Two children wear masks and signs with casualty numbers to highlight the plight of the Iraqis. (Photo: Yana Kunichoff / truthout)
Seven Years and $747 Billon of of Waste, Fraud and Abuse in Iraq
Robert Greewald and Brave New Films writes: "March 19th, 2010 is the seventh anniversary of the Iraq invasion. There's a temptation as we begin to end our combat presence in Iraq to search for a happy ending. But there has been no 'victory' in Iraq. We created this video as a reminder of the damage done to Iraq and to our country over the last seven years.
We also know that there will be no economic recovery here at home as long as we're spending $100 billion a year on another war that isn't making us any safer - the war in Afghanistan.
That's why we're asking you to report the Afghanistan War as an example of waste, fraud and abuse on the White House's official economic recovery website, Recovery.gov."
The Pentagon Church Militant and Us: The Top Five Questions We Should Ask the Pentagon
William J. Astore writes for TomDispatch.com: "When it comes to our nation's military affairs, ignorance is not bliss. What's remarkable then, given the permanent state of war in which we find ourselves, is how many Americans seem content not to know. There are many reasons for this state of affairs. Our civilian leaders encourage us to be deferential toward our latest commander/savior, whether Tommy Franks in 2003, David Petraeus in 2007, or Stanley McChrystal in 2010. Our media employs retired officers, most of them multi-starred generals, in a search for expertise that ends in an unconditional surrender to military agendas. A cloud of secrecy and “black budgets” combine to obscure military matters, ranging from global strategy to war goals to weapons procurement. The taxpayer, forced to pony up about one trillion dollars yearly to fund our military, national security infrastructure, and wars, is sent a simple message: stay clear and leave it to the experts in uniform."
6 Billion Later, Afgan Cops Aren't Ready to Serve
SEC Admits Flawed Oversight of Lehman Brothers
Banking for the People
John Nichols comments for The Nation: "Even if financial services reforms are finally enacted at the federal level, it is unlikely they will create a banking system that serves the interests of Main Street America or the great mass of citizens who do the work and pay the taxes yet reap few of the benefits of this nation's immense wealth. But what if that great mass of citizens owned the banks?"
What's the Matter with Democrats?
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "Ever since Thomas Frank published his book “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Democrats have sought a political strategy to match the GOP’s. The health care bill proves they’ve found one. Whereas Frank highlighted Republicans’ sleight-of-hand success portraying millionaire tax cuts as gifts to the working class, Democrats are now preposterously selling giveaways to insurance and pharmaceutical executives as a middle-class agenda. Same formula, same fat-cat beneficiaries, same bleating sheeple herded to the slaughterhouse. The only difference is the Rube Goldberg contraption that Democrats are using to tend the flock."
Attack of the Cheneys
Ominously For Ensign, Probe's Focus Appears To Shift To Possible Quid Pro Quo
Right Wing Gone Wild
Joe Conason comments for Truthout: "Demagogues often prosper under the rules of democracy, intimidating the moderate and preying on the weak-minded. But in a healthy society, such figures cannot cross a final threshold of decency without jeopardizing their own status - and today's right-wing nihilists seem to be on the verge of doing just that."
Jefferson Is History In Texas
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, and Alex Seitz-Wald write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "If America's lucky, what happens in Texas will stay in Texas -- at least when it comes to education standards. It would even better if the right wing's destructive manipulation of the state's schools wasn't happening at all. Last week, the Republican-dominated Texas Board of Education approved a social studies curriculum that extols the importance of the National Rifle Association, Phyllis Schlafly, Confederate leader Jefferson Davis, and Joseph McCarthy. Right-wing board members removed Thomas Jefferson from "a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century"; many of them bear ill will toward the third U.S. president because he coined the term "separation between church and state." They also decided to require U.S. history classes to teach the difference between legal and illegal immigration. Last week's vote was the culmination of a decades-long plot by social conservatives to gain control over the influential Board of Education and, ultimately, the power to impose a far-right ideology on the nearly 5 million schoolchildren in Texas. Unfortunately, what's happening in the Lone Star State may spread nationally: Texas is one of the largest textbook buyers in the nation, and publishers, eager to get the business, often tailor their books to the state's standards. "
The Questions Education Reformers Aren’t Asking
Education is moving to domestic policy center stage. The first round of competition for federal “Race to the Top” funds is over, and that competition generated a flurry of school reform activity across the nation. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia were selected and are now preparing for a winnowing round two."
