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His Own Man

The obituaries say that Kennedy never achieved the dream of becoming president. But there is a difference between a family destiny and a man’s dream.

Posted on Aug 26, 2009 READ MORE


The Eternal Flame

Ten summers ago, I asked Ted Kennedy’s office to provide an account of key legislation he had sponsored in what already was a long and distinguished career. I received a very humble 32-page fax.

Posted on Aug 26, 2009 READ MORE


Only One U.S. Official Has Taken an Honorable Stand on Torture

Thus far in the torture debate that has gone on in the United States since 2001, I can think of only one high American government figure currently in office taking a stand on torture in terms of justice, honor and national integrity.

Posted on Aug 25, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

We Need to Know What Was Done in Our Name

History’s demands can seem inconvenient, unfair or unreasonable. But they can’t be ignored. Especially when it comes to torture.

Posted on Aug 24, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Bob Child

This Isn’t Reform, It’s Robbery

The proposed health reform plans rattling around Congress all ensure that the profits for corporations will increase and the misery for ordinary Americans will be compounded.

Posted on Aug 24, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / Einarsson Kvaran

Remembering Sacco and Vanzetti

Eighty-two years ago Sunday two Italian immigrants were executed after a dubious trial for murders someone else later confessed to. Whatever really happened, Ferdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti have come to stand for the greater inequities of American justice. (Howard Zinn explains, after the jump.)

Posted on Aug 23, 2009 READ MORE


Freedom From Fear—and the Second Amendment

The gun nuts showing up at rallies and town hall meetings should check the order of their amendments: The First guarantees people—whatever their politics—a fundamental right to participate in their democracy without concern for physical retribution.

Posted on Aug 21, 2009 READ MORE


Enabling the Gun Nuts

The Secret Service says it is quite capable of protecting the president, but the rest of us don’t have armed guards.

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / blmurch

Troy Davis and the Meaning of ‘Actual Innocence’

Remarkably, the Supreme Court has never ruled on whether it is unconstitutional to execute an innocent person.

Posted on Aug 18, 2009 READ MORE


New York
Flickr / geoftheref

New York’s War on Marijuana

Marijuana possession is legally decriminalized in N.Y. state. Nonetheless, N.Y. City makes more pot arrests than any other city in the world. How do they do it?

Posted on Aug 10, 2009 READ MORE


Ralph Nader
AP / Carolyn Kaster

Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama

“Something is broken,” Ralph Nader said when I reached him at his family home in Connecticut. “We are not at the Bangladesh level in terms of passivity, but we are getting there.”

Posted on Aug 10, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Staff Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock

U.S. Targets Afghan Drug Suspects for Killing

“Fifty Afghans believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be captured or killed ... ,” The New York Times reports. That’s not quite targeted assassination, but it comes pretty close.

Posted on Aug 9, 2009 READ MORE


Warehousing Soldiers in the Homeland

Soldiers who have gone AWOL and find themselves detained at Fort Bragg face a legal limbo of forced uncertainty that can extend from several months to a year or more. Some of them, however, are offered a free pass out of this military half-life—but only if they agree to deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq.

Posted on Aug 9, 2009 READ MORE



White House archive / Oliver F. Atkins

35 Years After Nixon

President Richard Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, in the wake of the Watergate scandal and the revelations of his “abuses of power” and obstruction of justice. For his involvement in criminal activities, Nixon earned his unique epitaph: an unindicted co-conspirator.

Posted on Aug 9, 2009 READ MORE


Big Brother
Screenshot of "Telescreens" from the film "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

U.K. to Monitor Families With In-Home Surveillance

With millions of cameras watching its citizens’ every move, Britain is already one of the world’s leading surveillance states. Now the government wants to go even further, putting cameras in 20,000 private homes “to make sure children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals,” reports the Telegraph. Update

Posted on Aug 4, 2009 READ MORE


A Coup for Lobbyists at the White House

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, ousted in the middle of the night just over a month ago, enjoys global support for his return, with the exception of the Obama White House.

