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Showing posts from May, 2011

World Health Organization says cellphone emissions may be carcinogenic

Montreal Gazette - Radiation emitted from cellphones may be carcinogenic and consumers should change their habits to reduce exposure just in case, the World Health Organization's cancer research institute said Tuesday in a move that could see national governments review their mobile phone regulations designed to protect public health. Read more .

Stricken Fukushima Nuke Plant Leaking Oil

Japan Times - Oil was leaking into the sea from heavy oil tanks for reactors 5 and 6 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday, adding the spill may have been ongoing since the March 11 quake and tsunami. Tepco said workers at the site saw an oil slick floating on the sea at 8 a.m. Tuesday near the intakes of units 5 and 6. Read more .

'Spanish Revolution' Sparks Wave of Protests in Europe

Reuters @ The Montreal Gazette - Spaniards protesting the handling of the country's economic crisis vowed to keep their tents in central city squares this week, as a wave of similar protests spread to other major European cities. Hundreds of people both young and old voted late Sunday to keep a two-week-old protest encampment in Madrid's main Puerta del Sol square going until Thursday at least, a move echoed in Spain's second-largest city, Barcelona. Read more .

The Revenge Killing of Osama bin Laden

Noam Chomsky @ Truthout - The May 1 U.S. attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound violated multiple elementary norms of international law, beginning with the invasion of Pakistani territory. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by the 79 commandos facing almost no opposition. President Obama announced that “justice has been done.” Many did not agree – even close allies. British barrister Geoffrey Robertson, who generally supported the operation, nevertheless described Obama’s claim as an “absurdity” that should have been obvious to a former professor of constitutional law. Read more.

For Sale: The Desperate States of America

Common Dreams - While we have been frantically playing defense against relentless assaults on multiple fronts, from anti-union legislation to draconian anti-choice laws to the attempted privatization of Medicare, the selling off of public assets to the private sector has received little attention. As states face a budget shortfall of $125 billion dollars for fiscal year 2012, leaders are searching for creative ways to fill budget gaps, while refusing to consider the one legitimate solution: forcing tax-dodging corporations and the rich to pay their fair share in taxes. Rather than upset the moneyed interests who bought their seats in office, politicians of all stripes prefer to cut pensions, close schools, slash child nutrition programs, and most importantly privatize, privatize, privatize! Read more .

Germany's Nuclear Phaseout Is an 'Historic Moment'

Der Spiegel - "This is nothing more and nothing less than a revolution in energy supply," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. It was September 2010, and she was referring to her government's newly minted energy strategy. That plan included extending the operating lives of Germany's 17 nuclear plants, which had been scheduled to go offline by 2021. All of this had been intended to help Germany meet its ambitious goals for reducing climate-killing CO2 emissions. But on Monday, less than nine months later, the German government announced a new energy plan that could also be fairly described as a revolution -- even if it represents a 180-degree reversal of the administration's previous policy. In marathon talks that went into the early hours of Monday, the government hammered out the details of its plans to phase out nuclear power. The new strategy foresees all Germany's reactors going offline by 2021 if possible and 2022 at the latest. Eight plants which are current

$7.6 Trillion Spent on Military and Homeland Security since 9/11

Alternet - This week, the National Priorities Project (NPP) released a snapshot of U.S. “defense” spending since September 11, 2001. The eye-popping figures lend credence to the theory that al Qaeda's attacks were a form of economic warfare – that they hoped for a massive overreaction that would entangle us in costly foreign wars that would ultimately drain away our national wealth. They didn't bankrupt us the same way the Mujahadeen helped bring down the Soviet Union decades before, because our economy was much stronger. But they did succeed in putting us deep into the red – with an assist, of course, from Bush's ideologically driven tax cuts for the wealthy. The topline number is this: we have spent $7.6 trillion on the military and homeland security since 9/11. The Pentagon's base budget – which doesn't include the costs of fighting our wars – has increased by 81 percent during that time (43 percent when adjusted for inflation). Read more .

FBI's Counterterrorism Operations Keeps Close Tabs On Political Activists

NY Times - A fat sheaf of F.B.I. reports meticulously details the surveillance that counterterrorism agents directed at the one-story house in East Austin. For at least three years, they traced the license plates of cars parked out front, recorded the comings and goings of residents and guests and, in one case, speculated about a suspicious flat object spread out across the driveway. “The content could not be determined from the street,” an agent observing from his car reported one day in 2005. “It had a large number of multi-colored blocks, with figures and/or lettering,” the report said, and “may be a sign that is to be used in an upcoming protest.” Read more .

Remembering Gill Scott-Heron

The revolution will not go better with Coke The revolution will not fight the germs that cause bad breath The revolution will put you in the driver's seat The revolution will not be televised Mother Jones - IT'S CHRISTMAS EVE, almost 40 long years after he wrote these immortal lyrics, and it's a workday for Gil Scott-Heron. On this bright, bone-chilling afternoon, the pioneering urban poet and musician is holed up in his humble East Harlem office, hunched over an ancient, floppy-disk-driven word processor. An episode of Gunsmoke plays on the TV. Scott-Heron moves a bit slow, but he's racing to meet a self-imposed deadline of New Year's Day to complete a rewrite of The Last Holiday, the 600-plus-page memoir of his 1980 tour with Stevie Wonder that campaigned for—and ultimately helped secure—the creation of Martin Luther King Day. The curtains are drawn in the ground-floor apartment; a few days' worth of newspapers are scattered across the floor. Posters fro

In Germany massive nationwide protests call for an immediate end to nuclear energy

Deutsche Welle - More than 100,000 demonstrators took to the streets in 20 cities across Germany on Saturday to call for a rapid end to nuclear power, even as a government-sponsored national commission is expected to recommend that Berlin abolish nuclear energy within a decade. The Ethics Commission is set to announce the results of its final report on Germany's energy future, calling for nuclear power to be phased out by 2021. Chancellor Angela Merkel had tasked the commission with forging a national consensus on how to replace nuclear power with renewable energy in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan last March. Read more .

