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Showing posts from 2012

Sanity and Mental Health in an age of Mass Murder

Peter Rugh @ Waging Nonviolence - The mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 young school children and seven adults (including the shooter himself) has not only reignited the debate over gun control in the United States, but also a discussion over how communities deal with madness in their midst. Adam Lanza showed signs of mental illness before the killing spree — as have other recent perpetrators of mass shootings.  Read more

The Airport Experience: A Journey in Itself

Molly Knefel and John Knefel @ Truthout - In an era of increasing surveillance and eroding privacy, our airports bear little resemblance to the community gathering spaces of our cultural imagination, where families and friends could see each other off and meet at the gate to embrace one another.  Read more .

Iceland Tackles ‘Invisible’ Trafficking

Inter Press Service - For 18 months, a Chinese immigrant named Xing Haiou slept on a massage table in a windowless room in Reykjavik after completing his 12-hour workday. Brought to Iceland by his distant relative, Lina Jia, Haiou received no wages between June 2002 and December 2003, although Jia paid his parents a monthly pittance for “borrowing” their son to work in her massage parlour.  Read more .

From MLK to Occupy, the FBI Resides on the Wrong Side of History

Sam Sacks @ Truthout - Why did the FBI consider a movement composed of students, senior citizens, mothers with baby carriages and Americans of all colors and backgrounds such a threat that they required covert monitoring? During the heyday of the Occupy Movement last year, if you were lucky enough to walk through one of the encampments.. .read more .

Bush 41 in 'guarded condition' in ICU

Houston Chronicle - Former President George H.W. Bush remains in the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital after battling a persistent fever all week, his spokesman said Thursday morning. The 41st president has been at Methodist Hospital for more than a month now.  Read more .

Renewable Energy Alliance Stretches From Germany to Central America

Inter Press Service - A recent agreement between El Salvador and Germany, with the latter supporting two renewable energy projects that would increase installed capacity in the Central American country by 94.2 megawatts by 2013, points to a promising alliance for carbon-free energy. The first such project is the 14.2-megawatt ‘15 de Septiembre’ solar plant, slated to be one of the biggest of its kind in Latin America. The second initiative is the expansion of the ‘5 de Noviembre’ hydropower plant to increase capacity to 179.4 megawatts. The two plants would supply 129,000 homes with power, according to an official communiqué from the Río Lempa Executive Commission, a government agency.  Read more .

Russia set to ban U.S. adoptions

Washington Post - Russian President Vladimir Putin, acceding to the anti-American fervor that has gripped the country’s legislature, said Thursday that he intends to sign a bill barring Americans from adopting Russian children. Various Kremlin officials had criticized the bill, which was designed as a means of retaliation against a new American law that targets corrupt Russian officials, but Putin has chosen not to heed their advice.  Read more .

Six Weeks After Reelection, Obama Sells Out Liberal Democrats

Ted Rail @ Common Dreams - After the election Kerry Eleveld wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled “Why Barack Obama Will Be a More Effective Liberal in His Second Term.” “In response to their initial disappointment with the president’s early performance, many progressives speculated that Obama was just waiting for a second term to be more liberal,” he said. That was true. They were.  Read more .

Record Breaking Deportations in 2012

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - The Obama Administration deported more than 400,000 undocumented immigrants in the 2012 fiscal year, the most in the nation’s history, according to new data published by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Read more .

Finally, A Few Bankers Face Criminal Prosecutions For Conspiracies

Danny Schechter @ The Real News - When most mainstream media outlets discuss conspiracy theories, it is usually to debunk the views of dissenting and critical thinkers who are routinely denounced as simplistic, paranoid or worse. You have frequently seen the mantra questioning their motives and conclusions as if the idea of people or officials acting together covertly to advance their interests in illegal ways is something new in history. Until recently, US press outlets characterized conspiracy arguments as rants that lacked any factual basis, engaged in guilt by association and stretched the facts.  Read more .

Africa Cashes in on Mineral Wealth

Inter Press Service - Many of the fastest-growing countries in the world are in Africa, the poorest continent on the planet, but the potential for recently-discovered resources to generate broad-based inclusive development opportunities is massive and remains under-exploited. “I don’t believe that African nations are even close to understanding the enormous wealth that is their natural resource endowment,” David Doepel... read more .

