Manufacturing the Muslim Menace details a systemic failure to regulate content in nationwide counter-terrorism training. Myths perpetrated by trainers may put the rights of millions of Muslim Americans at risk from the very public servants who have sworn to protect them. Downland the complete report here (PDF file). Photo: Flickr, Asterix611
Islamophobia Can Create Radicalization
James C. Zogby comments for Arab American Institute: "Let me state quite directly: Islamophobia and those who promote it are a greater threat to the United States of America than Anwar al Awlaqi and his rag-tag team of terrorists. On one level, al Awlaqi, from his cave hide-out in Yemen, can only prey off of alienation where it exists. Adopting the persona of a latter-day Malcolm X (though he seems not to have read the last chapters of the 'Autobiography' or learned the lessons of Malcolm's ultimate conversion), he appears street-smart, brash, self-assured and assertive - all of the assets needed to attract lost or wounded souls looking for certainty and an outlet for their rage. Like some parasites, al Awlaqi cannot create his own prey. He must wait for others to create his opportunities, which until now have been isolated and limited - a disturbed young man here, an increasingly deranged soldier there."
CBO: Obama Understates Future Budget Deficits By $2.3 Trillion
Photo: Jehlum Post
9 Million Laid-Off Americans Lost Health Insurance In Last Two Years: Study
Laura Bassett reports for the Huffington Post: "During the last two years, 57 percent of Americans who lost a job that provided them health insurance -- nearly 9 million people -- could not afford to regain coverage, according to a new study published by the Commonwealth Fund, a longtime advocate of health care reform. In addition, 19 million Americans who tried to buy a health plan in the individual insurance market between 2007 and 2010 were either rejected due to a prior health condition or unable to find affordable coverage that fit their needs, according to the Commonwealth Fund report.
REPORT: In 12 States, GOP Plans To Slash Corporate Taxes While Increasing Burden on Working Families
record budget shortfalls onto middle-class Americans, while simultaneously doling out tax cuts to corporations. While progressive governors have proposed raising revenue from those who can afford it, alongside painful cuts to programs, Republican governors have unveiled budgets that cut taxes for corporations and raise them on the middle-class and working poor. In this report, ThinkProgress evaluates the priorities conservatives have set in twelve states..."
Afghanistan MIA From Deficit Debate
Bill Boyarski writes for Truthdig.com: "While Republicans race to cut spending, including outlays for education, health care and social services, they never mention one of the real reasons for the deficit: the cost of the war in Afghanistan and the mess we’ve made in Iraq. President Barack Obama ignores it, too, as he cautiously moves to the right, proposing minor reductions, letting the Republicans control the debate. Aiding and abetting them are cable news, Internet news outlets and most of the print media."
Ex-Goldman Banker Behind WSJ 'Smear Campaign' Against Elizabeth Warren
Zach Carter reports for the Huffington Post: "A Wall Street Journal editorial writer who has been closely involved with the paper's recent attacks on Elizabeth Warren is a former Goldman Sachs banker. The same editorial writer, Mary Kissel, is readying another piece critical of Warren and the new consumer agency, according to a source familiar with the coming article. Like most major newspapers, the Journal does not disclose the authors of its editorials. Kissel recently appeared on the John Batchelor radio show as a representative of the Journal's editorial board to discuss Warren, and repeated the main arguments used in the editorials."
US Chamber of Commerce: Shoot the Messenger Whatever the Cost
a piece last week in which he looks past the Koch brothers, who are finally getting the scrutiny they deserve, to the number one enemy of climate action: the US Chamber of Commerce. According to McKibben, the US C. of C. 'spent more money lobbying in 2009 than the next five biggest players combined; they spent more money on politics than either the Republican or Democratic National Committees.' And while they claim to represent 3 million businesses, the majority of their funding comes from just 16 companies. Given the fact that the Chamber has been expending so much effort attempting to thwart any attempt to control carbon emissions, it’s not hard to guess who has been filling the Chamber’s pot."
Who Is Bankrolling A Lawsuit To End The Ban On Foreign Money In US Elections?
Ian Millhiser reports for ThinkProgress: "When President Obama warned that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision 'will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our election,' conservatives began damage control literally before the President could even finish his sentence. Justice Sam Alito infamously mouthed the words 'not true' while Obama was speaking. Of course, we subsequently learned the Chamber of Commerce was raising money from foreign corporations and then placed this money in the same account which funds their political attack ads. Someone is now bankrolling a lawsuit to undermine the longstanding ban on political contributions by non-U.S. citizens."
UN Reported Only a Fraction of Civilian Deaths From US Raids
Gareth Porter and Shah Noori report for Inter Press Service: "The number of civilians killed in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids last year was probably several times higher than the figure of 80 people cited in the U.N. report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan published last week, an IPS investigation has revealed. The report also failed to apply the same humanitarian law standard for defining a civilian to its reporting on SOF raids that it applied to its accounting for Taliban assassinations."