After 4 Years, Egypt Reopens Its Border With Gaza

Truthout - Rafah Border Crossing, between Egypt and Gaza — Hundreds of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip arrived here by the busload Saturday to pass through the reopened border into Egypt, taking the first tangible steps out of the Israeli occupation after years of deadlocked peace talks. "I feel this is the start of freedom,” said Hasna el-Ryes, 45, a Gaza resident waiting to cross into Egypt so she could travel to visit sons studying in Britain. “You can’t imagine how much we have suffered.” Read more .

Gil Scott-Heron, Poet And Musician, Has Died

NPR - Gil Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon in New York, his book publisher reported. He was 62. The influential poet and musician is often credited with being one of the progenitors of hip-hop, and is best known for the spoken-word piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Read more. - click here to hear a 2007 interview - ***

Judge Throws Out Walker’s Anti-Union Law

Mathew Rothchild @ The Progressive - Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi today ruled that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s controversial anti-union law was illegal. There is “clear and convincing” evidence that the legislature violated the open meetings law of the state when it railroaded through committee the bill that would have devastated the collective bargaining rights of public-sector workers. Read more .

Ousted president’s return to Honduras doesn’t mean repression is over

Dana Milbank @ The Progressive - The return of deposed President Manuel Zelaya to Honduras doesn’t mean democracy, civil liberties and the basic rule of law are returning to that country any time soon. Far from it. The very same oligarchs who launched the coup remain in power, and in the past two months the government’s repression has accelerated. That’s why more than 70 members of Congress are calling for a suspension of U.S. military and police aid to Honduras. Read more .

Dubai's skyscrapers, stained by the blood of migrant workers

Guardian UK - Visiting Dubai on a work trip, I was wandering the resplendent hallways of my a hotel searching for an ATM when a commotion occurred. Some of the hotel staff were scurrying about, looking obviously distressed. I asked one of them if there was any trouble and he responded with a glossy smile. There was no trouble, madam, and was there anything he could help me with? A few hours later, I discovered that there had indeed been trouble. A man – an Indian worker – had jumped from Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and a symbol of Dubai's prowess. Read more .

Egyptians Gather for Second 'Day of Anger'

Al Jazeera - Egyptian activists are gearing up for nationwide rallies on Friday to protest against the ruling military council's handling of the post-revolution phase, in a call that has exposed political divisions. Protesters streamed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square - the symbolic heart of protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak on February 11 - ahead of the rallies scheduled to start after the weekly Friday prayers. Youth groups that had helped to launch the uprising have dubbed Friday "the second day of anger". Read more .

Welcome to the Violent World of Mr. Hopey Changey

John Pilger @ Truthout - The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain's 46th military "intervention" in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain's goal is to control Africa's oil. Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form. And as "Mr. Hopey Changey" (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones - a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama. For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalizing

House Passes Bill Authorizing Worldwide War As Momentum Builds Against It

ACLU Press Release - The House today passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains a dangerous provision that authorizes a worldwide war against terrorism suspects and against nations suspected of supporting them. The bill includes several additional troubling provisions, including one that would needlessly delay the implementation of the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and another blocking all federal criminal trials of suspected terrorists who are not U.S. citizens. The American Civil Liberties Union strongly opposes the authorization for worldwide war and many other provisions in the bill. Read more .

Can Unions Break From the Democrats?

Amy Dean @ Truthout - On May 20, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Richard Trumka issued a warning to those Democratic candidates who rely on labor's resources when running for office but hold social movements at arm's length once in office: become champions for working families, he told them, or don't assume that unions will be there for you in the future. In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Trumka stated, "What workers want is an independent labor movement that builds the power of working people - in the workplace and in political life." The role of this "independent" labor movement, he added, "is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It is to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our country." Read more .

BREAKING: Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin Makes History By Signing Into Law Single Payer Health Care

Think Progress - Last month, the Vermont Senate passed legislation, approved earlier by the House, that would establish a single payer health care system in the state. The legislation would make Vermont the first state in the nation to, as Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said, make health care “a right and not a privilege.” The governor’s office just confirmed for ThinkProgress that Shumlin signed the legislation into law this morning... read more .

Slash and Burn: Brazil Shreds Laws Protecting Its Rainforests

The Independent UK - Brazil has taken a big step towards passing new laws that will loosen restrictions on the amount of Amazon rainforest that farmers can destroy, after its lower house of parliament voted in favour of updating the country's 46-year-old forest code. In a move described as "disastrous" by conservationists, the nation's congress backed a bill relaxing laws on the deforestation of hilltops and the amount of vegetation farmers must preserve. The law also offers partial amnesties for fines levied against landowners who have illegally destroyed tracts of rainforest. The legislation, which must still be passed by the Brazillian Senate and approved by President Dilma Rousseff, aims to help owners of smaller farms and ranches compete with under-regulated rivals in countries such as the USA and Argentina. Read more .

Reasons All Workers Should Support Unions

The Providence Journal - The current assault on collective-bargaining rights shows that ideology and smash-mouth politics can triumph over economic reality. Unions did not cause our economic mess: Greedy bankers drove the financial system to the brink of collapse. Read more .