Federal Jury Finds City of Chicago Responsible for "Code of Silence" in Chicago Police Department

Mark Karlin @ Truthout - On February 17, 2007, an intoxicated off-duty Chicago police officer, Anthony "Tony" Abbate walked behind the bar of Jesse's Shortstop Inn and pummeled, punched and stomped 125-pound bartender Karolina Obrycka. Her "crime" was to refuse serving any more liquor to the burly Abbate because he was too drunk.  Read more .

In US Since Age 10, But No Dream Act for Young Activist Who Helps Others

Victoria Law @ Truthout - Giday "Dede" Adhanom is a mother of three living in Seattle. She has worked with the Youth Violence Prevention Network to address youth violence in Seattle. Through AmeriCorps, she has worked with Village of Hope to support people returning home from prison to gain access to housing, employment and other needed resources. When King County proposed rebuilding and expanding a juvenile prison in Seattle, Dede started No New Juvie, a grassroots group that fought the expansion, arguing that a youth prison does not address underlying issues such as underfunded schools, lack of employment opportunities, poverty and racism. She is also a founding member of Seattle Foreclosure Fighters, a community group of Seattle residents fighting to prevent foreclosures.  Read more .

The Final Battle: Due Process

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - Over the past year I and other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg have pressed a lawsuit in the federal courts to nullify Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This egregious section, which permits the government to use the military to detain U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers, could have been easily fixed by Congress. The Senate and House had the opportunity this month to include in the 2013 version of the NDAA an unequivocal statement that all U.S. citizens would be exempt from 1021(b)(2), leaving the section to apply only to foreigners. But restoring due process for citizens was something the Republicans and the Democrats, along with the White House, refused to do. The fate of some of our most basic and important rights—ones enshrined in the Bill of Rights as well as the Fourth and Fifth amendments of the Constitution—will be decided in the next

Two firefighters shot dead and two wounded in New York state ambush

Guardian UK - Two volunteer firefighters were shot dead on Monday by a convicted killer who lay in wait after setting a house alight to lure them to the scene. The gunman, identified by police as William Spengler, 62, also injured two other firefighters in the Christmas Eve ambush in Webster, a quiet town on the Lake Ontario shore, 15 miles from Rochester.  Read more .

Africa’s Mobile Health Revolution

Inter Press Service - A nurse working in a remote clinic in Mueda, a small town in northern Mozambique’s Makonde Plateau, receives a shipment of vaccines from the national health department. Using special software on her mobile phone, she sends out a mass text message to alert mothers in the area about the availability of immunisations.  Read more .

In France, Truffle thieves face paramilitary threat

Guardian UK - Never let it be said that Gallic gastronomes would allow either an economic crisis or thieves to get in the way of their seasonal delicacy. As the price of Tuber melanosporum – better known as the rare black Périgord truffle – has soared to €1,200 (£978) a kilo, producers have called in gendarmes to protect their valuable harvest.  Read more .

India Looks to Diverse Strategy on Disability

Inter Press Service - Twenty-year-old Reshma, hailing from the village of Aryanad in the Thiruvananthapuram district of the South Indian state of Kerala, was forced to drop out of school early as a result of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Her parents had just about given up hope on their daughter’s future when she received admission to the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) in Thiruvananthapuram city. After six months of counselling, which included the unusual but proven method of horticultural therapy, they began to notice a world of change in Reshma’s life and habits.  Read more .

Bolivian president predicts era of peace and love instead of apocalypse

Guardian UK - The looming end of the Mayan long-count calendar has prompted fervid doomsday predictions on the internet, mass arrests in China, and a small tourism boom in southern Mexico. But whereas some believe Friday's solstice will mark a fiery endpoint to the world as we know it, Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, says the date is the beginning of a new era of peace and love.  Read more .

Sen. John Kerry Chosen for U.S. Secretary of State

Jim Lobe @ Inter Press Service - U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry on Friday to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling him “the perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead”. But Obama offered no hints as to whom he will pick for the rest of his national security team, including replacements for Pentagon chief Leon Panetta and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director General David Petraeus (retired), who resigned abruptly last month in the wake of reports of an affair.  Read more .

