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Progressive News Digest


News


jump to Commentary Section | jump to Events and Movement News Section

DC: Transit thugs to begin random searches
Source: Agence France-Presse

“Riders on the Washington metro system were warned Thursday to expect random checks of carry-on items two days after the government disclosed the arrest of an Afghan man for allegedly threatening to bomb the system. The stepped-up security [sic] measures at the height of the Christmas shopping season also coincided with a warning by Interpol that it had received information about possible Al-Qaeda attacks in the United States and Europe.” (12/16/10)



Link: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/dc-subway-random-searches/

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Tax deal: Estate tax is new sticking point
Source: Christian Science Monitor

“An $858 billion package to cut taxes and help the long-term unemployed was unexpectedly pulled from the House Thursday, suggesting that Democratic leaders underestimated the depth of opposition to the bill as well as the possibility that House members could amend it. The development means Democratic leadership will have to work behind the scenes to shore up support for the package before bringing it back to the floor — a process that could take anywhere for a few hours to a few days, if possible.” (12/16/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2a69bj2

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MA: Health Council bottles, cups with BPA
Source: Boston Globe

“The Massachusetts Public Health Council voted unanimously yesterday to ban the sale and manufacture of baby bottles and sipping cups containing the chemical BPA, but turned aside a push by environmental activists for more sweeping restrictions on use of the chemical linked to possible health risks in children. Bisphenol A is used in a wide variety of products, including plastic bottles, children’s sipping cups, and the lining of canned food containers. Children and adults can ingest tiny amounts of BPA when they drink or eat from the containers, and studies of laboratory animals have suggested that the chemical could cause developmental problems for children if they are exposed to small quantities early in life.” (12/16/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2aes3p9

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CDCP report: Food sickens 48 million each year
Source: Washington Post

“One in six Americans every year gets sick from food, and about 3,000 people die from those illnesses, according to new data released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … The numbers mark the first time the federal government has updated the estimates for foodborne illnesses since 1999, when a landmark study known as the Mead report offered a rough calculation of the extent of food poisoning in the United States.” (12/16/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2v5h2jf

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FL: ObamaCare battleground shifts to courtroom
Source: Christian Science Monitor

“The escalating legal battle over the constitutionality of President Obama’s health-care reform law moves Thursday to Florida and to a federal judge who has already expressed skepticism about the statute. In October, US District Judge Roger Vinson dismissed four of six counts in the Florida-based lawsuit challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But in upholding two other counts, the judge appeared receptive to arguments questioning the constitutional validity of the health-care law.” (12/15/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/23vukhk

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MA: Smoker’s suit wins $71 million award
Source: Boston Globe

“In a groundbreaking decision, a Suffolk Superior Court jury yesterday found a tobacco company liable for the death of a Roxbury woman who said that, at age 9, she received free samples of Newport cigarettes in a targeted marketing campaign. The jury awarded a judgment of $50 million to the estate of Marie Evans, who, before she died of lung cancer in 2002, testified that she first received free Newports as a child, while living in the Orchard Park housing development in Boston. She smoked until her death at age 54. Her only son was awarded $21 million. Lorillard, which denied it targeted youth with free cigarettes, plans to appeal.” (12/15/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2ey9xr6

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Survey: Marijuana use still rising among US school kids

“Marijuana use continues to increase among young people in the United States, according to an annual survey of drug, alcohol, and cigarette use among US youths…. Because cigarette smoking has been declining among high school seniors, marijuana is more popular than cigarettes by some measures.” [editor’s note: Strong decline in use of a known carcinogen, to which millions are addicted; slight increases in those trying “wacky weed” (which to this date has still not been conclusively proven to harm anyone in the least) — please explain the problem! - SAT] (12/15/10)



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Dannon settles complaints over yogurt ads
Source: The Wall Street Journal

“The U.S. unit of French food giant Danone S.A. agreed to settle state and federal investigations into alleged false advertising about the health benefits of its Activia yogurt and DanActive dairy drinks for $21 million, federal officials announced Wednesday. The Federal Trade Commission said Dannon, a unit of French food and bottled waters company Danone, will drop claims that its Activia yogurt and dairy products will help prevent colds or alleviate digestive problems. The company wasn’t immediately available for comment.” [editor’s note: Umm … I learned years ago that one of the best ways to reverse acid reflux tendencies is to eat a little yogurt now and then; Dannon’s just using common wisdom as an ad-gimmick - SAT] (12/15/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2a6ryqj

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House targets DADT law with own bill
Source: Associated Press