Posted on Aug 4, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Rennet Stowe

Guantanamo 2

President Obama has ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by January 2010. To meet that deadline, the administration may push for a new detention facility on U.S. soil. Such a compound, sources tell AP, would include space for the indefinite detention of prisoners deemed too dangerous to face trial.

Posted on Aug 3, 2009 READ MORE



AP / LM Otero

So Much for the Promised Land

The most prominent faces of color, such as President Obama or Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr., mask an insidious new racism that, in essence, tells blacks they have enough, that progress has been made and that it is up to them to take advantage of what society offers them.

Posted on Aug 3, 2009 READ MORE


‘Judicial Activism’ on Campaign Finance Law

The Supreme Court may soon allow an unlimited amount of corporate money into the political process. Imagine drug companies and banks running their own ads against legislators who vote against their interests.

Posted on Aug 2, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Tyranny by 13 Obstructionists

The lawmakers charged with health care reform, hailing mostly from small states and rural areas, together represent only 13 million people, meaning those speaking for just 4 percent of America are maneuvering to impose their health care will on the other 96 percent of us.

Posted on Jul 31, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Navy

It’s Time for the U.S. to Declare Victory and Go Home

As the old saying goes, “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose.

Posted on Jul 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
hugh.freeshell.org

Release of One of Youngest at Gitmo Is Ordered

Here’s an update in the case of Mohammed Jawad: On Thursday the Afghan, one of the youngest detainees at Guantanamo Bay, was ordered released. He has been held there since 2002 and reportedly has been tortured.

Posted on Jul 30, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Military Is Spying on U.S. Peace Groups

Anti-war activists in Olympia, Wash., have exposed Army spying and infiltration of their groups, as well as intelligence gathering by the Air Force, the federal Capitol Police and the Coast Guard.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009 READ MORE


What if the Big Cheese Had Been White?

If race were the only issue, there would be much less hyperventilation about Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.‘s unpleasant run-in with the criminal justice system. The debate is also about power and entitlement.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009 READ MORE


Let NRA-Loving Senators Practice What They Preach

Isn’t it time to dismantle the metal detectors, send the guards at the doors away, and allow Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights by being free to carry their firearms into the nation’s Capitol building?

Posted on Jul 27, 2009 READ MORE


The 21st Century Color Line

As it moves into its second century, the NAACP is, unfortunately, as relevant as ever.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


The Nightmare

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Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE    


Pedophiles, Witches and Kids

If we have reached the point in society where basic adult concern for children is mistaken for evil, we’re back in Salem, 1692.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 READ MORE


Stains From the Bush Era Won’t Fade

The legacy of that administration’s anti-terrorism tactics cannot be washed away in a tide of feel-good rhetoric about moving on, nor will it fade eventually if we apply Obama’s spiritual wisdom that this should be a time for “reflection, not retribution.”

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


Sotomayor Enters the D.C. Twilight Zone

The would-be first Latina justice faces a committee with only two women members in order to get confirmed by a Senate with only 17 women for a seat on a court with only one woman. And yet Sotomayor has to prove that she isn’t biased.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Court Votes May Return to Haunt Him

Republican senators are asking themselves why they should give President Obama more leeway to name justices to his liking than then-Sen. Obama was willing to accord President Bush when he voted against both Bush nominees.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


Skid Row
Flickr/ikkoskinen

L.A. Tagged as the City Meanest to the Homeless

True, the weather hardly ever departs from the ideal range, and the mountain and oceanside vistas (when visible through the smog) can make for picturesque living in Los Angeles ... provided you have somewhere to live. For the homeless, as two advocacy agencies have noted, L.A. seems downright mean.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 READ MORE


Sheldon Whitehouse
senate.gov

Confirmation Remarks Worth Revisiting

Supreme Court confirmation hearings are as much about politicians grabbing a little face time as they are about probing a nominee’s legal philosophy. Amid all the posturing and finger-wagging Monday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse spoke rather eloquently about what the court has become, and what it should be: “ ... A place ... where the comfortable can be afflicted and the afflicted find some comfort. ... ”

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 READ MORE


Closet Racism in the Age of Obama

Unless Sotomayor suffers a “complete meltdown,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina predicted, she will be confirmed. The price, though, is barely coded race baiting that has been part of the assault on Sotomayor since her nomination was announced.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


Sotomayor’s Critics Are the Real Radicals

This week’s hearings on Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court represent the opening skirmish in a struggle to challenge the escalating activism of an increasingly conservative judiciary.

