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Showing posts from January, 2015

Black Queer and Transgender Supporters Attacked in San Francisco Gay Bar

The Feminist Wire - We entered Toad Hall and the SF Badlands Bar to invite the mostly white clientele of these bars to join us in affirming that Black Lives Matter. Instead, we were met with unabashed hostility. We chose Toad Hall because of its history of displacing Black gay community from the Castro. Wearing red for blood—red for STOP—we held photos of murdered Black trans women and queers next to flameless candles and led a ritual of mourning. Forming a circle in the middle of the dance floor, we looked outward to face the bar patrons whom we wanted to challenge, speak to, and move. In the faces of the crowd, we saw a sea of mixed responses— ambivalence, rage, compassion, confusion, and discomfort.   Read more .

Community-Owned Energy: Nebraska's Public Electricity Grid

Thomas Hanna @ YES! Magazine - In the United States, there is one state, and only one state, where every single resident and business receives electricity from a community-owned institution rather than a for-profit corporation. It is not a famously liberal state like Vermont or Massachusetts. Rather, it is conservative Nebraska, with its two Republican Senators and two (out of three) Republican members of Congress, that has embraced the complete socialization of energy distribution.   Read more .

Can Bolivia Shatter the Vise of Capitalism?

Truthout - As through so much of its history, the small Andean nation of Bolivia sits at the center of a whirlwind of political, social and climatological questions. Arguably, no other country thus far in the 21st century raises the question of an "exit strategy" from neoliberal capitalism more concretely, and with greater possibility and hope, than Bolivia. That hope is expressed specifically in the ruling party, MAS, or Movement Toward Socialism. The country's leader, former coca farmer and union organizer Evo Morales - South America's first indigenous leader since pre-colonial times - was overwhelmingly elected to his third term of office in 2014. Morales has broadly popularized the Quechua term pachamama, which denotes a full commitment to ecological sustainability, and public hopes remain high that he'll guide the country toward realizing that principle.   Read more .

Pennsylvania Bans Fracking on Public Lands

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - New Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order on Thursday reinstating a moratorium on new fracking leases in Pennsylvania's public parks and forests. The move is being heralded by residents as an important step but still short of the state-wide ban they say is needed.  Read more .

US-India Nuke Deal A Big Win for Corporations

Death-Dealing Politics in the Age of Extreme Violence

Henry Giroux @ Truthout - How a society treats its children is a powerful moral and political index of its commitment to the institutions, values and principles that inform the promises of a real democracy. When measured against such criteria, it is clear that the United States has not only failed, but it is on life support. According to a report released by the Southern Education Foundation, for the first time in history, half of US public school children live in poverty, and the United States has the fourth highest child poverty rate among developed countries. Moreover, 1.3 million homeless children are enrolled in US schools, and the United States incarcerates young people at a rate and in numbers that are shameful. (1) As Jana Kasperkevic points out:   Read more .

Fired Fox employee kills self at news Corp HQ, says network 'ruined his life' - A man shot himself in the chest outside the News Corporation building in midtown Manhattan. The former employee of the company had been protesting Fox News before he killed himself, according to reports. The man, identified as Phillip Perea, was handing out fliers, saying his former employer had “ended my career” and that the news channel had ruined his life... read more .

Eighty People Control Half of the World's Wealth and All of the Elected Officials

Crystal Shepard @ Care2 - The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting began in Davos, Switzerland.  The meeting convenes “global leaders from across business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society for strategic dialogues which map the key transformations reshaping the world.”  The hope is that the dialogue will lead to action on the part of the participating nations to improve conditions in their own communities, with an understanding that we are all globally connected.  The idea is that the actions in one community can affect another anywhere in the world.   Read more .

Rejecting the Obama-Cheney Alliance

Roy Eidelson @ Common Dreams - A decade ago, amid early reports of detainee abuse at CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay, defenders of U.S. detention and interrogation operations promoted a flawed distinction between torture and “torture-lite.” They argued that, to our nation’s credit, rather than resorting to brutal and violent maiming and mutilation, we employed less cruel techniques – techniques like sleep deprivation, extended isolation, stress positions, sensory bombardment, forced nudity, freezing temperatures, sexual and cultural humiliation, confinement in coffin-like boxes, and threats of harm to family members.   Read more .

