Monday, March 29, 2010

Truthout 3/29

Torture Diaries, Drawings and the Special Prosecutor
Jason Leopold, Truthout: "Attorneys defending Abu Zubaydah, a Guantanamo prisoner designated as the first 'high-value' detainee by the Bush administration, have finally gained access to three volumes of diaries he wrote while he was in the custody of the CIA and brutally tortured by agency interrogators and contractors at a secret 'black site' prison."
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James Howard Kunstler | Our Turn?
James Howard Kunstler, "Nations go crazy. It's terrifying when it happens, especially to a major nation with the ability to project its craziness outward. We look back on the psychotic break of Germany in 1933 and still wonder how the then-best-educated population in Europe could fall under the sway of a sociopathic political program."
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Welcome to Glennbeckistan
Chip Ward, "What if the Tea Party ruled? Imagine a land, let's call it Glennbeckistan, where white, patriarchal, religiously zealous, Tea Party-type patriots hold a super-majority in both houses of the legislature, sit in the governor's mansion, and control most local governments. It's a place so out of sync with the rest of the nation that states' rights and even secession are always on the agenda. It's a place where gun ownership trumps all other rights, climate change is considered an insidious socialist conspiracy, and a miscarriage can be investigated as a potential crime. Welcome to Utah."
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China: What Do We Want?
Dean Baker, Truthout: "There is growing momentum to do something about the overvaluation of the dollar. This is a good thing. The overvaluation of the dollar has led to record trade deficits. While there is a well-funded industry devoted to whipping up hysteria around the budget deficit, the trade deficit actually poses a much more serious cause for concern."
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Norman Solomon | Obama in a Bomber Jacket
Norman Solomon, Truthout: "President Obama has taken a further plunge into the kind of war abyss that consumed predecessors named Johnson, Nixon and Bush. On Sunday, during his first presidential trip to Afghanistan, Obama stood before thousands of American troops to proclaim the sanctity of the war effort. He played the role deftly - a commander in chief, rallying the troops - while wearing a bomber jacket."
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The Personal Is Political: Q&A With Leang Seckon, Cambodian Freedom Artist
Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout: "Leang Seckon, one of Cambodia's foremost contemporary artists, will see his first European solo exhibition, The Heavy Skirt, opening March 31 at London's Rossi & Rossi gallery. Unlike depictions of his homeland that you might come across in the US, Seckon's work presents a rich and complex view of Cambodia, involving elements of performance, collage, painting and illustration. But it can be confusing, like speaking with the artist himself."
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Moscow Metro Bombings: Insecurity in Chechnya, North Caucasus Comes to Moscow
Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor: "Officials blamed today's twin Moscow Metro bombings, which struck near the FSB security service and a major state-run media outlet, on two female suicide bombers from the North Caucasus. Suicide bombers struck two stations in Moscow's crowded metro less than an hour apart Monday morning, killing at least 37 people and injuring 73, and bringing Russia's seething northern Caucasus directly to the Kremlin's doorstep."
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"Socialism," Chicago Style
Howard Fineman: "Why the health industry quietly loves Obamacare. I've been covering Congress forever and had never heard this in the press gallery: shouts of an angry crowd outside the Capitol. Since the health-care vote in the House, Republicans seem to be finding inspiration less from the words of Ronald Reagan than the films of George Romero."
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Taking a Stand to Keep Sitting Legal
Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., Truthout: "San Francisco is poised to become the latest in a string of cities to adopt a law making it a crime to sit on the sidewalk. While it is the case that some of these other cities are known as being among the more liberal in the nation (e.g., Portland, Seattle, Boulder, Austin), no city with such a deep progressive history has sought to impose anything like a citywide ban on sitting such as is being proposed for San Francisco."
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Union Democracy on Trial
Carl Finamore, Truthout: "Going to court can make anyone nervous. But in civil court, where breach of contract disputes are normally settled, the stakes are not quite as high as in criminal court. You can't be thrown in jail. That's a plus."
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Black Farmers Forgotten Again
Sue Sturgis, Facing South: "The Obama administration reached a historic $1.25 billion settlement last month in a long-standing lawsuit over decades of racial discrimination against African-American farmers by the US Department of Agriculture."
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With Burma Election Boycott, Suu Kyi Party Risks Breakup
Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor: "Aung San Suu Kyi party members announced a boycott on the Burma election Monday to avoid endorsing an 'unfair' process. But the largest opposition group in Burma (Myanmar) now risks being broken up under controversial election laws."
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French Regional Elections: Who Are the National Front (FN) Voters?
Christophe Deroubaix, Humanite in English: "A comment in the local press last week went like this: who, indeed, would wonder at a resident of a sensitive neighborhood, or lawless area, casting a FN vote? Except with an attitude of hesitant indulgence, few would challenge this staple image of the typical FN voter: an honest Frenchman, who's been left defenceless against the 'laws' of these districts, a citizen whom change has left behind and who casts a heinous ballot paper out of rage ... And yet no proof can be brought to validate the prevalent archetype of the 'leftist-frontist', the thesis so dear to political analyst Pascal Perrineau, save some superficial judgements, or the desire to pursue an ideological line."
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Lying About Nuclear Weapons
Lawrence S. Wittner, The History News Network: "One of the most popular muckraking American journalists of the late twentieth century, I.F. Stone, once remarked: 'All governments lie.' Even a prominent government official - Andrei Gromyko, the veteran Soviet diplomat - once admitted, in a weak moment: 'Governments are never sincere.'"
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Banks Could Be Big Winners of President Obama's Foreclosure Prevention Program
Amy Goodman, Democracy NOW!: "The Obama administration has announced changes to its signature foreclosure prevention program, Making Home Affordable. The initial foreclosure relief program unveiled one year ago was supposed to help up to four million struggling homeowners. So far fewer than 200,000 borrowers have been granted permanent loan modifications. Meanwhile, a record 2.8 million properties with mortgages received foreclosure notices last year, according to the real estate data company RealtyTrac."
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