Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: "Democracy in the United States is experiencing both a crisis of meaning and a legitimation crisis. As the promise of an aspiring democracy is sacrificed more and more to corporate and military interests, democratic spheres have largely been commercialized and democratic practices have been reduced to market relations, stripped of their worth and subject to the narrow logics of commodification and profit making. Empowerment has little to do with providing people with the knowledge, skills and power to shape the forces and institutions that bear down on their lives and is now largely defined as under the rubric of being a savvy consumer. When not equated with the free market capitalism, democracy is reduced to the empty rituals of elections largely shaped by corporate money and indifferent to relations of power that make a mockery out of equality, democratic participation and collective deliberation."
Setting the Record Straight on Chile
Naomi Klein writes for OpEdNews: "Just two days after Chile was struck by a devastating earthquake, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens informed his readers that Milton Friedman's 'spirit was surely hovering protectively over Chile' because, 'thanks largely to him, the country has endured a tragedy that elsewhere would have been an apocalypse'. It's not by chance that Chileans were living in houses of brick - and Haitians in houses of straw - when the wolf arrived to try to blow them down."
Afghanistan and the "Balance of Armaments"
Dallas Darling comments for Truthout: "Before discussing what Afghanistan has to do with the 'balance of armaments' idea, it is obvious that US and NATO forces, with regards to superior weapons and advanced armament industries, have had tremendous advantages over insurgents in the Middle East and Asia. Unfortunately, the production, maintenance and use of these advanced weapons systems and war technologies have routinely been accepted in the West. How modern war technologies, including their manufacturing and support systems, collectively shaped and changed those involved have rarely, if at all, received any type of criticism, too."
New Research on State Crimes Against Democracy
Peter Phillips reports for The Daily Censored: "New research in the journal American Behavioral Scientist (Sage publications, February 2010) addresses the concept of “State Crimes Against Democracy” (SCAD). Professor Lance deHaven-Smith from Florida State University writes that SCADs involve highlevel government officials, often in combination with private interests, that engage in covert activities for political advantages and power. Proven SCADs since World War II include McCarthyism (fabrication of evidence of a communist infiltration), Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (President Johnson and Robert McNamara falsely claimed North Vietnam attacked a US ship), burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist in effort to discredit Ellsberg, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, Florida’s 2000 Election (felon disenfranchisement program), and fixed intelligence on WMDs to justify the Iraq War."
The Other Victims of Battlefield Stress; Defense Contractors' Mental Health Neglected
T. Christian Miller reports for ProPublica: "While suicide among soldiers has been a focus of Congress and the public, relatively little attention has been paid to the mental health of tens of thousands of civilian contractors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. When they make the news at all, contractors are usually in the middle of scandal, depicted as cowboys, wastrels or worse."
Turning Point: When Soldiers Have Had Enough
The Torture Memo John Yoo Should Have Written
Stephen Rohde writes for The Daily Journal (via Turthout.org): "On February 19, the Department of Justice released the long-awaited 261-page Report of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which concluded, among other things, that in his legal memos on torture and presidential power, John Yoo had 'committed intentional professional misconduct when he violated his duty to exercise independent legal judgment and render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice.' A senior Justice Department official, acknowledging that he had not reviewed all the documents available to the OPR, found that Yoo exercised 'poor judgment' and that Yoo's memos were 'flawed,' 'one-sided and conclusory' and 'wrong,' in various respects, but nevertheless declined to accept the report or refer Yoo for disciplinary action, leaving this decision to the state bars. Given what we now know, here is the memo John Yoo should have submitted to President George W. Bush."
contracting oversight in Afghanistan, where, according to committee staffers, military officials missed multiple red flags calling Paravant's conduct into question—and were even confused about who was ultimately responsible for overseeing the company's work in the first place."
