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F-111
AP photo / Rich Pedroncelli

The Disease of Permanent War

The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation. Permanent war extinguishes liberal, democratic movements. It turns culture into nationalist cant. It degrades and corrupts education and the media, and wrecks the economy.

Posted on May 18, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Obama Sparks Abortion Protests at Notre Dame

President Barack Obama attempted the impossible during his commencement speech at Notre Dame University in Indiana on Sunday: He asked those on both sides of the abortion debate to “join hands in common effort.”

Posted on May 17, 2009 READ MORE


As Smash-and-Grab Capitalism Collapses, the French Economy Shines

Many in Britain and the United States are in mourning for what’s taken as the suicide of the American (or Thatcherite, or Chicago-school) model of capitalism, accompanied by the non-interventionist state that hands the national economy over to business and financial leaders to run.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


Farah injury
AP photo / Abdul Malek

Report: U.S. Marine Unit Killed Hundreds of Afghan Civilians

The Independent reported Saturday that a single group of American troops, the U.S. Marines Corps’ Special Operations Command, otherwise known as MarSOC—a creation of one Donald Rumsfeld—was responsible for “at least three of Afghanistan’s worst civilian casualty incidents” to date.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi and Panetta
Wikimedia Commons / digitaljournal.com

The Pelosi Puzzle

It’s been a rough week for Our Lady Speaker of the House. In Act I, she claimed ignorance about the full extent of the CIA’s torture repertoire. However, thanks to the magic of technology and documentation, her version of the story clashed with that of a pissed-off Leon Panetta. (See Robert Scheer’s latest column for an editorial critique.)

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Pelosi Waffles, Obama Falters

Will Nancy Pelosi survive the onslaught of scrutiny and criticism in the wake of recent CIA torture-briefing revelations with her House speaker status intact? Is President Obama in over his head, what with all the hubbub over torture photos and military tribunals?

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Lauren Victoria Burke

‘Nancy, It’s Leon. We Have to Talk.’

On Friday, CIA Director Leon Panetta fired back at Nancy Pelosi’s claims that she had been misled by the agency on its use of harsh interrogation techniques, declaring that congressional leaders had been “briefed truthfully” on the methods in September 2002. The controversy surrounding Pelosi has led some to call for a probe of Bush administration abuses while others, such as Rush Limbaugh, are demanding her resignation.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Cheney’s Chains to Torture

As new information leaks out on the Bush administration’s torture program and as Dick Cheney pumps up his role as the poster child for waterboarding, we can slowly start connecting the dots on the previous administration’s criminal practices. Rachel Maddow and guest author Jane Mayer break down the shaky legal justifications behind the invasion of Iraq and the use of waterboarding—a method now known to produce false confessions—to try to force detainees to reveal a link between al-Qaida and Iraq.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / HSeverson

Health Care’s Enigma in Chief

The most stunning and least reported news about President Obama’s press conference with health industry executives this week wasn’t those executives’ willingness to negotiate with a Democrat. It was that Democrat’s eagerness to involve those executives in a discussion about health care reform even as they revealed their previous plans to pilfer $2 trillion from Americans.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Workers of the World Show Who’s Boss

Across Europe and even in the U.S., a new wave of direct action to “rebuild the economy from the ground up” is rising. Some workers are responding to layoffs and workplace shutdowns by ousting their bosses and seeking to run things their own way. Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis report on the state of worker-control movements today in light of the current economic crisis.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Drawing the Chorus Line in the Sand

President Obama this week blocked the release of controversial photos of detainees in order to not “further enflame anti-American opinion.” But without the pictures, whatever are we to do with all these frames? Meanwhile, Lt. Dan Choi an Arabic interpreter (for those who give in to harsh interrogation techniques) has been discharged because he is gay. Once again, torture is rendered less intelligible.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Gingrich
bioguide.congress.gov

Newt vs. Nancy

Nancy Pelosi has made herself vulnerable to attacks after appearing to venture into Equivocation Land this week in her public tussle with the CIA over when she knew the U.S. was employing what we call “torture” on suspected terrorists. Enter Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, stage right, to do his part to bring Pelosi down from her vaunted position.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Torture
rebelreports.com

Torture on Obama’s Watch

Gang-beatings, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles and dousing detainees with chemicals. Those Bush-era actions are still going on under Obama’s regime at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, as the narrowing of the “torture debate” has occluded attention from such grotesque practices.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Love Land
guardian.co.uk

Wait Till Wal-Mart Hears About This

Trying to raise some ... consciousness about sex education in China, an entrepreneur plans to open the country’s first sex theme park in October. It’s raising some local eyebrows too as development continues in the southwest city of Chongqing.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Pride
flickr.com

The Fierce Urgency of Whenever

Andrew Sullivan has some sharp words for how the Obama administration is dealing with LGBT issues: “I lived through eight years of the Clintons and then eight years of Bush. Through it all, gay people were treated at the federal level like embarrassments or impediments. With Clinton, we were the means to raise money. With Bush, we were the means to leverage votes by exploiting bigotry. Obama seemed in the campaign to promise something else.”

