Chris Hedges writes for Turthdig.com: "Violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is wrong. So is violence against people in Afghanistan and Iraq. But in the bizarre culture of identity politics, there are no alliances among the oppressed. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the first major federal civil rights law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, passed last week, was attached to a $680-billion measure outlining the Pentagon’s budget, which includes $130 billion for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Democratic majority in Congress, under the cover of protecting some innocents, authorized massive acts of violence against other innocents."
The War Condolences Obama Hasn't Sent
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Chancellor Keesling died in Iraq on June 19, 2009, from “a non-combat related incident,” according to the Pentagon. Keesling had killed himself. He was just one in what is turning out to be a record year for suicides in the U.S. military. In August, President Barack Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, saying, “[T]here is nothing more sobering than signing a letter of condolence to the family of [a] serviceman or -woman who has given their life for our country.” To their surprise, Jannett and Gregg Keesling, Chance’s parents, won’t be getting such a letter. Obama does not write condolence letters to loved ones of those who commit suicide in the theater of combat. [After making inquiries, the Keeslings discovered that this was not because of an oversight. Instead, it’s because of a longstanding U.S. policy to deny presidential condolence letters to the families of soldiers who take their own lives.]
Why Obama's Iran Policy will Fail
Dilip Hiro writes for TomDispatch: "While the tone of the Obama administration is different from that of its predecessor, and some of its foreign policies diverge from those of George W. Bush, at their core both administrations subscribe to the same doctrine: Whatever the White House perceives as a threat -- whether it be Iran, North Korea, or the proliferation of long-range missiles -- must be viewed as such by Moscow and Beijing."
Democrats: CIA Lied to or Misled Congress at Least Five Times Since 2001
Jason Leopold reports for Truthout: "Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday that the CIA misled and/or lied to Congress at least five times since 2001 about it's intelligence programs, including one previously alleged instance in which the agency failed to disclose to top members of the House and Senate intelligence committees that the CIA tortured war on terror detainees."
Depleted Uranium Causes Cancer
HenryW reports for Project Censored: "Depleted Uranium is nuclear waste…quite literally…and it causes cancer and birth defects. Depleted uranium is extracted from spent nuclear fuel. It is a waste byproduct of 'enriching' uranium. It is a substance with some remarkable properties. It is denser than lead, harder than steel. Munitions tipped with DU are extremely effective, especially when engaging enemies using armored vehicles. These shells cut right through tank armor and then the uranium itself burns…at 500 degrees Celsius, (932 Fahrenheit). The only tanks or fixed fortifications that can repel depleted uranium munitions are those which themselves have armor made from depleted uranium. The use of DU on the battlefield is increasing, and it is used in “bunker buster” bombs, a variety of missiles and now in 30mm ammunition as well. Since the early 90’s it has been associated mostly with the M1A1 'Abrams' tank."
Too Big to Fail: Why The Big Banks Should Be Broken Up, But Why The White House and Congress Don't Want To
Robert Reich writes on Robert Reich's Blog: "And now there are five - five Wall Street behemoths, bigger than they were before the Great Meltdown, paying fatter salaries and bonuses to retain their so-called 'talent,' and raking in huge profits. The biggest difference between now and last October is these biggies didn't know then that they were too big to fail and the government would bail them out if they got into trouble. Now they do. And like a giant, gawking adolescent who's just discovered he can crash the Lexus convertible his rich dad gave him and the next morning have a new one waiting in his driveway courtesy of a dad who can't say no, the biggies will drive even faster now, taking even bigger risks."
Did Hank Paulson Break the Law?
Nick Baumann writes for Mother Jones: "Did Henry Paulson, George W. Bush's Treasury secretary, break the law? According to a new book on the financial meltdown by New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, in June 2008, Paulson, who was the chairman of Goldman Sachs before joining the Bush administration, held a secret meeting in Moscow with the board of directors of his former employer. The problem for Paulson—then and possibly now—was that after he had been nominated in 2006 to the Treasury post he had signed an ethics letter vowing to stay clear of potential conflicts of interest with Goldman Sachs and promising not to take any action that might affect the firm's ability to cover his multimillion-dollar pension."
Chamber Rejects Use of Term "3 Million Members"
Josh Harkinson writes for Mother Jones: "For the first time, the US Chamber of Commerce has admitted that its membership should be reported at one tenth the size that many major media outlets have listed it for more than a decade. In an interview on Friday, Greg Marx of the Columbia Journalism Review asked Chamber spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel to comment on two competing newspaper accounts. Presented with a Wall Street Journal article that said the Chamber claims '300,000 members,' Wohlschlegel said, 'That's accurate.' Read an Associated Press article that said the Chamber claims 'a membership of 3 million,' he responded, 'That's not exactly reported correctly.'"
Health Care Hypocrites
Jim Hightower comments for Truthout: "How do you spell 'hypocrisy'? Try this: 'H-Y-P-O-C-O-N-G-R-E-S-S.' The hypocongress consists of those Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who have risen up on their hind legs in recent weeks to snarl and howl at any mention of a government role in meeting America's health care needs. 'Socialism,' they bark -- we won't allow Barack Obama and the liberals to create a Washington-run, big-government intrusion into the hallowed private market. Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, even pledged to fight so ferociously that the health care battle would be Obama's 'Waterloo.'"
