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Showing posts from June, 2015

Greece defaults on debt repayment as bailout expires

Boston Globe - Greece slipped deeper into its financial abyss after the bailout program it has relied on for five years expired at midnight Tuesday and the country failed to repay a loan due to the International Monetary Fund. With its failure to repay the roughly 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF, Greece became the first developed country to fall into arrears on payments to the fund. The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.   Read more.

Charleston Massacre Forces White Nationalists Out of the Shadows

Bill Berkowitz @ Truthout - In the week since Charleston, white nationalist leaders are trying to dial back the hate speech, becoming unusually silent. Groups such as the National Alliance, the National Socialist Movement and the National Policy Institute have eschewed making any comments at all. Others, including Stormfront, American Renaissance and the Vanguard News Network, haven't issued any official statements, though their websites are filled with hate speech supporting Roof's act.   Read more .

Joseph Stiglitz to Greece’s Creditors: Abandon Austerity Or Face Global Fallout

Time Magazine - A few years ago, when Greece was still at the start of its slide into an economic depression, the Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz remembers discussing the crisis with Greek officials. What they wanted was a stimulus package to boost growth and create jobs, and Stiglitz, who had just produced an influential report for the United Nations on how to deal with the global financial crisis, agreed that this would be the best way forward. Instead, Greece’s foreign creditors imposed a strict program of austerity. The Greek economy has shrunk by about 25% since 2010. The cost-cutting was an enormous mistake, Stiglitz says, and it’s time for the creditors to admit it.   Read more .

Freedom Flotilla III: Activists Sail to Break Gaza Blockade

Savatores Babones: Everybody should get ten paid sick days, ten paid holidays, and ten paid vacation days as a bare minimum

'We Can't Wait Any Longer': Activist Removes Confederate Flag from SC Statehouse

Nadia Prupis @ Common Dreams - An activist and youth organizer named Bree Newsome climbed the flagpole in front of the South Carolina capitol in Columbia early Saturday morning and pulled down the Confederate flag still flying on Statehouse grounds, telling media, "we can't wait any longer." Newsome, 30, of Charlotte, was about halfway up the 30-foot flagpole when police demanded she climb back down... read more .

In Bernie Sanders, an unlikely — but real — threat to Hillary Clinton

Washington Post - At the first glimpse of the rumpled 73-year-old senator from Vermont, the standing-room-only crowd at a historic inn here Sunday morning erupted — leaping up, waving signs and breaking into chants of “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie!” The scene has become a familiar one as Bernie Sanders makes a most unexpected surge in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.   Read more .

Think California’s Drought Is Bad? Try Palestine’sThink California’s Drought Is Bad? Try Palestine’s

Laith Shakir @ Common Dreams - California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, prompting Governor Jerry Brown to declare a water “state of emergency.” Ordinary Californians are bearing the brunt of this disaster. While the governor has imposed restrictions to reduce residential water consumption, businesses in... read more .

China Blasts US for 'Brazen' Human Rights Abuses at Home and Abroad

Deidre Fulton @ Common Dreams - In a report that covers everything from police violence to income inequality to government surveillance, China has blasted the United States for its "grim problems of racial discrimination," use of "cruel tortures indiscriminately," and "terrible human rights record." The lengthy report, carried by the official Xinhua news agency and issued on Friday in response to U.S. criticism of China's human rights record, says the U.S. is "haunted by spreading guns," while suffering from "serious racial the police and justice systems."  Read more.

Google’s Cars are Now Smarter, and Slower

MIT Technology Review - If you find yourself stuck behind a car driving at excruciatingly slow speeds around Silicon Valley in the coming weeks, there may be little point honking your horn. Google has started testing its latest prototype automated vehicles around Mountain View. The odd-looking little vehicles top out at... read more .

Mississippi private prisons hold inmates longer, without reducing crime - Private prisons in Mississippi routinely extend inmate’s sentences by two to three months to leverage extra costs from the state, a new study found. However, the extended prison stays are having no effect on crime reduction. The first-of-a-kind study from the University of Wisconsin compared time served by inmates in public and private prisons in Mississippi, between 1996 and 2004, to determine whether private prisons were more cost effective and whether they were leading to lower crime rates through rehabilitation programs.   Read more .

