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Showing posts from November, 2013

Double Standards for US War Crimes

John LaForge @ Consortium News - U.S. pundits cheer when some African warlord or East European brute is dragged before an international tribunal, but not at the thought of justice being meted out to George W. Bush or other architects of post-9/11 torture and aggressive war on Iraq... read more .

Six of the Top Ten US Billionaires Are Kochs and Waltons

Yes! Magazine - For the first time ever, according to Forbes magazine, the 400 richest Americans have more than $2 trillion in combined wealth. And, a fifth of that amount is held by just 10 individuals. Of those top 10 richest Americans, six hail from two families—the Kochs and the Waltons—who are destroying our economy and corrupting our politics. We all should be outraged.   Read more .

Misled by the Mainstream Media

L. Michael Hager @ Truthout - I love The New York Times.  As soon as it appears at my door each morning, I eagerly read the news articles and editorial comment.  Yet I increasingly feel I’m being misled: by headlines that beg questions; by frequent trade-offs of hard news for marginal human interest stories; and by the sometimes long lapses between reports on an ongoing story.  If the country’s premier journal misleads me, what does this say about the rest of mainstream media?   Read more .

Cayman Islands agrees to report US citizens’ offshore assets under controversial law - The Cayman Islands has signed an agreement with the United States to combat offshore tax evasion pursuant to a controversial 2010 law that has caused some notable US expatriates to revoke their US citizenship. The US Department of the Treasury announced Friday the US has signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Cayman Islands to enforce the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in what it bills as an effort to promote transparency.   Read more .

Courageous Boeing Workers Say No to Corporate Extortion

Richard Kirsch @ Next New Deal - In a remarkable act of courage and solidarity with the next generation, last week Boeing workers in Seattle soundly rejected corporate extortion, by voting down a contract which traded job guarantees for concessions that would severely erode the pay and benefits of younger workers. In doing so, the members of the Machinists are risking their jobs to save an America built on the middle class.   Read more.

Walmart's Massive Data Collection Schemes Disproportionately Affecting People of Color

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - Outside of its growing reputation for poverty wages, worker intimidation and an overall culture of employee repression, a new report released Wednesday reveals that retail giant Walmart is also throwing its weight behind a massive consumer tracking effort with particular implications for people of color.   Read more .

Bernie Sanders: To Defeat Oligarchy, I Would Run for President

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Senator Bernie Sanders, for the second time in as many weeks, is indicating serious contemplation for a presidential run in 2016 if none of the potential Democratic candidates show the proper urgency when it comes to addressing a key set of issues that he thinks now face the country and the world.   Read more.

Why Health Care Isn't Just About Insurance

Maya Schenwar @ Truthout - In the past year, I spent approximately $5,128 to suppress my neurons from spontaneously firing at odd angles across my left temporal lobe, setting off waves of ethereal light and frantic convulsions, delivering a shadowy vision of my own death or a long-buried memory from childhood, knocking me to the ground in the midst of a workday and profoundly disrupting my life. I live with epilepsy, a disorder that takes as many lives as breast cancer every year and increases one's chances of sudden death by 24 times, compared with the general US population. Fortunately, I also live with decent insurance.   Read more .

Berlusconi Expelled from Senate in Italy

NY Times - Having spent months manufacturing procedural delays or conjuring political melodrama in hopes of saving himself, Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday could no longer stave off the inevitable: Italy’s Senate resoundingly stripped him of his parliamentary seat, a dramatic and humiliating expulsion, even as other potential troubles await him.   Read more .

'Not to share wealth with poor is to steal': Pope slams capitalism as 'new tyranny' - Pope Francis has taken aim at capitalism as "a new tyranny" and is urging world leaders to step up their efforts against poverty and inequality, saying "thou shall not kill" the economy. Francis calls on rich people to share their wealth. The existing financial system that fuels the unequal distribution of wealth and violence must be changed, the Pope warned.   Read more .

NSA's Plan to Use Porn Habits to Discredit 'Radicalizers'

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - New documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and leaked to journalist Glenn Greenwald and the Huffington Post show that the spy agency made plans to use the online activities, including visits to pornographic sites and other habits, of so-called Muslim "radicalizers" in order to discredit their standing.   Read more .