Women Prisoners Endure Rampant Sexual Violence; Current Laws Not Sufficient

Eleanor J. Bader @ Truthout - Allowing male guards to oversee female prisoners is a recipe for trouble, says former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn. Now a frequent lecturer on incarceration policies and social justice, Whitehorn describes a culture in which women are stripped of their power on the most basic level. "Having male guards sends a message that female prisoners have no right to defend their bodies," she begins. "Putting women under men in authority makes the power imbalance as stark as it can be, and results in long-lasting repercussions post- release."  Read more .

Obama Will Ride to the Rescue... for Republicans

Cenk Uygur @ The Young Turks - The Republicans have put themselves in a holy mess with this Plan B debacle. They now have less than zero leverage. They are a national laughingstock. A majority of the country now thinks they are "too extreme." They just got walloped in the election. And with the tax cuts set to expire the laws are rigged against them as well.  Read more .

Sen. Bernie Sanders: 'Mr. President, I am Disappointed'

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gave a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday slamming President Obama going back on repeated assurances that Social Security would not be part of deficit reduction talks. Obama's proposal involves chained CPI, which would bring a reduction in Social Security benefits.  Read more .

Reverend Billy Is the Anti-Claus With Message of No-Click Christmas

Grag Palast @ Truthout - Even for New York, this was WEIRD.  There were a half-dozen Santa Clauses on Second Avenue getting a sermon from a Midwestern preacher who looked like a cross between televangelist Jerry Falwell and a white-haired Elvis. The Santa crew and their mini-skirted elves were on their way to get drunk (drunker?) with another thousand Santa impersonators at "SantaCon," an annual gathering of St. Nicks. But they were willing to let the Reverend Billy attempt to save their souls.  Read more .

The Struggle for Abortion Rights in Ireland

Shawn Harkin @ Socialist Worker - Abortion and the struggle for a woman's right to choose is taking center stage on both sides of the Irish border, in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland. The death of a young woman in the Republic of Ireland because she was denied an abortion brought thousands onto the streets in outrage--while in Northern Ireland, the opening of an abortion clinic in Belfast has challenged the conservative establishment consensus.  Read more .

States Need to Stop Giving Subsidies to Corporations

Rober Bybee @ The Progressive - Corporations are playing states for fools. Across the nation, states are now pouring more than $80 billion in subsidies and tax breaks annually to corporations in a futile and counter-productive effort to retain and attract corporate investments in the name of job creation, as outlined in the outstanding series by Louise Story in the New York Times. This flow of subsidies is failing to generate family-supporting jobs and badly distorting the role of state government in a democracy.  Read more .

The High Price of Excessive and Stressful Work

César Chelala @ Common Dreams - When Luo Yang, who was in charge of research and development on the J-15 carrier-based fighter jet, died of a heart attack on November 25, he was under extreme stressful work conditions. He died on the day that the J-15 had completed a successful landing on the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier.  Read more .

The School-to-Prison Pipeline Gets Its First-Ever Airing in the Senate

Julianne Hing @ ColorLines - Despite all the outrage the school-to-prison pipeline stirs, it rarely gets the attention it demands in national policy discussions. But after years of aggressive agitating and advocacy, the topic is inching its way into the limelight. On Wednesday, Congress finally noticed, too. For the first time, the school-to-prison pipeline was the focus of a Senate hearing.  Read more .

Vegetable Waste to Zero Waste in La Pinata, Chile

Other Worlds - The Chilean community of La Pintana has found that recycling the largest segment of their waste – fruits, vegetables, and yard clippings – can save them money, produce valuable compost, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program cost very little to initiate and is already making a substantial contribution to the community’s financial and environmental sustainability.  Read more .

Pakistan, Afghanistan Moving Ahead on Peace Plan That Cuts US Peace Role

McClatchy Newspapers - Afghanistan and Pakistan are moving ahead quickly with a new Afghan government plan that envisions peace with the Taliban by 2015, holding a summit in Turkey and working with the United States and Britain on streamlining the U.N. terrorist blacklisting system so that Afghan insurgents can be given safe passage for direct negotiations with Kabul.  Read more .