Love Wins! Today Is a Historic Day for Equality

Chase Santiago  @ Speak Freely/ACLU - June 26, 2015. Twelve years to the day after the Supreme Court struck down bans on sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas. Two years to the day after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor. Today, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that states may not deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples and must recognize same-sex couples' existing marriages.  Read more .

Monsanto's Covert War on European Food Security

New Eastern Outlook - Working quietly on the back of political turmoil driven by Western special interests (including itself) Monsanto has begun literally planting the seeds of genetically modified organisms' spread throughout Europe, starting in Ukraine and working westward toward the European Union thanks to a slowly but surely softening by regulators regarding GMOs, despite their widespread unpopularity.   Read more.

Electronic Voting Fraud

Bob Fitrakis and Henry Wasserman @ Truthout - The way our electoral process now stands, electronic voting machines guarantee a Republican victory in 2016. No matter what she does, Hillary Clinton - or any other Democratic nominee - cannot be elected without a fundamental change in the basic mechanics of how our votes are cast and counted.   Read more.

Torture Is Already Illegal, So Why "Ban" It?

Adam Hudson @ Truthout - The US Senate voted by a high margin to ban the use of torture on June 16. The bill is an amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual defense policy measure. It passed 78-21 but the entire bill currently remains in the Senate. Leading the effort was Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Arizona) who coauthored the bill with Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-California). The bill is a departure from the CIA's torture program during the Bush administration. However, it is also a redundant measure: Torture is already illegal under US and international law.   Read more.

Pentagon rewrites ‘Law of War’ declaring ‘belligerent’ journalists as targets - The Pentagon has released a book of instructions on the “law of war,” detailing acceptable ways of killing the enemy. The manual also states that journalists can be labeled “unprivileged belligerents,” an obscure term that replaced “enemy combatant.” The 1,176-page “Department of Defense Law of War Manual” explains that shooting, exploding, bombing, stabbing, or cutting the enemy are acceptable ways of getting the job done, but the use of poison or asphyxiating gases is not allowed.   Read more .

An Explaination: Why Corporate Media Refuses "Terrorist" Label for Dylan Roof

Jim Naureckas @ FAIR - Corporate media are demonstrably reluctant to use the word “terrorist” with regards to Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof–even though the massacre would seem to meet the legal definition of terrorism, as violent crimes that “appear to be intended…to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Generally, news outlets don’t explain why they aren’t calling Roof a terrorist suspect; they just rarely use the word.   Read more.

Student Protests Forces Columbia University to Divest from Prisons

Nadia Prupis @ Common Dreams - Columbia University on Monday announced that it would divest from the private prison industry and ban reinvestment in companies that operate prisons, making it the first college to cut ties with a system that student activists say is racist, exploitative, and unjust. The announcement follows 16 months of campaigning by the prison abolitionist group Students Against Mass Incarceration... read more.

New York Times staff mimicked mass killings in leaked photos - Two leaked photographs show top New York Times staff in poses making fun of mass killings shortly after they happened. An unnamed former New York Times employee provided Gawker with the photos, which were then published on Tuesday. They show an apparent disconnect between the NYT image of decorous professionalism and literal images of staff making light of mass death.   Read more.

Children of Smog in Delhi

International Banking Cartel Develops New Methods of Legal Blackmail

Mike Krauss @ - Late last year, the heads of state of the G20, the developed nations, met in Brisbane, Australia. One piece of business was the advancement of new banking rules that will allow what were called the Too Big to Fail Banks, and are now called Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) to seize depositors' money to save themselves in the next crash.   Read more.

South Carolina Governor Urges Removal of Confederate Flag

LA Time s - Since its first display as a show of defiance during the civil rights era, the placement of a Confederate battle flag on the Capitol grounds in South Carolina has divided the state’s Democrats and Republicans, blacks and whites. But on Monday, Gov. Nikki Haley and other leading officials called for the flag’s removal, a striking show of unity spawned by the deaths of nine people in a black church last week during a massacre whose white suspect embraced the flag as a symbol of his racist ideology.   Read more.

War, Murder and the "American" Way

Robert C. Kohler @ Buzzflash - He sat with them for an hour in prayer. Then he pulled his gun out and started shooting. And today our national numbness is wrapped in a Confederate flag. The young man who killed nine members of Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday... read more . 