Technology Didn't Kill Middle Class Jobs, Public Policy Did

Dean Baker @ Guardian UK - A widely held view in elite circles is that the rapid rise in inequality in the United States over the last three decades is an unfortunate side-effect of technological progress. In this story, technology has had the effect of eliminating tens of millions of middle wage jobs for factory workers, bookkeepers, and similar occupations.   Read more .

Pope Francis warns we're heading towards 'disintegration and death'

Daily Mail UK - Pope Francis has warned of widespread social unrest, predicting that the inequality in the global economic system is bound to ‘explode in conflict’. In the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff, Francis attacked the ‘tyranny of capitalism’, warning that the injustice embedded in the structures of society would inevitably lead to ‘disintegration and death’.   Read more .

With scant media attention, humanitarian groups warn of spirialing crisis in the Central African Republic

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - A situation described as a "human catastrophe of epic proportions" is underway in the Central African Republic (CAR), yet has failed to garner widespread media attention.  On Monday, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson warned that the impoverished nation was "descending into complete chaos before our eyes.”   Read more .

Giving Thanks

Chelsea Manning @ Time Magazine - I’m usually hesitant to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. After all, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony systematically terrorized and slaughtered the very same Pequot tribe that assisted the first English refugees to arrive at Plymouth Rock. So, perhaps ironically, I’m thankful that I know that, and I’m also thankful that there are people who seek out, and usually find, such truths.  I’m thankful for people who, even surrounded by millions of Americans eating turkey during regularly scheduled commercial breaks in the Green Bay and Detroit football game; who, despite having been taught, often as early as five and six years old, that the “helpful natives” selflessly assisted the “poor helpless Pilgrims” and lived happily ever after, dare to ask probing, even dangerous, questions.   Read more.

NSA hacked over 50,000 computer networks worldwide - report - The US National Security Agency hacked more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide installing malware designated for surveillance operations, Dutch newspaper NRC reports citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The latest round of revelations comes from a document dating from 2012 that shows the extent of the NSA’s worldwide surveillance network.  Read more .

John F. Kennedy's Vision of Peace

John F. Kennedy Jr @ Rolling Stone - On November 22nd, 1963, my uncle, president John F. Kennedy, went to Dallas intending to condemn as "nonsense" the right-wing notion that "peace is a sign of weakness." He meant to argue that the best way to demonstrate American strength was not by using destructive weapons and threats but by being a nation that "practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice," striving toward peace instead of "aggressive ambitions." Despite the Cold War rhetoric of his campaign, JFK's greatest ambition as president was to break the militaristic ideology that has dominated our country since World War II. He told his close friend Ben Bradlee that he wanted the epitaph "He kept the peace," and said to another friend, William Walton, "I am almost a 'peace at any price' president." Hugh Sidey, a journalist and friend, wrote that the governing aspect of JFK's leadership was &q

Qatar’s World Cup Spectacle Brought to You by Slavery

Michelle Chen @ In These Times - The big controversies surrounding Qatar as the site of the 2022 World Cup have been the shady bidding process and fears that the desert heat will ruin the soccer games. But in the past few days, the spotlight has finally begun to move to longstanding concerns over the treatment of the migrant workers who will be building the physical infrastructure for the sporting bonanza.   Read more .

Powerful storm system blasts U.S. West; 8 killed

Salt Lake Tribune - A powerful storm system that has caused hundreds of accidents across the Western U.S. has marched eastward with predictions of widespread snow, freezing temperatures and gusty winds. The fierce weather has caused at least eight deaths and prompted advisories Saturday afternoon in New Mexico and Texas.   Read more .

Expanding Social Security

Paul Krugman @ NY Times - For many years there has been one overwhelming rule for people who wanted to be considered serious inside the Beltway. It was this: You must declare your willingness to cut Social Security in the name of “entitlement reform.” It wasn’t really about the numbers, which never supported the notion that Social Security faced an acute crisis. It was instead a sort of declaration of identity, a way to show that you were an establishment guy, willing to impose pain (on other people, as usual) in the name of fiscal responsibility.   Read more .

Inequality Is (Literally) Killing America

Zoë Carpenter @ The Nation  - Only a few miles separate the Baltimore neighborhoods of Roland Park and Upton Druid Heights. But residents of the two areas can measure the distance between them in years—twenty years, to be exact. That’s the difference in life expectancy between Roland Park, where people live to be 83 on average, and Upton Druid Heights, where they can expect to die at 63.   Read more .

