Paul Craig Roberts writes for CounterPunch: "There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest. "
Bank of America: Our Balance Sheet Management Is ‘Routine and Appropriate’
Marian Wang reports for ProPublica: "Yesterday we wrote about allegations that Bank of America had engaged in manipulation of its balance sheet using tactics akin to Lehman Brothers’ “Repo 105.” (Repo 105, as the Wall Street Journal puts it, is a 'more-than-questionable interpretation of accounting rules' that enabled the bank to hide its risks before its eventual bankruptcy.)"
Have You Caught Gold Fever? The Value of That Shiny Metal Is as Artificial as Paper Money
fiat currencies like the dollar and light-speed binary code transactions like high-frequency trading. If you stripped away the Fed's continuing manipulation, gold's free-market value, currently hovering around $1,000 per ounce, would increase by multiples. Wait, are you yawning? Why are you leaving?"
War in Iraq, Seven Years On
Greg Mitchell writes for The Nation: "The seventh anniversary of the start of the Iraq War dawned today with very little notice in the media, despite the huge (and ongoing) costs of the war, not the least of which the nearly 4,400 dead US military personnel and at least 100,000 deceased Iraqi civilians. What we have heard from commentators, again, this year is that the United States went to war with the overwhelming support of the public and the press. Actually, this is a myth."
U.S.-Led Forces in Afghanistan Are Committing atrocities, Lying, and Getting Away with It
Jerome Starkey, recently reported for The Times of London about a night raid on Feb. 12 in which U.S. and Afghan gunmen opened fire on two pregnant women, a teenage girl and two local officials -- an atrocity which NATO’s Afghanistan headquarters then tried to cover up. Now, in a blistering indictment of both NATO and his own profession, Starkey writes for Nieman Watchdog that the international forces led by U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal are rarely called to account because most reporters are too dependent on access, security and the 'embed culture' to venture out and see what's happening for themselves.
PTSD Claims Rise Among Veterans Treated at VA, New Research to Study PTSD and TBI
Mary Susan Littlepage reports for Truthout: "New statistics show that the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veteran patients being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and who have had PTSD claims approved increased. Also, new research projects are in the works to treat PTSD and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)."
Obama's Military Is Spying on U.S. Peace Groups
Amy Goodman writes for the Huffington Post: "Anti-war activists in Olympia, Wash., have exposed U.S. Army spying and infiltration of their groups, as well as intelligence gathering by the U.S. Air Force, the federal Capitol Police and the Coast Guard.The infiltration appears to be in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act preventing U.S. military deployment for domestic law enforcement, and may strengthen congressional demands for a full-scale investigation of U.S. intelligence activities, like the Church Committee hearings of the 1970s."
Tens of Thousands March on Washington, DC, for Immigration Reform
Immigration Reform: We Need a Better Alternative
David Bacon comments for Truthout: "Sens. Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham announced Thursday their plan for immigration reform. Unfortunately, it is a retread, recycling the same bad ideas that led to the defeat of reform efforts over the last five years. In some ways, their proposal is even worse."
Who Speaks for Human Rights?
D.D. Guttenplan and Maria Margaronis write for The Nation: "Its leaders may not wear white hats--or wings--but most people would put Amnesty International on the side of the angels. Decades of denunciations by dictators across the political spectrum have only increased the organization's prestige. Yet in recent weeks a new wave of criticism has portrayed Amnesty as "a threat to human rights," whose "leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy." And this time the attack, which may affect not only Amnesty's reputation but also its funding, originates inside Amnesty itself."
Why ACORN Fell: The Times, Lies, and Videotape
Peter Dreier and John Atlas write for the Huffington Post: "The New York Times hit ACORN with a one-two punch last weekend, making sure that the community organizing group -- flattened by attacks from the right and withdrawal of funding from liberal foundations -- stays knocked out. Both articles -- Ian Urbana's Saturday story, "Acorn on Brink of Bankruptcy, Officials Say" and public editor Clark Hoyt's Sunday column, "The Acorn Sting Revisited" -- reflect the paper's obsession with being so even-handed that the truth gets lost."
The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s decision to vote 'yes' in Sunday’s House action on the health care bill, although he had sworn to oppose the legislation unless there was a public option, is a perfect example of why I would never be a politician. I respect Kucinich. As politicians go, he is about as good as they get, but he is still a politician. He has to run for office. He has to raise money. He has to placate the Democratic machine or risk retaliation and defeat. And so he signed on to a bill that will do nothing to ameliorate the suffering of many Americans, will force tens of millions of people to fork over a lot of money for a defective product and, in the end, will add to the ranks of our uninsured."