Google Chairman Says Android Winning Mobile War With Apple

Bloomberg - Android is extending its lead over Apple Inc. (AAPL) in the mobile-software market at a rate that compares with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s expansion in desktop software in the 1990s, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said. Booming demand for Android-based smartphones is helping Google add share at the expense of other software providers, Schmidt said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York.  Read more .

The Trials of Bradley Manning

Amy Goodman @ Truthdig - Pfc. Bradley Manning was finally allowed to speak publicly, in his own defense, in a preliminary hearing of his court-martial. Manning is the alleged source of the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history. He was an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, with top-secret clearance, deployed in Iraq. In April 2010, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released a U.S. military video of an Apache helicopter in Baghdad killing a dozen civilians below, including two Reuters employees, a videographer and his driver. One month after the video was released, Manning was arrested in Iraq, charged with leaking the video and hundreds of thousands more documents. Thus began his ordeal of cruel, degrading imprisonment in solitary confinement that many claim was torture, from his detention in Kuwait to months in the military brig in Quantico, Va. Facing global condemnation, the U.S. military transferred Manning to less-abusive detention at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.  Read more

Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals

The Real News -  The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of  civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed. The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a ‘targeted, focused effort’ that ‘has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.’ Read more .

A Sign That Obama Will Repeat Economic Mistakes

Robert Scheer @ Truthdig - Please don’t tell me that these reports in the business press touting Sallie Krawcheck as a front-runner for chairman of the SEC or even a possible candidate to be the next Treasury secretary are true. Who is she? Oh, just another former Citigroup CFO, and therefore a prime participant in the great banking hustle that has savaged the world’s economy. Krawcheck was paid $11 million in 2005 while her bank contributed to the toxic mortgage crisis that would cost millions their jobs and homes.  Read more .

The Corporate "Heist" of the United States Government Began With a Memo in 1971

Mark Karlin @ Truthout - Narrated by Thom Hartmann, and produced and directed by Donald Goldmacher and Frances Causey, Heist: Who Stole the American Dream in Broad Daylight? is a comprehensive dissection of the evolution of corporate control over the federal government. Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote that Heist "has the virtue of taking the long view of a crisis that recent films like Inside Job and Too Big to Fail have only sketchily explored.  Read more .

The New Border: Undocumented Immigration’s Shifting Frontier

ProPublica - Oscar and Jennifer Cruz knew that crossing the border would be the easy part. The Salvadoran brother and sister made their way over the international line between Guatemala and Mexico with the help of a smuggler who guided them through the jungle. But soon afterward, Mexican immigration officers arrested the clean-cut teenagers on a bus in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of the southernmost Mexican state, Chiapas.  Read more .

Gaza: The Need for the Other Narrative

David Lalumbo-Liu @ Truthout - Believing their story is never allowed to be heard, Palestinians have a feeling of dispossession described most eloquently by the late Edward Saidi.  Now Gazan youth are pleading for the world to listen to their rage, sorrow and frustration, and their commitment to a cultural and political project that will endow them with rights and possibilities for life.  Read more .

Hugo Chavez to undergo further cancer surgery

Al Jazeera - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has admitted a relapse of his cancer and designated Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his heir apparent in case "something happened" to him. Speaking on national television late on Saturday, an emotional Chavez said a return of cancer cells was detected during his most recent visit to Cuba for medical examination, and he would return to the communist-ruled island as early as Sunday for another round of surgery.  Read more .

Austerity vs. Public Transportation

Willie Osterwell @ Sharable - Barcelona’s Bicing bike sharing program is one of the world’s most successful and famous programs. Started in 2007, it uses a membership system that allows anyone with Barcelona residency, for a small yearly fee, to use the bright red and white bikes distributed throughout the city. This makes a huge difference to the population of one of the world’s most tourist-heavy cities, and offers its 150,000 local members an easy way to get around the city.  Read more .