21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare

Ralph Nader @ Common Dreams - Costly complexity is baked into Obamacare. No health insurance system is without problems but Canadian style single-payer full Medicare for all is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal. In the early 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months. There were no websites. They did it with index cards!   Read more .

How Politico’s Mike Allen Blends Ads and ‘News’

Greg Mitchell @ The Nation - Today's top—though belated—media criticism comes from Erik Wemple from the Washington Post. He dissects the long lamented but until now much-overlooked blending of ads and coverage within Mike Allen's fabled, overrated, "Playbook" morning tip sheet (and email newsletter) at Politico. Allen, a former Post reporter, has been one of the chief Politico staffers since its beginning. One can only cheer when Wemple observes early on in his lengthy piece, "It’s about time that Politico’s Allen got his due as a native-advertising pioneer."   Read more.

11/22: The Day "Truth" Died

Ira Chernus @ Common Dreams - Last week I wrote a column pointing out that evangelical Christians supported a lot of progressive, even radical, political views in 19th century America. Slowly, some evangelicals are starting to return to their left-leaning roots. Get a random cross-section of evangelicals together and you might get quite a lively debate about the economy, the role of government, the environment, and a host of other issues.   Read more .

40,000 NATO troops to stage massive European war games - After the 2014 pullout from Afghanistan, NATO is set to stage huge European war games involving 40,000 troops, about seven times the size of the recent drills in the Baltic, with critics in the crisis-hit EU calling it a waste of money. The Western alliance claims this is to test the members’ capability and teamwork, mainly for reasons of matching America’s commitment to the alliance, as well as keeping their edge after the Afghan mission is over.   Read more .

Militarism and Violence are So Yesterday: It's Time to Make Peace the Reality

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese @ Truthout - Last week, in our article titled "Armed Drones Becoming the Norm? At the Crossroads of Robotic Warfare," we wrote about concerns that robotic warfare combined with the global "war on terror" was making violence the quick and easy way to respond to conflicts. We wondered whether the bloody 20th (and beginning of the 21st) century could be put behind us and if the time had come to move to an era of peaceful solutions.   Read more.

Obama and Holder Let Gangsters Pay Fine, Continue Business As Usual

Glen Ford @ Black Agenda Report - Imagine if Charles “Lucky” Luciano and his “Commission” representing the five reigning New York Mafia families plus the Chicago mob had been immune from law enforcement meddling in their activities, from the establishment of the “Syndicate” in 1931 to the present day. By now, Luciano’s gangster heirs would be the unchallenged rulers of economic and political life in the United States and, by imperial extension, the entire capitalist world.   Read more .

Blaming the Victims: Media Bias Against Struggling Millennials

Michael Corcoran @ Truthout - It has become a common refrain in the mainstream media: The economic problems that young people face are the product of generational laziness and a sense of entitlement. People between the ages of 16 and 24 have an unemployment rate of 16.3 percent, more than twice the national average, and an alarming 36 percent of adults age 18-31 are living with their parents.   Read more .

Wealthiest Nations Accused of Sabotaging UN Climate Talks

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - One hundred and thirty two of the world's poorest and less-developed nations, including the G77 nations and China, walked out of the UN climate talks in Warsaw on Wednesday, accusing the wealthiest nations, such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the EU states of sabotaging what little hope for progress there remained at this year's international summit.   Read more .

A Graffiti Mecca Is Whited Out in Queens

NY Times - Graffiti is often denounced as vandalism, but the deliriously festooned, sprawling warehouses at the western edge of Queens rose far above that. Blanketed with giddy images, drawing street artists from around the world, 5Pointz was a decades-old legal haven considered both a “United Nations of Graffiti” and a semi-rebellious statement in a city some feel is growing too antiseptic. “Save 5Pointz,” the infamous British street artist Banksy urged in his final message to New Yorkers, after he wrapped his monthlong spree clandestinely decorating the city’s streets in October.   Read more .

In Afghanistan, 'Security Deal' Means US Occupation Forever

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Days before the so-called bi-lateral security agreement heads to an Afghan council of elders and political leaders for a final decision, the U.S. is attempting to force through a stipulation that would allow U.S. troops to continue raiding Afghan homes, in addition to measures giving U.S. troops and contractors immunity from Afghan law and extending U.S. military presence far beyond Obama's 2014 pullout date.   Read more .

