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Showing posts from 2015

Philanthropy ain't all good

In America today, big time philanthropists are often lauded for helping to even the playing field for those less fortunate. Every week, millionaires flock from TED conferences to "idea festivals" sharing viral new presentations on how to solve the world's biggest problems (give village children computers, think positive thoughts etc.). But this acceptance of the philanthropic order was not always the case. In the era of Carnegie and Rockefeller, for instance, many distrusted these philanthropic barons, arguing they had no right to horde would-be tax dollars for their own pet causes, especially since these "donations" came from the toil of the workers beneath them.   Read more.

"Groundbreaking" Exposé Shows Pentagon Thwarting Obama's Bid to Transfer Guantánamo Prisoners

In the nearly seven years since President Obama ordered Guantánamo’s closure, Republicans have blocked him at every turn. Now a new report sheds light on another obstacle in Obama’s way: his own Pentagon. According to Reuters, military brass have imposed bureaucratic hurdles to keep prisoners locked up and prevent foreign governments from taking them in.   Read more.

Five Big Banks Plead Guilty to Rigging Currency Markets and No One Goes to Jail

From Drone Technician to Whistleblower

More Than 100,000 Flee Devastating Floods in South America

More than 100,000 people have had to evacuate from their homes in the bordering areas of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina due to severe flooding in the wake of heavy summer rains brought on by El Niño, authorities said Saturday. In the worst-affected country, Paraguay, around 90,000 people in the area around the capital city of... read more.

The Year That Black Lives Mattered

Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Laquan McDonald. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Rekia Boyd. Tamir Rice. Most Americans have at least heard their names, and the stories of how they died. We have seen videos and images of their deaths, or of the aftermaths. They are African-Americans who have been killed by police, or died in police custody, in just over a year. There are many more.   Read more.

Sanders Blasts US Mass Incarceration as 'International Embarrassment'

In a speech that included an overt jab at embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders decried the U.S. incarceration rate as an "international embarrassment" and said he considers "reforming our broken criminal justice system one of the most important things that a president of the United States can do."   Read more.

Exposing BlackRock: Who's Afraid of Laurence Fink?

It's not a bank, nor an insurance company, central bank, finance ministry or sovereign wealth fund. But it advises or owns such institutions. It operates virtually unregulated, often in the background, yet there is scarcely a company, country or region of the planet that this, the world's largest asset management firm, does not touch or influence.   Read more.

As Public Funding of Universities Dwindles, Faculty Are Unionizing

When newly installed University of Washington (UW) President Ana Mari Cauce and Interim Provost Jerry Baldasty got wind that the UW faculty was collecting signatures on union cards, they quickly sent a series of memos and emails to the 6,000 people eligible to vote. Their missives trumpeted their opposition to collective bargaining and denounced the Service Employees International Union's (SEIU) effort to organize on campus.   Read more.

Becoming Instantly Disposable in the United States

As I saw a clip the other day of CNN promoting a presidential debate - yet again - as some sort of gladiator event, I was disgusted by how the mainstream corporate media thrives on promoting conflict to attract viewers. It's not just politics that becomes a caricature of a series of World Wrestling Federation bouts - it's also the corporate media coverage of struggles for a just, equal and enlightened democracy.   Read more.

New Orleans City Council Votes to Remove Confederate Monuments

New Orleans' leaders on Thursday made a sweeping move to break with the city's Confederate past when the City Council voted to remove prominent Confederate monuments along some of its busiest streets. The council's 6-1 vote allows the city to remove four monuments, including a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has stood at the center of a traffic circle for 131 years.   Read more.

San Francisco Becomes a City for the Rich

In San Francisco's November election - in which Mayor Ed Lee was re-elected - housing was the number one issue. Two major progressive ballot measures related to housing were defeated: One would have regulated Airbnb by limiting the number of short-term vacation rentals, while the other would have put a moratorium on development in the city's Mission District.   Read more.