Health Care Reform Bill 101: Who Will Pay for Reform?
Peter Grier reports for the Christian Science Monitor: "For the United States, health care reform would come with a hefty co-pay. So where's the cash to pay for this coming from? The answer is that the money will be provided by new taxes, fees on industries involved in health care, and cuts in projected spending growth for existing government health efforts, primarily Medicare."
Health-Insurance Coverage Rates for US Workers, 1979-2008
Download PDF of complete report here.
Calorie Count Disclosure And The Health Care Bill: Will This Lead To A Food Revolution?
Health Care and Wingnuts
Joe Conason writes for the New York Obaserver: "Listening to right-wing talk radio on the day after Congress passed health care reform, Bill O’Reilly was stunned. To him, the hosts and the callers sounded 'crazed; as they shrieked about 'the end of the world, we’re socialist now, we have to take the country back.' Maybe the Fox News host hasn’t been listening, but there has been plenty of crazy in the air now for many months on his network and elsewhere on the airwaves."
Two Right-Wing Billionaire Brothers Are Remaking America for Their Own Benefit
Jim Hightower writes for the Hightower Lowdown: "Despite a constant racket from the forces of the far-out right (Fox television's yackety-yackers, just-say-no GOP know-nothings, tea-bag howlers, Sarah Palinistas, et al.), the great majority of Americans support a bold progressive agenda for our country, ranging from Medicare for all to the decentralization and re-regulation of Wall Street. Indeed, in the elections of 2006 and 2008, people voted for a fundamental break from Washington's 30-year push to enthrone a corporate kleptocracy."
Bruce vs. Beck: Borne in the USA
GReg Mitchell writes for The Nation: "When Bruce Springsteen became a political 'boss' about thirty years ago he could not have imagined that the lyrics from one of his most famous songs would be cited by one American president and used to lampoon critics of another--and read over the air by the wacky host of something called 'a cable news channel.'"
The 10 Most Outrageous Right-Wing Freakouts Over the Health Care Bill
every baby in America and your grandmother? And by 'upset,' we mean certifiably insane. Here are the 10 most awesomely overwrought right-wing freakouts spurred by the passage of a bill that promises to extend coverage to tens of millions of the uninsured and curb some of the most inhumane abuses of the insurance industry." Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images - Mark Wilson
Are Greedy Water Bottlers Siphoning Your City's Drinking Water?
Choi to HRC: "I Feel So Betrayed"
Advocate.com editors report: "Lt. Dan Choi is profiled in the week’s copy of Newsweek, recounting what really happened to him after he was arrested at the White House gates and spent the night in jail. Choi tells the magazine he was denied a phone call and at numerous points throughout the interview, slams the Human Rights Campaign."
Globalizing the Culture Wars
Report (PDF)| Executive Summary (PDF) | Key Background Documents
Google Departs China: The View From Beijing
Kathleen E. McLaughlin reports for GlobalPost: "Google has finally made its move, shifting searches from China to Hong Kong more than two months after threatening to quit China over hacking and censorship. But the big questions remain unanswered, in particular Beijing's next move and how the internet giant's shift will affect access to information for the world's biggest net population."
Fake Area Newspaper Gets Real Television Show
The Onion, the satirical news organization that broke the fake story that the smoke monster from “Lost” would receive its own spin-off series and cheekily reported that television critics who praised “The Wire” had never seen the show, is itself headed to the small screen."
Plans for Broadband: Pipe Dream
The Economist comments: "A YEAR ago, Congress asked for a plan that would provide affordable broadband service to all America’s citizens. On March 16th, the Federal Communications Commission responded with a non sequitur: a national wireless plan which is good in its way, but which largely fails to tackle the problem it was asked to solve."
Ending the Internet's Trench Warfare
YOCHAI BENKLER comments for The New York times: "IMAGINE that for $33 a month you could buy Internet service twice as fast as what you get from Verizon or Comcast, bundled with digital high-definition television, unlimited long distance and international calling to 70 countries and wireless Internet connectivity for your laptop or smartphone throughout much of the country."
For Many, the Local Newspaper Isn't Dying - It's Already Dead
Robert Hernandez writes for The Online Journalism Review: "The doomsday scenario has been on everyone's mind, including some at SXSWi, since the revenue/circulation has dropped through the floor and the brilliant mind of Clay Shirky articulated 'thinking the unthinkable.' The scenario, in short, is what will happen to a city when the last major newspaper dies? Who covers our city? Who becomes our watchdog? What happens to our community? Who tells our story? I would propose that this scenario, in many aspects, has already happened."