Posted on Jul 12, 2009 READ MORE


Two Standards of Detention

Nonviolent activists and Muslims are held in draconian conditions, while the man charged with killing Dr. George Tiller trumpets from jail the extreme anti-abortion movement’s campaign of intimidation, vandalism, arson and murder.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Hadi Mizban

So This Is What Victory Looks Like?

It is wishful thinking to believe that the Iraqi military will be able to hold the ruins of Iraqi society together without major U.S. intervention. The United States has assumed the role of Saddam’s Special Republican Guard, waiting to be called in to crush any sign of rebellion or insurrection. It’s a lose-lose situation with only one way out.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Amy Sancetta

The Crooks Get Cash While the Poor Get Screwed

If you have defrauded banks and customers and investment firms of billions of dollars, as AIG or Citibank has, you get taxpayer money. If you are moral scum in America we take care of you. But if you are poor, if you are, say, Tearyan Brown of Trenton, N.J., you are in trouble.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


Thomas Paine
Portrait by Auguste Millière

The Age of Paine

“That filthy little atheist,” as Thomas Paine was called by Theodore Roosevelt, has few monuments dedicated to his memory. Building a bronze and marble monument to Paine will never revive the republic, but his words still carry an electric current of freedom. His intellectual and political energy is always available for rediscovery.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 READ MORE


India gay ruling
AP photo / Sucheta Das

Court Overturns India’s Gay Sex Ban

Homosexual relations between consenting adults are no longer considered criminal in India, thanks to a court ruling that overturned a long-standing federal law. The BBC rounded up some reactions from Indian citizens after news of the judgment broke around the country.

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 READ MORE


Warming Up a New Politics?

That some highly vulnerable Democrats in the House were willing to face tens of thousands of dollars worth of Republican attack ads as the price of supporting a bill to curb global warming is the untold story of what, so far, is the year’s most dramatic legislative showdown.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Welcome to the Next 150 Years

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Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Louis Lanzano

The Root of Madoff’s Evil

Bernard Madoff should be exhibit A in why the dark world of totally unregulated private money managers and hedge funds should be opened to the light of systematic government supervision. Instead, he is being treated as an aberrant menace.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Dennis Kucinich
SEIU International

Kucinich Says Climate Bill Might Make Things Worse

Rep. Dennis Kucinich explains why he voted against the climate bill that narrowly passed the House Friday: “It sets targets that are too weak, especially in the short term, and sets about meeting those targets through Enron-style accounting methods. It gives new life to one of the primary sources of the problem that should be on its way out—coal—by giving it record subsidies.”

Posted on Jun 27, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

The Sickening Influence of Campaign Contributions

Democrats who are talking down Obama’s health care initiative tend to have something in common—their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Poster Addict for Tobacco Law

It’s all right to be just a bit defensive when you’re the addict in chief, but President Obama happens to be, hands down, the best possible spokesman for the new FDA regulation. He should embrace the role.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Courtly Politics

The United States Supreme Court claims to be above politics, and it sometimes even achieves that aspiration.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Brennan Linsley, pool

Foreclosure Fiasco

The Bush-Obama strategy of throwing trillions at the banks to solve the mortgage crisis is a huge bust. The financial moguls, while tickled pink to have $1.25 trillion in toxic assets covered by the feds, along with hundreds of billions in direct handouts, are not using that money to turn around the free fall in housing foreclosures.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Free Speech vs. Surveillance in the Digital Age

Tools of mass communication that were once the province of governments and corporations now fit in your pocket. As these technologies have developed, so too has the ability to monitor, filter, censor and block them.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE



Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

Supreme Court Surprises With Civil Rights Decision

The Supreme Court has spared the 1965 Voting Rights Act, agreeing by an 8-1 margin to leave a ruling on its more controversial parts for another day—and perhaps another court. The near-unanimous narrow decision came as a surprise, with justices apparently retreating from earlier divisions that led some court watchers to predict the legislation’s demise.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


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