“The House introduced a bill yesterday that would overturn the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on gays, a move intended to pressure the Senate to delay its holiday adjournment plans and take up its own repeal bill. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, and Representative Patrick Murphy, a Democrat of Pennsylvania and a veteran of the Iraq War, cosponsored the bill, and a vote was expected as early as today.” [editor’s note: Sometimes I just wonder if Congress passed a secret “don’t think, don’t have a clue” bill without telling us - SAT ] (12/15/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/29gq2w4

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US House passes “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal
Source: USA Today

“The House has easily passed a bill to repeal the policy known as ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ The vote was aimed at sending a message to the Senate, where efforts to repeal have been blocked by Republicans. The final House vote was 250-175, primarily along party lines. There were 15 Republicans who joined 235 Democrats to support the measure.” (12/15/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/27rnwam

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Moore offers his servers to host WikiLeaks docs
Source: Raw Story

“If Amazon.com won’t host leaked diplomatic cables posted by the website WikiLeaks, Michael Moore will. The liberal filmmaker and author announced in a web posting Tuesday that he had donated $20,000 to the cause of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ embattled chief who is being held in the United Kingdom on sexual offense charges and is seeking to be released on bail. ‘I support Julian, whom I see as a pioneer of free speech, transparent government and the digital revolution in journalism. His commitment to exposing the follies of government and business offers the greater society a chance to protect itself from these follies,’ Moore wrote in a web posting Tuesday.” (12/14/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/23wv6b6

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Lawsuits: The newest investment scam?
Source: Fox News

“Some call it a disturbing trend Others call it a win-win for accident victims and low to middle-income families across America who might not otherwise be able to afford to seek justice in a court of law. The issue is legal lending; to plaintiffs who don’t have the money to pay for surgery related to a claim or pay their bills while their case is tied up in court, or to law firms who can’t afford to hire expensive experts or survive a lengthy drawn-out battle with a corporate giant. Supporters say more legitimate cases are now being heard and that means more little guys are now getting an opportunity for justice. Critics say this practice leads to an increase in frivolous cases that clog courtrooms.” (12/14/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/23kwv5u

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TX: Firearms seized in Mexican drug wars traced to US
Source: Washington Post

“No other state has produced more guns seized by police in the brutal Mexican drug wars than Texas. In the Lone Star State, no other city has more guns linked to Mexican crime scenes than Houston. And in that Texas oil town, no single independent dealer stands out more for selling guns traced from south of the border than Bill Carter. Carter, 76, has operated four Carter’s Country stores in the Houston metropolitan area over the past half-century. In the past two years, more than 115 guns from his stores have been seized by the police and military in Mexico.” (12/14/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2ebeub9

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CT: Suits ask military to release rape files
Source: Associated Press

“Sexual assault pervades the military, but the Pentagon refuses to release records that fully document the problem and how it is handled, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups said in a federal lawsuit that seeks access to the records. Tens of thousands of service members have reported some form of sexual assault, harassment, or trauma in the past decade, according to the lawsuit filed yesterday in New Haven against the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.” (12/14/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2fzbj9h

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MA: Nonprofit’s political ad may have violated tax law
Source: Boston Globe

“The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the nonprofit group that has spearheaded opposition to the nation’s first offshore wind farm for nearly a decade, may have breached federal tax law by airing a radio ad critical of Governor Deval Patrick in the final days of the governor’s race, according to a Globe review of the Internal Revenue Service code and agency guidelines. The ad, which aired on five stations covering Greater Boston, the South Shore, and the Worcester area, criticized Patrick for supporting the Cape Wind energy proposal while noting that ‘the other candidates for governor’ opposed the project.” (12/14/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2wxce8n

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Census: Segregation at 100-year lows in most American cities
Source: Christian Science Monitor

“A drive through Atlanta’s older ‘intown’ residential areas quickly bears out new Census findings: That segregation by race in the US is fading in many, though far from all, American neighborhoods. Atlanta is one of several predominantly Southern and Western cities that showed a noticeable integration trend over the last five years as both middle-class blacks and whites moved into each other’s neighborhoods, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey of 10 million Americans, released Tuesday. The ACS is the largest demographic survey ever done in the United States.” (12/14/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2wdykh6

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Assange tops “Person of the Year” reader poll
Source: Time

“The man behind WikiLeaks has won the most votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll. Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Ergodan, Prime Minister of Turkey. But Assange wasn’t the winner in all aspects — Lady Gaga trounced him on Facebook, receiving 65,417 ‘likes’ on Facebook to Assange’s 45,643.” (12/113/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/26cdbhu

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Mexico: Peace march turns to drug kingpin rally
Source: Arizona Republic

“A peace march called by local authorities in western Mexico turned into a show of support for a slain drug lord Sunday, with adults and children carrying signs lauding the capo known for handing out Bibles to the poor. Hundreds of people turned out for the march in Apatzingan, the birth place of La Familia cartel leader Nazario Moreno, who was known as ‘the Craziest One’ and reputedly indoctrinated his gang members in pseudo-Christian ideology. The government says Moreno was killed in Apatzingan on Thursday in a shootout with federal police.” (12/13/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/22wgrrh