Police Killing People of Color Is Not New; The Revealing Videos Are

In his bestselling book, Between The World And Me, an extended essay told as a letter to his 15-year-old son, Samori, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes: "I am writing you because this is the year you saw Eric Garner choked to death for selling cigarettes; ... that John Crawford was shot down for browsing in a department store. And you have seen men in uniform drive by and murder Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old whom they were oath-bound to protect.   Read more.

All Los Angeles schools closed over terror threat

The Los Angeles Unified School District closed all schools after a bomb threat was called in to a school board member, the LA Police Department has confirmed. The LAUSD is the nation’s second largest, with 640,000 students in over 1,000 schools. The threat was made to “students at school,” LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said at a press conference Tuesday morning.   Read more.

After Paris: The Climate Talks End and the Movement Continues

Four years ago last August, a group of us sat down in front of the White House holding placards with climate promises that President Obama had made during his campaign and waited to get arrested. We were there to protest the Keystone XL pipeline, which our nation's top climate scientist had said would be a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet, but which the President was by all accounts looking to approve.   Read more.

50,000 Hit Streets of Poland to Rally Against 'Creeping Coup d’Etat'

With chants of “we’ll save democracy” and “nobody’s above the law,” thousands of people marched in an anti-government protest in Warsaw. Less than a month after forming government, the Law & Justice party’s zeal in consolidating power brought people onto the streets Saturday, uniting much of the opposition against what demonstrators see as constitutional breaches by the new administration and its ally, President Andrzej Duda.   Read more.

Muhammad Ali takes swing at Trump, calls ISIS ‘misguided murderers’

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali chided presidential candidate Donald Trump for wanting to ban Muslim immigration into the US, but saved his hardest punches for Islamic State militants, calling their killing of innocents a perversion of Islam. Trump, who leads in the polls among contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, proposed on Monday to... read more.

Israel Plays Major Role in Exporting ISIS Oil

Twenty Billionaires Own More Than the Bottom Half of Americans

The new Institute for Policy Studies report "Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us" is out. I printed a copy, started reading and promptly threw it against the wall in fury and disgust. How can the wealthy be so cruel? How can there be 400 billionaires so self-absorbed in their fortunes and greed that they ... read more.

Rupert Murdoch's Corporate Dismemberment​ of Media and Journalism

On Monday, Nov. 2, every National Geographic staffer was told to report to the magazine's Washington, D.C., headquarters the next day to await a phone call or e-mail from Human Resources. Ever since Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox corporation bought the magazine in September, there were rumors the new owner would maximize profits by terminating employees.   Read more.

Trump and the GOP: This Is Who They Are

House Speaker Paul Ryan condemned Donald Trump’s plan to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. by saying, “this is not who we are as a party or a country.” Ryan is mistaken: Trump represents exactly what the GOP is, and what progressives must not let America become.   Read more.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel apologizes for Laquan McDonald police shooting, demands changes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday apologized to aldermen for the police shooting of Laquan McDonald "that happened on my watch." "If we're going to fix it, I want you to understand it's my responsibility with you," Emanuel said in a rare speech to the full Chicago City Council. "But if we're also going to begin the healing process, the first step in that journey is my step, and I'm sorry."   Read more.

Warhol Superstar Holly Woodlawn Died at 69

The 69-year-old Puerto Rican actress—known for her roles in such queer films as Trash, Women in Revolt, and Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers—died after a battle with brain and liver cancer at West Hollywood’s City View Villa Assisted Living. An important figure of Warhol’s factory scene, her visibility was... read more.

Fracking Expantion Threatening to Contaminate World's Third-Largest Aquifer

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking - a method whereby hydrocarbons trapped within rocks are extracted - is expanding rapidly in Latin America. Fracking emits benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, which are considered by the World Health Organization to be carcinogenic and responsible for blood disorders and other immunological effects. Despite these adverse health effects, however ... read more.

Does the Israeli Legal System Provide Justice for Palestinians?