Elizabeth Warren: On Social Security “It’s Values, Not Math”

Campaign For America's Future - The following remarks on Social Security were made on the floor of the United States Senate on Monday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. As Warren notes, “the conversation about retirement and Social Security benefits is not just a conversation about math. At its core, this is a conversation about our values.” Warren places the debate about Social Security in the context of a broader “retirement crisis” for the American middle class and explains why “we should be talking about expanding Social Security benefits – not cutting them.”   Read more .

UN Climate Chief Slammed for Pushing Coal as Solution in Poland

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - Speaking before an assembly of lobbyists and corporate heads at a global coal industry conference in Warsaw, Poland Monday, United Nations Climate Chief Christiana Figueres has spurred the ire of environmentalists as she characterized the leading greenhouse gas emitters as possible leaders in a clean energy future.  "The coal industry has the opportunity to be part of the worldwide climate solution," Figueres said in her keynote address before the summit of the World Coal Association.   Read more .

Four Chilean Student Leaders Make the Jump to Parliament

Jonathan Franklin @ Truthout - Champagne. Cumbia music. Street parties. The Chilean student leaders who upended their nation’s political agenda in 2011 with dozens of street protests on Sunday transformed their activist power into a mini bloc of student activists. Four of the young students - Giorgio Jackson, Camila Vallejo, Karol Cariola and Gabriel Boric - won congressional offices and will take seats in the Chilean Congress in March.   Read more .

When the Supreme Court Stole the Election in 2000, It Was a Death Sentence for Earth

BuzzFlash - As we face a growing catastrpohic crisis in the form of global warming, and economic hardships from policies that benefit billionaires while working Americans struggle to pay for basic necessities, I can’t help thinking about Al Gore and how different things would be under his leadership after Bush followed by years of broken promises. Let’s remember that Al Gore won the popular vote and the state of Florida if the votes had been fully counted, despite the legal evidence proving that there was plenty of cheating going on for Bush in 2000, and last but not least, let’s not forget how the Supreme Court Justices unjustly ruled to stop counting the votes in Florida.  Predictably, the industrial oligarchs would never have allowed an Al Gore victory.   Read more .

Women Lead the Way in Sustainable and Organic Agriculture

Eleanor J Bader @ Truthout - According to the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, the number of women-operated farms more than doubled in the 25 years between 1982 and 2007. In fact, female farmers now make up the fastest-growing sector of the country's changing agricultural landscape and nearly 1 million women - approximately one-third of total domestic farmers - list farming as their primary occupation. The National Women in Agriculture Association calls it "breaking the grass ceiling." It's that and more.   Read more .

‘I Sold My Sister for 300 Dollars’

Inter Press Service - Amani has just turned 22. Two months ago she fled from the civil war in Syria and left her house in capital Damascus. After a dangerous nightlong trip she arrived at Zaatari, the refugee camp just over the border in Jordan, where her parents and two sisters had already lived for over a year. In Damascus she had lived together with her husband and five children in an apartment in the old city centre. Like many Syrian girls she got married when she was still a child. She had just turned 15 when she found the man of her dreams and decided to wed.   Read more .

The Charter Voucher Dilemma: Why Taxpayers Shouldn't Fund Private Schools

The Capital Times (Wisconsin) - Reporter Doug Erickson's story in last Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal demonstrated precisely why taxpayer dollars shouldn't be supporting private voucher schools. There's no doubt that the subject of Erickson's piece — Lighthouse Christian School at the corner of Regent Street and Whitney Way — is a great little private school, just like many other religiously affiliated schools throughout our diverse state.   Read more .

Midwest Tornatoes Kill 5 in Illnois

CNN - Severe weather erupted throughout the Midwest on Sunday afternoon, with tornadoes tearing through several cities and a storm forcing fans to evacuate the stands during an NFL game. "It was complete destruction," said Anthony Khoury, who lives in Washington, Illinois. "There are people in the streets crying."   Read more .

