the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that the nation they were founding would someday make hemp illegal, they would have laughed you out of the room. If California legalizes pot, it will save the state millions in avoided legal and imprisonment costs, while raising it millions in taxes. Read more .

What PBS Thinks You Need to Know

Julie Hollar for Extra! @ Common Dreams - When Bill Moyers announced last November that he would be stepping down from Bill Moyers Journal, and PBS decided to cancel its other Friday night news show, Now, the network lost two hard-hitting independent programs from its lineup. To fill the hole, New York PBS station WNET--which had produced the two Friday shows--announced the launch of a new one-hour program, Need to Know, hosted by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham (who has since left the magazine) and former NPR, MSNBC and MTV host Alison Stewart. The show rolled out on more than 90 percent of PBS stations in May (Broadcasting & Cable, 3/22/10). FAIR (3/9/10) issued a statement expressing concern that Meacham's hire "sends a clear and troubling message about PBS's priorities," given that the then-editor of Newsweek was a fixture on commercial TV pundit shows and a consummate purveyor of middle-of-the-road conventional wisdom with a conservative slant--not exactly a f

Taking the Public Out of Public TV: PBS fare differs little from commercial TV

Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting - A multi-part FAIR exposé of PBS's most prominent news and public affairs programs demonstrates that public television is failing to live up to its mission to provide an alternative to commercial television, to give voice to those "who would otherwise go unheard" and help viewers to "see America whole, in all its diversity," in the words of public TV's founding document. In a special November issue of studies and analyses of PBS's major public affairs shows, FAIR's magazine Extra! shows that "public television" features guestlists strongly dominated by white, male and elite sources, who are far more likely to represent corporations and war makers than environmentalists or peace advocates. And both funding and ownership of these shows is increasingly corporate, further eroding the distinction between "public" and corporate television. There is precious little "public" left in "pu

Angela Merkel: German multiculturalism has 'utterly failed'

Guardian UK - The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has courted growing anti-immigrant opinion in Germany by claiming the country's attempts to create a multicultural society have "utterly failed". Speaking to a meeting of young members of her Christian Democratic Union party, Merkel said the idea of people from different cultural backgrounds living happily "side by side" did not work. She said the onus was on immigrants to do more to integrate into German society. "This [multicultural] approach has failed, utterly failed," Merkel told the meeting in Potsdam, south of Berlin, yesterday. Read more.

UN Says Global Farm Methods 'Recipe for Disaster'

Agence France Press @ Common Dream - The United Nations top official on the right to food has called for wholesale changes in farming methods to safeguard the environment and ensure everyone has enough to eat. Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a statement to mark World Food Day that there is currently "little to rejoice about," and "worse may still be ahead." "As a result of climate change, the yields in certain regions of sub-Saharan Africa are expected to fall by 50 percent by 2020 in comparison to 2000 levels. And growing frequency and intensity of floods and droughts contribute to volatility in agricultural markets." Read more .

Spinning Disaster: Can the Ridiculous Right Pull it Off?

Common Dreams - Can they pull it off? Can Rush and Glenn and Laura and their fellow travelers on the bullhorn right turn this limelight event to their advantage? They will certainly try. They almost have to. For they must be aware that the Chilean miner rescue has captured the world's attention and has people in all corners of the earth, not just talk radio listeners, reflecting on its implications. They must be aware that such attention could, if left unattended, tilt in a very wrong direction. That the bedraggled miners have emerged from unfathomable depths as living, breathing symbols of something poignant and large is beyond dispute. But symbols of what? Read more .

Haiti's 1.3 Million Camp Dwellers Waiting in Vain

Truthout - Grand Goave - Rosie Benjamin is just one of over 1.3 million people living in Haiti's 1,354 squalid refugee camps. She and 1,200 others are jammed into 300 tents and plastic tarp-shacks on a soccer field in Grand Goâve. Like about 70 percent of Haiti's refugee camps, the residents here are on their own. Apart from water deliveries, they get nothing from the government and the massive humanitarian apparatus on the ground. No food. No jobs. And no news about their future. "We went to City Hall, we didn't learn anything. We went to Terre des Hommes, nothing," Banjamin said. "So far we haven't gotten anything. Nothing. We are sitting here and we have no idea what anyone is thinking." Read more .