Google Draws Wikileaks' Ire for Secretly Providing Private Email Data to DOJ

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - In what non-profit media organization Wikileaks is calling a "horrifying precedent for press freedoms," internet giant Google has confirmed it complied with a request by the U.S. government to hand over the complete content and data attached to email accounts belonging to three Wikileaks staffers under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge in 2012.   Read more .

Roads and Bridges Need $1 Trillion. It Is Time to Rebuild the US

Bernie Sanders @ Campaign For America's Future - Our infrastructure is collapsing, and the American people know it. The Interstate 75 bridge collapse in Cincinnati on Monday is only the latest example. Every day, motorists across the United States drive over bridges that are in disrepair and on roads with unforgiving potholes. They take railroad and subway trains that arrive late and are overcrowded. They see airports bursting at the seams. They worry that a local levee could fail in a storm.   Read more .

Marissa Alexander: Your Home Your Prison

Maya Schenwar @ Truthout - On January 27th, domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander will walk out of Florida's Duval County jail -- but she won't be free. Alexander, whose case has gained some notoriety, endured three years of jail time and a year of house arrest while fighting off a prison sentence that would have seen her incarcerated for the rest of her life... read more .

Greece 'leaves behind the austerity that ruined it,' party leader vows after vote

CNN - The firebrand leader of Greece's left-wing Syriza party appeared to be bracing for a bigger battle as he declared victory in Sunday's election. Now that his party has apparently won the support of his country's voters, Alexis Tsipras has another fight in front of him: making good on his campaign promise to renegotiate the terms of Greece's bailout.   Read more .

Judge strikes down Alabama gay marriage ban

Christian Science Monitor - On Friday, a federal judge ruled that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. US District Judge Callie V.S. Granade ruled that the 2006 Sanctity of Marriage Amendment – which prohibited gay marriage in the state of Alabama – violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.   Read more .

My Future in Prison

Kathy Kelly @ Common Dreams - The Bureau of Prisons contacted me today, assigning me a prison number and a new address:  for the next 90 days, beginning tomorrow I’ll live at FMC Lexington, in the satellite prison camp for women, adjacent to Lexington’s Federal Medical Center for Men.  Very early tomorrow morning, Buddy Bell, Cassandra Dixon, and Paco and Silver, two house guests whom we first met in protests on South Korea’s Jeju Island, will travel with me to Kentucky and deliver me to the prison gates.   Read more .

What's safe under Illinois's new eavesdropping law?

Chicago Reader - One of the last things Governor Pat Quinn did before he left office was to sign off on an amendment that created a new state eavesdropping law. It took effect December 30, putting an end to a period in which Illinois was the wild west of surreptitious recording, with no state eavesdropping restrictions at all.   Read more .

The Leading Cause of Death in Developing Countries Might Surprise You

Global Voices - Contaminated outdoor air accounted for 3.7 million deaths. Another 4.2 million people died from particulates exposure in indoor air from cooking stoves. About 1 million died from chemicals and contaminated soil and water. And 840,000 succumbed to poor sanitation. All of these data come directly from the WHO’s website and databases, except for the soil statistics, which are sourced from more recent numbers (likely understated) from the Global Alliance for Health and Pollution.   Read more.

Journalist Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months in prison

Medea Benjamin @ Common Dreams - On January 23, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, will begin a three-month jail sentence in federal prison for a protest against drones (also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles”) at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. I had a chance to interview her before she had to turn herself in.   Read more .

The Myth of Obama Moving to the Left

Thom Hartman @ Truthout - The line in right-wing media today is that last night's State of the Union address is a sign that President Obama is moving to "the left." The Washington Examiner, for example, is calling Obama's speech a "leftward lurch." The Washington Times, meanwhile, says that it shows that the President is embracing a "left-wing" agenda.   Read more .

Twenty Pounds of BS in a Ten-Pound Bag

William Rivers Pitt @ Truthout - Let me be perfectly clear from the jump: It was a fine speech, one of the best of President Obama's political career, which makes it automatically one of the best in the State of the Union's august history. The last fifteen minutes, in particular, were absolutely soaring, not just in rhetoric, but in the delivery as well. The man parked it as deep as it can be parked, like a majestic David Ortiz line drive deep into the bleachers at Fenway, thanks for coming, turn out the lights when you leave. No one does it better that Barack Obama when the bright lights are on.   Read more .