Obama, hands off our spring

Guardian UK - The first wave of Arab revolutions is entering its second phase: dismantling the structures of political despotism, and embarking on the arduous journey towards genuine change and democratisation. The US, at first confused by the loss of key allies, is now determined to dictate the course and outcome of this ongoing revolution. What had been a challenge to US power is now a "historic opportunity", as Barack Obama put it in his Middle East speech last week. But he does not mean an opportunity for the people who have risen up; it is a chance for Washington to fashion the region's present and future, just as it did its past. When Obama talks of his desire "to pursue the world as it should be" he does not mean according to the yearnings of its people, but according to US interests. Read more .

Propaganda for "Justice": Flattering the State on Libya and Bin Laden

Truthout - On April 11, The New York Times uncritically repeated the Obama administration's claims that the intervention in Libya was his first "humanitarian war." With efforts to remove Qaddafi having stalled, the paper is now wondering: "can Obama live with a stalemate?" Of course, the media's framing of the conflict as humanitarian is directly belied by the recent request of a British military commander that NATO engage in an illegal bombing of Libya's "infrastructure." Such attacks would be an open violation of the rules of war, as established in the Geneva Conventions,(1) although this hasn't caused US political officials and journalists to question the "humanitarian" narrative they've attached to this war. Read more .

Brazilian Supreme Court recognzes same-sex unions

Council On Hemispheric Affairs - The Brazilian Supreme Court's recognition of same-sex unions in early May marks the latest victory for gay rights in Latin America. The Court's ruling grants equal legal rights to same-sex civil unions as those enjoyed by married heterosexuals, including retirement benefits, joint tax declarations, inheritance rights, and child adoption. While the Supreme Court did not go so far as to legalize gay marriage, gay rights groups such as Rio de Janeiro's Rainbow Group have nevertheless praised the decision as an "historic achievement."1 The decision passed 10-0 with one abstention, but the justice who abstained had previously spoken in favor of same-sex unions. Read more .

Teenage Students Speak Out: Fund Schools NOT Prisons

Common Dreams - On Tuesday, April 26, Crystal and I boarded a bus to Harrisburg with other students, parents, and teachers to demand that Pennsylvania prioritize education funding over prison expansion. Crystal and I are students at Kensington Urban Education Academy, a public high school in North Philadelphia. We come from diverse backgrounds and face the everyday struggles of being teenagers in the Philadelphia School District, such as poverty, violence, and lack of school resources. Read more .

Privatization: The Road to Hell

The Creators - Billionaires are different from you and me, for obvious reasons, including the fact that they buy much pricier baubles than we do. A sleek car costing $100,000? Why, for them, that's just an easy impulse purchase. A few million bucks for a Matisse original? Go ahead — it'll liven up the hallway. How about throwing a fat wad of cash at a university to get an academic chair named for you? Sure, it's all part of the fun of living in BillionaireLand. Read more .

The Crisis Enters Year Five

Truthout - The current capitalist global crisis began with the severe contraction in the housing markets in mid-2007. Therefore welcome to Year Five. This inventory of where things stand may begin with the good news: the major banks, the stock market, and corporate profits have largely or completely “recovered” from the lows they reached early in 2009. The US dollar has fallen sharply against many currencies of countries with which the US trades and that has enabled US exports to rebound from their crisis lows. However, the bad news is what prevails notwithstanding the political and media hypes about “recovery.” The most widely cited unemployment rate remains at 9 % for workers without jobs but looking. If instead we use the more indicative U-6 unemployment statistic of the US Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, then the rate is 15%. Read more .

The trouble with “innovation” in schools

Washington Post - I was sitting among a large crowd of students and teachers at the Chicago Public Schools Video Fair. It was 1998 — four years before No Child Left Behind was signed into law, but already three years into Chicago’s own march toward test-driven “accountability.” I listened as a high-level district administrator stepped to the podium to congratulate a group of my seventh graders on winning the festival’s top prize. Their video, which they’d made in my media studies class, was a portrayal of how racist attitudes are passed on from adults to children. I don’t recall all of the administrator’s words, but I remember her commending the students, recognizing our school’s media studies program, and ending with, “I’m sure participating in this program is really raising the students’ reading scores!” Read more .

Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution

Michael Pirsch @ Truthout - Our country is in tatters. While more and more of us plunge into official poverty status, our elected leaders, who are in service to the wealthy elite, argue about how much to cut from programs that "promote the general welfare." They squander our exhaustible resources on illegal wars. The rich have stolen so much from us that they comprise the wealthiest 1 percent in well over 100 years, and they are supported in all this by their pet pundits, who dominate the corporate media. And none of our elected leaders from either of the two parties question the morality of shredding the most basic programs "to promote the general welfare." To imagine that the Democratic Party would provide any leadership to end the "long train of abuses and usurpations" brought upon us is akin to reaffirming our belief in Santa Claus. The time has come to break the chains that bind us and to establish a new government based on true, not humbug, democra

Chaos Swirls in Yemen's Capital as Government Buildings Burn

McClatchy Newspapers @ Truthout - Yemen's capital city sank toward anarchy Tuesday as rival armies fought pitched battles in a neighborhood of middle-class homes and government offices in the worst violence to sweep this city since anti-government protests began nearly four months ago. Forces loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh shelled the compound of the country's leading tribal sheikh, while forces loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al Ahmar stormed nearby government buildings. Read more .

Democrat Kathy Hochul Beats Republican Jane Corwin In New York’s 26th District

Think Progress - Tonight, Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in New York’s special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY). Despite the $2.36 million spent by groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to keep the district red and the $60 per vote Corwin spent herself, Hochul secured a clear victory in a traditionally Republican district: Read more .