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TN: Mayor pans immigration legislation
Source: Tennessean

“Mayor Karl Dean asked Tennessee lawmakers Monday not to approve immigration-related legislation that could hurt the city’s economic development efforts. ‘I’m asking them, as the mayor of Nashville, not to do anything that will put our city and our state at a competitive disadvantage,’ Dean said in a speech to the Rotary Club of Nashville. … ‘Our hospitality industry and the success of our colleges and universities depend upon it. We need to be serious right now about jobs and prosperity and education, and we can’t do that if we tie our hands by creating a global reputation as an unwelcoming, unfriendly state.’” (12/13/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2b7268n

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SCOTUS inactive on lawyer ad curbs
Source: Christian Science Monitor

“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a … lawyer. The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the thorny issue of how far lawyers may go when seeking to attract clients through whimsical and gimmicky advertising. The action lets stand a ruling by a federal appeals court invalidating a portion of New York’s rules of professional conduct mandating how law firms in the state are to behave while advertising for new clients. The rules, adopted in 2006, had prohibited the use of nicknames, trade names, and marketing slogans that might imply an unproved ability to win cases. The rules also barred use of marketing gimmicks and other attention-grabbing techniques that do not contain objective information about legal services.” (12/13/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2f2an6y

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New theory: Saturn’s rings are remnants of moon
Source: Associated Press

“One of the solar system’s most evocative mysteries, the origin of Saturn’s rings, may be a case of cosmic murder, new research suggests. The victim: an unnamed moon of Saturn that disappeared about 4.5 billion years ago. The suspect: a disk of hydrogen gas that once surrounded Saturn when its dozens of moons were forming. The crime: the gas forced the moon to plunge into the planet, and those spectacular, colorful rings are the only evidence left. As the doomed moon made its death spiral, Saturn robbed its outer layer of ice, which then formed rings, according to a new theory published online yesterday in the journal Nature.” (12/13/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2drehzw

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Afghanistan: US relies on, then arrests, drug lord
Source: New York Times

“When Hajji Juma Khan was arrested and transported to New York to face charges under a new US narco-terrorism law in 2008, federal prosecutors described him as perhaps the biggest and most dangerous drug lord in Afghanistan, a shadowy figure who had helped keep the Taliban in business with a steady stream of money and weapons. But what the government did not say was that Juma Khan was also a longtime American informer, who provided information about the Taliban, Afghan corruption, and other drug traffickers.” (12/12/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2aod7fk

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Limits of free speech tested by off-the-cuff online remarks
Source: Associated Press

“What’s a tweet, between friends? The law says sometimes it’s a threat. One man thought he was just bantering with his pals when he joked about blowing an airport sky-high. Another was reacting to a radio phone-in when he mused about stoning a journalist to death. Because they made their throwaway comments on Twitter, both are in legal trouble. Their cases have outraged civil libertarians and inflamed debate about the limits of free speech in a Web 2.0 world. The Internet makes private jokes, tastes, and opinions available for public consumption, blurring the line between public and private in a way that has left the law gasping to keep up.” (12/12/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/24afj8y

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DADT repeal fails to make it to US Senate floor
Source: Los Angeles Times

“Despite Democratic efforts, Republicans on Thursday prevented a vote on the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, putting the repeal of a ban on gays serving openly in the military in doubt. … Republicans have vowed to block any votes until after resolving the unrelated issue of expiring tax cuts.” (12/09/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/297z9q4

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MI: DEA thugs raid legal medical marijuana grows
Source: Stop The Drug War

“Once again, this time last week in Michigan, the federal DEA has teamed up with recalcitrant state and local law enforcement in a bid to negate the will of the public and the law of the land. Heavily-armed state and federal lawmen raided a pair of medical marijuana gardens in the town of Okemos, outside Lansing, breaking windows, throwing smoke grenades, and seizing thousands of dollars worth of equipment and medical marijuana plants — all in a raid of a facility that is undeniably within the confines of Michigan’s medical marijuana law.” (12/09/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2ecl74f

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Russian official: Assange should get Nobel prize
Source: Raw Story

“An unnamed Russian official suggested Wednesday that detained WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be awarded a Nobel prize. ‘Non-governmental and governmental organizations should think of ways to help him,’ a source in the Kremlin administration told RIA Novosti. ‘Perhaps he could be awarded a Nobel prize.’ The remarks by the Kremlin official come after Assange was arrested Tuesday morning by London Metropolitan police on a warrant out of Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning. He is accused of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation, and one count of rape. … Assange claims the charges against him are politically motivated.” [editor’s note: And by all that is holy, they are! Even a cursory look at the “evidence” shows consensual sex in both cases - SAT] (12/09/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/24luoo2