Dozens dead in Russian plane crash

BBC - A passenger plane has crashed at an airport in the Russian city of Kazan, killing all 50 people on board. The Boeing 737 had taken off from Moscow and was trying to land but exploded on impact at about 19:20 local time (15:20 GMT), officials said. The Emergencies Ministry said there were 44 passengers and six crew members on the Tatarstan Airlines flight. Investigators are now looking at whether a technical failure or crew error may have caused the crash.   Read more.

The Insanity of Our Food Policy

Joseph Stiglitz @ NY Times - American food policy has long been rife with head-scratching illogic. We spend billions every year on farm subsidies, many of which help wealthy commercial operations to plant more crops than we need. The glut depresses world crop prices, harming farmers in developing countries. Meanwhile, millions of Americans live tenuously close to hunger, which is barely kept at bay by a food stamp program that gives most beneficiaries just a little more than $4 a day.   Read more.

I Thought the US was the Land of Gold. Now I See It as Rude and Disrespectful

Guardian UK - "Is it all right to say that?" He said this looking at me questioning. "Yeah, yeah it's all right", I responded – even though I hadn't quite heard what he had said. "Ah. I was asking because Ghanaians can get very defensive." Now he had my full attention. "Yes", I agreed. "We get defensive because people like you come here and just spend all your time criticizing us. If Ghana was such a bad place would you have come here?" He responded: "This is exactly what I'm talking about. You're getting defensive now". The conversation fizzled to a stop, and the American man walked away.   Read more .

Racial Engineering and the Pseudo-White Barbie

Sean Posey @ The Hampton Institute - Only two short decades ago, black women graced both the charts and videos that provided the imagery for the country's biggest rap, hip-hop and R&B groups. Performers like SWV, En Vogue, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, Zhane', and Adina Howard lit up airwaves, magazines, and television stations. Their visages represented the diverse colors of black beauty. In the early twenty-first century, however, that sundry black beauty has given way to a new crop of racially ambiguous performers representing the rise of the Pseudo-White Barbie.   Read more .

In its extreme complexity, Obamacare's problems run deep

Phillip Caper @ The Bangor Daily News - Serious problems with the websites created by the Affordable Care Act continue, and probably will for a long time. Although frantic efforts at incrementally improving them are being made by the Obama administration, and some sites are working better than others, they are a long way from working well.   Read more .

CIA monitors Americans' financial activities - The Central Intelligence Agency is collecting bulk records of international money transfers, including the financial and personal data of millions of Americans. Citing “officials familiar with the programs,” the Wall Street Journal reported that the CIA and FBI collect financial information when international transactions are filed through numerous money-transfer companies, including MoneyGram and Western Union.  Read more .

Capitalism and Unemployment

Richard D. Wolff @ Truthout - Capitalism as a system seems incapable of solving its unemployment problem. It keeps generating long-term joblessness, punctuated by spikes of recurring short-term extreme joblessness. The system's leaders cannot solve or overcome the problem. Before the latest capitalist crisis hit in 2007, the unemployment rate was near 5 percent. In 2013, it is near 7.5 percent. That is 50 percent higher despite the last six years of so-called "effective policies to address unemployment."   Read more.

Real-Life Hunger Is No Game

Michael Winship @ Common Dreams - Coming soon to a theater near you: famine! The second film in The Hunger Games trilogy, “Catching Fire,” opens wide on November 22, based on the hugely popular novels of a post-apocalyptic world in which poverty and starvation force young people into a desperate but oh-so-glamorous, televised competition to the death.   Read more .

One World Trade Center tower declared highest in U.S.

LA Times - Building experts declared New York's new World Trade Center tower the highest skyscraper in the country Tuesday, knocking Chicago's Willis Tower from the spot it has held for nearly 40 years and answering the burning question in high-rise circles: When is a long pointy thing protruding from a roof more than just a long pointy thing?   Read more .

'Worst Ever': Obama's Pacific Trade Deal an Attack on Public Health, Leaked Draft Shows

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Secret documents published Wednesday expose the Obama administration's closed-door efforts to slash internet freedoms and erode access to medicines in the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership through a series of proposals that analysts say are the most damaging and dangerous in the history of such so-called "free trade" deals.   Read more .

Scared Silent: NSA Surveillance has 'Chilling Effect' on American Writers

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - Recent disclosures of the NSA's widespread dragnet program coupled with its frequent targeting of journalists are having a 'chilling effect' on American writers, stifling their freedom of expression at great detriment to society, says a new report Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self Censor.   Read more .