The Collapse of Journalism and How to Fix It

Death and iPads

ComputerWorld - Questions remain after Friday's tragic explosion at the Foxconn iPad 2 factory in Chengdu, China. Will shipments of the iPad 2 be delayed? Foxconn says not. Will the iPhone 5 release date change? That's less clear. And, of course, people want to know how the conflagration happened and how it can be prevented in future. Read more .

Misguided U.S. drug policies afflict Mexico, Central America

Seattle Times - For most Americans, the recent news of popular demonstrations in Mexico was probably a small diversion from the daily tide of bloody global reports from such faraway hot spots as Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Bahrain. Why worry, most of us likely concluded, if thousands of Mexicans are marching in the streets, protesting the horrific violence and high death toll in their nation's raging drug war? Isn't that their problem? Read more .

Why Liberal Sellouts Attack Prophets Like Cornel West

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - The liberal class, which attempted last week to discredit the words my friend Cornel West spoke about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, prefers comfort and privilege to justice, truth and confrontation. Its guiding ideological stance is determined by what is most expedient to the careers of its members. It refuses to challenge, in a meaningful way, the decaying structures of democracy or the ascendancy of the corporate state. It glosses over the relentless assault on working men and women and the imperial wars that are bankrupting the nation. It proclaims its adherence to traditional liberal values while defending and promoting systems of power that mock these values. The pillars of the liberal establishment—the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party—all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence.

Spaniards Vow to Continue Mass Action

Al Jazeera - Hundreds of demonstrators in Spain are planning to extend their protests against the Spanish government's austerity measures and the political parties that they blame for soaring unemployment. A show-of-hands vote at a meeting in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square, where demonstrators have erected a makeshift camp, saw protesters indicate that they planned to stay at least until May 29. Read more.

The U.S.: Where Europe comes to slum

LA Times - The newest slumlord in Los Angeles is a pillar of German capitalism. Earlier this month, the city attorney's office filed suit against Deutsche Bank, the world's fourth-largest bank, for letting many of the more than 2,000 L.A. homes it has foreclosed on descend into squalor and decay. A yearlong city investigation of the properties on which Deutsche Bank foreclosed turned up tenants compelled to live in crumbling apartments the bank would not fix, houses taken over by gangs, faucets from which water either wouldn't flow or wouldn't stop, and the occasional unidentified dead body. Nothing, in other words, that would be allowed to happen to bank holdings in Frankfurt, the neat-as-a-pin German city that is home to Deutsche Bank and much of the rest of German finance. Read more .

Spain: Protesters defy ban with anti-government rallies

BBC - Thousands of people have taken part in protests across Spain's main cities, defying a government ban on political protest ahead of local elections. In Madrid, some 25,000 protesters occupied a main square. Others gathered in Barcelona, Valencia and Seville. The protesters are angry with the government's economic policies and the country's high youth unemployment rate. Read more .

California Internet Privacy Bill Faces Big Opposition

Nadia Prupis @ Truthout - Internet behemoths Facebook, Google, Skype, and Twitter have joined forces to oppose an online privacy bill in California that would prevent the companies from displaying users’ personal information without explicit permission. The bill, SB 242, introduced by Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-California) last February, initially served to create strict safeguards for minors who wanted to utilize the websites' social networking apparatus. But the legislation was amended to focus on all users after Facebook argued that the bill would encourage minors to lie about their age. Read more.

The always-expanding bipartisan Surveillance State

Glenn Greenwald @ Salon - When I wrote earlier this week about Jane Mayer's New Yorker article on the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers, the passage I hailed as "the single paragraph that best conveys the prime, enduring impact of the Obama presidency" included this observation from Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin: "We are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national-surveillance state." There are three events -- all incredibly from the last 24 hours -- which not only prove how true that is, but vividly highlight how it functions and why it is so odious First, consider what Democrats and Republicans just jointly did with regard to the Patriot Act, the very naming of which once sent progressives into spasms of vocal protest and which long served as the symbolic shorthand for Bush/Cheney post-9/11 radicalism: Read more .

Turning the Camera on the Police

David Sirota @ Truthout - What's good for the police apparently isn't good for the people -- or so the law enforcement community would have us believe when it comes to surveillance. That's a concise summary of a new trend reported by National Public Radio last week -- the trend whereby law enforcement officials have been trying to prevent civilians from using cellphone cameras in public places as a means of deterring police brutality. Read more .

Europe Holds Tight to IMF Monopoly

Inter Press Service - Since the election of Camille Gutt of Belgium as the first managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) back in 1946, the Europeans have continued to claim that job as their political and intellectual birthright. And successive IMF heads have come from France (which has held the post four times), Sweden (twice) and one each from Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. The resignation Thursday of the current IMF chief, Dominique Strauss- Kahn of France, following allegations of rape in a New York hotel room last week, has triggered speculation about another European for one of the most powerful jobs in international finance. Read mor e.

Mexicans Reject US-Backed Drug War

Yes! Magazine - Tens of thousands of Mexicans made history on May 8 in a march through the nation’s capital, protesting the war on drugs. Behind a black banner reading “We are fed up. Stop the War. Peace With Justice and Dignity,” they demanded an immediate halt to the drug war, reforms to Mexico’s political and justice systems, and a change in US regional security policy. Protesters filed through the streets of Mexico City in silence, holding hand-lettered signs that expressed their anger at the war that has claimed nearly 40,000 lives since it was declared by President Felipe Calderón in December 2006. Many wore T-shirts featuring the national slogan of the new movement: "No More Blood." Read more.

Senate gives big oil another free pass

Tyson Slocum @ Citizen Vox - Just what Big Oil needed: another victory. First, Congress fails to pass legislation that would respond to last summer's catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Then, President Barack Obama announces that his administration will expand offshore drilling, which means more money for the oil industry. Read more .