Mike Huckabee's Hashtag Should Be #Hypocrisy

Ben Berkowitz @ Buzzflash - With Jeb Bush is in full presidential exploration mode, Mitt Romney keeping us all on the edge of our seats about whether he’ll toss his hat into the ring yet again, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie taking it on the chin for being a Dallas Cowboy/Jerry Jones fan-boy while awaiting more Bridge-gate investigations to unfold, Dr. Ben Carson patenting the crazy, Ted Cruz being  … well … Ted Cruz, Rand Paul being … well … Rand Paul, how is Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas Governor and former Fox News Channel talk show host, going to get any play?   Read mor e.

Casey vs. Kyle: On Bloodlust, Loss, and Wars of Choice

Cindy Sheehan  @ Common Dreams - This is something that I don’t want to revisit—I never want to relive the worst experience of my life. However, with the 11th anniversary of my son’s death in Iraq on 04/04/04 approaching and the new “blockbuster” infecting movie screens around the world, I really must get this off of my chest. Most citizens of this nation are without a doubt addicted to wars and war “heroes” without stopping for more than a few cursory seconds to count the costs or evaluate the propaganda.   Read more .

Martin Luther King Was a Radical, Not a Saint

Peter Drier @ Truthout - It is easy to forget that in his day, in his own country, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was considered a dangerous troublemaker. Even President John Kennedy worried that King was being influenced by Communists. King was harassed by the FBI and vilified in the media. The establishment's campaign to denigrate King worked. In August 1966 - as King was bringing his civil rights campaign to Northern cities to address poverty, slums, housing segregation and bank lending discrimination - the Gallup Poll found that 63 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of King, compared with 33 percent who viewed him favorably.   Read more .


Paul Puchheit @ Common Dreams - America is gradually, but unrelentingly, destroying part of itself. The facts to support this are well-documented, told in many ways from past to present.  The most egregious example of Americide is our country's treatment of African-Americans. Almost everyone agrees about the evils of slavery... read more .

America: The undemocratic ‘democracy’ - Despite being the world’s self-appointed champion and proselytizer of the gospel of democracy, the United States is clearly and unmistakably an undemocratic nation. Though it is no longer the world’s foremost industrial producer, the United States still does lead in one important export: “democracy.” Washington has taken the lead in undermining, demonizing, and otherwise destabilizing Russia and China, Venezuela and Iran, Syria and North Korea – countries in need of regime change because, according to Washington, they are undemocratic.   Read more .

Kenyan Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesting Children

Nadia Prupis @  Common Dreams - Kenyan police fired tear gas at a crowd of children protesting the seizure of their school playground by a property developer on Monday. About 100 children between eight and 13 years old from Langata Road primary school in Nairobi, along with a smaller group of parents and activists, converged in front of a newly built wall that separated their school building from a playing field... read more .

Explosive Rates of Mass Incarceration Called Major 'Civil Rights Issue of Our Time'

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - The disproportionate mass incarceration of people of color in the United States, particularly of black men, is no accident, finds a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. It stems from deep racism in U.S. society—enacted through public policy, policing, a dual court system, media representations, and more—and constitutes "one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time."   Read more .

Martin Luther King, Jr.: All Labor Has Dignity

Beacon Press (book excerpt) @ Truthout - In his introduction to the newly published anthology of King speeches and writings, Cornel West writes, "This book unearths a radical King that we can no longer sanitize." West writes of a charismatic leader who was "anti-imperial, anti-colonial, anti-racist" and embodied "democratic socialist sentiments." Read more .

Blood on Their Hands: The Racist History of Modern Police Unions

In These Times - Outraged by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's statements concerning the killing of Eric Garner, Patrick Lynch, the longtime leader of the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA), the NYPD's officers union, recently made the outrageous assertion that the Mayor had "blood on his hands" for the murder of the two NYPD officers. In Milwaukee this past fall, the Police Association called for, and obtained, a vote of no confidence in MPD Chief Ed Flynn after he fired the officer who shot and killed Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed African American; subsequently, the union's leader, Mike Crivello, praised the District Attorney when he announced that he would not bring charges against the officer.   Read more .

Haiti’s Political Earthquake

Foreign Policy In Focus - Five years after the now-infamous Haitian earthquake, the small country faces another crisis. As Haitians mourn the earthquake that robbed them of their loved ones and livelihoods, they’ll also be treated to yet another meltdown of their government. With President Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly and members of the opposition proving unable to organize parliamentary elections, the political gridlock that has been plaguing Haiti for over three years has turned into a full-fledged crisis as the country’s legislature has dissolved — leaving a de facto dictator in charge.   Read more .