From Vacant City Lots to Food on the Table

YES! Magazine - The first time I went to Richmond, Calif., nine years ago, my friend, who ran a punk music recording studio out of a converted warehouse, told us not to park our car on the street. The day before, vandals had walked the block and smashed several car windows. At least a few things have started to change in Richmond since then: A berry garden sits beside a bike trail in the Iron Triangle, a neighborhood at the center of the city bordered on three sides by old rail lines. Once a month, Latino and African American families–often people who live just a few blocks from each other but rarely had a chance to meet in the past–gather at the garden and have a barbecue. Tomatoes, chard, and corn grow in raised beds across the street. Muslim families from the local mosque just a few blocks away pluck fresh mint from the garden for making traditional Arabic tea. The garden is the work of Urban Tilth, one of the dozen or so groups at the center of Richmond’s urban garden movement. I

Obama Hopelessly Behind on Foreclosure Issue

Mathew Rothschild @ The Progressive - How ironic is it that the banks are the ones that are finally imposing a moratorium on foreclosures, rather than the Obama Administration. On Friday, Bank of America announced that it was halting its foreclosures in all fifty states amid a scandal over whether it and other banks had been using proper documentation in foreclosure proceedings. JP Morgan Chase and Ally Financial also have halted foreclosures, at least in the 23 states that require a judge to sign off on the deals. The attorney general in one state after another is looking into possible fraudulent foreclosures. But all the while Obama Administration still resists backing a moratorium. Read more .

Special Report: Detainee Experimentiation Program Revealed

Jason Leopold @ Truthout - In 2002, as the Bush administration was turning to torture and other brutal techniques for interrogating "war on terror" detainees, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz loosened rules against human experimentation, an apparent recognition of legal problems regarding the novel strategies for extracting and evaluating information from the prisoners. Wolfowitz issued his directive on March 25, 2002, about a month after President George W. Bush stripped the detainees of traditional prisoner-of-war protections under the Geneva Conventions. Bush labeled them "unlawful enemy combatants" and authorized the CIA and the Department of Defense (DoD) to undertake brutal interrogations. Read more .

This Is Why You Shouldn't Eat Happy Meals

Gizmodo - Sally Davies bought a McDonald's Happy Meal on April 26, 2010. She placed it on her coffee table, uncovered, and took photos every day for six months. This video shows the results, which are quite scary. 180 days—and she says there were no worms, mold, smell, or visible decomposition of any kind. Perhaps you have seen similar things before, but the fact that anyone can repeat this simple experiment, the fact that a burger and fries can survive through six months—including New York's fierce summer—is just scary and gross. Read more .

Helen Thomas: You Cannot Criticize Israel in the US and Survive

AP @ Common Dreams - Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas has acknowledged she touched a nerve with remarks about Israel that led to her retirement. But she says the comments were "exactly what I thought," even though she realized soon afterward that it was the end of her job. "I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive," Thomas told Ohio station WMRN-AM in a sometimes emotional 35-minute interview that aired Tuesday. Read more .

Chinese Communist Party Elders Call for Free Speech Rights

McClatchy Newspapers - Almost two dozen Chinese Communist Party elders have signed a petition demanding that the “black hands” of government censorship in China be dismantled in favor of the freedom of speech rights enshrined in the country’s own constitution.The open letter, quickly scrubbed from most Chinese Internet portals, was released just days before this week’s meeting of the central committee of China’s Communist Party, in which many observers expect the question of political reform to be discussed. “We hope they will take action,” said Zhong Peizhang, a signatory who from 1982 to 1986 headed the news bureau of the government’s Central Propaganda Department. Read more .

