Sunday, January 25, 2015
Cat Johnson
SELC and Shareable Kick Off Campaign to Save Seed Sharing in the U.S.
Neil Thapar first encountered seed issues in law school when he worked with the Center for Food Safety against genetically-modified food. But it was a season spent working on an organic farm in Santa...
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Paul Connett
Incineration: Wrong Question, Wrong Answer for the 21st Century
The comeback of trash incinerators is being welcomed by the corporations that build them and the politicians who see them as a “quick-fix” to the garbage problem, but let’s be serious — they are not...
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Theodore Postol
How a Nuclear Near-Miss in ’95 Would Be a Disaster Today
ON JAN. 25, 1995 — 20 years ago today — the launch of a lone scientific rocket from a small island off the northwest coast of Norway set off Russia’s nuclear attack early warning system. As the...
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LeeAnn Hall
The Next Big Progressive Battle
On New Year’s Day, 20 states raised their minimum wages. That leaves a lot of states that aren’t increasing the minimum wage — along with the federal government. Even some of those employees who are...
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Genna Reed
New Study Pokes Hole in GMO Mosquito Plan
Few things kill one’s experience of the great outdoors like the dreaded mosquito, and in some cases, a nibble could have serious health consequences . That’s why local governments in places like the...
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James Besante
MLK's Vision and the Right to Healthcare
This past week the world celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Marches of remembrance also served as painful reminders of unhealed wounds along the lines of race in America, particularly...
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Peter Bosshard
Twelve Dams That Changed the World
Dams illustrate the brilliance and arrogance of human ingenuity. They generate one sixth of the world's electricity and irrigate one seventh of our food crops . They have flooded land areas the size...
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Russell Mokhiber
Keith Ellison Says Get Corporate Crime Money Out of Politics
Some citizen activists want to get money out of politics. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) wants to take a baby step — get corporate crime money out of politics. Ellison has introduced...
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Christopher Brauchli
Revisiting the IRS
Taxes are what we pay for civilized society. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Compania de Tobacos v. Collector The Republicans deserve credit for persistence, if not creativity. First it was the...
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Saturday, January 24, 2015
Ralph Nader
Obama’s State of the Union—Swings and Misses
The President’s State of the Union Addresses are rarely focused. They are written by numerous speechwriters and put through many drafts, each reflecting the urgings by interested parties to have...
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Laura Flanders
NATO Chief Unfit To Quote?
It tells you something about what’s laughingly called the public debate, when the most dovish voice on the questions of terrorism and war comes from a leader of the military industrial complex. Jens...
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John Hanrahan
Sterling Prosecution Long on Rhetoric, Short on Evidence
To hear the prosecution side tell it in the ongoing trial of Jeffrey Sterling, the former CIA officer who is accused of a national security leak involving Iran, Sterling has potentially (emphasis on...
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Wenonah Hauter
Opportunity for Some, Favoritism to Corporate Interests
Once again, dark money ruled on Election Day 2014 when a slew of die-hard reactionaries swept into office, their victories clinched by donations from a small group of selfish big money donors. These...
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Brian Fitzpatrick
From Detroit to Dublin, A Fight for the Right to Water
It’s lunchtime at a quiet bar and restaurant by Dublin’s River Liffey, and a man in his thirties walks in holding a copy of his résumé. He wants to leave it for management to look over. “Sorry, waste...
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Claire Goldstene
Beyond Raising the Minimum Wage
Tired of waiting for Congress to act, campaigns to raise the minimum wage are enjoying success in states and municipalities across the country. From Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland to South...
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Jeff Bryant
Democrats Should Listen To What Senator Whitehouse Said About Education Policy
A curious thing happened this week on Capitol Hill: A politician said something about education that made sense. The “something” didn’t come from President Obama. In the president’s annual State of...
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Friday, January 23, 2015
Sandra Fulton
Hearings Highlight Congressional Efforts to Undermine Net Neutrality
These are treacherous days for Net Neutrality. Though the FCC has scheduled a vote on new rules for Feb. 26 — and is signaling it will go our way — opponents in Congress are scrambling to derail the...
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Dave Clennon
'Homeland': Legitimizing Torture, Lies and Killer Drones
The Screen Actors Guild has nominated Claire Danes of “Homeland” for its Best Actress Award. It has also nominated Danes, Mandy Patinkin and the rest of the “Homeland” cast for the Outstanding...
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Lili Dodderidge
The Absence of Poverty in the State of the Union
President Obama gave his sixth State of the Union address this past Tuesday. While there is much to be said about the slow but steady improvement of our economy, it was disappointing to see the...