When religion insulted, freedom of expression not boundless, says Pope - There are limits to freedom of expression when religion is insulted, Pope Francis has said in reference to the cartoons in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. However, he also pointed out that killing in God’s name is an "absurdity." Francis spoke to reporters on a flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines.   Read more .

In surprise move, Target exits Canada and takes $5.4 bln loss

Reuters - Target Corp will exit the Canadian market after less than two years in a surprise retreat that will throw more than 17,000 employees out of work and trigger a $5.4 billion quarterly loss. Shares of the U.S. discount retailer, which was granted creditor protection for its money-losing Canadian subsidiary, at one point rose more than 4 percent on the move. The stock was up 2.2 percent at $75.94 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange.   Read more .

Two Killed in Belgian “Anti-Terrorism Operation” Reportedly Linked to Paris Attacks

Slate Magazine - Two suspects were killed and one arrested in an “anti-terrorism operation” in the Belgian city of Verviers on Thursday. The Guardian, quoting a French cable news channel, says “there is a link between the operations in Belgium and the Paris attacks which left 17 victims and three jihadists dead last week.” A Brussels arms dealer reportedly confessed Tuesday to selling the weapons used in the Paris attacks to the attacks’ perpetrators.   Read more .

Dad Accuses FBI of Setting Up Son in Bomb Plot

ABC News - The father of an Ohio man arrested Wednesday for allegedly plotting an ISIS-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol says his son is not a terrorist and was set up by the FBI. Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, was arrested on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official, authorities said. He allegedly planned to detonate pipe bombs at the national landmark and open fire on any employees and officials fleeing after the explosions, according to government documents.   Read more .

Monsanto in the Ukraine

Natural Society - The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game. Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control.   Read more .

Five Major Accomplishments Barbara Boxer Achieved During Her Tenure

Kevin Mathews @ Care2 - This week, Barbara Boxer, one of the best-known senators in the United States, announced that she will not seek reelection when her term comes to an end in 2016. Having served in Congress since 1983, Boxer has built quite a resume as a public official. In honor of her political career winding down, let’s look at some of her biggest accomplishments.   Read more .

The Methane Monster Roars

Dahr Jamail @ Truthout - During a recent hike in Washington State's Olympic National Park, I marveled at the delicate geometry of frost-covered ferns. White crystalline structures seemed to grow from the green leaves, encasing them in a frozen frame of temporary beauty. Progressing further up into the mountains, I stopped to lunch and sip hot coffee from a thermos while gazing across a river valley at a snow-covered mountainside, sizing up a frozen waterfall for a possible ice climb in the future. Yet I found myself beginning to wonder how many more winters ice would continue to form there.   Read more .

Why I Believe New York's Art Scene Is Doomed

ArtNet - This is an article about art and gentrification, the inescapable topic. I have something new to add—that I think we may be coming to the end of a period where being an artist was synonymous with being urban, unless we are willing to fight for it—but before I start it, let me say that I have mixed feelings about my own conclusions. On the one hand, I like New York, and I think that artists should fight for their place in it. I believe that this would take some serious coalition building and some effort to break out of the shoe-gazing, white-guilt bottleneck where the conversation always gets stuck.   Read more .

What Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement can teach us about activism today

Kristi Sanford @ Common Dreams - In 1964, civil rights organizers launched the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, signing up tens of thousands of members in an effort to be seated—in place of the official, segregationist state party—at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The official Mississippi Democratic Party routinely slated candidates in shady back room deals, and had announced it would support Republican Barry Goldwater for president, rather than the party’s own candidate, Lyndon Baines Johnson, whom its leaders believed was a threat to segregation.   Read more .

New edition of Charlie Hebdo has 3 million copies of The Prophet Muhammad in tears - The front cover of Charlie Hebdo's Wednesday edition is a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad shedding a tear while holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign. The first issue since the Paris shooting has the headline "All is forgiven" and a record 3 million print run. French daily Liberation, which hosted the satirical weekly staff as they worked on the new issue, has published the cover online. The new eight-page edition will come out in 16 languages.  Read more.