Nine Months After the Quake – A Million Haitians Slowly Dying

Bill Quigley @ Common Dreams - "If it gets any worse," said Wilda, a homeless Haitian mother, "we're not going to survive." Mothers and grandmothers surrounding her nodded solemnly. We are in a broiling "tent" with a group of women trying to raise their families in a public park. Around the back of the Haitian National Palace, the park hosts a regal statute of Alexandre Petion in its middle. It is now home to five thousand people displaced by the January 2010 earthquake. Nine months after the quake, over a million people are still homeless in Haiti. Read more .

You May Say I'm a Dreamer: Happy Birthday, John Lennon

Truthout - Three decades after John Lennon’s death, the world continues to mourn the loss of a musical genius and one of the strongest voices for global peace. Lennon would have been 70 years old this Saturday, had his life not been tragically cut short when he was shot to death on Dec. 8, 1980, almost two months after turning 40 years old, by a deranged fan outside his New York apartment building. Since his death, the legacy he created as a member of The Beatles and through his activism has kept him in the public eye. Perhaps his best-known song, “Imagine,” calls for us to consider a world without "heaven", or countries, and the possibilities this creates for "a brotherhood of man." Read more .

A Long History of America's Dark Side

Peter Dale Scott & Robert Parry @ Truthout - Many Americans view their country and its soldiers as the “good guys” spreading “democracy” and “liberty” around the world. When the United States inflicts unnecessary death and destruction, it’s viewed as a mistake or an aberration. In the following article – cobbled together from previous stories published at – Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry examine the long history of these acts of brutality, a record that suggests they are neither a “mistake” nor an “aberration” but rather conscious counterinsurgency doctrine on the "dark side": There is a dark -- seldom acknowledged -- thread that runs through U.S. military doctrine, dating back to the early days of the Republic. Read more .

Chinese Dissident Wins Nobel Peace Prize

AP @ Common Dreams - Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize today for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights" - a prize likely to enrage the Chinese government, which had warned the Nobel committee not to honor him. Thorbjoern Jagland, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, said Liu Xiaobo was a symbol for the fight for human rights in China and the government should expect that its policies face scrutiny."China has become a big power in economic terms as well as political terms, and it is normal that big powers should be under criticism," Jagland said. Unlike some in China's highly fractured and persecuted dissident community, the 54-year-old Liu has been an ardent advocate for peaceful, gradual political change, rather than a violent confrontation with the government. Read more .

White House Squelched Release of BP Oil Spill Estimates

McClatchy Newspapers - Government scientists wanted to tell Americans early on how bad the BP oil spill could get, but the White House denied their request to make the worst-case models public, a report by the staff of the national panel investigating the spill said Wednesday. White House officials denied that they tried to suppress the information. The allegation was made by unnamed government officials cited in a staff working paper released Wednesday by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Although not a final report, it could raise questions over whether the Obama administration tried to minimize the extent of the BP oil spill, the worst man-made environmental disaster in U.S. history. Read more .

Barack Obama Accused of Exaggerating Terror Threat for Political Gain

Guardian UK - A US terror alert issued this week about al-Qaida plots to attack targets in western Europe was politically motivated and not based on credible new information, senior Pakistani diplomats and European intelligence officials have told the Guardian. The non-specific US warning, which despite its vagueness led Britain, France and other countries to raise their overseas terror alert levels, was an attempt to justify a recent escalation in US drone and helicopter attacks inside Pakistan that have "set the country on fire", said Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the high commissioner to Britain. Hasan, a veteran diplomat who is close to Pakistan's president, suggested the Obama administration was playing politics with the terror threat before next month's mid-term congressional elections, in which the Republicans are expected to make big gains. Read more .