The illegal war in Libya

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation" -- candidate Barack Obama, December, 2007 "No more ignoring the law when it's inconvenient. That is not who we are. . . . We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers" -- candidate Barack Obama, August 1, 2007 *** Glenn Greenwald @ Salon - When President Obama ordered the U.S. military to wage war in Libya without Congressional approval (even though, to use his words, it did "not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation"), the administration and its defenders claimed he had legal authority to do so for two reasons: Read more .

Single-Payer in California?

Truthout - The national debate over health care can be summed up in a bill being debated in Sacramento. Supporters of Senate Bill 810 say the legislation would be the only way to provide medical coverage for every Californian. Opponents deride the measure as socialized medicine. Read more .

NATO's Real Motives for Libya Revealed

Foreign Policy in Focus - According to the New York Times (5/16/11), Gen. Sir David Richards, “Britain’s top military commander,” is proposing that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) target Libyan “infrastructure,” including electrical power grids and fuel dumps, in government held areas. Frustrated by the two-month old stalemate, Gen. Richards told the Times that “The vice is closing on [Muammar el-] Qaddadi, but we need to increase the pressure further through more intense military activity.” The British are playing a major role in the bombing campaign, and Gen. Richards was in Naples, the command center for the war in Libya, when he talked with the Times. Read more .

After 2 Months, No End in Sight to Libyan Air Strikes

McClatchy Newspapers - On March 19, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's army had quashed weeks of anti-government protests and was poised for an all-out assault on Benghazi, the opposition's stronghold, when the U.N. Security Council authorized coalition forces to step in and protect civilians. Two months and nearly 7,000 air sorties later, the international military campaign has stopped a potentially devastating massacre in Benghazi, allowed humanitarian aid into besieged civilian areas and helped the rebels keep their hold on eastern Libya. Read more .

"Beyond Borders": Documenting Transnational Communities (VIDEO)

Max Eternity @ Truthout - Located in Downtown Berkeley, California, Addison Street Windows Gallery presents a photographic exhibition by artist, writer and activist, David Bacon. The show, entitled "Beyond Borders," speaks to the migration of indigenous peoples from Mexico to the United States, specifically addressing a new phenomena in continental living - the creation of "transnational communities." Read more .

The Democrats Attack Unions Nationwide

Shamus Cooke @ Truthout - Obvious political truths are sometimes smothered by special interests. The cover-up of the Democrats' national anti-union agenda is possible because to reveal it for the ruse it is would cause enormous disturbances for the Democratic Party, some labor leaders, liberal organizations and, consequently, the larger political system. Here is the short list of states with Democratic governors where labor unions are undergoing severe attacks: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, California, New York, Illinois, Washington, Hawaii, Minnesota, Maryland and New Hampshire. Other states with Democratic governors are attacking unions to a lesser degree. Read more .

American Democracy Beyond Casino Capitalism and the Torture State

Henry Giroux @ Truthout - With all due respect to Charles Dickens, it appears to be the worst of times for public and higher education in America, if not democracy itself; public schools are increasingly viewed as a business and are prized above all for customer satisfaction and efficiency, while largely judged through the narrow lens of empirical accountability measures. When not functioning as an adjunct of corporate value or a potentially lucrative for-profit investment, public schools are reduced to containment centers, holding institutions designed to largely punish young people marginalized by race and class. Read more .

The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience. Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan. Emanuel in the first scene of the play would dangle power, privilege, fame and money before Obama. West would warn Obama that the quality of a life is defined by its moral commitment, that his legacy will be determined by his willingness to defy the cruel assault by the corporate state and the financial elite against the poor and working men and women, and that justice must never be sacrificed on the altar of power. Perhaps there was never much of a struggle in Obama’s heart. Perhaps West only provided a moral veneer. Perhaps the dark heart of Emanuel was always the dark heart of Obama. Only Obama knows. But we know how the play ends. West is banished like honest Kent in “King Lear.” Emanuel and immoral mediocrities from Lawrence Summers to Timothy Geithne

Flood Fight and Flight Along the Mississippi River

Environment News Service - The Mississippi River is overflowing its banks, putting pressure on levees from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, and threatening the two cities as well as refineries and chemical facilities along the river. Officials say this Mississippi River disaster could break flood records set in the 1920s. On Saturday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Spillway as part of a flood risk management plan designed to minimize damage to property, structures and to protect millions of people from historic flood levels. Read more .

Japan Vows to Stabilize Nuclear Plant in 6 to 9 Months

Associated Press - Japan said Monday it will stabilize and shut down its stricken nuclear power plant in six to nine months, as planned, as residents of two more towns around it evacuated amid concerns about accumulated radiation. The government’s timeline for stabilizing the plant was called into question last week after new data showed that the damage to one reactor at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex was worse than expected. Read more.

End the Land Mine Plague

Ralph Nader @ Common Dreams - Everyday around the world innocent people, many of them children, are killed or injured by millions of unexploded land mines and cluster bombs. Some of the cluster bomblets look like candy or a toy which attract a child in a field, orchard, schoolyard or by the roadside. Powerful aggressor nations are responsible for most of these anti-personal weapons being laid from land or by air. Most recently, Libya’s rulers laid mines on the outskirts of Ajdabiya as part of its battle against the resistance. Read more .

Attorneys general in 17 states urge an end to malt liquor endorsed by Snoop Dogg

Target Market News - Seventeen state attorneys general are urging Pabst Brewing Co. to stop marketing to young drinkers and halt production of a new malt beverage promoted by rapper Snoop Dogg. In a letter sent to the Pabst Brewing Co., Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler says "Blast" by Colt 45 is a 'binge-in-a-can" that targets youth. Gansler was joined by attorneys general from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera also joined the petition, according to a written statement. Read more.