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Harvey Wasserman
Ohio’s Anti-Green Suicide
Swing state Ohio is plunging ever deeper into the fossil/nuke abyss. Its Public Utilities Commission may soon gouge the public for $3 billion (BILLION!) to subsidize two filthy 50-year-old coal...
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Murtaza Hussain
Saudi Arabia’s Tyrant King Misremembered as Man of Peace
After nearly 20 years as de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah ibn-Abdulaziz al-Saud died last night at the age of 90. Abdullah, who took power after his predecessor King Fahd...
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Mark Weisbrot
In Syriza, Greece Has a Real Choice
Here we go again. There is talk of Greece exiting the euro, and the German government has tried to say that it would be no big deal for Europe, then apparently walked back from that position. At the...
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Marcy Wheeler
The Sterling Closing Arguments: Who Is the Hero, Who Is the Storyteller?
“Jeffrey Sterling was the hero of Risen’s story,” prosecutor Eric Olshan finished his closing argument in the Jeffrey Sterling trial. “Don’t let him be the hero of this one.” “They are patriots,”...
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Donna Smith
When Your Health Is a Business the System Is Sick
A new year begins. The competition for my health care spending dollars shifts. I pivot from just the usual payment plans, monthly out-of-pocket bill payments, and payment of my premiums to health...
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Neve Gordon
Drones and the New Ethics of War
This Christmas small drones were among the most popular gift under the tree in the U.S. with manufacturers stating that they sold 200,000 new unmanned aerial vehicles during the holiday season. While...
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Sandra Steingraber
How We Banned Fracking in New York
[EcoWatch editor’s note: A thousand anti-fracking activists rallied outside of Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address in Albany yesterday to celebrate the statewide ban on fracking , thank...
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Naomi Klein
Message to the UK: The Fracking Bridge is Already Burning
On a week-long trip to the UK last fall, I was struck by how quickly the push to open up the country to fracking has been escalating. Thankfully, activists are mounting a vigorous and creative...
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Kathy Kelly
My Future in Prison
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,...
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Thursday, January 22, 2015
Robert Parry
Congress Seeks Netanyahu’s Direction
Showing who some in Congress believe is the real master of U.S. foreign policy, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session and offer...
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Robert Dodge
3 Minutes to Midnight
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has just announced its latest nuclear Doomsday Clock moving ahead the minute hand to three minutes till midnight. The clock represents the count down to zero in...
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Tom Engelhardt
More and War: The Tao of Washington
When it comes to the national security state, our capital has become a thought-free zone. The airlessness of the place, the unwillingness of leading players in the corridors of power to explore new...
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Heidi Williamson
Roe Should Be a Reality for All, Not Just for a Wealthy Few
Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. The decision did not simply affirm a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, it...
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Medea Benjamin
Federal Prison Sentence Begins for Anti-Drone Activist
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...
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Sandra Steingraber
200 Arrests in Ongoing Seneca Lake Uprising
Jim Connor, 83, was not among the 20 protesters arrested on Monday afternoon as part of the latest human blockade at the entrance gates of Crestwood Midstream two miles north of Watkins Glen, New...
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Amy Goodman
Imagine Something Different
“Imagine if we did something different.” Those were just seven words out of close to 7,000 that President Barack Obama spoke during his State of the Union address. He was addressing both houses of...
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Robert C. Koehler
We're Killing Us: On a War in Two Directions
“Sometimes they have drug and alcohol problems and when they feel that the VA is ignoring them, not answering the phone, failing to return calls for assistance or there are long wait times, they get...
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Norman Solomon
Leak Trial Shows CIA Zeal to Hide Incompetence
Six days of testimony at the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling have proven the agency’s obsession with proclaiming its competence. Many of the two-dozen witnesses from the Central...
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Kshama Sawant
The Socialist Response to Obama's State of the Union
On January 20, 2015 Socialist Alternative member and Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant gave the #SocialistResponse to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address. The text of the speech...
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Michael Winship
In SOTU, President Punts on Income Inequality
Much of the buildup to President Obama’s State of the Union address made it sound as if he was going to read chapter and verse from French economist Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the 21st Century...
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Brendan Fischer
5 Years after Citizens United, Democracy Is for Sale
This week, Republican presidential hopefuls like Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul will travel to an exclusive resort near Palm Springs, Florida to kiss the rings of David...
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Scott Beauchamp
Constrained Debate and Distractions at the SOTU
David Hume wondered how it is that the many come to be governed by the few—it seems more logical that it should be the other way around. He came to the conclusion that it was elite opinion,...