FOIA Eyes Only: How Buried Statutes Are Keeping Information Secret
Jennifer LaFleur reports for ProPublica: "Anyone can request information from U.S. officials under the Freedom of Information Act, a law designed to allow people to know what their government is up to. When a government agency withholds information from a requester, it typically must invoke one of nine FOIA exemptions that cover everything from national security to personal privacy. But among that list is an exemption-known as b(3) for its section in the FOI Act-that allows an agency to apply other statutes when denying information requests. New data compiled by the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of journalism and transparency groups, shows that agencies have applied more than 240 other laws in withholding information over the last decade."
Bradley Manning's Torturous Treatment Met By Growing Resistance
on-the-ground protests, a growing chorus of media and activist voices is calling for an end to Manning’s appalling treatment. Implicitly or explicitly, they link the accused WikiLeaker’s fate to that of tens of thousands of other US prisoners held in solitary, and shed new light on a widespread and torturous practice. Yesterday the ACLU sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, charging that the 'gratuitously harsh treatment" of Manning "violates fundamental constitutional norms.'"
Nuclear Experts: Japan Nuclear Disaster Unprecedented -- No Way to Know About US Impact
Joshua Holland writes for AlterNet: "In the days after a massive earthquake battered Japan – triggering a deadly tsunami, shifting the earth several inches off its axis, and most frighteningly, damaging one of the most powerful nuclear power plants in the world – many nuclear engineers sought to reassure the American public that while the crisis was a serious one for Japan, there was no cause for Americans to be alarmed. But experts interviewed by AlterNet cautioned that the events taking place in the Fukushima No. 1 power plant are simply unprecedented, and noted that the situation appears to be deteriorating. "
Saying No to the Nuclear Option
Fracking Debate Heats Up as New Jersey Seeks Ban
Mike Ludwig reports for Truthout: "New Jersey lawmakers advanced legislation last week that would make their state the first to ban the controversial and largely unregulated practice of hydraulic fracturing, aka 'fracking,' used to drill for natural gas. The New Jersey Senate Environment Committee approved the legislation amid a public debate over proposed regulations for an estimated 10,000 fracking wells that could soon be established in the Delaware River Basin."
NPR: The Saga Continues
NPR Defunding Vote: Don't diminish Democracy to Settle a Political Score
The Christian Science Monitor comments: "Republicans in Congress have wanted to defund public broadcasting for decades. Now, after former National Public Radio fundraising executive Ronald Schiller was caught saying that NPR would be “better off in the long run without federal funding,” they’re on the verge of making that happen. A vote could happen this week. Last week’s video sting certainly makes it easier to repeat the talking point that public radio doesn’t deserve public support. But careful research of public media in other democracies shows the opposite is true."
Senator Al Franken to Introduce Bill Making Net Neutrality Violations a Crime
A Fox Alert for Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB
Ilsey Hodge reports for The Guardian: "In the 7 March issue of the Tribune, Mark Seddon reported on the threat that Glenn Beck, 'as a sort of hired gauleiter on Fox News', poses to American democracy. The article hit the nail on the head when it comes to Beck's paranoiac propaganda. Seddon, however, misses the broader danger of the Murdoch-owned Fox News: the media outlet's audience is growing even as its programming veers away from broadcast journalism and shapes instead a rightwing political operation. Consider the facts: more than twice as many Americans watch Fox News as watch CNN, the next most popular cable news channel, and almost five times as many as watch MSNBC. Fox's audience cuts across age, gender, race, education, and income level. The average Fox News viewer is a male between the ages of 30 to 49 – far from most people's perception that mostly seniors watch Fox. So where Seddon pointed to a fabled minority audience of 'not-so-bright … American citizens', Fox is instead popular among a wide swath of well-educated, contributing members of society. Fox's audience includes your neighbour, your cousin and the guy in front of you in line every morning at Starbucks."
Julian Assange Tells Students that the Web Is the Greatest Spying Machine Ever
Patrick Kingsley reports for The Guardian UK: "The internet is the 'greatest spying machine the world has ever seen' and is not a technology that necessarily favours the freedom of speech, the WikiLeaks co-founder, Julian Assange, has claimed in a rare public appearance. Assange acknowledged that the web could allow greater government transparency and better co-operation between activists, but said it gave authorities their best ever opportunity to monitor and catch dissidents. 'While the internet has in some ways an ability to let us know to an unprecedented level what government is doing, and to let us co-operate with each other to hold repressive governments and repressive corporations to account, it is also the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen,' he told students at Cambridge University. Hundreds queued for hours to attend."
Study: Majority of Consumers Obtain News From Online Sources
Nadia Prupis reports for Truthout: "For the first time, 21st century consumers are reading the news online more than in print, according to the 'State of the News Media 2011' report by the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism. Only television remains the most-used resource for news among American adults, but the gap is closing. In fact, most sectors of the American news industry began to recover in 2010 after two difficult years - but technological advances present old and new media alike with increasingly complex challenges."