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


military tribunal
AP photo / Brennan Linsley

Again With the Military Tribunals

Funny how declarations made in the heat of campaign season can be later forgotten by our nation’s elected officials. President Obama continued to do the reversal cha-cha late into the week with his decision to take up the very military tribunals he had sharply criticized before taking office.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Chalmers Johnson on the Cost of Empire

Author, scholar and Truthdig contributor Chalmers Johnson passed away Nov. 20. In his honor, we are reposting this 2009 book review, which, like much of Johnson’s work, remains relevant to this day.

Posted on May 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama’s Coalition of the Unwilling

President Barack Obama dramatically changed course twice on May 13 when he announced he would not release photos of American military personnel “abusing” detainees, reversing the Pentagon’s statement on April 26 that it would comply with a court order—with the president’s own prompt and emphatic support for release.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Milk
Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Nicoletta

One Step Closer to Harvey Milk Day

Friends and admirers of the late San Francisco supervisor and gay rights activist have been rallying to establish an annual commemorative day in his honor, and on Thursday, the California Senate approved a bill that would officially make Milk’s birthday, May 22, Harvey Milk Day in the Golden State.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and Crist
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Will Republicans Back an Obama Hugger?

When Charlie Crist, Florida’s popular governor, announced this week that he would run for the U.S. Senate, it was the best news the Republican Party has had in an otherwise unpleasant year.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / Kevin Burkett

Mo’ Money, Mo’ War

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $91.3 billion supplemental measure to finance the Iraqi and Afghan wars. An additional $80 million has been set aside to support the shutting down of Gitmo, $50 million of which is contingent on the Pentagon coming up with a plan on relocating prisoners. Another $900 million has been allocated to aid Pakistan in its battle against the Taliban.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


high school hallway
Flickr / dave_mcmt

Some Educational Action Items for Obama

So, with the economy in the proverbial toilet and the D word (depression) hovering on the periphery, what is the Obama administration supposed to do about education? What can it do? Will additional and new funding be necessary to address his main concerns? 

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


No Mirrors

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Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE    


Consider The Source

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Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Cheney Denied by the CIA

The CIA has denied the lovable Dick Cheney’s request to release memos that, in the ex-veep’s eyes, would prove the effectiveness of torture administered under Bush’s reign. “I’m convinced, absolutely convinced, that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives,” he said last week. The documents in question will not be declassified, as they are the subject of pending litigation.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / ProgressOhio

Beware the Bad-Faith Reformer

Uplifting as it was to see insurance executives, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospital officials and doctors gather at the White House on May 11, pledging cooperation toward health care reform, nothing they said or did was inconsistent with precisely the opposite objective.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

McCain’s Mama Smacks Back

Last night, John McCain’s 95-year-old mother Roberta appeared on “The Tonight Show” to talk political punditry. Watch as she bashes Keith Olbermann and responds to Rush Limbaugh’s call to kick her son out of the Grand Old Party. “ ... He does not represent the Republican Party that I belong to,” she said.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
flickr.com / army.mil

House Speaker Speaks Up

Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi stammered her way through a statement at a tense news conference on Thursday, acknowledging she had learned as early as February 2003 of the CIA’s waterboarding practices. She defended her position on the grounds of being “misled”  by the CIA and she accused Republicans of scapegoating her to divert attention away from those actually responsible for the acts.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Stewart

‘Daily Show’: The Pageant of the Christ

Having ignored the whole Miss California brouhaha in recent weeks, Jon Stewart finally succumbed on Tuesday night’s show, and it’s completely worth it—if only for his Donald Trump imitation.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Reneges on Torture Photo Release

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama went back on his administration’s previous plan to release photos reportedly showing prisoner abuse at American military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Team Obama may also follow in the Bushies’ footsteps by detaining some prisoners “on U.S. soil” and “indefinitely and without trial,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Predator
blog.wired.com

Cambodia Déjà Vu: the Invasion of Pakistan

Last September, during the American presidential campaign, I wrote a column declaring that the United States had again invaded Cambodia, only this time “Cambodia” was Pakistan. President George W. Bush had ordered U.S. ground attacks on the Taliban inside Pakistan’s Tribal Territories, without Pakistan’s authorization.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Baucus
baucus.senate.gov

Baucus’ Raucous Caucus

Single-payer advocates have been protesting in Senate Finance Committee hearings, chaired by Democratic Montana Sen. Max Baucus. Last week, at a committee hearing with 15 industry speakers, not one represented the single-payer perspective.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Spitzah

Spitzer: ‘Wall Street Failed This Nation’

Everyone’s favorite client No. 9 is making the rounds of the cable news shows and is actually dropping some interesting takes on the economy and Wall Street regulation. Check out his two-part interview with Rachel Maddow.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


AIG sign
visitbulgaria.info

AIG Still Ridin’ Dirty

AIG CEO Edward Liddy defended his enfeebled company on Capitol Hill Wednesday, yet claimed that even $180 billion in taxpayer money has only “reduced, but not eliminated the systemic risk [toxic assets] that AIG presents to the global financial system.”