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Annie Leonard
Climate Leadership Will Only Come from Us
As a lifetime advocate for the planet, I look to the State of the Union address for signals about how the President will act in the coming year. This time, as ever, I listened keenly for good news on...
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Karen Hansen-Kuhn
We’re Fed Up! 50,000 in Berlin Say No to TTIP
We are hearing more and more news from Europe that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is running into stiff head winds, and I had the pleasure of seeing this growing storm of...
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Giorgio Cafiero
The Death Sentence That Could Inflame Sectarian Tensions Across The Middle East
Last October, Saudi Arabia’s Special Criminal Court sentenced Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr — a popular Shi’ite cleric and outspoken political dissident — to death. This was not an ordinary criminal...
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Dimitris Bounias
Syriza Rising
The headquarters of the Greek left-wing party Syriza is a small, drab, gray building on a corner of Eleftherias Square in downtown Athens. Only the party’s banner and a small police presence outside...
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Jim Naureckas
What Corporate Media Don't Want You to Know About Joni Ernst
"Meet Joni Ernst, The Republican Senator Responding to Obama's State of the Union Address," offered ABC News ( 1/20/15 ). After ABC 's introduction, you'll know that she's "the first woman to ever...
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Cindy Sheehan
Casey vs. Kyle: On Bloodlust, Loss, and Wars of Choice
"I only wish I had killed more." –Navy Seal and "American Sniper", Chris Kyle “I can’t kill anyone.” –US working-class soldier before his short deployment to Iraq, Casey Sheehan This is something...
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Laura Flanders
If People Were Pipelines
The UN has called on Nigeria to restore law and order in the northeast and investigate mass killings alleged to have been carried out in the past few weeks by the militant group, Boko Haram. Boko...
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Fran Quigley
Haitian Cholera Victims Undaunted by Court Ruling of UN Immunity
Earlier this month, on the eve of the 5th anniversary of Haiti’s tragic earthquake, a U.S. District Court judge ruled against Haitians’ class action suit asking the United Nations to take...
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Bill Moyers
Republicans and Wall Street Say to Hell With Protecting the Public!
Since December, Congress has twice passed measures to weaken regulations in the Dodd-Frank financial law that are intended to reduce the risk of another financial meltdown. In the last election cycle...
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Nick Turse
The Golden Age of Black Ops: Special Ops Missions Already in 105 Countries in 2015
In the dead of night, they swept in aboard V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Landing in a remote region of one of the most volatile countries on the planet, they raided a village and soon found...
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Kathy Kelly
Inside the Uniform, Under the Hood, Longing for Change
From January 4 – 12, 2015, Witness Against Torture (WAT) activists assembled in Washington D.C. for an annual time of fasting and public witness to end the United States' use of torture and...
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Glyn Moody
Troubled TTIP Isn't the Only 'Trade' Takeover Busting Our Sovereignty
Billed as the biggest trade agreement ever, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is in trouble. Started in July 2013, negotiators hoped to have it wrapped up by the end of 2014. The...
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Jay Walljasper
11 Reasons Why Transit, Bikes & Walking Are Moving Us To a Brighter Future
According to the pundits and prophets who dominate the media, the future of transportation is all figured out for us. Cheaper gas prices mean we can still count on our private cars to take us...
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Norman Solomon
Why the CIA Is So Eager to Demolish Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling
Midway through the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, one comment stands out. “A criminal case,” defense attorney Edward MacMahon told the jury at the outset, “is not a place where the CIA...
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Benjamin Dangl
Why the US is the Biggest Threat to World Peace
Like a lot of Americans, each morning in elementary and high school, I had to stand up before the U.S. flag, put my hand on my heart, and pledge allegiance to the United States of America. While it...
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Jeanette Bonifaz
The Agents of Unregulated Globalization vs. the Agents of the Fight against Climate Change
Experts have argued for some time that small farms can play an important role in the struggle against climate change and that governments should prioritize strengthening and protecting small and...
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Monday, January 19, 2015
Robert Reich
The New Compassionate Conservatism and Trickle-Down Economics
Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are zeroing in on inequality as America’s fundamental economic problem. Bush’s new Political Action Committee, called “ The Right to Rise ,” declares “the income gap is real...
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Danielle Belton
#ReclaimMLK Seeks to Combat the Sanitizing of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy
Martin Luther King Jr. had more than “a dream,” but you might not notice that on Monday during observances for his birthday. Somewhere between his assassination and today began an MLK-neutering...
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Martin Luther King, Jr
Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City: I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other...