The Tide Is Turning on Health Care Reform
Peter Dreier writes for The Nation: "Social movements are messy, so it is often difficult to know, in the midst of the battle, which side is winning. But in the past month, momentum on healthcare reform has unmistakably shifted as liberals and progressives have taken to the streets, the Internet, the airwaves and the halls of Congress to push for a bold public option, strong regulations on insurance abuses and a progressive tax plan to finance reform. The Obama administration and its allies in Congress now understand that permitting the unholy alliance of insurance industry muscle, conservative Democratic obfuscation and right-wing mob tactics to defeat the president's healthcare proposal would write the conservative playbook for blocking other key components of his agenda--including action on climate change, immigration reform and labor laws. So in just the past few weeks, we've seen a change in strategy, a strong grassroots movement and markedly firmer resolve by the White House and liberal Democrats in Congress."
What's So Scary About Michael Pollan? Why Corporate Agriculture Tried to Censor His University Speech
Martha Rosenberg writes for AlterNet: "Even if agribusiness could shut Michael Pollan up, the outspoken author of Omnivore's Dilemma and a journalism professor at University of California, Berkeley, it still has the Los Angeles Times to contend with. Last week, the Times blasted California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo for downgrading a scheduled Pollan lecture because it received pressure from David E. Wood, a university donor who happens to be chairman of the Harris Ranch Beef Co."
Events In 181 Countries Urge International Action On Climate Change
Alec Sprague reports for Project Censored: "A total of 5,200 actions were held around the world to urge action on climate change, according to 350.org who sponsered an International Day of Climate Action this past Saturday. The number, 350, refers to the goal of three hundred fifty parts per million of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, which is claimed by scientists to be the safe upper limit. The current level is about 387 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere. A recent report in the Journal of Science shows that the last time levels were this high was fifteen million years ago."
Future of Abstinence-Only Programs Unclear Without Federal Funding, Newsweek Reports
Women's Health Policy Report writes: "Abstinence-only sex education programs that received substantial federal grants under the Bush administration are turning to private donors as an attempt to keep their programs running, Newsweek reports. Since 1997, the abstinence-only industry has received a total of $1.9 billion in government funding, including $1.5 billion from the federal government. However, the "next decade may well be its bust," as President Obama's 2010 budget cut federal funding for abstinence-only programs in favor of programs that have been proven effective, Newsweek reports."
A History of Failed Press Coverage of Afghanistan
Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould comment for Nieman Watchdog: "For almost 30 years – ever since we got a close-in view of it – American press coverage of Afghanistan has been simplistic, misleading, unexamining, accepting and echoing government propaganda, and just plain wrong. There have been exceptions…but not many."
Recommended Audio: Democracy Now! - House Advances Measure to Create Hundreds of New Low Power FM Radio Stations
The Local Community Radio Act of 2009 is on its way to a full House vote after sailing through the Energy and Commerce Committee with little opposition. The measure would repeal legislation which requires the FCC to protect full-power broadcasters from interference from Low Power FM stations being placed on third-adjacent channels. We speak to Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle, a co-sponsor of the bill; and Cory Fischer-Hoffman, campaign director of the Prometheus Radio Project.
Kids Watch more than a Day of TV Each Week
Matea Gold reports for the LA Times: "Reporting from New York - More than an entire day -- that's how long children sit in front of the television in an average week, according to new findings released Monday by Nielsen. The amount of television usage by children reached an eight-year high, with kids ages 2 to 5 watching the screen for more than 32 hours a week on average and those ages 6 to 11 watching more than 28 hours. The analysis, based on the fourth quarter of 2008, measured children's consumption of live and recorded TV, as well as VCR and game console usage."
CNN's Lou Dobbs Problem
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Pat Garofalo, and Zaid Jilani write for the Progress Report at Think Progress: "Last week, CNN aired the four-hour documentary, 'Latino in America,' which explored 'how Latinos are reshaping our communities and culture and forcing a nation of immigrants to rediscover what it means to be an American.' The documentary has become a 'rallying cry for activist groups' that are attempting to get CNN to take action against nightly news anchor Lou Dobbs. As one of CNN's leading TV personalities, Dobbs has used his stature to infuse hate and vitriol into the immigration debate. Latino and immigrants' rights activists have launched several campaign -- including Drop Dobbs, Tell CNN Enough is Enough, and Basta Dobbs (Basta is Spanish and Italian for 'stop' or 'enough') -- that are aimed at pressuring CNN to hold Dobbs to journalistic standards or drop him altogether and raising awareness about Dobbs to his show's advertisers. 'Lou Dobbs is the gigantic anti-immigration elephant in the room at CNN,' said Roberto Lovato, one of the organizers of Basta Dobbs. "If CNN won't drop Dobbs, it's time that his advertisers did. It's time to do more than simply highlight the damage Dobbs does and the threat he poses," wrote John Santore of Media Matters for America, one of the organizations behind the Drop Dobbs campaign. Dobbs has responded to the efforts against him by claiming that liberals think Hispanics 'are so stupid that they'll believe that I am some sort of racist.'"