John Lennon: 32 Years Later 'Give Peace a Chance' Still Rings True

Noam Chomsky: The Assault on Gaza

Noam Chomsky @ Truthout - An old man in Gaza held a placard that read: "You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all, but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back."  Read more .

Older, Eager, and Unemployed: When Even Santa Can’t Get a Job

Greg Kaufman @ The Nation - In May 2012, Richard Crowe was laid off when the steel mill where he had worked for thirty-four years was shut down. He’d worked there since graduating from high school. New ownership filed for bankruptcy. “The judge threw the workers’ contract out, the owners walked away with $20 million, and we got nothing,” says Crowe, who is 54, and lives in eastern Ohio.  Read more .

Employees at Billion Dollar Companies Fight for a Living Wage

Care 2 - One in four workers in the United States is employed in a low-wage job. That includes many people in the food service industry, retail employees, janitors, hotel workers, agricultural laborers, and many others who make the U.S. economy tick; notably, many of these workers are also women and people of color, and the workers’ educational level tends to be lower than that of the general population. While this underclass labors, large companies like their employers profit, often immensely so. Growth is up for firms like Walmart, despite economic problems, indicating that their business strategy is effective.  Read more.

The cruel struggle of a fast food worker's life

Dreams for Obama: From Community Organizer to Robot President

Tom Engelhardt - Nothing you don’t know, but let me just say it: the world’s a weird place. In my younger years, I might have said “crazy,” but that was back when I thought being crazy was a cool thing and only regretted I wasn’t. I mean, do you ever think about how you ended up where you are? And I'm not actually talking about the Oval Office, though that’s undoubtedly a weird enough story in its own right.  Read more .

Sucking Up to the Military Brass

William J. Astore @ Tom Dispatch - Few things have characterized the post-9/11 American world more than our worshipful embrace of our generals. They’ve become our heroes, our sports stars, and our celebrities all rolled into one. We can’t stop gushing about them. Even after his recent fall from grace, General David Petraeus was still being celebrated by CNN as the best American general since Dwight D. Eisenhower (and let’s not forget that Ike commanded the largest amphibious invasion in history and held a fractious coalition together in a total war against Nazi Germany). Before his fall from grace, Afghan War Commander General Stanley McChrystal was similarly lauded as one tough customer, a sort of superman-saint.  Read more .

Laptop Seizures by US Government Highlight 9/11-Era Climate of Fear

Glenn Greenwald @ Guardian UK - Whenever I speak about the systematic abridgment of basic rights in the post-9/11 era, there is a point I try to make that is quite elusive yet, in my view, of unparalleled significance in understanding the implications of allowing this to happen. When a government is permitted to transgress the limits that have been imposed on its power (in the case of the US, imposed by the Constitution), the relationship between the government and the citizenry changes fundamentally.  Read more .

The People Bail Out the People

John Light @ Bill Moyers & Co. - Last week, the members of Strike Debt, a group of Occupy activists working to help Americans dealing with debt, launched a new campaign called The Rolling Jubilee. The initiative — a clever plan to collect money, buy up other people’s debt and forgive it — kicked off on Thursday with a variety show in New York dubbed “The People’s Bailout.” The show, live-streamed over the Internet as a telethon, raised enough money to cancel over five million dollars of debt.  Read more .

Unfinished Business: The Unspoken Link Between Dispersants and Sick Children in the Gulf of Mexico

Riki Ott @ Common Dreams - All six of Julie Creppel's young children are sick. Vomiting. Blisters all over their bodies, even in their throats. Boils. Severe headaches that wake them up screaming at night. Nausea. Fevers. Diarrhea. Stomach spasms that contort their bodies in pain. Skin lesions. Psoriasis. Nose bleeds that gush unexpectedly. Respiratory infections. Dizziness. Sinus infections. Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease.  Read more .

Fast Food Workers Demand Living Wages

NY Times - After three years of working at the McDonald’s restaurant on 51st Street and Broadway, Alterique Hall earns $8 an hour — and is yearning for something better.  So when he heard about an unusual campaign that aims to unionize dozens of fast-food restaurants in New York in the hope of raising wages to $15 an hour, Mr. Hall, 23, was quick to sign on.  Read more .