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Brent Patterson
What Does the Falling Price of Oil Mean for the Pipelines We Oppose?
Will the falling price of oil affect the construction of the proposed Energy East, Trans Mountain, Northern Gateway and other pipelines? What are the economics of pipelines with multi-billion dollar...
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James Carroll
Obama Has Become a Figure of American Disappointment
When President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the nation will implicitly consider the state of the president himself. Six years ago, he was defined by the word “...
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Eric Darier
Across Europe and Beyond, Food Movement on the March
I joined the march against agribusiness in Berlin on Saturday, 17 January. It is too easy to be blasé about yet another demonstration. However, the large turnout of tens of thousands of people of all...
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Winnie Byanyima
Rising Inequality and Climate Change: The Defining Challenges for Global Leaders in 2015
Significant progress has been made in the last decade. Global poverty rates are falling. Child and maternal mortality rates are down, many more children are in school, and the total number of people...
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Maya Schenwar
When Your Home Is Your Prison
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...
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Chris Hedges
‘You Have a Mother’
BROOKLYN, N.Y—Lola Mozes’ childhood came to an end in the fall of 1939 at a small bridge in Poland. She was 9—seated in a horse-drawn wagon, her back propped against her family’s silver Sabbath...
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Robert Kuttner
The Politics of Gesture
Looking forward to Tuesday's State of the Union address, we are seeing a somewhat bolder Barack Obama. The White House has already pre-announced or leaked several "fourth-quarter initiatives," in the...
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Paul Buchheit
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...
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Sunday, January 18, 2015
Jonathan Rosenblum
100 Years Old: The Story Behind ‘Solidarity Forever’
On a windblown, gray Chicago day exactly 100 years ago today, Ralph Chaplin left his home on the city’s South Side for a raucous poor people’s rally at Hull House, the famed settlement house co-...
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Anna Bergren Miller
Utility 3.0: How to Democratize Energy in the US
Among those concerned with the United States' energy future—including, increasingly, the utility companies themselves—the business model known as "Utility 2.0" appears as a beacon of hope. Utility 2...
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Saree Makdisi
How 'Je suis Charlie' Makes Matters Worse
he public response to the massacre of journalists at Charlie Hebdo has been articulated as a gesture of solidarity: “Je suis Charlie.” It has been chanted by marchers in the Place de la Republique,...
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Yohuru Williams
With Public Schools Under Attack, What Would Martin Say?
This year marked the fiftieth anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in US history. It...
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Jeremy Varon
Fighting Racism and Torture from Ferguson to Guantánamo
On January 12, in the cramped entrance of D.C. Metro Police headquarters, Witness Against Torture addressed a phalanx of officers in song: “We remember all the people / The police killed / We can...
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Pierre Tristam
When Bigots Hide Behind Religious Freedom
On January 6, a day before the massacre of the Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed fired Kelvin Cochran as fire chief and boss of 1,000 employees. Evangelicals have accused the...
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Jonathan Latham
How the People Can Outwit the Global Domination Plans of Agribusiness
The strategic centerpiece of Monsanto PR is to focus on the promotion of one single compelling idea. The idea that they want you to believe in is that only they can produce enough for the future...
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Christopher Brauchli
Saudis and Satire
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. —Voltaire Meanwhile, back in Saudi Arabia. . . . For a brief time it seemed that our friends and allies, the Saudis, might...
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Lorne Stockman
Oil Industry Agrees: Keystone Not Just Political
While certain mainstream media outlets speculate on the ‘symbolic’ nature of the protracted battle over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the tar sands industry itself is clear that pipeline access...
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Saturday, January 17, 2015
Joyce Hamilton Henry
Why Real People Should Not Be Target Practice for Police
The pictures of six black men stared back at me from the screen, the images of their faces shredded by bullet holes. It seemed like some kind of sick threat, but it was the work of a Florida police...
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Richard Falk
Pope Francis, Salman Rushdie and Charlie Hebdo
There is some common ground, but not much. The killings in Paris last week were horrifying crimes that expose the vulnerability of democratic societies to lethal vigilante violence, whether...
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Marian Wright Edelman
Celebrating Dr. King Through Service
"If you want to be important--wonderful. If you want to be recognized--wonderful. If you want to be great--wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a...
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Ralph Nader
Credit Suisse: Big Crimes Become Big Business
In May of 2014, financial firm Credit Suisse AG pled guilty to serious criminal charges. The giant bank aided and assisted approximately 22,000 wealthy U.S. taxpayers (whose names Credit Suisse AG...