Morganza Spillway To Open, Flooding Thousands Of Homes To Avert Greater Disaster From Mississippi River

Huffington Post - In an agonizing trade-off, Army engineers said they will open a key spillway along the bulging Mississippi River as early as Saturday and inundate thousands of homes and farms in Louisiana's Cajun country to avert a potentially bigger disaster in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. About 25,000 people and 11,000 structures could be in harm's way when the gates on the Morganza spillway are unlocked for the first time in 38 years. Read more .

AFL-CIO Turns Corner, Embraces Immigrant Workers

Allison Killkenney @ Truthout - The AFL-CIO recently announced a partnership agreement with domestic workers and guest workers, two professions that attract a large number of immigrant labor. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, alongside Saket Soni of the National Guestworkers' Alliance and Barbara Young of the National Domestic Workers' Alliance, announced the new alliance on May 10 in Manhattan. Read more .

How the Murdoch Press Keeps Australia's Dirty Secret

John Pilger @ Truthout - The illegal eavesdropping on famous people by the News of the World is said to be Rupert Murdoch's Watergate. But is it the crime by which Murdoch ought to be known? In his native land, Australia, Murdoch controls 70 percent of the capital city press. Australia is the world's first Murdochracy, in which smear by media is power. Read more .

Has America Become a Nation of Cowards?

David Sirota @ Common Dreams - If the mission to neutralize Osama bin Laden were a blockbuster movie, the screen would have almost certainly faded to black as soon as the accused terrorist's death was announced. No doubt, the credits would roll to Queen's "We Will Rock You” and then a big “The End” would appear. Read more .

The Post-Wisconsin Game Plan

The Nation - Mary Kay Henry had just spent a day talking with many of the thousands of Wisconsinites who had packed the State Capitol in Madison for the February protests against Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposals to scrap collective bargaining rights and slash funding for public education and services. Now, as she waited in a legislative hearing room that had been turned into a makeshift studio for a Pennsylvania labor radio show, the new president of the 2.2 million–member Service Employees International Union was marveling at what she had seen. “It’s inspiring, so inspiring, but we have to pay attention to what’s happening here,” she said, in a calm, thoughtful voice. “We’ve got to take this national, and we’ve got to keep the spirit, the energy. We’ve got to do it right.” Read more .

New Report Confirms that Switch to Renewables Is Feasible

The Progressive - It’s official: The world can easily make the switch to renewable energy if it wants to. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just released a report stating that energy from clean sources could account for four-fifths of the global supply within a few decades—if governments show the necessary will. Read more .

Plan to Flood Fukushima Reactor Could Cause New Blast, Experts Warn

Guardian UK - Experts have warned of a potentially dangerous radiation leak if Japan proceeds with plans to flood a damaged reactor containment vessel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The facility's operator has admitted uranium fuel rods in the No 1 reactor partially melted after being fully exposed because of the 11 March tsunami. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said water levels had fallen to at least one metre below four-metre-long fuel rods inside the reactor core and melted fuel had slumped to the bottom of the reactor's containment vessel. Read more .

"A war of aggression is the supreme international crime"

Glenn Greenwald @ Salon - Benjamin Ferencz is a 92-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, American combat soldier during World War II, and a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, where he prosecuted numerous Nazi war criminals, including some responsible for the deaths of upward of 100,000 innocent people. He gave a fascinating (and shockingly articulate) 13-minute interview yesterday to the CBC in Canada about the bin Laden killing, the Nuremberg principles, and the U.S. role in the world. Read more .

A New Age of "Enlightened" War

William Astore @ Tom Dispatch - The killing of Osama bin Laden, “a testament to the greatness of our country” according to President Obama, should not be allowed to obscure a central reality of our post-9/11 world. Our conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya remain instances of undeclared war, a fact that contributes to their remoteness from our American world. They are remote geographically, but also remote from our day-to-day interests and, unless you are in the military or have a loved one who serves, remote from our collective consciousness (not to speak of our consciences). Read more .

House Panel Authorizes Nearly $700 Billion in Defense Spending

The Hill - The House Armed Services Committee early Thursday approved a spending measure that clears the Pentagon and Energy Department to spend nearly $700 billion next fiscal year. The panel approved a baseline Pentagon spending level of $553 billion, matching the Obama administration's request. It also authorized the Energy Department to spend $18 billion on nuclear weapons projects and cleared the military to spend $118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more.

Helping the Neediest Among Us

Jim Hightower @ Truthout - To be fair to lawmakers, it's not easy making the tough spending choices in these dire times of rising public need and inadequate tax revenues. Legislators in my state of Texas, for example, are trying to make $27 billion in cuts to balance an already miserly budget. So, assume you're a member of the Texas house. What needy constituency would you try to spare from the budget ax: school kids, poor people, old folks in nursing homes ... or yacht buyers? Read more .

Microsoft to buy Skype for pricey $8.5 billion

Yahoo News - Microsoft Corp plans to buy Internet phone service Skype for $8.5 billion in its biggest-ever acquisition, placing a rich bet on mobile and the Internet to try to best rivals such as Google Inc. In a deal that took a month from offer to signing, the software company outbid Google and Facebook, which sources said offered to partner or buy Skype for $3 billion to $4 billion. Read more .

Microsoft Agrees to Buy Skype for $8.5B

Britain Still Awaits Good Results From Bad Ideas

Paul Krugman @ Truthout - The bad gross domestic product number for Britain, announced on April 27, wasn’t a surprise — in fact, judging from market response, investors seem to have expected something even worse. Still, if you step back and look at what has been happening, it’s doubleplusungood: zero growth over the past six months, with every reason to be worried looking forward, as Prime Minister David Cameron’s austerity bites deeper. Read more .