This is the third installment in a five-part series written in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assertion that three International Criminal Court provisions could preclude Israeli nationals from being investigated or prosecuted by the ICC. This five-article series, "Israel Attacks the International Criminal Court but Its Arguments Fall Flat," presents the facts and the law regarding each of those provisions. It shows that Israelis, including Israeli political and military leaders who allegedly committed war crimes in occupied Palestinian territories, have little reason to have confidence that... read more.

Marine Le Pen’s National Front leads in first round of French regional elections

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front is leading in six out of 12 regions in the first round of regional elections, Reuters reports citing exit polls. Le Pen and her niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, are both set to take more than 40 percent of the vote in the north and southeast of the country, TV exit polls showed on Sunday.   Read more.

Why Coal Mining Outlaw Don Blankenship's Conviction Matters

The landmark conviction of former Massey Energy CEO and coal baron Don Blankenship today on a misdemeanor conspiracy charge to violate mine safety laws is a small, but historic first step in holding mining outlaws accountable for their reckless operations. For the first time in memory for those of us with friends, family, miners and loved ones living amid the toxic fallout of the coal industry, this conviction may only serve as a tiny reckoning of our nation's complacency with a continual state of violations, but it could begin a new... read more.

In Spite of Peackeeping Efforts, UK Begins Bombing of Syria

Amid warnings that "new war will not increase the prospects of peace," the UK carried out its first airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, just hours after members of Parliament voted to expand the use of military force in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). Four Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets were seen taking off from a base in Cyprus and returning without their weapons early Thursday morning.   Read more.

Gulf oil spill: Manslaughter charges dropped against BP Deepwater Horizon supervisors

Two BP supervisors onboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 will not serve any jail time after manslaughter charges against them have been dropped against. The disaster killed 11 employees. The move, agreed upon by federal prosecutors and a New Orleans judge on Wednesday, relieves rig supervisors... read more.

Russia says Turkey’s Erdogan & family involved in illegal ISIS oil trade

Turkey is the main consumer of oil smuggled by Islamic State from Syria and Iraq, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family are involved in the criminal business, Russia’s Defense Ministry has сlaimed. “We are absolutely convinced… that the final destination of the stolen oil is Turkey,” said Russia’s... read more.

San Bernardino Gunmen Kill at Least 14, Wound 17

Hours after as many as three gunmen stormed a service center for people with disabilities here on Wednesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding at least 17 others, the police engaged in a shootout in a nearby suburban neighborhood that officials said left one suspect dead, one most likely wounded and a third suspect on the run.  Read more.

America's 20 Richest Own More Than Bottom Half

The divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots" in the United States has never been so vast, with a new report out Tuesday revealing that the nation's 20 richest individuals own more wealth than the entire bottom half of the population. What's more, with a combined worth of $2.34 trillion, the richest 400 Americans... read more.

George W. Bush Created a "Sea of Blood"

Noam Chomsky | The Hubris of the United States

The essential problem that the United States faces in the world was explained by State Department legal advisor Abram Sofaer. The world majority, he observed, "often opposes the United States on important international questions," so that we must "reserve to ourselves the power to determine" which matters fall "essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the United States, as determined by the United States," in this case, international terrorism that was intended to punish and devastate the country where I was lecturing - or in approved Orwellian translation, to bring it the blessings of freedom and democracy.   Read more.

Global Climate March: Tens of thousands rally around the world against climate change

Protesters are marching across the world to pressure their governments into taking steps to fight climate change. The massive rallies fall on the eve of a UN summit in Paris which will see more than 190 nations gather to try and cut harmful global emissions. More than 570,000 people across 175 countries have so far taken part in the rallies, making the.. .read more.

Sea Shepherd Blasts Japan's Plan to Slaughter 4,000 Minke Whales

Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd warned Japan against resuming "research" whaling in the Antarctic in defiance of an international court of justice ruling that it cease the practice and called on the Australian government to intervene. After a decade of activism by Sea Shepherd and other groups, Japan was forced to abandon its 2014-15 Southern Ocean hunt after the... read more.