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FL: State pardons Morrison for “wardrobe malfunction”
Source: Fox News

“Jim Morrison was posthumously pardoned Thursday for a 1969 indecent exposure conviction in Florida, a move a woman who said she was married to The Doors lead singer called a cheap political ploy. Morrison, a Florida native, was appealing the conviction when he was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971 at age 27. The pardon came a day after the singer would have turned 67. Outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist asked for the pardon, which the Clemency Board granted unanimously. Crist said he doubts Morrison actually exposed his penis during a rowdy March 1, 1969 concert at Miami’s Dinner Key Auditorium. He and a three-member Cabinet serve as the Clemency Board. The surviving members of The Doors supported the pardon.” [editor’s note: Crist is finally making right something that shoulda been thrown out almost 40 years ago - SAT] (12/09/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2fcxsjv

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Gulf of Maine cleanup: $3 billion, five years
Source: Associated Press

“At least $3 billion is needed over five years to restore the environmental health of the Gulf of Maine, according to a new report described as the most comprehensive ecological needs assessment ever done for the gulf. Two years in the making, the US Gulf of Maine Habitat Restoration and Conservation Plan identifies the major environmental problems in the gulf, including habitat loss, pollution, climate change, and the spread of invasive species. It also gives solutions for the problems and, for the first time, attaches a price tag to those solutions.” (12/09/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/2febu6t

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Report: Madoff friend to give back $625 million
Source: Boston Globe

“Nearly two years after Bernard Madoff’s swindle became public, one of his most enduring clients and friends, Boston philanthropist Carl J. Shapiro, has agreed to return $625 million that Madoff stole from other people and paid to him over four decades. The legal settlement, announced yesterday, is the largest so far in the Madoff case and resolves the government’s civil claims against Shapiro and his extended family. … Shapiro, 97, admitted no wrongdoing in yesterday’s settlement.” (12/08/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/26m9byo

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TN: ACLU warns schools about holiday activities
Source: Tennessean

“The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has warned school officials across the state about holiday celebrations. In a letter to the 137 public school superintendents, the group reminded them that holiday celebrations focusing primarily on one religious holiday amount to a school’s unconstitutional endorsement of religion.” [editor’s note: So does that mean Christmas decorations, without at least a menorah and a Kwanzaa headdress alongside ‘em, are now illegal in school? - SAT] (12/08/10)



Link: http://tinyurl.com/32pd8ss

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Commentary


jump to News Section | jump to Events and Movement News Section

Forgetting Bradley Manning
Source: The Nation
Author: Laura Flanders

“Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is out on bail — apparently headed for the 10-bedroom home of British former army officer Vaughan Smith, described by the Guardian as a rightwing libertarian. Assange’s lawyer joked that it would not be so much ‘house arrest as manor arrest’ while he fights extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. There’s no manor for Bradey Manning. As Glenn Greenwald noted yesterday, the alleged leaker of much of the WikiLeaks information … has been sitting in solitary confinement for seven months under torture conditions.” (12/16/10)


Link: http://www.thenation.com/blog/157175/forgetting-bradley-manning

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Health law ruling a setback for new absolutism
Source: Orange County Register
Author: Jay Ambrose

“It’s possible that Judge Henry Hudson has done something big to help save the day from a destructively overreaching government. Maybe, possibly, conceivably, the age’s new absolutism had a setback with a judge’s ruling. He saw the absurdity of thinking the Commerce Clause somehow lets the government tell you what private products you have to buy. Open that door and ‘unbridled police powers’ rush in. The judge is right, of course.” (12/16/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/36jvfe3

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Dismantling the filibuster
Source: Boston Globe
Author: Joshua Green

“Use of the filibuster — debating indefinitely as a means of preventing a vote or other action — has skyrocketed, slowing business to a crawl. Were it not for the Democrats’ decisive majorities in both houses, it’s hard to see how anything would have been accomplished. That advantage will disappear when Republicans take over the House in January. A trio of young Democratic senators is hoping to limit this chronic power to obstruct by reforming Senate rules.” (12/16/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/2wq4u8l

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Trapped in Bank of America hell
Source: Our Future Blog
Author: Mary Bottari

“George Mahoney worked and saved and built his cozy, colonial-style home in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, in 1981. … For many years, the Mahoneys paid down their relatively small mortgage with their local bank — a division of Bank of America (BofA). In 2007, they took out a second mortgage to help a daughter start a small business…. About a year after getting the second mortgage, BofA started notifying George that his payments were late. Soon they jacked his credit card interest rates from 7 percent to 28 percent. Next, they ruined his credit record…. Then one day in the fall of 2009, BofA initiated foreclosure on the house he had built and owned for 28 years. The only problem? The Mahoneys had never missed a single payment on either their first or second mortgage.” (12/16/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/37ankry