'You Have a Choice': Veterans Call On Drone Operators to Refuse Orders

Sara Lazare @ Common Dreams - Dozens of U.S. military veterans released an open letter this week urging drone operators to "refuse to fly missions" or support them in any way—and letting them know that if they say "no" to surveillance and assassination orders, there is a whole community rooting for them. "At least 6,000 peoples' lives have been unjustly taken by United States drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, the Philippines, Libya and Syria," states the letter, which was organized by... read more .

On Remembrance and Resisting Desecration

Kelly Hayes @ Transformative Spaces - On June 18, community members gathered beside the Chicago River to honor those who were killed in June 17's act of terrorism at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Amid the bustle of a heavy tourist day, in the heart of downtown Chicago, we stood together, mourned the fallen, and reaffirmed our commitment to building a world where such acts of terrorism are all but unthinkable. But there was another sense of mourning, and resistance, that also bears mentioning. One of the things that tore at me the most about what happened in Charleston was that the shooting’s Black victims welcomed their killer into their sacred space, and that their act of love and inclusiveness was so cruelly punished.   Read more .

In Face of White Supremacist Violence, Families Express Grief and Forgiveness

Common Dreams - The families of nine black people slaughtered in this week's white supremacist massacre in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday addressed the confessed killer in court—delivering emotional messages of grief, anger, love, and forgiveness. Relatives' statements came amid nationwide mourning, demands for justice, and calls to tackle the root causes of the killings: the legacy of white supremacy and racism in America.   Read more .

Julian Assange marks 3rd anniversary exiled in London’s Ecuador embassy - Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is marking three years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, which he has not left since 2012. Wanted in Sweden over sexual assault accusations and in the US over WikiLeaks revelations, he risks extradition if he leaves. Australian Assange, 43, sought asylum in the embassy as he fears that his extradition to Sweden on suspicion of rape and sexual assault may lead to his transfer to the US, where he will face trial over WikiLeaks' publication of classified US documents.   Read more.

This is American Terrorism: White Supremacy’s Brutal, Centuries-Long Campaign of Violence

Lawrence Brown @ Salon - The evidence is clear. The reports are in. There is no other conclusion. It’s 2015, and Black people in America are under a sustained and lethal terrorist attack. In North Charleston, S.C., not too far from the place where the A.M.E. terrorist attack on 9 Black church members took place, Walter Scott was shot several times in the back as he fled from police on foot, posing no immediate threat. In Staten Island, N.Y., Eric Garner was choked to death by officers as he gasped for air, exclaiming: “I can’t breathe.” In Baltimore, MD, a frightened Freddie Gray fled from Brian Rice and two other white officers on foot. By the time he was placed in the police wagon, his leg had been broken. By the final time he was removed from the wagon, three of his vertebrae had been cracked and his voice box had been crushed.   Read more.

Why Charleston Shooter Isn't Being Called A Terrorist: White Riots vs Black Protests

Shooters of Color Are Called 'Terrorists' and 'Thugs.' Why Are White Shooters Called ‘Mentally Ill'?

Anthea Butler @ Washington Post - Police are investigating the shooting of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as a hate crime committed by a white man. Unfortunately, it’s not a unique event in American history. Black churches have long been a target of white supremacists who burned and bombed them in an effort to terrorize the black communities that those churches anchored. One of the most egregious terrorist acts in U.S. history was committed against a black church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. Four girls were killed when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, a tragedy that ignited the Civil Rights Movement.  Read more.

Happy Birthday Tupac Shakur: Unraveling the Politics of His Life and Assassination

One in Every 122 Humans Forcibly Displaced by War and Persecution

Sara Lazare @ Common Dreams - As wars and persecution escalate worldwide, one out of every 122 people on the planet is a refugee, seeking asylum, or internally displaced, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported Thursday. Taken together, this population of humans wrenched from their homes by violence would constitute the 24th largest country in the world.   Read more .