When Surgeons Multitask: The Little-Known Practice of Concurrent Surgeries

When you go to the hospital for an operation, did you know your surgeon might also be performing a procedure on another patient, in a different operating room, over the same scheduled time period? This practice - "two patients, two operating rooms, moving back and forth from one to the other" while relying on assistance from general surgeons or trainees - is called concurrent surgery. It's an open secret in hospitals, but patients rarely hear about it.  Read more.

Openly Gay Imam Creates Online School for LGBTQ-Friendly Islamic Philosophy

Thirteen years ago, in 2002, Washington, DC-based Muslim religious leader Daayiee Abdullah was asked to conduct a funeral for a man who had died of AIDS. "Several imams had been approached about this but wouldn't do it," he said. "Since I believe everyone has the right to religious rites, I did not hesitate to officiate." This seemingly benign act attracted enmity from critics worldwide, but Abdullah did not flinch.   Read more.

Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake

I still remember that smug look on his face, followed by the matter-of-fact remarks that had western journalists laugh out loud. “I’m now going to show you a picture of the luckiest man in Iraq,” General Norman Schwarzkopf, known as ‘Stormin’ Norman, said at a press conference sometime in 1991, as he showed a video of US bombs blasting an Iraqi bridge, seconds after the Iraqi driver managed to cross it.   Read more.

How Thanksgiving Narratives Erase the Genocide of Native Peoples

Like sports mascots and hipster doofus celebrities wearing faux headdresses, Thanksgiving has nothing to do with Native American and Indigenous people in the United States. And try as Native people might, we can't seem to get rid of it or change the way it is perceived or represented. This is because Thanksgiving, like mascots and faux headdresses, serves the capitalism of empire.   Read more.

MSF Refutes Pentagon Probe into Hospital Attack

Doctors Without Borders is challenging the Pentagon over the findings of internal probes into the bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz on October 3, saying the military's conclusions offer "more questions than answers" and that claims of "human error" simply don't correspond to the available facts.   Read more.

The War on Terror Is a War on Youth: Paris and the Impoverishment of the Future

There is a revealing similarity between the attacks on September 11, 2001 - when airplanes were flown into the twin towers, killing thousands of people - and the attacks in Paris, in which over 130 people were killed and hundreds wounded. Yet, what they have in common has been largely overlooked in the mainstream and alternative media's coverage of the more recent terrorist attacks. While both assaults have been rightly viewed as desperate acts of alarming terrorism, what has been missed is that both acts of violence were committed by young men.   Read more.

Native American Genocide & Survival with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

5 people shot near Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis

Simmering racial tensions boiled over yet again on Monday when a small group of white men allegedly shot five people who had been protesting the recent police killing of an African American man in Minneapolis. The shooting occurred at around 10:41 p.m. Monday night just one block from Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct... read more.

What's Fueling Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria?

America's Empire of African Bases

In the shadows of what was once called the “dark continent," a scramble has come and gone. If you heard nothing about it, that was by design. But look hard enough and -- north to south, east to west -- you’ll find the fruits of that effort: a network of bases, compounds, and other sites whose sum total exceeds the number of nations on the continent. For a military that has stumbled from Iraq to Afghanistan and suffered setbacks from Libya to Syria, it’s a rare can-do triumph. In remote locales, behind fences and beyond the gaze of prying eyes... read more.

Anonymous 'at war' with Isis, hacktivist group confirms

The online collective Anonymous “is at war” with the Islamic State following the attacks in Paris, in a continuation of its “#OpISIS” campaign. One major Anonymous twitter account, @GroupAnon, announced the operation on 15 November, writing that “we won’t stop opposing #IslamicState. We’re also better hackers.”   Read more.

U.S. firefighter gets world's most extensive face transplant

A volunteer firefighter from Mississippi whose face was burned off during a home fire rescue received the world's most extensive face transplant, New York University Langone Medical Center said on Monday. After a 26-hour surgery performed at the New York hospital in August, 41-year-old Patrick Hardison is living with the face of ... read more.