Charlie Hebdo’s new edition to have Muhammad cartoons - There will “obviously” be Muhammad cartoons in the next edition of Charlie Hebdo, the magazine’s lawyer has announced. “We will not give up, otherwise all of this will not have any sense,” Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said in an interview to France Info radio. “The spirit of Charlie is the right to blasphemy," he added.   Read more .

Monarch butterflies could get endangered species status

PBS News Hour - Every year, millions of North American monarch butterflies head south for the winter -- but recently their numbers have plummeted by up to 90 percent. In Washington, responding to a petition submitted by conservation organizations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced a year-long review that could mean the the butterflies are placed on the Endangered Species List.   Read more .

No One Is Safe From Backlash When Criticizing the Police, Even the Police

Crystal Sheapard @ Care2 - In early December, an Instagram photo of Richmond, California Police Chief Chris Magnus began to circulate online. The uniformed police chief was holding a sign with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter during a peaceful protest. He, along with the Deputy Chief, had gathered with the 150 protestors outside a community center in one of hundreds of similar protests that had happened since two grand juries had failed to indict officers in the killing of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York City.   Read more .

Gay Corporate Lovefest: Human Rights Campaign Under Fire in LGBT Community

Toshio Meronek @ Truthout - Chevron. Goldman Sachs. Monsanto. None of these are brands that we tend to associate with bringing justice into the world. And yet these three corporations, along with many other Fortune 1000 companies, were awarded a "100 percent" rating in the 2015 "Equality Index" put out by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).  Read more .

Police Corruption Exposed

Margaret Kimberly @ Black Agenda Report - The false narrative about the need for hyper policing has come crashing down and police themselves destroyed the well-cultivated propaganda. The awful truth which black people were well aware of is now out in the open for all to see. Police departments in the United States exist for the purpose of maintaining white people’s prerogatives as the group in control of everyone else. Enhancing public safety is a secondary consideration. Under the Michael Bloomberg administration the New York City police department (NYPD) was infamous for its stop and frisk policies. Up to 575,000 people, almost all of them black or Latino, were stopped by police annually at the height of the stop and frisk program.   Read more .

Three Million in Paris Unity Rally; 'Largest in French History'

Common Dreams - The French Interior Ministry said Sunday evening that today's Paris rally for unity against extremism is the largest demonstration in France's history. Calling the rally "unprecedented," the ministry says the demonstrators are so numerous they spread beyond the official march route, making them impossible to count.   Read more .

Judge Orders NYPD to Release Records on X-ray Vans

Michael Gabrell @ ProPublica - A state judge has ordered the New York City Police Department to release records on a secretive program that uses unmarked vans equipped with X-ray machines to detect bombs. The ruling follows a nearly three-year legal battle by ProPublica, which had requested police reports, training materials, contracts and any health and safety tests on the vans under the state's Freedom of Information Law.   Read more .

700,000 rally across France in wake of terror attacks & hostage crises - Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets across France in response to three days of mayhem, as terrorist attacks rocked its capital resulting in the deaths of some 20 people – 17 victims, and three gunmen. In total, 700,000 marched across France, Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, told reporters.   Read more .

Fight for $15 in ’15

Isaiah Poole @  Otherwords - Looking for some good news on the job front? This should be a big year for the “Fight for $15,” a national movement to turn low-wage jobs into “living wage” jobs that pay enough to lift workers out of poverty.   Read more .

Palestinians to become ICC member from April 1, UN confirms - Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on April 1, announced UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday. The Palestinians will be able to sue Israel for war crimes, a move the Israeli administration has consistently opposed for decades. The UN treaty website says that due to the court's procedures “the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015.”   Read more .

Charlie Hebdo suspects killed and several hostages freed in French police raids

Guardian UK - French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has just spoken in Paris. He began by thanking all GIGN security forces and police who made the liberation of hostages possible. The safety of hostages “was kept under difficult and oppressive circumstances” while the risks were high, he said. They were “professional and courageous.”   Read more .

Tamir Rice video shows police arrest 14 yr old girl for attempting to aid 12 yr old brother, after they shot him

Nadia Prupis @ Common Dreams - Newly released footage of the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November shows Cleveland police officers delaying first aid to Rice while he was still alive and tackling and handcuffing Rice's sister as she attempted to reach her wounded brother.   Read more.