Haitian Farmers: Growing Strength to Grow Food

Common Dreams - Rony Charles, a rice grower and member of the Agricultural Producer Cooperative of Verrettes, said, "Instead of foreigners sending us food, they should give us the chance to do our own agriculture so it can survive." Giving domestic agriculture the chance to survive would address four critical needs: Creating employment for the majority, estimated at 60% to 80% of the population;[1] Allowing rural people to stay on their land. This is both their right as well as a way to keep Port-au-Prince from becoming even more perilously overcrowded; Addressing an ongoing food crisis. Today, even with imports, more than 2.4 million people out of a population of 9 million are estimated to be food-insecure. Acute malnutrition among children under the age 5 is 9%, and chronic under-nutrition for that age group is 24%.[2] Peasant groups are convinced that, with the necessary investment, Haiti could produce at least 80% of its food consumption needs; and... read more .

DC Internet Vote Scheme Hacker: "Within 36 Hours We Had Total Control of Server, Ability to Change Votes, Reveal Secret Ballot"

Brad Blog - As we posited in our coverage yesterday of DC's Internet Voting scheme which was hacked with the University of Michigan fight song, J. Alex Halderman, asst. professor of electronic engineering and computer science at the university, was, indeed, at the heart of the hack.He details tonight that he and a small team of students were happy to participate in the test that DC election officials had announced, with just three days notice, inviting hackers to try and penetrate the system they planned to use this November, as developed with the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation.Halderman writes in his explanation of how they did it: Within 36 hours of the system going live, our team had found and exploited a vulnerability that gave us almost total control of the server software, including the ability to change votes and reveal voters’ secret ballots. Read more .

Dissent in the age of Obama

Cindy Sheehan - Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) raided the homes of at least eight anti-war/social justice activists here in the US. I happen to be a prominent anti-war activist myself, and have joked that I am a “little hurt” that I was not raided and perhaps I should try harder. Even though, we have the urge to try and be light-hearted in this time of an increasing police state, with civil liberties on the retreat, it really isn't funny considering that the activists could face some serious charges stemming from these raids. I have felt this harassment on a smaller scale myself and I know that defending oneself against a police state that has unlimited resources, time and cruelty, can be quite expensive, time consuming and annoying. There is nothing noble about an agency that has reduced itself to being jackbooted enforcers of a neo-fascist police state, no matter how much the FBI has been romanticised in movies, television and books. For example, in one

The Long Road to the Hague: Prosecuting Blair

Truthout - Ex-Prime Minister and post-Downing Street millionaire Tony Blair, to celebrate the publication of his book "A Journey," held a "signing" session at Waterstones, Piccadilly on September 8. That this man, responsible for taking us into an illegal war, playing his part in the ruination of an ancient country because he "believed he was right," should advertise himself in this way has caused outrage. Time, I think, to look at where we - and Blair - actually stand in terms of what we can and cannot do to call him to account. What hope for international law? We have spent years constructing that body of treaties, statutes and conventions known as international law, only to ignore it when it is most needed. How often has any state - or rather, any powerful Western state - been brought to account for breaching international law? And how many exempt themselves from the laws while insisting others abide by them? Read more .

Is Progressive Dissent Public Enemy #1?

Common Dreams - Is free speech worth the constitutional paper it’s written on? After the September 26 FBI raids on peace activists’ homes in Minneapolis, Chicago and North Carolina, it appears to depend on who’s speaking and what they’re saying. The pretext for the raids was investigating “material aide to terrorists”, resulting in grand jury subpoenas and confiscation of computers, books, music CDs and from one home, a Martin Luther King poster. The targeted Minneapolis activists have openly protested US military policy since the 1980s. The FBI certainly knows they have nothing to do with terrorism. These activists simply have the audacity to challenge bi-partisan US invasions, occupations and support for dictatorships and human rights abusers. Dissent on the left has long been seen as ‘criminal behavior’. Where once “the communist threat" was the argument for such repression, now, “terrorism” is. Read more .

