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Empire of Illusion

Empire of Illusion

By Chris Hedges

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What You Dig

What do you get when you mix drugs, greed, God and a splash of Bristol Palin’s baby-daddy? The five most popular Truthdig stories from the last seven days.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Getting to Zero Starts With One Man

If Obama is successful in reducing our nuclear stockpile, it could make a monumental difference to the world’s security. Nuclear arms proliferation will never be stopped so long as the U.S. insists on maintaining a privileged position of global nuclear domination.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Georgian protesters
AP photo / Shakh Aivazov

Protesters Push for Georgian President to Step Down

During last summer’s war, Mikhail Saakashvili was beseeching the international community to help his country fend off “Russian aggression,” but now the biggest problem of the Georgian president is rising from within his nation’s own borders.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: A Glimmer of Hope for the Economy?

The economy’s not the only thing that “Left, Right & Center” co-conspirators Matt Miller, Tony Blankley and Robert Scheer are thinking about this week, but it’s a biggie again, as are the Obama administration’s announcement about defense spending and the changes under way in American foreign policy. Also: Somali pirates!

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Mogae
AP photo / Mustafa Quraishi

Who is Mogae?

Almost everyone in the United States or indeed anywhere else in the world knows about Zimbabwe’s sit-tight president, Robert Mugabe. But who is Mogae? Who is Chissano? Who is Kikwete? And who is Kufuor? Sadly, very few people outside Africa recognize these names.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Torture Is a Crime That Must Be Punished

I realize that many Americans, given the scope of the economic crisis and the ambitions of the new administration, would rather look forward than revisit the past. The business of torture, however, is too unspeakable to be left unfinished.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


The Best Investment Money Can Buy

In the last decade, the financial industry’s $5 billion investment in campaign contributions and lobbyists resulted in deregulation and boatloads of free money. By Bloomberg News’ account, $12.8 trillion worth of taxpayer loans, grants and guarantees—all to Wall Street.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Susan Jacoby on William Goetzmann’s ‘Beyond the Revolution’

The great divide between religion that accommodates itself to secular knowledge and biblically literal religion that rejects any such knowledge that contradicts the Bible is the insufficiently explored story at the center of this Pulitzer Prize-winning historian’s most recent and otherwise compelling book.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


sarkozy
AP photo / Sang Tan

French Parliament Nixes Web Piracy Bill

Sacre bleu! Some conservative members of France’s parliament are probably regretting their decision to begin their Easter break a little early, as their absence allowed rival socialists to ambush an Internet piracy bill on Thursday.

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE


Foreclosure exit sign
orlandorealtyexperts.com

Squatting as Civil Disobedience

As foreclosures continue to force Americans out of their homes, some advocacy organizations are getting creative, suggesting that homeowners refuse to leave their foreclosed houses and helping others move into vacated abodes—either openly or under the radar.

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Morry Gash

Obama Flick Coming to a Theater Near You

Quick—someone buy Rush Limbaugh advance tickets: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (otherwise known as SPWAG) has bought limited rights to the documentary “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama,” produced by Edward Norton’s Class 5 Films. HBO Documentary Films will be releasing the movie in U.S. theaters.

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE


Protesters Confront Summers

Two protesters storm the stage during a talk by Lawrence Summers, who tries to laugh off the incident. If only there were something funny about President Obama’s top economic adviser making $8 million last year from some of the financial firms that have benefited from his economic policies.

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE


NRA Stays on Message

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Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE


Tax for the Memories

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GM Saw

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Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE



Iran Opens Nuke Fuel Plant

Not to let North Korea hog the nuclear spotlight, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presided over the opening of a nuclear fuel facility on Thursday. With Vulcan flair, he declared, “The Iranian nation has from the beginning been after logic and negotiations, but negotiations based on justice and complete respect for rights and regulations.”

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE



global-warming.accuweather.com

Obama Considering Radical Solutions to Climate Crisis

The president’s new science adviser tells ABC News, “We don’t have the luxury ... of ruling any approach off the table” in the fight against global climate change. Geoengineering, once the province of science fiction and climate eccentrics, may now be necessary. One approach involves blasting sulfur into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays.