Some Things Are Worth Fighting For

Eternity @ - There are things worth than death. And in these dark days when the only options for political leadership at the highest levels are sycophants for the mega-rich, candidate #1 and #2, also known as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush—when the nation’s voting machines are owned by private companies with proprietary software that cannot be reviewed by the people, when the price for being president costs over a billion dollars—it behooves us to take any measure necessary to avoid being lulled into silence or cynicism as this battle for our national soul continues to unfold.   Read more.

Guilty of Killing Journalists, Israel Mocks Foreign Correspondents in Gaza

Sara Lazare @ Common Dreams  - On Monday provoked the outrage of journalists and human rights campaigners alike when its foreign ministry released a short, animated video mocking foreign correspondents reporting from Gaza. Critics say the video is especially offensive given Israel's history of repressing, harassing, and killing journalists, particularly in last summer's 50-day military assault on Gaza.   Read more .

The Wild Ride of President-Elect Bernie Sanders

Chris Walker @ Common Dreams - Kilombero Plantations Ltd (KPL) is no ordinary rice farm. Based in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania, the company owns a 5,800 hectare plantation and buys rice from local farmers. Not only is it now the largest rice producer in East Africa, it’s become a flagship for international backers hoping to prove that corporations can deliver economic development for communities.  Read more .

Italy threatens EU: 'Sort out migrant mess you caused or get hurt’ - Rome has warned of retaliatory measures unless the EU changes its asylum policies to make them more in “solidarity” with Italy, which continues to struggle with an enormous inflow of mostly North African migrants. “If the European Council chooses solidarity, then good. If it doesn’t, we have a Plan B ready but that would be a wound inflicted on Europe,” Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said, without elaborating on the details.   Read more.

Associated Press Publishes Hit Job on Tamir Rice

Barbara Morrill @ Daily Kos - You are all familiar with this story. A young boy is playing in the park, a police car pulls up and in less than two seconds, 12-year old Tamir Rice is on the ground, bleeding from what would prove to be a fatal gunshot wound. For more than six months the investigation(s) into this videotaped killing has languished. Now, coincidentally, two days after a judge found probable cause that the police officer who shot Rice should face murder charges, and the Associated Press was presented with the opportunity to run a hit job on ... Tamir Rice. And, boy, oh boy, did they run with it.   Read more.

AIPAC Crushed in House Trade Vote

Robert Naiman @ Truthout - So, here's the trade policy news for peace advocates. On Friday, the pro-war lobbying organization AIPAC was defeated on the floor of the US House of Representatives by a vote of 126 to 302. Among Democrats, 40 supported the pro-AIPAC position and 144 opposed it. Among Republicans, 86 supported the pro-AIPAC position and 158 opposed it.   Read more.

An American Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates

After Katrina, the Residents of New Orleans Saved Themselves

Roberta Brandes Gratz @ Nations Books (excerpt) - Nothing defines New Orleans better than the Live Oak trees that line its streets, grace its parks, provide shade and shelter during the relentlessly hot summers, and buffer storm winds. The leafy long branches of the curbside trees spread horizontally so far across the street toward each other that they form lush canopies of green, adding an elegant aura to even the most downtrodden rows of houses. The green lasts all winter. In the spring, new leaves emerge as old ones fall; thus the term Live, which distinguishes them from other oaks that remain leafless and dormant in winter. As they grow, twisting and turning in the winds, the Live Oaks gain their strength by anticipating the way the winds blow and adapting to the fierce changes in weather.   Read more.

McKinney Cop Defenders Are Ugly, Racist & Worse Than You Think

UN Peacekeepers in Haiti Force Girls to Trade Sex for Food, Medicine

Cleveland Judge Recommends Charges for Police Who Killed Tamir Rice

Deidre Fulton @ Common Dreams - A judge in Cleveland on Thursday found probable cause that police officer Timothy Loehmann should face murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty charges in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last November. The judge also ruled that probable cause exists to charge Loehmann's partner, officer Frank Garmback, with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.   Read more.

Sanders to Clinton: The Time to Come Clean on TPP, Fast Track is 'Right Now'

Deidre Fulton @ Common Dreams - With former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about to formally kick off her presidential campaign with a rally in New York this weekend, rival for the Democratic nomination Bernie Sanders is demanding she make her positions on critical issues—especially pending trade agreements—more clear. At a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Sanders said he is "offended by Mrs. Clinton’s silence on trade and urged her to... read more .