In Kenya, Farmers Grow Their Own Way

YES! Magazine - Thousands of grassroots, African-led efforts are building locally rooted alternatives to the chemical agriculture promoted by the Gates Foundation and Monsanto. In 2006 the Bill and Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Foundations launched the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Their aim is to alleviate poverty and hunger in Africa by increasing food production. Much like the original green revolution, which still plagues farmers throughout India and Latin America, their mission is to increase production by increasing the amount of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and chemical dependent high-yield seed varieties farmers use. They are also aggressively pushing genetically modified seeds and the involvement of agribusiness giants such as Monsanto—currently being investigated by the Department of Justice for monopolistic practices in the United States seed market. Many civil society groups in Kenya are outraged by AGRA’s plans

Evidence Refutes BP's and Fed's Deceptions

Truthout - In August, Truthout conducted soil and water sampling in Pass Christian Harbor, Mississippi; on Grand Isle, Louisiana; and around barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana, in order to test for the presence of oil from BP's Macondo Well. Laboratory test results from the samples taken in these areas show extremely high concentrations of oil in both the soil and water. These results contradict consistent claims made by the federal government and BP since early August that much of the Gulf of Mexico is now free of oil and safe for fishing and recreational use. Read more .

Memories of Hope in the Age of Disposability

Henry Giroux @ Truthout - Any rigorous conception of youth must take into account the inescapable intersection of the personal, social, political and pedagogical embodied by young people. Beneath the abstract codifying of youth around the discourses of law, medicine, psychology, employment, education and marketing statistics, there is the lived experience of being young. For me, youth invokes a repository of memories fueled by my own journey through an adult world, which largely seemed to be in the way, a world held together by a web of disciplinary practices and restrictions that appeared at the time more oppressive than liberating. Lacking the security of a middle-class childhood, my friends and I seemed suspended in a society that neither accorded us a voice nor guaranteed economic independence. Identity didn't come easy in my neighborhood. It was painfully clear to all of us that our identities were constructed out of daily battles waged around masculinity, the ability to medi

Photos show US soldiers posing with Afghan corpses

Yahoo - Among the most gruesome allegations is that some of the soldiers kept fingers from the bodies of Afghans they killed as war trophies. The troops also are accused of passing around photos of the dead and of the fingers. Four members of the unit — two of whom are also charged in the killings — have been accused of wrongfully possessing images of human casualties, and another is charged with trying to impede an investigation by having someone erase incriminating evidence from a computer hard drive. "Everyone would share the photographs," one of the defendants, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock, told investigators. "They were of every guy we ever killed in Afghanistan." Read more .

Why Murdoch and the BBC Are on the Same Side

John Pilger @ Truthout - Britain is said to be approaching its Berlusconi moment. That is to say, if Rupert Murdoch wins control of Sky he will command half the television and newspaper market and threaten what is known as public service broadcasting. Although the alarm is ringing, it is unlikely that any government will stop him while his court is packed with politicians of all parties. The problem with this and other Murdoch scares is that, while one cannot doubt their gravity, they deflect from an unrecognized and more insidious threat to honest information. For all his power, Murdoch's media is not respectable. Read more .

Tens Of Thousands Of Progressives Rally At The Lincoln Memorial For Jobs, Justice And Education

The Huffington Post - Tens of thousands of civil rights, labor, and other progressive activists gathered on the National Mall today for the One Nation Working Together rally, meant to bring attention to the fight for jobs, justice and education and energize the left one month before the midterm elections. "October 2nd is about November 2nd," SEIU President Mary Kay Henry recently told MSNBC host Ed Schultz, who heavily promoted the event on his show and gave opening remarks today. "And it's about what we do after November 2nd to hold elected officials and corporate America accountable to getting us back to work." More than 400 organizations representing tens of thousands of individuals sponsored the rally, bringing together groups like the Sierra Club, United Mine Workers of America, and the NAACP. Backers were touting it as the most diverse march in history. Read more .

Former Marxist guerilla poised to become Brazil's first woman president

Telegraph UK - Dilma Rousseff, who spent nearly three years in jail during her country's years of military dictatorship and was tortured behind bars, appears to be on course to secure victory in Sunday's election. A series of polls in recent days have suggested that Ms Rousseff, 62, may narrowly pass the 50 per cent of the vote she needs to be elected outright. Read more .