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE


Taliban, the Sequel

Ever since the Afghan war began, we assured ourselves that whatever else, we had one moral victory. We’d freed the women from Taliban rule. Now we know something very different to be true.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


Obama: The Extremists’ Nightmare

In the struggle against the extremists and terrorists, the new president understands how to divide the enemy and neutralize their base—and is uniquely suited to accomplish the mission. He got elected in the United States of America, after all.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

The Father of Guantanamo

Indefinite and secret detention at the U.S. air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, was a fundamental breach of justice and morality when the Bush administration did it. It is made worse by the stench of hypocrisy when the Obama administration does it.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi’s Balancing Act

By comparison with her recent predecessors, she’s a strong speaker of the House. She has far more control than the previous Democratic speaker had, despite having to contend with a more conservative GOP and an ideologically diverse pack of Democrats.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / keeponilluminating9_11

Shoe-Thrower Catches a Break

Muntadhar al-Zaidi became an instant hero to many when he flung his shoes at George W. Bush, but he was soon sentenced to three years in prison. That penalty has now been commuted to one year, including time served. It still seems a bit steep, considering that he didn’t even make contact and Bush himself dismissed the incident as democracy in action.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Daniella Zalcman

Iran Warms to Obama Overtures

“The Iranian people would welcome a hand extended to it if the hand is truly based on honesty,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday. The “hand” has so far come in the form of a New Year’s message from President Obama, a surprise direct diplomatic contact and a commitment from the U.S. to re-engage in multilateral talks.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



c.berlet / publiceye.org

Mitt Romney’s Housing Crisis

Mitt Romney learned an important lesson from the last election: It’s better not to own more homes than most Americans have rooms. In another sign that he will run again, the former Massachusetts governor is selling off his Utah ski house and suburban Boston crash pad for a total somewhere north of $8 million.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / saragoldsmith

Die Hard 5: Real Life

Hollywood has given us many a laptop-wielding hacker who causes explosions, blackouts and mayhem with a few malicious keystrokes, but such scenarios may not be confined to preposterous action flicks anymore. The Wall Street Journal reports that cyberspies from China and Russia have infiltrated the U.S. electrical grid, mapped it and left a little something behind.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / freezelight

Spam Rules the Inbox

The BBC reports on some alarming numbers coming out of Redmond: “More than 97% of all e-mails sent over the net are unwanted, according to a Microsoft security report. The e-mails are dominated by spam adverts for drugs, and general product pitches and often have malicious attachments.”

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


Summers
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Living Large and in Charge

Not surprisingly, Lawrence Summers is convinced that he deserved every penny of the $8 million that Wall Street firms paid him last year. And why shouldn’t he be cut in on the loot from the loopholes in the toxic derivatives market that he pushed into law when he was Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary?

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


NRA Discipline

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Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


Shovel Ready [A Cartoon From Mexico]

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Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


Jon Stewart

‘Queer Eye for the Hawkeye’

Jon Stewart shares his amazement that “the aortic valve of the heartland of America” is more gay-friendly than California.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Muslims Still Under Siege

It turns out that people can still be arrested and deported based on the same charges they’ve been acquitted of in court. The U.S. Constitution protects people from “double jeopardy,” being charged twice with the same offense. But in the murky world of immigrant detention, double jeopardy is perfectly legal.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


sniper bunny

‘Cat Shit One’: Blackwater Bunnies at War?

Uh, so we’re not completely sure what to make of this trailer for the Japanese animated series “Cat Shit One” (?!), which features a specialized squad of mercenary sniper rabbits duking it out in the desert with turban-clad camels. Don’t be fooled by the cute-and-fluffy tail action—these bunnies are killing machines.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


Rapping Penis Takes Canada by Storm

This Canadian Planned Parenthood commercial makes the argument for (or against?) sex education.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE



DoD / Lee Craker

Obama Shows the Troops Some Love

The president on Tuesday made a surprise visit to Baghdad, where he expressed his gratitude to a raucous group of troops: “We have not forgotten what you have already done, we are grateful for what you will do, and as long as I am in the White House, you are going to get the support that you need and the thanks that you deserve from a grateful nation.”