NATO Bombs Rock Tripoli, Libya U.S. Backed Rebels Advance

Ottawa Citizen - NATO carried out missile strikes on targets in the Tripoli area on Tuesday that appeared to include Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound, witnesses said. Gaddafi has not appeared publicly since April 30 when a NATO air strike on a house in the capital killed his youngest son and three of his grandchildren, raising questions among some Arab diplomats anxious to know why he has remained out of sight. Read more .

Mississippi River Crests At Nearly 48 Feet In Memphis, Tennessee

Huffington Post - The Mississippi River crested in Memphis at nearly 48 feet on Tuesday, falling inches short of its all-time record but still soaking low-lying areas with enough water to require a massive cleanup. National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Borghoff says the river reached 47.85 feet at 2 a.m. CDT Tuesday and is expected to stay very close to that level for the next 24 to 36 hours. Read more .

Maddow Rips Sunday Shows For GOP Guest Slant (VIDEO)

Huffington Post - Rachel Maddow lit into the Sunday morning talk shows on her Monday show for their guest selection on their latest programs. Specifically, Maddow was steamed that, a week after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Sunday shows had three times as many Republican guests as Democratic ones. Read more .

Dear Eva Longoria, Obama Is Lying to You About His Immigration Policy

Julianne Hing @ Color Lines - Hi Eva, I hope it’s okay that I address you by your first name. We’re big fans of you over here at Colorlines. There are some very committed Desperate Housewives fans on staff, but I think I started following your political work after I heard you were going back to school to get your master’s in Chicano Studies at CSU Northridge. (Yay, public education!) And you won me over when you came out in support of the DREAM Act. You use your celebrity for good, and are community-minded, too. But, okay, enough gushing. The real reason I’m writing is to let you know you’re being lied to. Read more .

CEO Pay in 2010 Jumped 11%

Wall Street Journal - Chief executives at the biggest U.S. companies saw their pay jump sharply in 2010, as boards rewarded them for strong profit and share-price growth with bigger bonuses and stock grants. The median value of salaries, bonuses and long-term incentive awards for CEOs of 350 major companies surged 11% to $9.3 million, according to a study of proxy statements conducted for The Wall Street Journal by management consultancy Hay Group. Read more .

Missouri Pushes Voter ID, Birther Bill

Channing Kennedy @ Color Lines - My home state, Missouri, is embarrassingly behind on trends. Most anti-Obama where’s-the-birth-certificate conspiracy theorists have given up and moved on to suggesting Obama is secretly stupid. But the Missouri House of Representatives passed a ‘birther bill’ yesterday, requiring “verifiable evidence of identity and proof of natural born citizenship” from presidential nominees. Read more .

Congress Must Debate the Libya War

Robert Naiman @ Truthout - The US is now at war in a third Muslim country, according to the "official tally" (that is, counting Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, but not Pakistan or Yemen, for example.) But Congress has never authorized or debated the US military intervention in Libya. (A sharply disputed claim holds that the Pakistan and Yemen actions are covered by the 2001 authorization of military force, but no one has dared to argue that the 2001 authorization to use military force covers Libya.) Some will no doubt claim that the president is acting in Libya within his authority as commander in chief. But this is an extremely dangerous claim. Read more .

U.S. tries to assassinate U.S. citizen with Muslim name

Glenn Greenwald @ Salon - That Barack Obama has continued the essence of the Bush/Cheney Terrorism architecture was once a provocative proposition but is now so self-evident that few dispute it ( watch here as arch-neoconservative David Frum -- Richard Perle's co-author for the supreme 2004 neocon treatise -- waxes admiringly about Obama's Terrorism and foreign policies in the Muslim world and specifically its "continuity" with Bush/Cheney). But one policy where Obama has gone further than Bush/Cheney in terms of unfettered executive authority and radical war powers is the attempt to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process. Read more .

Thousands rally in Japan against nuclear power

Agence France Press - Thousands of people rallied in Japan Saturday to demand a shift away from nuclear power after an earthquake and tsunami sparked the world's worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl a quarter-century ago. Braving spring drizzle, thousands of demonstrators gathered at a park in Tokyo's Shibuya district, many holding hand-made banners reading: "Nuclear is old!" and "We want a shift in energy policy!" Read more .

Billionaires Against Bull, Going from Charity to Justice

Ralph Nader @ Common Dreams - On the evening of May 4, a day before he was to join dozens of billionaires convened by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in Phoenix, Arizona to discuss how they might spend over half their wealth for “good works,” media entrepreneur, peace advocate and environmentalist, Ted Turner joined another billionaire, Peter B. Lewis (chairman of Progressive Insurance) and me at the New York Public Library to discuss a similar topic. C-SPAN covered the event. The event was titled “Billionaires Against Bull, Going from Charity to Justice.” Read more .

Click Your Organs Away: Black Market in Organ Donations Flourishes in China

Inter Press Service - In China, where a growing demand for organ transplants coupled with a dramatic shortage of donors has fuelled a rampant black market trade, selling your organs for cash is a mouse click away. An Internet search reveals a website offering kidneys for sale and the contact information of those able to procure them. A young woman, posing for IPS as a migrant worker from Hebei province, calls a man who has advertised on the website, identified as Mr. He. Read more .

Beyond Foreclosuregate - It Gets Uglier

Daily Censored - The ForeclosureGate scandal poses a threat to Wall Street, the big banks, and the political establishment. If the public ever gets a complete picture of the personal, financial, and legal assault on citizens at their most vulnerable, the outrage will be endless. Read more .