Despite US Refusal to Sign On, Global Landmine Treaty Working

Common Dreams - Though the US government refuses to sign it, and the Syrian government chose to lay Soviet-era landmines across its territory amid an ongoing civil war in their country, the news from the latest report on the use of landmines worldwide shows positive developments in a global trend to move away from the notoriously indiscriminate weapons.  Read more .

Hostess Failure Not Union's Fault

Campaign for America's Future - You’ve probably heard that Hostess is closing down and putting more than 18,000 people out of work because greedy unions asked for too much. It’s a lie. Ask yourself this: are the problems in our economy because working people get too much, or too little? And if this company can get away with driving down wages and cutting benefits, what will happen to your wages and benefits?  Read more .

The Missing Living Wage Agenda

Next New Deal - Now that the election is over, our hope is that we can finally move beyond the vacuous invocations of an imaginary middle class where everyone is in the same boat. It’s time to get real about the concrete policies needed to take on the multiple inequalities that run deep through the U.S. labor market. And we’re not talking about the “skills mismatch,” another red herring routinely flung into this debate by both sides (including by President Obama as recently as the last week of the campaign).  Read more .

Over 100 Workers Killed in Bangladesh Sweatshop Fire

The Naked Truth about San Francisco's Nudity Ban

Gypsy Taub @ Guardian UK - Scott Wiener (no, I am not trying to be rude: this is the guy's real name), the supervisor of the Castro district of San Francisco, introduced legislation that would ban public nudity city-wide. First offense is a $100 fine; third violation up to a $500 fine and a year in jail. Exemptions would be made for a few permitted events, such as the gay pride parade and the Folsom Street Fair.  Read more .

Tipping Point on Same-Sex Marriage

Tampa Bay Times - For 14 years, same-sex marriage proponents lost every popular vote. But the 2012 general election may well be remembered as the day that changed all that when three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — approved ballot measures to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Nine states plus the District of Columbia now recognize marriage for gay and lesbian couples. This is progress.  Read mor e.

When It Comes to Gaza, Don’t Let Obama Speak for Black Americans

Jesse Hagopian @ Common Dreams - As Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian territory of the Gaza strip rained bombs on civilian areas, President Obama reiterated his support of Israel, saying, "There is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself from missiles landing on people's homes."  Israel took advantage of this support to kill 162 Palestinians, compared to the 6 Israeli deaths, before a ceasefire agreement was reached between Hamas and Israel on Wednesday, November 21st.  Read more .

Occupy Sandy Serves 10,000 Thanksgiving Meals

Matt Pearce @ LA Times - This year, Aiman Youssef is thankful to be alive. The 42-year-old Staten Island man said he used to have a $300,000 house he could be thankful for, and a car, and two vans full of things he was going to sell on EBay. Then Superstorm Sandy ruined all that and the rest of his neighborhood too, so just being alive is the best he can ask for right now.  Read more .

In Gaza, It’s the Occupation, Stupid

Amy Goodman @ Truthdig - “The Palestinian people want to be free of the occupation,” award-winning Israeli journalist Gideon Levy summed up this week. It is that simple. This latest Israeli military assault on the people of Gaza is not an isolated event, but part of a 45-year occupation of the sliver of land wedged between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, where 1.6 million people live under a brutal Israeli blockade that denies them most of the basic necessities of life. Without the unwavering bipartisan support of the United States for the Israeli military, the occupation of Palestine could not exist.  Read more .

The Revolving Door from the Pentagon to the Private Sector

From Syria to Gaza: The West’s Humanitarian Double Standards Exposed

Common Dreams - As imagines pour out of Gaza of the dead and wounded; whole buildings and blocks destroyed by Israeli shelling, it might seem incomprehensible that anything positive could come out of this horrible situation. But I believe that something hopeful is developing. You see, one of the strongest ideological weapons that the propagandists in the West are able to use to provide cover for their geo-political interests in the Middle East is their supposed concern for the humanity of peoples subjected to “dictatorial and murderous” regimes. That concern became the justification for the war in Iraq, once the “weapons of mass destruction” hustle was exposed for the sham that it was, and was also the rationale for unleashing NATO against Libya and for the current support for the “rebels” in Syria. It has been an effective weapon. It has disarmed and marginalized anti-imperialist radicals, galvanized confused liberals into supporting U.S. intervention and silenced the U.S. domestic h

Walmart Strike: Why the Black Friday Protests Matter to the Future of US Jobs

Lilly O-Donnell @ - Walmart is notorious for treating its workers terribly, but this year employees are fighting back by hitting the retailer where it hurts: on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Walkouts and protests at locations around the country have already started, and a strike is scheduled for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas shopping season.  Read more .