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Beware the military-religious complex
Source: The American Prospect
Author: Gershom Gorenberg

“Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi stood at a lectern last week wearing the kind of size XXL skullcap that is the social marker of Orthodox settlers, praising an army program that is the pride of Israel’s religious right. He looked slightly bashful. Ashkenazi, Israel’s military chief of staff, lives in a rather boring suburb of Tel Aviv, not a West Bank settlement. He’s not an Orthodox Jew, so he usually doesn’t wear a hat or skullcap, except for formal occasions when he puts on his military beret. As a military man, he’s officially not a politician. Then again, you don’t get appointed to head the Israel Defense Forces without a sharp sense of which way the political winds are blowing.” (12/16/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/2vozajj

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Honor Holbrooke: End war in Afghanistan
Source: In These Times
Author: Robert Naiman

“When a member of Congress dies, sometimes other members name a bill after him or her that advances some cause with which he or she identified. So, for example, we had the ‘Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act’ — Kennedy was a champion of volunteer service. This tradition has multiple effects. Of course, it honors the departed. But, like the Spanish hero El Cid, whose companions suited him up and placed him on his horse to drive off their foes, it also gives the departed one last ride into battle.” (12/16/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/2vrxfjt

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America’s dirty secret: AfPak war not winnable
Source: Freedom's Phoenix
Author: Stephen Lendman

“AfPak increasingly looks like an unwinnable quagmire, draining America’s resources. Staying the course, committing larger force levels, applying more pressure, and escalating war aren’t solutions. They’ve made conditions worse, not better. ” (12/17/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/28uo5bb

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Unplugged
Source: Slate
Author: Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West

“When do Supreme Court justices need to just sit down and be quiet?” (12/14/10)


Link: http://www.slate.com/id/2277915/

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Swedish state on trial in Assange case?
Source: The Nation
Author: Tom Hayden

“The feeling is growing among WikiLeaks watchers that ’someone is pushing Sweden,’ as one attorney says. … the original rape case against Assange was announced by a prosecutor in Stockholm in August, then immediately dropped by a higher Stockholm prosecutor, then reinstated in Gothenburg, after an enterprising lawyer apparently shopped for a friendlier jurisdiction. Bottom line: the Stockholm prosecutors, where the alleged sex offense occurred, have no apparent interest in the case. It would be as if a New York prosecutor declined a case in New York and the prosecutors sought a friendlier court in Mississippi.” (12/15/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/26b5g7c

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Five things that change everything
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Author: Mark Morford

“Wikileaks is one unprecedented, stunningly detailed explanation of just how the global diplomatic sausage gets made. And lo, it is vile sausage indeed. … What we’re learning is, this meat is more rancid, disrespectful, abusive, cruel, barbarian and childish than anyone wanted to imagine. No wonder world governments and whimpering doltbuckets like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee want this Assange guy dead. It’s because Wikileaks is just terrifically embarrassing, humiliating to the bone …” (12/15/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/249olla

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Your holiday guide to deficit reduction
Source: In These Times
Author: David Moberg

“Budget deficit mania grips the nation’s political elite. Never mind that many people are more worried about finding a job, stagnant wages, home foreclosures and the state of the Main Street economy. Pundits and politicians from moderate centrists to the Tea Party right-wingers are frantically warning that if nothing changes, federal debt in 2050 will be three times the size of annual economic output — supposed proof that the end of America as we know it is at hand if we don’t make ‘tough choices.’” (12/15/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/28ggqj4

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The last statesman
Source: The American Prospect
Author: Matthew Yglesias

“Richard Holbrooke, who died unexpectedly this week after suffering a tear in his aorta, was a celebrity diplomat whose name was known to everyone who followed politics and foreign policy. He was unique. … He was deeply involved with every Democratic president and in every presidential campaign since Jimmy Carter’s … his involvement in Barack Obama’s administration was taken as a given, the only question being the exact nature of the role. The line in Hillary Clinton’s official statement after his passing — that he was ‘one of a kind — a true statesman’ — has the distinct virtue of being true.” (12/15/10)


Link: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_last_statesman

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Flooding the world with truth
Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
Author: Doug French

“Ten years ago, this article would have been amazing. Today it is a blip on the screen. But someone out there will read it and get curious. He or she will look for more and find Mises.org. Then the change happens — that most important change in the world: the mind begins to grasp the idea of liberty. Here is an event that is more important than anything in the physical world. Repeat that experience millions and billions of times and history will conform.” (12/15/10)