Sirisena Calls for Peace After Surprise Sri Lanka Victory

Bloomberg - Incoming Sri Lanka leader Maithripala Sirisena called for peace after ending the 10-year rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa, who conceded defeat today in a result that seemed improbable only two months ago. “I call on all my supporters and those who helped me along my campaign to enjoy this victory peacefully and to act with restraint,” Sirisena told reporters at the elections commission’s office after... read more .

Vermonters Launch Sit-In At Statehouse Demanding Universal Health Care 'Now!'

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Protesters occupied the chambers of the Vermont Statehouse Thursday afternoon, saying they refuse to leave until legislators meet their demands to respect the first-ever U.S. law for universal, publicly-funded health care, won by grassroots movements nearly four years ago yet stymied by the governor last month.   Read more .

Shell To Pay $84 Million for Nigerian Oil Spills: 'Inadequate for Damage Done'

Deirdre Fulton @ Common Dreams - Royal Dutch Shell, the oil corporation responsible for two massive oil spills that devastated a small Nigerian community more than six years ago, has agreed to an unprecedented $84 million settlement with residents of the Bodo fishing village—an amount locals fear still won't go far enough to repair the ecological and economic damage wrought by leaking pipelines and pollution.   Read more .

Obamacare is a farce, says healthcare counselor

In These Times - I talk to people about Obamacare. My job is to help people buy insurance if they’re making above a certain income level. So I’m basically an insurance broker, except I’m paid by the government instead of an insurance company. And I’m making a crappy non-profit wage. When I initially trained for the job, they couldn’t actually show us what the Marketplace was going to look like... read more .

Corporate Fiction in the Age of GMOs

Vandana Shiva @ Common Dreams  - As the New Year begins, I feel compelled to reflect on how fictions and abstract constructions are ruling us; the nature of being and existence is being redefined in such fundamental ways that life itself is threatened. When corporations that were designed as legal constructs claim “personhood”, then real people who stand in line at polling booths, eke out livelihoods, and raise families lose their rights.   Read more.

Iowa cop shoots woman dead in front of family, while trying to pacify their dog - An Iowa cop shot and killed a 34-year-old woman in front of her husband and four-year-old son. Witnesses say he was aiming for the family dog, which startled him as he was trying to break up an argument between the couple. The victim, Autumn Mae Steele, of South Garden Ave. in Burlington, Iowa, was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital on Tuesday.   Read more .

Deep Questions Arise Over Portland's Corporate Water Takeover

Victoria Collier @ Truthout - A simmering water war is about to come to a boil over the fate of historic, well-loved public reservoirs in Portland, Oregon. At the heart of the controversy is a breakdown in public trust that reflects the dangers of corporate-led water privatization schemes in the United States and around the world. In an emotionally charged public meeting on November 18, 2014, Portland residents bombarded two of their city commissioners with questions about what they believe is a cronyism-driven plan to kill the elegant, gravity-fed, open water reservoir system... read more .

Let's Call All Terrorists "Terrorists"

Thom Hartmann @ Truthout - Earlier today, three gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people, including two policemen Although we still don't know the motive behind the attack, it seems like it was in response to Charlie Hebdo publishing cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.   Read more .

Ten Questions for Conservatives

History News Network - Now that the Republican Party―the conservative voice in mainstream U.S. electoral politics―has attained the most thoroughgoing control of Congress that it has enjoyed since 1928, it's an appropriate time to take a good look at modern conservatism. Conservatives have performed some useful services for Americans over the course of U.S. history. Alexander Hamilton placed the nation's financial credit on a much firmer basis during the late eighteenth century.  Read more .

Republicans Go After Social Security on Very First Day of New Congress

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - As Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik immediately remarked: "Well, that didn't take long." An attack by the Republican Party on the nation's Social Security program took less than one full working day. Included in a new set of rules passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday was a new measure making it more difficult to... read more .

Twelve dead after gunmen storm offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo

Daily Mail UK - Twelve people were killed when armed gunmen carried out a 'massacre' at the offices of a notoriously anti-Islamic magazine in Paris - including a police officer who was executed as he begged for mercy on the pavement. Two masked men brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, opening fire on staff.   Read more .

Police Violence? Body Cams Are No Solution

Shahid Buttar @ Truthout - Recent evasions of justice by the NYPD officers who killed Eric Garner prove what Americans of color have long known: Police can do anything - even murder someone in broad daylight on videotape, without provocation, using methods of force already held illegal - and get away with it.   Read more .