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


F-22
dodimagery.afis.osd.mil

Backlash Over Defense Budget Cuts Begins

Although some in Congress applauded Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ announcement that the Obama administration would be whittling down the defense budget for 2010, suffice it to say that not everyone is thrilled by this development—especially those whose districts will be directly impacted by the cuts.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Now a ‘Soft War’ in Afghanistan, but It’s Still a Disaster

President Obama appears to have fallen for the oldest false dichotomy in the Pentagon repertoire, and the easiest one to sell to the American public. It goes like this: The world is divided between the Evil Folks and the Good. The Good Folks, being what they are, are naturally pro-American, once they get to know us.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


gay marriage advocates
AP photo / Toby Talbot

Same-Sex Marriage Legalized in Vermont

Vermont has followed Iowa’s lead, becoming the fourth state to make same-sex marriage legal. On Tuesday, the Vermont Legislature overturned Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto with one more vote than was needed to make it official.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE



Detail from Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo

God Is Not a Fan of the Banking Industry

Do a quick Google search and you’ll find that God, as worshipped by Jews, Christians and Muslims, has some strong feelings about interest charges—or usury, as it’s known in the Hebrew Bible. Here’s a doozy from Ezekiel: “Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.” Ouch.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


The Dream

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Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE    


Pope’s Nightmares

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Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


Crazy Like a Fox?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if the Republican Party wants to get back into the game, it should start by paying more attention to its new chairman, the all-too-quotable Michael Steele.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Albert F. Hunt

The Business of War

Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Albert F. Hunt

The Business of War

Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


Merkin
panacheprivee.com

Cuomo Sues Madoff’s ‘Middleman’ Over $2.4B Handoff

Manhattan financier and art aficionado Ezra Merkin may pay a high price for passing some $2.4 billion of his own clients’ money to Bernard Madoff, if New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has his way in the matter.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



NOAA

Arctic Has Lost Enough Ice to Cover Texas

Although this wasn’t the worst winter on record for retention of Arctic sea ice, a report from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center says that the region is now missing a Texas-sized chunk of the stuff that keeps polar bears alive and cities above sea level. More alarming, the ice that is there is younger, thinner and more fragile than in years past.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


bachmann

Bachmann Alarmed About ‘Re-Education Camps’ for America’s Kids

Rep. Michele Bachmann is sounding the alarm to radio-show host/wingnut Sue Jeffers about the scary government-controlled future that will surely result if Barack Obama has his way with us—starting with “mandatory” re-education camps for American children. And don’t even get her started on SCHIP.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


Lauer and Spitzer

Welcome Back, Spitzer

So, Matt Lauer busted right out of the gates with the sex-scandal questions in his interview with Eliot Spitzer on Monday’s “Today” show, taking far too much time to extract mea culpas from the fallen former New York governor before getting to the better part of the program, during which Spitzer holds forth about the economy.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Master Sgt. Kevin Gruenwald

Defense Secretary Trims Fat Around the Edges

Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined his spending cuts on Monday, scrapping, among other boondoggles, the F-22, a fighter plane that apparently specialized in Super Bowl flyovers. Despite the cuts, America still spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. And then there’s the cost of two wars to think about.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


glass window
sheridangp.com

White House Adds to Faith-Based Advisory Group

The bad rap that “faith-based initiatives” got during the last administration hasn’t kept the new management at the White House from treating its Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships seriously. It has fleshed out the lineup of advisers to a total of 25 with two new recruits.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


Dylan
thelineofbestfit.com

Dylan: Obama’s ‘Like a Fictional Character, but He’s Real’

Bob Dylan, seasoned troubadour and chronicler of a-changin’ times, recognizes a story-worthy character when he sees one, and he certainly sees one in Barack Obama, judging by his description of the president in an interview with the U.K.’s Times Online.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


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