Kalief Browder, Albert Woodfox and the Torture of Solitary Confinement

Amy Goodman @ Common Dreams - Twelve days after his 22nd birthday, Kalief Browder wrapped an air-conditioner power cord around his neck and hanged himself. In 2010, at the age of 16, he was arrested after being accused of stealing a backpack. He would spend three years in New York City’s Rikers Island prison, more than two of those years in solitary confinement. He was beaten by prison guards and inmates alike. He was not serving a sentence; he was in pretrial detention. He declined all plea bargains. He wanted his day in court, to prove his innocence.   Read more .

Black Americans and the Military: This Country Is Not to Die for

William C. Anderson @ Truthout - Black people should reconsider dying for a country that does not see fit for us to live. Since the US project began, Black people have been on the frontlines doing the work behind building, expanding and protecting this empire. This empire has never returned the favor - it has never fully recognized the humanity of or granted protection to Black people, in exchange for endless Black labor, blood, sweat and tears.   Read more .

Ezell Ford’s Shooting Death Shines Light on LAPD Brutality

Sonali Kolhatkar @ Truthdig - Just two days after Michael Brown was killed by policeman Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., 25-year-old Ezell Ford was fatally shot in South Los Angeles by two officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. Ford had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and was well known to residents of the area. Police say a struggle ensued when he was confronted. Ford then was shot three times.   Read more.

Why free meals for kids is a great idea

JudyMolland @ Care2 - I'm sure I'm not the only teacher who's had students come to her in the middle of the day asking for a dollar or two, so they can buy something for lunch. Teachers in Baltimore won't have to face that anymore. Starting this week, every student in the Baltimore City Public Schools can receive free breakfasts and lunches, regardless of family income.   Read more .

On Being Poor: How Poverty Inflames and Erodes Every Aspect of Life

Katie Klabusich @ Truthout - Living on the edge is exhausting and expensive. It's also lonely and stigmatized and those of us who reside there are expected to quietly work ourselves to the bone without making eye contact so as not to inconvenience anyone. We are to shuffle along - at best a cautionary tale for the middle class and the rich, at worst a punch line for ideologically thrifty politicians and anyone needing self-esteem through comparison.   Read more.

Grannies Arrested for Protecting Arctic from Oil Drillers

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - A fearless band of grannies faced down police officers and semi-trucks early Tuesday as they led a direct action blockading the entrances to the Seattle Port terminal where the Shell Oil's Polar Pioneer drilling rig is moored. Continuing the fierce local fight at the home berth of the Arctic drilling fleet, activists used their bodies, chains, and cement-filled barrels to halt operations at the Seattle port.   Read more.

Climate Change Is Sinking Florida's East Coast

Sexually Abusing A Teen Boy Is Just Part of Dennis Hastert's Transgressions

Robert Reich (blog) - Washington has been rocked by the scandal of J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the U.S. House, indicted on charges of violating banking laws by paying $1.7 million (as part of a $3.5 million agreement) to conceal prior misconduct, allegedly child molestation.   Read more.

Green Energy Surging and you’ll never Guess Why

Juan Cole @ Informed Comment - The adoption of wind and solar for electricity generation around the world is happening at a growing pace, and the likelihood is that it will displace hydrocarbons in fifteen to twenty years (decades sooner than Big Coal, Big Oil and Big Gas expect). Here are some stories illustrating that stepped-up pace.   Read more .

John Oliver: ‘Bail Has Become a Way to Lock Up the Poor Regardless of Guilt’

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Chris Hedges @ Truthdig - The military in the United States portrays itself as endowed with the highest virtues—honor, duty, self-sacrifice, courage and patriotism. Politicians, entertainers, sports stars, the media, clerics and academics slavishly bow before the military machine, ignoring its colossal pillaging of state resources, the egregious war crimes it has normalized across the globe, its abject service not to democracy or freedom but corporate profit, and the blind, mind-numbing obedience it inculcates among its members. A lone soldier or Marine who rises up inside the system to denounce the hypermasculinity that glorifies violence and war, who exposes the false morality of the military, who refuses to kill in the service of imperial power, unmasks the military for what it is. And he or she, as Chelsea Manning has learned, swiftly pays a very, very heavy price.   Read more .