Family of 23yo Latino man killed by Kansas officer accuses police of brutality - The cousin of a 23-year-old man, gunned down by Wichita police on Saturday, has blamed the officers for John Paul Quintero's death, saying they "got out of the vehicle ready to kill," while the victim was allegedly weaponless. “Everybody’s upset, angry, hurt,” Alina Quintero, a family spokeswoman and cousin of John Paul “Paulie” Quintero, who died in hospital hours after the shooting... read more .

"What Would Jesus Do" Organization Defies City to Feed the Homeless

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - In 2014, BuzzFlash posted periodic commentaries on a national trend of cities prohibiting organizations and individuals from feeding the homeless. Basically, real estate developers and people living in comfortable neighborhoods regard people who are homeless as little more than urban blight, and so municipalities have increasingly been passing ordinances that outlaw providing food to individuals who cannot afford housing. A number of different nefarious strategies have also been implemented by cities to make homelessness illegal in certain areas.   Read more .

Joseph Stiglitz: Economics Has to Come to Terms With Wealth and Income Inequality

Institute For Economic Thinking - Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz has been writing about America’s economically divided society since the 1960s. His recent book, The Price of Inequality, argues that this division is holding the country back, a topic he has also explored in research supported by the Institute.  On December 4th, he chaired the eighth Institute for New Economic Thinking Seminar Series at Columbia University, in which he presented a paper, "New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth Among Individuals.” In the interview that follows, Stiglitz explores the themes of this paper, the work of Thomas Piketty, and the need for the field of economics to come to terms with the growing gulf between haves and have-nots.   Read more .

Grand Juror Sues Ferguson Prosecutor Over Darren Wilson Moratorium

Rolling Stone - The prosecutor in the grand jury case against Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is now the defendant in a lawsuit asking to lift the moratorium regarding the Wilson case. Last November, prosecutor Robert McCulloch revealed that a grand jury declined to press charges against Wilson for Brown's death.   Read more .

Dow falls over 300 points as oil prices hit new lows - The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost over 300 points as crude oil prices briefly dipped below $50 per barrel thrashing energy stocks on Monday. As of 1:21 pm ET the Dow fell by 1.82 percent losing 323 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index followed close behind 1.55 percent off losing over 36 points at 1:11 pm ET.   Read more .

Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda

Robert Parry @ Consortium News - The Reagan administration pulled right-wing media executives Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife into a CIA-organized “perception management” operation which aimed Cold War-style propaganda at the American people in the 1980s, according to declassified U.S. government records. Although some records relating to Murdoch remain classified, several documents that have been released indicate that he and billionaire Scaife were considered sources of financial and other support for President Ronald Reagan’s hard-line Central American policies, including the CIA’s covert war in Nicaragua.   Read more .

The Horrifying Reason Why Your Fruit Is Unblemished

Thom Philpott @ Bill Moyers & Company - Back in 2010, I visited a labor camp that houses some of the migrant workers who grow America’s fruit and vegetables. I found people living densely in shantylike structures made of scrap metal and cinder block, surrounded by vast fields and long rows of greenhouses. Strangers in a strange land who didn’t speak the language, hundreds of miles from home, they lived at the mercy of labor contractors who, they claimed, made false promises and paid rock-bottom wages. Like all Big Ag-dominated areas, the place had a feeling of desolation: all monocropped fields, mostly devoid of people, and lots of billboards hawking the products of agrichemical giants Monsanto and Syngenta.   Read more .

Bill Moyers' Retirement from Television "Lays Down a Challenge" for Next Generation of Journalists

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Now available online and airing on PBS stations across the country over the weekend, the final episode of the weekly commentary and news show Moyers & Company will mark the official television retirement (though not the career) of veteran journalist Bill Moyers.   Read more .

Tanisha Anderson's death ruled homicide (Ohio) - Tanisha Anderson died as a result of being physically restrained in a prone position by Cleveland police on Nov. 13, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office announced Friday. Her death was ruled a homicide. Anderson's official cause of death was ruled... read more .

Former New York Governor, Mario Cuomo Dies at 82

Associated Press - Mario Cuomo, a son of Italian immigrants who became an eloquent spokesman for a generation of liberal Democrats during his three terms as governor of New York but couldn't quite bring himself to run for president, has died. He was 82. Cuomo died Thursday of natural causes due to heart failure at his home, the same day his son Andrew started his second term as governor, according to a statement released by the administration. He was surrounded by his family.   Read more .