Tony Kushner Denied Honors Over Palestine

Laura Flanders @ The Nation - This week, the news hit that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, perhaps best known for his Angels in America, was being blocked from receiving an honorary degree from the City University of New York because of his views on Israel. Kushner, who also has an honorary degree from Brandeis University, told Salon's Justin Elliott that this was an “unprecedented and pretty ugly experience." Read more .

Big Bank Backlash: From Coast to Coast People are Moving their Money

PR Watch - As the economy continues to stutter and new unemployment claims surge to an eight month high, it hasn't escaped the notice of people on Main Street that the folks on Wall Street are back in the black. According to FORTUNE magazine, profits of the 500 largest U.S. corporations have surged 81 percent this past year. Read more .

Memphis, Tennessee Floods 2011: Nearly 1,000 Homes Urged To Evacuate

Huffington Post - The Coast Guard closed a section of the swollen Mississippi to barge traffic to protect a Missouri town from floodwaters Friday as police in Memphis went door to door urging residents to leave nearly 1,000 homes that could be swamped by the mighty river. Emergency workers handed out bright yellow fliers in English and Spanish that read, "Evacuate!!! Your property is in danger right now." Read more .

Obama's Sudden, Senseless Assault on Medical Marijuana

Huffington Post - When Attorney General Eric Holder announced in October 2009 that the Dept. of Justice would respect state medical marijuana laws, the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief. By that time, any lingering support for aggressive federal raids on medical marijuana providers had dwindled into invisibility. The American people wanted to see patients protected, and Obama's pledge to do so earned him nothing but praise from both the press and the public. Unfortunately, recent months have brought about what can only be described as the rapid collapse of the Obama Administration's support for medical marijuana. Following dozens of aggressive DEA raids, along with some unusual IRS audits, the Dept. of Justice has now begun openly endeavoring to destroy carefully regulated state programs before they get off the ground: Read more .

Bin Laden: A Monster of our own Creation

Robert Scheer @ Truthdig - He was our kind of guy until he wasn’t, an ally during the Cold War until he no longer served our purposes. The problem with Osama bin Laden was not that he was a fanatical holy warrior; we liked his kind just fine as long as the infidels he targeted were not us but Russians and the secular Afghans in power in Kabul whom the Soviets backed. But when bin Laden turned against us, he morphed into a figure of evil incarnate, and now three decades after we first decided to use him and other imported Muslim zealots for our Cold War purposes, we feel cleansed by his death of any responsibility for his carnage. We may make mistakes but we are never in the wrong. USA! USA! Read more .

Monsanto in Haiti

Haiti Grassroots Watch @ Truthout - Last Spring, the agribusiness Monsanto announced it was making a $4 million gift of seeds "to support the reconstruction effort" in Haiti. The "gift" – reportedly hybrid maize and vegetable seeds – was slated to total 505 tons of seed over 12 months. Six months after the alleged distribution of the first delivery of Monsanto seeds. Haiti Grassroots Watch decided to follow up on the controversial donation, especially of the maize hybrid seed. Read more .

The Global Economy's Corporate Crime Wave

Jeffery Sachs @ Truthout - The world is drowning in corporate fraud, and the problems are probably greatest in rich countries – those with supposedly “good governance.” Poor-country governments probably accept more bribes and commit more offenses, but it is rich countries that host the global companies that carry out the largest offenses. Money talks, and it is corrupting politics and markets all over the world. Read more .

Now What?

William Rivers Pitt @ Truthout - There is something fundamentally crazy-making about the fact that Osama bin Laden, damned murderer of thousands, met his demise on the anniversary of the day George W. Bush, damned murderer of thousands, pulled his infamous "Mission Accomplished" stunt on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Read more .

Good News on the Right to Food

Triple Crisis - Those of us advocating for changes in global and national policies on food and agriculture just got some good news. The UN Human Rights Council just renewed for another three years the mandate of Olivier De Schutter as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Read more .

All Hail the PUBLIC Library

Common Dreams - Fort Worth, you leave me speechless. You’re certainly correct about one thing. The public library is indeed an institution that has not kept up with the times. But given what has happened to our times, why do you see that as unhealthy? In an age of greed and selfishness, the public library stands as an enduring monument to the values of cooperation and sharing. In an age where global corporations stride the earth, the public library remains firmly rooted in the local community. In an age of widespread cynicism and distrust of government, the 100 percent tax supported public library has virtually unanimous and enthusiastic support. This is not the time to take the word “public” out of the public library. It is time to put it in capitals. Read more .

AT&T To Begin Broadband Caps

Huffington Post - Broadband hogs beware: today, AT&T begins capping data use. The company, America's largest Internet service provider, becomes the second broadband carrier after Comcast to start limiting the amount of broadband its customers use. DSL users will be capped at 150 GB per month, with those going over the limit more than three times in three separate months made to pay $10 for each 50 GB over the limit. Read more .

(VIDEO) Student Occupations at Five Campuses

Labor Notes - When it comes to budget cuts and policies that hurt students and campus workers, student activists are refusing to sit down…unless it’s in their president’s office. This week and last, students at five universities staged sit-ins for student and worker rights, and this seems to be only the beginning. Read more .

FLASHBACK: In 2007 Benazir Bhutto said Bin Laden was Murdered (VIDEO)

Has Osama Bin Laden been dead for seven years - and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?

Daily Mail UK - The last time we heard a squeak from him was on June 3 this year. The world's most notorious terrorist outsmarted America by releasing a menacing message as Air Force One touched down on Saudi Arabian soil at the start of Barack Obama's first and much vaunted Middle East tour. Even before the new President alighted at Riyadh airport to shake hands with Prince Abdullah, Bin Laden's words were being aired on TV, radio and the internet across every continent. Read more .