Paris: You Don’t Want to Read This

You don’t want to read this, and I take no pleasure in writing it, and no one really wants to hear it right now. But I believe it needs to be said. I join the world in grieving for the dead in Paris. I have grieved for the dead from 9/11 forward — the Australians who died in terror attacks on Bali in 2002, Londoners who died in terror attacks in 2005, the French citizens who died in the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January of this year, the Russians whose plane went down over the Sinai a week or so ago. So many more non-Western deaths barely noticed in the U.S. media. I grieve also for those killed in smaller attacks already smuggled deep into the obscurity of our memory.   Read more.

Invasion of Iraq led to current instability, the worst foreign policy blunder, says Bernie Sanders

At the Democratic presidential debates Bernie Sanders blamed US policy in the Middle East for creating instability in the region. Martin O’Malley joined the criticism, while Hillary Clinton had a hard time defending her vote supporting the Iraq invasion. The trio of Democrat presidential nomination contenders met for the second debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday. In the aftermath of the deadly attacks in Paris that claimed... read more.

General Strike In Greece Reignites Anti-Austerity Battle

Fossil Fuel Companies Under Investigation for Role in Climate Change Denial

James K. Galbraith on the Human Cost of Inequality in the Neoliberal Age

We live in an age of growing inequality: The policies of neoliberalism and the financialization of economic life have created a social order in which the rich are continually getting richer at the expense of everyone else. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the middle class is shrinking in many Western societies, while there is a dramatic drop in the standard of living for the majority of the working population, the young and the retirees. It is also hardly surprising that... read more.

Criminalization of Children in the US Police State

Violence has become the problem of the 21st century. This claim is indebted to W. E. B. Dubois' much quoted notion that "The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of color line."[1] For Du Bois, racism was one of the most pressing problems of the time and could not be understood outside of the gross inequities of wealth, power, opportunity and access. What he did not anticipate was the degree to which the violent character of racism would come to define the 21st century on a national and global level. What he described as a ruthless ideology and attitude of racist hostility would later mutate in the new millennium into a raw display of police brutality and state terrorism, camouflaged under the guise of an alleged post-racial society.   Read more.

Monsanto Accused of Knowingly Polluting SF Bay with Toxic PCBs

Targeting the chemical giant which for decades allegedly polluted the San Francisco Bay with a highly toxic environmental contaminant, the city of Oakland on Tuesday filed suit against Monsanto. In a press statement announcing the suit, Oakland city attorney Barbara Parker accused Monsanto of concealing information on the... read more.

Disposable Children

It may be the greatest hypocrisy of America's conservative leaders, that they demand control over a woman's body, but then show every sign of neglect after a child comes into the world. It reaches beyond neglect to disdain for the poor. In a perversely unequal nation in which the well-off blame impoverished people for their own struggles, the children of the poor become the innocent victims.   Read more .

University of Missouri president steps down amidst protests over racial tensions on campus

Students at the University of Missouri are rallying against multiple reported incidents of racial harassment on campus. They said that the president of the university system mishandled the situation, and he yielded to their calls for him to resign. Protests began in response to black students saying that they have been victims of racial harassment at the... read more.

Terrace Farming: An Indigenous Model for Food Security

Terrace farming as practiced from time immemorial by native peoples in the Andes mountains contributes to food security as a strategy of adaptation in an environment where the geography and other conditions make the production of nutritional foods a complex undertaking. This ancient prehispanic technique, still practiced in vast areas of the Andes highlands, including Chile... read more.

Big Oil Can’t Go On Like This

Ensuring that our planet remains hospitable requires leaving about three-quarters of all oil, gas, and coal deposits underground or beneath the sea floor. And forgoing all those fossil fuels to avert a climate catastrophe means that loads of companies need to change the way they do business — or go out of business.   Read more.