Link: http://mises.org/daily/4914

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The envy and covetousness of progressives
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
Author: Jacob G. Hornberger

“Referring to the estate tax, Madoff writes: ‘This tax, first enacted in 1916, was never intended to be simply a device for raising revenue. Rather, it was meant to address the phenomenon of a small number of Americans controlling large amounts of the country’s wealth — which was considered a national problem.’ Considered a national problem? By whom?” (12/15/10)


Link: http://www.fff.org/blog/jghblog2010-12-15.asp

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Crisis junkies
Source: Slate
Author: David Weigel

“There’s nothing new about hyping a potential crisis to get political allies to sign on to your agenda. It’s just happening more frequently now, and with higher stakes, for two big reasons. The first is that Americans are growing gloomier about the future. Polls on whether the country’s on the right or wrong track have leaned toward ‘wrong track’ for roughly five years. … The second reason is that liberals and conservatives believe that the other team is trying to provoke a crisis.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://www.slate.com/id/2277970/

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The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention
Source: Salon
Author: Glenn Greenwald

“Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months — and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait — under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.” (12/15/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/28qbxqz

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Make sure to celebrate Bill of Rights Day
Source: Missourian
Author: Ken Paulson

“It’s the holiday that got away. Wednesday is the 219th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, a critical turning point in the history of this country and one that transformed this nation forever. Still, you won’t find any Bill of Rights greeting cards in local stores. It’s not that Americans are short on patriotism. In fact, we celebrate Veterans Day, Constitution Day, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Washington’s Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Independence Day.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/25zdwj2

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WikiLeaks’ real victim: Old-school code of trust
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Author: John Hughes

“The WikiLeaks dump of US embassy cables last month was a reckless act. It is a far cry from the responsible reporting on foreign affairs with which I am familiar. When I was the State Department spokesman in the Reagan administration, Bernard Kalb, then diplomatic correspondent for NBC, called me about a tip that the bad guys in Beirut, Lebanon, had captured and were holding an American CIA officer. ‘Bernie,’ I said, ‘I’ll only talk off the record about that.’ ‘No way,’ Bernie replied, ‘If it’s off the record I can’t use it.’ ‘Well, that’s the deal,’ I said. ‘See what your network says.’ The network agreed to the deal.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/2wvafna

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Can we stop pretending conservatives want to cut deficit?
Source: Our Future Blog
Author: Bill Scher

“In the past year, conservative congresspeople have claimed to oppose nearly everything on the grounds that it would increase the deficit — even when legislation was formally estimated to either cut the deficit (health care reform), have no impact on the deficit (preventing teacher layoffs) or amount to a rounding error on the deficit (unemployment insurance). And while conservatives were in charge, they launched two wars, established a prescription drug benefit run by the drug companies and slashed taxes for millionaires — all without offsetting the costs. In other words, for conservatives, it’s never been about the deficit.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/2devehx

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Good profits and “the Good War”
Source: In These Times
Author: Leonard C. Goodman

“Now in its tenth year, the war in Afghanistan is the longest in U.S. history. And as the war drags on, the situation goes from bad to worse: 2010 is the most violent year on record. The Taliban, who were largely defeated in December 2001, now control about 80 percent of the country. In the meantime, we are propping up a government in Kabul that is predatory and corrupt. We are spending about $100 billion a year to wage war in one of the poorest countries on earth. Yet our president, who assured us during the campaign that he was opposed to ‘dumb wars,’ has re-committed America to this fight for at least four more years.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/27wbqb2

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Too small to save
Source: The American Prospect
Author: Tim Fernholz

“Location is everything, especially in Chicago, where your neighborhood isn’t just where you live but who you are. Rahm Emanuel, running for mayor, can’t get any respect because he grew up in the suburbs. Barack Obama, Senate hopeful, won in part because he had liberal credibility from his home on the South Side and was able to raise money on the North Side. Politics and real estate can make an unsavory combination: More than one Chicago politician, including Obama, has found himself in hot water after accepting real-estate favors from politically interested friends.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=too_small_to_save

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Is a US-Iran nuclear deal in the works?
Source: The Nation Blog
Author: Robert Dreyfuss

“The abrupt firing of Foreign Minister Mottaki of Iran, ousted while traveling in Africa, probably doesn’t mean much for the just-resumed US-Iran talks, which restarted last week in Geneva and which are slated to resume in late January in Turkey. Mottaki was fired by President Ahmadinejad in an internal power struggle between Ahmadinejad, Iran’s parliament and various conservatives opposed to Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy, it appears. But in the ongoing nuclear talks, where Iran is represented by Saeed Jalili, the chief of Iran’s national security council, Mottaki wasn’t a big player. And Ahmadinejad, who agreed to last October’s deal to export most of Iran’s enriched uranium for processing into fuel rods, is a relative dove on this issue …” (12/13/10)