America's Public Debt: The Least of Our Worries
Mark Weisbrot writes for The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR): "Various political demagogues and Wall Street interests have mounted a campaign to convince Americans that despite persistent massive unemployment for the foreseeable future, more than 15 million people underwater on their home mortgages, and two unnecessary wars, what we really should be worried about is America's national debt."
Dear America: Welcome to the Third World
This is a definition that seems to describe the modern definition of third-world countries:
… nations which struggle to compete because of a lack of one or more of the following: health, education, employment, resources, money, and other various factors. Many are also hampered by corrupt governments who have long ago given up on looking after their own people and use funds to fatten their own wallets while their citizens are starving in the streets. Some are hampered by war or out of control epidemics such as AIDS. These factors make it next to impossible for them to compete in any real way with the industrialized nations."State by State, Unions Matter
Dick Meister comments for Truthout: "Union members invariably have better pay and benefits than nonunion workers. But, as a new study shows, the number of workers who've joined unions varies widely from state to state. Even in some states with a relatively high number of union members, the number is only a small percentage of the state's overall workforce, according to the study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research."
FBI Confirms Investigations Into Post-Katrina Violence Widening
A. C. Thompson reports for ProPublica: "If you’ve been following our Law & Disorder series, there are a couple of fresh developments. Our partners at the Times-Picayune have some new information about the expanding federal probe of the New Orleans Police Department, confirming that the FBI is investigating two more shootings described in stories we published in December."
Jackie Stevens writes for The Nation: "In January, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that by February 26 it would be transferring roughly 250 detainees from the privately run Varick Detention Center in Manhattan to the Hudson correctional center in Kearny, New Jersey. About 12,000 people annually, mostly New Yorkers who would be held at the Varick center, will now be distributed to facilities outside the city. ICE claims it is making the transfer to provide "outdoor recreation space and visitation services," but civil rights advocates paint a darker picture."
Like Crist-Rubio for GOP, Lincoln-Halter Race Could Define Dems
John Nichols writes for The Nation: "Most major media in the United States has given up on covering politics as if it mattered. From talk radio to talk television to the Washington bureaus of too many of our dying newspapers, the coverage of the 2010 election cycle is framed in one of two ways:
A. A fight between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. B. A fight between conservative Republicans and Tea Party Republicans to decide who will get to vanquish the liberal Democrats in November."Prayer Warriors and Palin Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America
Bill Berkowitz reports for AlterNet: "It's a movement whose followers played a significant role in the battle over Proposition 8, California's anti-same-sex marriage initiative, and Uganda's infamous proposed Anti-Homosexuality Law, more commonly associated with the Family, a religious network of elites drawn from the ranks of business and government throughout the world."
The Dirty Truth Behind Clean Coal
Domestic Violence: A Pre-Existing Condition?
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "March is Women’s History Month, recognizing women’s central role in society. Unfortunately, violence against women is epidemic in the United States and around the world. Domestic violence is on the minds of many now, as reports published by The New York Times implicate New York Gov. David Paterson in an alleged attempt to influence a domestic violence case against one of his top aides. The Times reports, based in part on unnamed sources, say that the Paterson aide, David W. Johnson, attacked his girlfriend on Halloween night, Oct. 31, 2009, 'choking her, smashing her into a mirrored dresser and preventing her from calling for help.' New York state police from the governor’s personal protection detail contacted the victim, despite having no jurisdiction. Then the governor himself intervened, the Times alleges, asking two aides to contact the victim and to arrange a phone call between him and the victim. The call occurred on Feb. 7 of this year, the night before the victim was to appear in court to request an order of protection from Johnson. She did not appear in court, and the case was dismissed. After the exposé, the governor ended his bid for election and suspended Johnson without pay."
EFF Demands FCC Close Copyright "Loophole" in Net Neutrality
Nate Anderson writes for Ars Tecnica: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation might be expected to love the FCC's 'Open Internet' push, but the group has one big concern with the rulemaking: the presence of 'a loophole for copyright enforcement in its proposed regulations for network neutrality.'"