The American Spring Has Begun

Justin Akers @ Common Dreams - The American Spring is a widespread, multi-faceted movement against inequality. The goal of the American Spring is political and economic revolution. Our methods are as varied as the victims of inequality.   Read more .

Police Killing Unarmed Black People at Alarming Rate

Community-Based Alternatives to Incarceration: A Win-Win for Parents and Children

Susan Sered - A bill to create community-­based sentencing alternatives for non-­violent primary caretakers of dependent children (House Bill #1382) was filed a few months ago in Massachusetts. The mover behind this bill was Andrea James, a formerly incarcerated woman and founder of Families for Justice as Healing. According to James, the goal of the bill is “alleviating the harm to children and primary caretaker parents caused by separation due to incarceration of the parents, while reducing recidivism and strengthening family unity and communities.” Citing a report issued by Erika Kates, Ph.D, of the Wellesley Centers for Women, James emphasizes that an estimated two-thirds to three-quarters of incarcerated women in Massachusetts are mothers, over half of whom likely lived with their children prior to arrest.   Read more .

FIFA Scandal Symbolizes Driving Force of Spectacle Sports: It's About the Money

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - Professional sports have become an accelerating cycle of corporatized television spectacles. The media pumps up the events with sensational stories on the athletes, coaches and (in the case of US teams) team owners. This, in turn, results in increased readership of newspapers and news websites, as well as increased television viewership. As a result, ad revenue rises for the media, which in almost all cases are corporations.   Read more .

Woman says her brother was sexually abused by Dennis Hastert

Washington Post - A Montana woman says the FBI interviewed her last month about her allegations that her brother was sexually abused while in high school by Dennis Hastert, the wrestling coach who would become speaker of the House. Hastert was charged last week in a federal indictment that alleges he agreed in 2010 to pay $3.5 million to someone from Yorkville, the Illinois town where he taught and coached high school wrestling, so the person would stay quiet about “prior misconduct.”  Read more.

Death of college student in Georgia jail ruled homicide - The death of a college student in a Georgia jail has been ruled a homicide. The 22-year-old died from several blunt-force injuries to the head and upper body, according to the county coroner. The student was found dead in restraints on New Year's Day. Matthew Ajibade's cause of death “is listed as blunt force trauma, which was really a combination of several things that were enumerated in his autopsy report by the GBI," Chatham County coroner Dr. Bill Wessinger said.   Read more.

This LGBT Pride, Let’s Celebrate Difference Not Sameness

Laura Flanders @ Grit TV - It’s hard to imagine an American poet more celebrated than four-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Frost whose most famous poem concludes: "Two roads diverged in a wood and I —I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." When the most celebrated poet’s most well-known lines praise difference why is it that we’re so scared of it?   Read more .

‘Where’s the $500 mn?’ Red Cross promises houses for 130,000 Haitians, ’builds only 6’ - An investigation has found that the American Red Cross wasted $500 million in its bid to help Haiti, underperformed in its programs, and then tried to cover it up. Despite the NGO’s celebrated success, insider accounts point to failures. When a devastating earthquake struck the Western hemisphere’s poorest country in 2010, the American Red Cross was one of the organizations at the forefront of the humanitarian effort to rebuild it a year later, launching a multi-million-dollar effort.   Read more.

New York Times beat the drums of war an genocide against Syria

Robert Parry @ Consortium News - As the New York Times continues its descent into becoming an outright neocon propaganda sheet, it offered its readers a front-page story on Wednesday alleging – based on no evidence – that the Syrian government is collaborating militarily with the Islamic State as the brutal terror group advances on the city of Aleppo.   Read more.

Wikileaks exposes the secrets of global privitization plan with massive document dump

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - An enormous corporate-friendly treaty that many people haven't heard of was thrust into the public limelight Wednesday when famed publisher of government and corporate secrets, WikiLeaks, released 17 documents from closed-door negotiations between countries that together comprise two-thirds of the word's economy. Analysts warn that preliminary review shows that the pact, known as the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), is aimed at further privatizing and deregulating vital services... read more.