Link: http://www.thenation.com/blog/157072/us-iran-nuclear-deal-works

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An Irish form of agony
Source: Boston Globe
Author: James Carroll

“‘There’s no point in being Irish if you don’t know the world is going to break your heart eventually,’ Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed at the assassination of President Kennedy. He added, ‘I guess we thought we had a little more time.’ Moynihan’s remark might have seemed even then like an overindulgence of melancholy, yet it now captures the Irish mood as the island nation faces near-insolvency. How could we Irish ever have imagined that we were free of the doom of our fate-laden history? Loving our ride on the back of the Celtic Tiger, we just didn’t expect to be thrown off so soon.” (12/13/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/28s3gbn

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“V” for Vigilante
Source: Pro Libertate
Author: Will Grigg

“For months, Ada County Sheriff David Updyke had been investigating a secretive group of armed extremists living at the periphery of his southwest Idaho jurisdiction. When an informant provided him with a membership list of the armed band, Updyke wasted no time. He obtained arrest warrants, organized a large, heavily armed strike force, and made a beeline for the Payette River Valley. The warrants were a ruse. Updyke wasn’t planning a mass arrest; he was plotting a massacre.” (12/10/10)


Link: http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2010/12/v-for-vigilante.html

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The assault on Assange is an assault on liberty
Source: Spiked
Author: Wendy Kaminer

“Julian Assange is not Wikileaks; in other words, whether you regard him as a hero, villain, victim or egotistical malcontent, Wikileaks itself remains difficult to characterize. If it can be blamed for deterring diplomacy, derided for titillating us with diplomatic gossip, or dispensed with faint praise (by activist and writer Todd Gitlin) as the ‘Facebook of whistleblowing’, it can also be heralded for providing additional proof (if any were needed) of the gross hypocrisies and moral cowardice of the post-9/11 American security state.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10000/

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Does government secrecy make us safer?
Source: Strike the Root
Author: Cristian Gherasim

“The increase in secrecy and the inability to compromise makes government act against the very national interest it has vowed to protect.” (12/13/10)


Link: http://www.strike-the-root.com/does-governmental-secrecy-make-us-safer

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Attempts to prosecute WikiLeaks endanger press freedoms
Source: Salon
Author: Glenn Greenwald

“To criminalize what WikiLeaks is doing is, by definition, to criminalize the defining attribute of investigative journalism. That, to be sure, is a feature, not a bug, of the Obama administration’s efforts.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://salon.com/a/sJSAfAA

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Wikileaks and the cyberwars to come
Source: The New Republic
Author: David Rieff

“[T]he policy establishment is absolutely correct in worrying about Wikileaks — just not for the reasons that have usually been stated. For where Wikileaks poses a serious challenge is in its application of a technological mindset that up to now had seemed both the product of and inextricably linked to the clean, enlightened liberal capitalism of the Microsofts, Googles, Apples, and Intels of this world.” (12/14/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/32zc6wz

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Political prisoners in America
Source: Strike the Root
Author: Paul Bonneau

“The stereotypical political prisoner is not the conservative activist, rotting in a Cuban jail. It is a pot smoker, or the guy with a worn sear in his AK-47, rotting in an American jail. With 2.3 million people in jail, largely for mala prohibita, America has more political prisoners than any other place. Unfortunately, with our government, ‘political prisoner’ has become as American as apple pie.” (12/13/10)


Link: http://www.strike-the-root.com/political-prisoners-in-america

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US debt: We can run, but we can’t hide
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Author: Walt Minnick

“Every business person, and anyone who has ever managed a checkbook, knows you can’t survive by borrowing 40 cents of every dollar you spend. Yet this is what our federal government is doing — with no real improvement projected even after the economy recovers. Tax cuts, trillion-dollar wars, deep recession, and the spending binge of the past 10 years have boosted our national debt to $13.8 trillion, over 90 percent of our total national output (GDP). This is two and a half times what it was 10 short years ago.” (12/13/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/27bh3sn

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Terrorist by association
Source: In These Times
Author: Jeremy Gantz

“September 24 began like any other Friday for Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner. Then, at 7 a.m., FBI agents knocked on the door of the Chicago couple’s house in the city’s North Side. Armed with a search warrant, more than 20 agents examined the couple’s home, photographing every room and combing through notebooks, family videos and books, even their children’s drawings. Some items were connected to their decades of anti-war and international solidarity activism, but others were not.” (12/13/10)


Link: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6745/terrorist_by_association

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The tax deal and the apocalypse
Source: Huffington Post
Author: Dean Baker

