Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Truthout 3/31

Ann Coulter and Blowhard Politics
David L. Clark, Truthout: "This has been a tough week for Canadian universities. On the one hand, a small but daring group of professors at the University of Regina called for a public forum on the war in Afghanistan and on the militarization of Canadian culture, especially the culture of higher education. Unless and until such a forum took place, they argued, the university should do its very best to stand for peace."
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Walmart: The Inhuman Essence of a Corporate "Person"
Jim Hightower, Truthout: "I'm curious about those five Supreme Court justices who recently decreed that a corporation is a 'person' with human rights: Do you think they ever met Mr. Walmart? If they had, they'd be forced to concede that corporate personhood is a sheer fantasy, for there is nothing even remotely human about the bloodless and brainless thing that is Walmart."
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Fraud on the Street
Robert Reich, "The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday it had begun an inquiry into two dozen financial companies to determine whether they followed accounting practices similar to those recently disclosed in an investigation of Lehman Brothers."
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Obama Signs Sweeping Student Loan Reform Bill Into Law
Grace Huang, Truthout: "President Obama signed legislation on Tuesday that will revamp the existing federal student loan system, allowing the government to directly provide loans to college students in the US. The bill will end a $60 billion program that gave federal money to private banks to provide loans for students, effectively cutting out their role as a middleman."
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British Columbia's Coast in the Balance
Chris Genovali, Paul Paquet and Misty MacDuffee, Truthout: "In this part of the world the month of March is, to borrow a phrase from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one that will live in infamy; it is the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster that took place in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989."
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McChrystal's Support for Afghan Raids Belies New Image
Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service: "Gen. Stanley McChrystal has recently acquired the image of a master strategist of the population-sensitive counterinsurgency, reducing civilian casualties from airstrikes and insisting that troops avoid firing when civilians might be hit during the recent offensive in Helmand Province. One recent press story even referred to a 'McChrystal Doctrine' that focuses on 'winning over civilians rather than killing insurgents.'"
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Can Anyone Pacify the World's Number One Narco-State?
Alfred W. McCoy, "In ways that have escaped most observers, the Obama administration is now trapped in an endless cycle of drugs and death in Afghanistan from which there is neither an easy end nor an obvious exit."
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Destroying Educational Institutions or Using Them for Military Purposes Is a War Crime
Dirk Adriaensens, Truthout: "'The education system in Iraq, prior to 1991, was one of the best in the region; with over 100 percent Gross Enrollment Rate for primary schooling and high levels of literacy, both of men and women. Higher education, especially the scientific and technological institutions, was of an international standard, staffed by high quality personnel.' (UNESCO Fact Sheet, March 28, 2003)"
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Whose Freedom?
Ira Chernus, Truthout: "The first Passover was a bloody one, the Bible says. God spent the whole night killing off first-born males all over Egypt. But He told every Israelite family to slaughter a lamb and smear its blood on their door, so that He could recognize the Israelites' houses and 'pass over' them, sparing their eldest sons. When dawn came, the Jews exited from slavery to freedom."
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Free Press Haven: Iceland May Soon Become Utopia for Journalists and Publishers
Samuel Knight, In These Times: "Icelandic members of parliament have plans to transform their crisis-ridden North-Atlantic nation into a sanctuary for publishers, production companies and information technology firms from around the world. 'It would free the press from fear,' says Thor Saari, one of the members of parliament spearheading the proposal, which is known as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI). Iceland's Parliament, the Althingi, is expected to support the effort."
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Gulf War Veterans: The VA Takes Important First Steps
Paul Sullivan and Anthony Hardie, Truthout: "Last week, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officially recognized several diseases as linked with deployment to the 1991 Gulf War. As Gulf War veterans, we applaud the VA's proposed new regulations that streamline access to disability benefits for Gulf War, Iraq war and Afghanistan war veterans."
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More Dark Truths From Guantanamo as Five Innocent Men Are Freed
Andy Worthington, Truthout: "After eight years imprisonment without charge or trial, five former Guantanamo prisoners are beginning new lives this week - two in Switzerland and three in Georgia. Their stories reveal, yet again, how Republican lawmakers and media pundits in the US, who have, in recent months, renewed their fear-filled attacks on those still held, are guilty of hyperbolic and unprincipled outbursts and, in addition, how these critics' attacks are damaging to the prospects of cleared men, seized by mistake, finding new homes in countries that, unlike the US, are prepared to offer them a chance to rebuild their shattered lives on a humanitarian basis."
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Food Safety, Agriculture and Nutrition: Seven Predictions for 2010
Dr. Charles Benbrook, Truthout: "The Organic Center, a leading research institute focused on the science of organic food and farming, has revealed its broad concern for the state of the food industry and American agriculture. Despite the hopeful and symbolic gesture of planting an organic garden at the White House and the First Lady's ongoing efforts throughout 2009 to promote healthier diets amongst children, the year ended with little progress on important domestic policy issues affecting food safety and quality, agriculture and nutrition."
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When a Union Acts Like a Big Corporation
Carl Finamore, Truthout: "The quiet decorum of a courtroom is a far cry from a union hall. But in San Francisco, it is precisely in a federal court where an extremely crucial and unprecedented debate is taking place that may fundamentally alter how much democratic control members exercise over local union chapters."
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Jack Bauer: Patriot, Hero, Terrorist-Torturing Badass?
Amanda Najjar, Truthout: "In the weeks following 9/11, the Jack Bauer character in the '24' series was exactly the type of character Americans craved to see on their TV screens, and the Fox Television Network delivered. As The New York Times said when the show began, it seemed as if there had been a 'deadly convergence between real life and Hollywood fantasy.'"
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