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William Cohn
Insult to Injury: A Tortuous Spin Cycle on US Torture
The long and winding road of headline news leads us to ignorance and docility. Consider the past month, in which the lead news item has shifted from U.S. government systemic use of torture and lies...
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Chris Kromm
From Selma to Citizens United: The Contested Struggle for One Person, One Vote
On Jan. 19, our country celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., half a century after his work -- chronicled in the recent Oscar-nominated movie "Selma" -- helped inspire passage of the...
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Robert Shetterly
The Time Has Come For Local Agriculture
Editor's note: The artist's essay that follows accompanies the 'online unveiling'—exclusive to Common Dreams—of Shetterly's latest painting in his " Americans Who Tell the Truth " portrait series,...
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Gareth Porter
Local Syria Ceasefires: The Way Out of a US Policy Dead End?
US contradictions between the Obama administration’s policy in Syria and realities on the ground have become so acute that US officials began last November discussing a proposal calling for support...
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Friday, January 16, 2015
Seumas Milne
Paris is a Warning: There Is No Insulation from Our Wars
The official response to every jihadist-inspired terrorist attack in the west since 2001 has been to pour petrol on the flames. That was true after 9/11 when George Bush launched his war on terror,...
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Jeff Bryant
Why The Test Debate Is About Politics, Not Education
Here’s how ridiculous the nation’s obsession with standardized testing has gotten: Last week Education Week reporter Catherine Gewertz came across a news item about a school in Florida that “forbid...
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Marcy Wheeler
FBI's James Comey Bullies NYT to Stop Publishing Anonymous Claims about Drone Killings
Best as I can tell, the FBI Director has officially told the NYT to stop republishing anonymous government claims about drone strikes anymore. “Your decision to grant anonymity to a spokesperson for...
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Juan Cole
Top 7 Things to Know about Belgium Police Operation That Left 2 Dead
Belgian police launched a counter-terrorism operation on Thursday in the eastern city of Verviers (pop. 56,000) near the German border. Verviers is one of the towns in Belgium that has a large number...
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Nathalie Baptiste
Haiti’s Political Earthquake
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...
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Sonali Kolhatkar
Hypocrisy Abounds: Free Speech as Cover for Islamophobia
A magazine that most people outside France had never heard of before Jan. 7 now has legions of followers and fans around the world. The dominant narrative that has emerged from the horrific massacre...
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Norman Solomon
Race, Leaks and Prosecution at the CIA
Condoleezza Rice made headlines when she testified Thursday at the leak trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling — underscoring that powerful people in the Bush administration went to great...
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John LaForge
Hansel and Gretel at the Military Recruiter
Military recruiters must feel like Hansel and Gretel’s “wicked witch,” fattening up the children to eat them. With sexual violence, endless wars of occupation, fatalities, brain trauma, permanent...
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Thursday, January 15, 2015
Marcy Wheeler
The Sterling Trial: Merlin Meets Curveball
“Very often you get a curveball thrown at you.” When Bob S, a longtime CIA operations manager working on Weapons of Mass Destruction described the ambiguity common on CIA operations as getting a “...
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Trita Parsi
The Senate's Gift to ISIS: Sanctions on Iran
The Islamic State has many enemies and very few friends. But sometimes, even declared enemies of the Caliphate (or ISIS) can lend it a helping hand. That is essentially what is happening now as...
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Jules Boykoff
Boston Beware: The Olympics Are a Destroyer of Cities
When the United States Olympic Committee’s board of directors met in Denver last week, they voted to catapult Boston into the international competition for the 2024 Summer Olympics. For the past 16...
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Peter Van Buren
'Open for Business' American-Style: The Military-Industrial Complex in Iraq
The current American war in Iraq is a struggle in search of a goal. It began in August as a humanitarian intervention, morphed into a campaign to protect Americans in-country, became a plan to defend...
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Rebecca Vallas
Social Security Disability Insurance: A Primer for Rand Paul (and Everyone Else)
Well, that was fast. Congress hasn’t been back even two weeks, and the conservative attacks on Social Security are already in full swing. As ThinkProgress reported last week, House conservatives...
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Robert Borosage
The Empty Center: Challenge and Opportunity for Progressives
Legislators in the new Congress haven’t even cut the curtains for their offices, but it is already clear that the right has no clue and the “center” offers no hope. Republican Mitch McConnell, newly...
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Michael Winship
You Have the Right to Remain Obnoxious
Here in New York City, the past few weeks have been fraught. First, in early December, protesters took to the streets to protest a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict a policeman...
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