I Lost My Daughters in Gaza Last Time. Surely the Bloodshed Has to End

Izzeldin Abuelaish @ Guardian UK - I was shocked to read of it. Another massacre. How many more massacres can Palestinians stand? How many can onlookers tolerate? Surely, now it's time to face reality: military means and violence will never put an end to this conflict. The notion of occupied and occupier must finish.  Read more .

Beleaguered Europe, Back in the Spotlight

Paul Krugman - So, American voters have spoken and set the nation firmly on the path to destruction, according to the evangelist Franklin Graham — God's wrath for gay marriage, you know. So we can relax a bit on that front and turn our attention back to Europe, which remains, as the economist Tim Duy says, very grim.  Read more .

Man who armed Black Panthers was FBI informant, records show

Center For Investigative Reporting - The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report. One of the Bay Area’s most prominent radical activists of the era, Richard Masato Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities.  Read more .

When a Celebrated Activist Turns Out To Be an FBI Informant

Trevor Griffey @ Truthout - Richard Aoki was a well-known activist in the San Francisco Bay Area - celebrated for his role as one of only a handful of Asian American members of the Black Panther Party, a leader in UC Berkeley’s Third World Liberation Front in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a mentor to a generation of left-leaning activists.  Read more .

Liberals and Progressives Happy but Not Elated About Obama's Re-Election

Rabbi Michael Lerner @ Truthout - Many Americans sighed with relief the day after the 2012 election that they had beaten back a powerful right-wing assault. There was little enthusiasm about what we had achieved in retaining Obama, but much joy that for the moment the most reactionary forces in American life were held at bay. Liberals and progressives are happy, but not elated, at the outcome.  Read more .

As US states Legalize Marijuana, Is This the End of the War on Drugs?

Guardian UK - Last week was a momentous week, the beginning of the end, perhaps, of a national depravity – the "war on drugs". The voters of Colorado and Washington passed measures to legalize marijuana, amounting to local shifts, for the moment. So we shouldn't delude ourselves that the country will be transformed overnight, but the public thinking, the public spirit is being transformed. Finally, there is a growing realization that this "war" has produced nothing but a legacy of failure. And who wants to be associated with failure?  Read more .

Public School Teachers Spend Billions of Their Own Funds on Student Needs

Elenor J. Bader @ Truthout - Meryl Johnson, a Cleveland, Ohio, high school English teacher, estimates that she spends $400 to $500 a year on supplies for her students. "I have a pretty extensive classroom library because of all the books I've bought over the 41 years I've been teaching," she begins. "At times I've bought sets, 35 or 40 copies of one text, for my students. Why? Because there's so much red tape to go through if you ask the district to buy them."  Read more .

Sandy Sweeps Away New York City's Only Day Laborer Center

In These Times - A storm surge from Hurricane Sandy unmoored the Bay Parkway Community Job Center, New York City’s only center for day laborers, and moved it a couple hundred feet inland from the Bensonhurst shore, cracking one of its walls in the process. Ligia Guallpa of the Worker Justice Projects, which operates the center, and Lionel, one of the center’s founders, tried to show it to me Tuesday afternoon, but the New York Police Department objected.  Read more .

Citizens United Rebuked

Mike Ludwig @ Truthout - Voters approved ballot measures in two states and more than 120 cities in several states calling upon legislators to pass an amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United ruling that unleashed the deluge of unfettered campaign spending that helped make 2012 the most expensive election season in history.  Read more .

Noam Chomsky: My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison

Noam Chomsky @ Truthout - Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world's largest open-air prison, where some 1.5 million people on a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land are subject to random terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade.  Read more .