Obama Targets Iran for Human Rights Violations and Shields Bush Officials for Engaging in Same Abuses

Jason Leopold @ Truthout - This week, in a burst of stunning hypocrisy, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that imposes sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and targets eight Iranian government and military officials who are blamed for the torture, abuse and murder of citizens who protested Iran’s 2009 presidential election. “The United States is strongly committed to the promotion of human rights around the world, including in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the White House said in an accompanying news release. “As the President noted in his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, human rights are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States.” A State Department fact sheet added, “protesters [in Iran] were detained without formal charges brought against them and during this detention detainees were subjected to beatings, solitary confinement, and a denial of due process rights at the hands of intelligence officers under the direct


Web Of Debt - Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles—and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof. Read more .

Shock Therapy for Wall Street: JPMorgan Suspends 56,000 Foreclosures; GMAC and BOA Many More

Web Of Debt @ Truthout - “Maybe this is like shock therapy. Maybe this will actually get the lenders to the table and encourage them to work out deals that are to the benefit of everybody.” --Economist Karl E. Case, quoted in The New York Times. The hits are coming fast and furiously. It appears major Wall Street mortgage lenders could again be in serious trouble – and looking again for handouts. Read more.

U.S. infected Guatemalans for STD tests

Washington Post - The United States revealed on Friday that the government conducted medical experiments in the 1940s in which doctors infected soldiers, prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. The experiments, led by a federal doctor who helped conduct the famous Tuskegee syphilis study in Alabama, involved about 1,500 men and women who were unwittingly drafted into studies aimed at determining the effectiveness of penicillin. The tests, which were carried out between 1946 and 1948, infected subjects by bringing them prostitutes who were either already infected or purposefully infected by the researchers and by using needles to open wounds that could be contaminated. Read more .

'Coup' drama plunges Ecuador into uncertainty

BBC News - As dramatic scenes of Ecuador's President Rafael Correa being tear-gassed by his own police force made headlines all over the world, parallels were immediately drawn with last year's upheaval in Honduras, where the military ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya. This was supported by Mr Correa's own declarations, after he was rescued from a police hospital where he was trapped for 12 hours. "This was an attempted coup, an attempt to destabilise the government, which failed thanks to the Ecuadorean people," he said from his presidential palace, in front of a jubilant crowd. Read more .

Bank Of America Delays Foreclosures In 23 States

The Huffington Post - Bank of America is delaying foreclosures in 23 states as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents. The move adds the nation's largest bank to a growing list of mortgage companies whose employees signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them. Read more .

The real Democratic whiners

David Sirota @ The Oregonian - The way Democratic leaders tell it, their party's current "enthusiasm gap" comes from rank-and-file voters who are irrational and pessimistic complainers. "Democrats, just congenitally, tend to (see) the glass as half empty," President Barack Obama said last month during a $30,000-a-plate fundraiser at the Connecticut home of a donor named (no joke) Rich Richman. Days later, Vice President Joe Biden told a separate audience of donors that voters need "to stop whining." Apparently, the two believe that a mix of Marie Antoinette's "let them eat cake" motto and Phil Gramm's "nation of whiners" mantra will excite the Democratic base. Read more .

It’s the Economy, Not the Bloggers

Laura Flanders @ GRITtv - It seems odd to quote Bill Clinton when it's Obama's recycling of Clintonite politicians that has helped get us into this mess, but there it is. “It's the economy, stupid.” Americans are angry with the Obama administration, and the Obama administration is angry with—bloggers? The left-leaning media? What's wrong with this picture? The vice president says “Stop whining.” Obama says “Buck up.” Robert Gibbs rants about the “professional left.” All of them seem to forget who put them in office. Last week blogger Susie Madrak told David Axelrod: “Liberals and bloggers feel like we’re the girl you take under the bleachers but won’t be seen with in the light of day.” And Glenn Greenwald noted to Politico, people's anger “has very little – basically nothing – to do with what bloggers have been saying, and everything to do with the fact that there are no jobs and millions of people are having their homes foreclosed.” Read more .