To understand the complexities of the international food market -- and how traders in Chicago can cause Africans to starve -- you could get a Ph.D. in economics, or read a 400-page report from the World Bank. Or you watch this superb nine minute video, directed by Denis van Waerebeke.
Though ostensibly created for a science show in Paris for 12 year olds, it's actually probably waaaay over a kid's head. Just watch -- it's excellent, and very well illustrated:
How to feed the world ? from Denis van Waerebeke on Vimeo.
The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reports the future of news ultimately rests on more long-term concerns: What are the prospects for alternative journalism organizations that are forming around the country? Will traditional media adapt and innovate amid continuing pressures to thin their ranks? A new report on the state of news reveals just how urgent these questions, and more, are becoming. To read the report go to: http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2010/overview_intro.php
The NBP and ISP Competition: This Fight's Just Beginning
Nate Anderson reports for Ars Technica: "For a plan that puts 'competition' as its number one goal, the National Broadband Plan is remarkably light on policies that will produce much of it in the wireline space. Talk of competition is everywhere, but all suggestions are remarkably general or terribly banal: "more data collection" and "future policy reviews" are everywhere. Suggestions about how such reviews should turn out is lacking."
Net Neutrality not in Conflict with Copyright Enforcement
Gigi B. Sohn reports for The Hill: "It is unfortunate that some in the music industry have fallen on hard times. But it's not the fault of those of us who favor an open and non-discriminatory Internet. It is a gross misperception of reality to say that proponents of Net Neutrality like Public Knowledge are “more interested in the freedom to steal” digital content, as songwriter Rick Carnes wrote here last week."
FCC National Broadband Plan: A Vision for the Nation
National Broadband Plan. The hefty document was sent to Congress Tuesday. The question is, how does America go from 200 million broadband users at home to adding another 100 million (just about everyone) by 2020?"
The National Broadband Plan Needs to Be Fixed -- Already
Bill Synder writes for Info World: "We've seen the prescription for national health care reform shrivel from brain surgery to a bandage on the forehead. I fear that the FCC's National Broadband Plan could suffer the same fate. The lack of competition in broadband, both wired and wireless, is at the root of a myriad of evils, including poor service, overcharges, opaque billing, and a complete lack of service in parts of the country. But for all its good intentions, the plan postpones hard choices on how to fix a broken system, and this gives the carriers and others the opening they need to delay, dilute, and damage the plan's important goals. "
The FCC Wants Your Thoughts On Comcast/NBC Merger
KArl Bode writes for Broadband Reports: "An FCC statement (pdf) indicates that the agency is fielding public comments on Comcast's planned merger with NBC Universal. The nation's largest TV and broadband provider (and third largest phone company) is hoping to create a $28.2 billion joint venture with GE, which would give Comcast a a 51 percent share in NBC Universal. Not too surprisingly, Comcast lawyers and lobbyists continue to argue that the merger with NBC would be a good thing for consumers, and that somehow the consolidation would mean more competition and diversity in the marketplace:
If you really love massive media consolidation -- or think the deal could spell problems for consumers -- you have until May third to make your voice heard at the FCC. You can file your thoughts electronically here, referencing MB Docket No. 10-56."The Applicants assert that the proposed transaction would serve the public interest and promote the Commission’s policy goals of diversity, localism, and competition. They argue that the proposed transaction would be in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, including the Commission’s media ownership rules and channel occupancy limits. They deny the potential for public interest harms and contend that the antitrust laws and the Commission’s current regulations, including the program access, program carriage, and retransmission consent rules, would serve as adequate safeguards against any anti-competitive behavior by the parties.