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Pakistan Conflict Map
news.bbc.co.uk

Taliban Gain Ground, Color on Map

A new map produced by the BBC succinctly demonstrates the weakness of the Pakistan state in combating Taliban militants in the country’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The map shows only 38% of Pakistan’s NWFP to be under government control, while the balance of the region experiences either Taliban presence or control.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Drop Out
time.com

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

Pointing to a dramatic structural problem with schooling in Los Angeles, California’s Department of Education reported Tuesday that the dropout rate of students in the L.A. Unified School District has risen to a whopping 34.9% for the 2008-09 school year.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Cheney, Bush and Pelosi
White House / David Bohrer

Pelosi the Enabler

If the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and later House Democratic leader, lacked the authority to publicly question a policy of torture, then how can we condemn, indeed imprison, ordinary soldiers who thought it their duty to follow orders? 

Posted on May 12, 2009 READ MORE


Welcome Back, Cheney

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Posted on May 12, 2009 READ MORE


Pope in Israel
AP photo / David Silverman, pool

Pope’s Nazi Ties Questioned—Again

It was just the second day of his Holy Land Tour 2009, but unsurprisingly, the presence of Pope Benedict XVI in Israel stirred up more static on Tuesday—this time over his personal wartime history.

Posted on May 12, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Tortured by Bad Jokes

Wanda Sykes gets heat from commentators about her jokes at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Jon Stewart echoes the critiques and reminds us that bad humor is harmful to the country but torture, well, maybe not so much.

Posted on May 12, 2009 READ MORE


Prejean and Trump
AP photo / Bebeto Matthews

Donald Trump Spares Miss California

Looks like Carrie Prejean’s opinions about gay marriage, as well as various and sundry racy snapshots in a state of undress, aren’t going to end up costing her the Miss California title. On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that Prejean was going to continue her reign—and, shockingly, that he thought some of the photos were rather fetching.

Posted on May 12, 2009 READ MORE


cheney
wilsonsalmanac.blogspot.com

Old Faithful of Nonsense

Can’t we send Dick Cheney back to Wyoming? Shouldn’t we chip in and buy him a home where the buffalo roam and there’s always room for one more crazy old coot down at the general store? For the final act of his too-long public career, Cheney seems to have decided to become an Old Faithful of self-serving nonsense.

Posted on May 12, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo

U.N. Denounces ‘Blood Bath’ in Sri Lanka

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband declared themselves appalled  by the “blood bath” that took place over the weekend in Sri Lanka. An estimated 430 civilians—of whom at least 100 were children—have been killed in fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces on the country’s northeastern coast. The question of whether Sri Lanka should receive a loan from the IMF is now on the table. 

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com/Jacob Botter

Hate Groups Losing Face on Facebook

A debate over freedom of speech on Facebook has shaken up the Web this past week. The controversy centers on use of the social media site by such entities as Holocaust denial groups. In an interview, Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt expressed the site’s desire “to be a place where people can discuss all kinds of ideas, including controversial ones,” but drew the line at groups that incite violent behavior.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
DefenseImagery.mil / Sgt. Edwin Bridges

U.S. Soldier Guns Down 5 Comrades

An American soldier was taken into custody after shooting five fellow military personnel to death and wounding three others in Baghdad on Monday. The incident, which occurred at a combat stress center, marks the highest single-incident death toll for the U.S. military since April.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Wanda Sykes Brings Down the (White) House

Wanda Sykes stirred controversy at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday, taking a jab at Obama’s nipples, Dick Cheney’s creepiness, and calling for Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys to fail. The White House is now distancing itself from the comedian’s comments. Watch as Wanda brings down the house!

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


Gates Orders a Change of Command in Afghanistan

The Pentagon will be replacing the current top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, who has served in the position a mere 11 months. The decision comes on the heels of President Obama’s new plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan and marks a clear change in strategy in an increasingly complex war.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


The Standard

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Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE    


Afghan protest
AP photo / Musadeq Sadeq

Civilians Pay the Price of War From Above

Of course there will be an inquiry. And in the meantime, we shall be told that all the dead Afghan civilians were being used as “human shields” by the Taliban and we shall say that we “deeply regret” innocent lives that were lost.

Posted on May 10, 2009 READ MORE


Gates and soldiers
AP photo / Jason Reed, pool

Becoming What We Seek to Destroy

The bodies of dozens, perhaps well over a hundred, women, children and men, their corpses blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes in a village in the western province of Farah, illustrates the futility of the Afghan war.

Posted on May 10, 2009 READ MORE


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