“The proponents of the tax deal that President Obama and the Republicans negotiated last week have gotten out their TARP and Iraq War hysterics. All the important people are now telling us that if Congress doesn’t approve the package, it will be the end of the world! To be an important person in Washington these days requires a solid record of failure. That is why we have 25 million people unemployed, underemployed or out of the labor force altogether. And those who got us into this disaster are still overwhelmingly the ones calling the shots.” (12/13/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/2ddjng5

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Events and Movement News


jump to News Section | jump to Commentary Section

Pentagon questions drug study on troops
Source: Boston Globe

“The Department of Defense is investigating whether 80 wounded American service members in Iraq were improperly used as subjects in a test of a possible treatment for brain injuries …. The study, sponsored by the United States Naval Medical Center in San Diego, was designed to test whether a drug made to treat Tylenol overdoses, among other uses, could also reduce the harmful effects of traumatic brain injury, such as balance loss and brain function problems, in service members who had been hit by explosions.” [editor’s note: Isn’t this the same Pentagon that callously used soldiers as guinea pigs during Nam, for everything from Agent Orange to psychedelics? - SAT] (08/03/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/26lnk8q

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The WikiLeaks war logs change everything
Source: Salon
Author: Dan Gillmor

“Whatever our keepers of intelligence secrets do know, and whatever abuses they’ve done to our civil liberties to learn them, they must feel less sure today about keeping it all contained. When that many people have access to information, however compartmentalized their bosses may think they’ve made the system, some of it will get out, which leads to something else we should worry about. … The WikiLeaks war diary will absolutely spur our powerful institutions to look for increasingly draconian ways to clamp down on how we share information. What WikiLeaks represents is what governments and corporations fear: a threat to their cultures of secrecy and dominance in their domains.” (07/26/10)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/2g7ugya

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MA: Leaders approve ethics revamp
Source: Boston Globe

“Legislative leaders unveiled the most sweeping ethics overhaul in decades yesterday, as they attempted to move past a series of high-profile scandals on Beacon Hill and reach an accord with Governor Deval Patrick on a sales tax increase. The ethics bill — which strengthens enforcement, levies higher penalties for violations and bans nearly all gifts to public officials — is the final piece of legislation requested by the governor before he said he would consider asking Massachusetts residents to pay more at the register.” (06/25/09)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/mfhng9

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Biden reveals location of secret VP bunker
Source: Fox News

“Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president. According to a report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president. The bunker is believed to be the secure, undisclosed location former Vice President Dick Cheney remained under protection in secret after the 9/11 attacks.” (05/17/09)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/qhgu78

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China: Deadly earthquake may have been man-made
Source: Associated Press

“Pressure from a dam, its reservoir’s heavy waters weighing on geologic fault lines, may have helped trigger China’s devastating earthquake last May, some scientists say, in a finding that suggests human activity played a role in the disaster. The magnitude-7.9 quake in Sichuan province was China’s worst in a generation, causing 70,000 deaths and leaving 5 million homeless. Just 550 yards from the fault line and 3.5 miles from the epicenter stands the 511-foot-high Zipingpu dam, the area’s largest. The quake cracked Zipingpu, forcing the reservoir to be drained. Fan Xiao, a chief engineer at the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau, said Wednesday that the immense weight of Zipingpu’s waters — 315 million tons — likely affected the timing and magnitude of the quake.” (02/04/09)


Link: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,487967,00.html

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NM: We seek snitches, says Albuquerque Police want ad
Source: Associated Press

“The Albuquerque Police Department has turned to the want ads for snitches. An ad this week in the alternative newspaper The Alibi asks ‘people who hang out with crooks’ to do part-time work for the police. It reads in part: ‘Make some extra cash! Drug use and criminal record OK.’ Capt. Joe Hudson says police received more than 30 responses in two days. He says one tip was a ‘big one’ but wouldn’t elaborate. An informant whose tip helps officers arrest a drug dealer could earn $50. A tip about a murder suspect could bring up to $700.” (11/23/08)


Link: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,456466,00.html

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The waste-pickers of Delhi
Source: Mother Jones
Author: Daphne Wysham

“Bharati Chaturvedi, the director and cofounder of Chintan, a small Indian NGO that provides education to waste-pickers, claims that more than 1 percent of Delhi’s population sifts through garbage, recycling as much as 59 percent of the city’s waste. ‘These waste-pickers are providing a public service — for free,’ she says. That may soon change. A new waste incinerator that turns trash into electricity is slated to be built in Timarpur, a suburb of Delhi. Because it will reduce the amount of methane off-gassed by landfills, it will generate carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol. But the incinerator will also emit cancer-causing dioxins, mercury, heavy metals, and fly ash. Are the carbon credits available under Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism worth putting thousands of impoverished waste-pickers out of business?” (07/08)


Link: http://tinyurl.com/638ptj

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