The Revolutionaries in Our Midst

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - Jeremy Hammond sat in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center last week in a small room reserved for visits from attorneys. He was wearing an oversized prison jumpsuit. The brown hair of the lanky 6-footer fell over his ears, and he had a wispy beard. He spoke with the intensity and clarity one would expect from one of the nation’s most important political prisoners. On Friday the 28-year-old activist will appear for sentencing in the Southern District Court of New York in Manhattan.   Read more .

Atheist 'Mega-Churches' Take Root Across US, World

ABC News - It looked like a typical Sunday morning at any mega-church. Several hundred people, including families with small children, packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational talk and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God. Nearly three dozen gatherings dubbed "atheist mega-churches" by supporters and detractors have sprung up around the U.S. and Australia — with more to come — after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year. The movement fueled by social media and spearheaded by two prominent British comedians is no joke.   Read more.

Amid Lingering Hunger Strike, Guantanamo Abuses Press On

Adam Hudson @ Truthout- During the summer, the Guantanamo hunger strike and use of force-feeding put the US naval base in Cuba back into headlines. The strike even prompted President Barack Obama to reiterate his promise to close the prison. However, an official "end" to the hunger strike last month, coupled with the government shutdown and fiscal fights in Congress, made Guantanamo virtually invisible from public attention as it was before. Despite lax attention, the system that made Guantanamo so odious continues.   Read more.

The Murder of Yasser Arafat

Eric Margolis - In 2004, shortly after the mysterious death of PLO leader Yasser Arafat, I wrote a column stating my strong belief that he had been murdered by poison. I recalled Stalin’s favorite line, “no man, no problem.”   Read more .

US, Israel Lose UNESCO Voting Rights

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - The United States and Israel lost voting rights at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Friday after missing a deadline to repay dues the countries had accumulated since Palestine became a member to the world body.   Read more .

On Obama's Plan to Cut Social Security

New Economic Perspectives - Obama is proposing, along with the support of Republicans and many Democrats, to change how annual increases in Social Security benefits are calculated. Obama wants to switch to a different formula, called Chained CPI. This switch would result in a benefit cut of $230 billion dollars over 10 years. All this is being done under the guise of “strengthening” the program and “securing it for future generations”.   Read more .

No charges against cop who shot unarmed black man in Chicago

Chicago Tribune - Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday that they would not bring criminal charges against a Chicago police officer who was captured on videotape fatally shooting an unarmed man, saying an exhaustive review showed that the officer reasonably mistook a cellphone for a gun pointed at him on a darkened street. The death of Flint Farmer in June 2011 was the third shooting — the second fatal shooting — in six months by Officer Gildardo Sierra, a patrolman in the Englewood district. It was so disturbing that it prompted police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to tell the Tribune that he considered the shooting a "big problem" and to acknowledge the department had erred by allowing Sierra back on the street given the previous shootings. In December, the city of Chicago settled a lawsuit brought by Farmer's estate for $4.1 million without admitting wrongdoing.   Read more .

Rolling Stone: Laurie Anderson's Farewell to Lou Reed

Laurie Anderson @ Rolling Stone - I met Lou in Munich, not New York. It was 1992, and we were both playing in John Zorn's Kristallnacht festival commemorating the Night of Broken Glass in 1938, which marked the beginning of the Holocaust. I remember looking at the rattled expressions on the customs officials' faces as a constant stream of Zorn's musicians came through customs all wearing bright red RHYTHM AND JEWS! T-shirts.   Read more.

The Brutal Past and Present Are Sanitized in Secret Australia

John Pilger @ Truthout - The corridors of the Australian Parliament are so white you squint. The sound is hushed; the smell is floor polish. The wooden floors shine so virtuously they reflect the cartoon portraits of prime ministers and rows of Aboriginal paintings, suspended on white walls, their blood and tears invisible.   Read more .

How Dianne Feinstein Is Betraying Civil Liberties

Norman Solomon @ Common Dreams - Ever since the first big revelations about the National Security Agency five months ago, Dianne Feinstein has been in overdrive to defend the surveillance state. As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she generates an abundance of fog, weasel words, anti-whistleblower slander and bogus notions of reform -- while methodically stabbing civil liberties in the back.   Read more .