National Union of Students executive committee votes to boycott Israeli goods - The National Union of Students (NUS) has passed a motion to boycott Israeli goods in solidarity with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to exert economic pressure on Israel over its actions in Palestinian territory. The motion – an amendment of an original titled “Solidarity with Palestine” – was passed Tuesday with 19 votes in favor, 14 against and 1 abstention by the union’s elected national executive committee.   Read more .

Edward Snowden Opened The Door for NSA Reform

Trevor Timm @ Freedom of the Press Foundation - On Tuesday, the Senate passed a version of the USA Freedom Act, a bill touted by its authors as surveillance reform that will end the NSA’s mass, suspicionless collection of Americans’ personal data. Given that parts of the Patriot Act expired on June 1st, and that the government is pretending the expiration is a “crisis” rather than an opportunity, President Obama [signed the bill into law soon after]. While the bill has many significant flaws, the USA Freedom Act vote is also historic: it’s the first time since the 1970s that Congress has indicated its intention to restrict the vast powers of... read more.

Cops Growing More Aggressive Against Black People in Missouri

Glen Ford @ Black Agenda Report - New statistics from Missouri show that the racial disparity in police stops, searches and arrests of drivers was higher, last year, than at any time since the year 2000, when Missouri started keeping records. Black drivers in 2014 were 75 percent more likely than whites to be stopped by police, and 73 percent more likely to be searched.  In 2013, the year before a Ferguson, Missouri, cop killed Michael Brown, setting off the Black Lives Matter movement, Missouri was stopping Blacks 66 percent more often than they stopped whites. So, in Missouri, at least, the statistics tend to confirm the general impression among Black people that the police are becoming measurably more aggressive in their dealings with African Americans.   Read more.

Old and Broke in America?

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - A new report by the Government Accountability Office released Tuesday shows that the savings and overall financial stability of Americans older than 55 has dropped dramatically in recent decades, leaving a worrisome situation as the ranks of the elderly are set to increase even more in the years ahead.   Read more .

40 Reasons Our Jails and Prisons Are Full of Black and Poor People

Bill Quigley @ Common Dreams - The US Department of Justice (DOJ) reports 2.2 million people are in our nation’s jails and prisons and another 4.5 million people are on probation or parole in the US, totaling 6.8 million people, one of every 35 adults.  We are far and away the world leader in putting our own people in jail.  Most of the people inside are poor and Black.  Here are 40 reasons why.   Read more.

Anonymous Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond Promotes Prison Abolition From Behind Bars

Kit O'Connel @ Truthout -  Jeremy Hammond has spent two birthdays in captivity now, but his friends have promised to celebrate each one. As with many political prisoners, his supporters send him cards, but they've also invented a new tradition: turning his birthday party into political protest against his enemies. Hammond was sentenced to a decade's imprisonment in November 2013 for his part in the hack of... read more .

Introducing Caitlyn Jenner

Vanity Fair - Speaking publicly for the first time since completing gender transition, Caitlyn Jenner compares her emotional two-day photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz for the July cover of Vanity Fair to winning the gold medal for the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. She tells Pulitzer Prize–winning V.F. contributing editor and author of Friday Night Lights Buzz Bissinger, “That was a good day, but the last couple of days were better. . . . This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.”   Read more .

Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner breaks Twitter record with gender-transition announcement

NY Times - In April, Bruce Jenner spoke about her transition to woman in a television special that drew nearly 17 million viewers. On Monday, that woman revealed her new identity, appearing as Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair. The photograph of Ms. Jenner in a revealing outfit, shot by Annie Leibovitz and accompanied by the headline “Call Me Caitlyn,” immediately became a sensation on social media when the magazine posted the article online.   Read more.

San Francisco introduces advance-pay dining

San Jose Mercury News - At noon on a recent Wednesday in May, San Francisco's Lazy Bear restaurant began taking reservations for June. Just 45 minutes later, nearly every seat for the entire month was sold out. Not reserved. Sold. As in, every meal for almost every seat for an entire month bought and paid for in advance.   Read more .

Discarding the Elderly

Paul Buchheit @ Common Dreams - Elder abuse is defined as "harmful acts toward an elderly adult, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect.." Financial exploitation comes from the banking industry; neglectemanates from the halls of Congress; and emotions are stirred through the stories of impoverished seniors: Read more.