Thursday, March 4, 2010

Truthout 3/4

Winter in America: Democracy Gone Rogue
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."
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Waterboarding Too Dangerous, Internal DoD Memo Reveals
Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout: "In recent weeks, former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen has been on a public relations campaign defending the efficacy of waterboarding, going so far as to say that the torture technique sanctioned by the Bush administration is not only safe, but is in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.... On Tuesday, in an interview with 'Fox News,' John Yoo, the former Justice Department attorney who was the principal author of legal memoranda that cleared the way for CIA interrogators to waterboard 'war on terror' detainees and subject them to other brutal torture techniques, asserted that waterboarding was harmless."
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A Military Coup in Iraq?
Raed Jarrar, Truthout: "Twenty million eligible voters are invited to participate in this weekend's parliamentary election in Iraq. The election, scheduled for Sunday March 7, will take place amid an wave of increased violence and political tension in Iraq. But even with the possibilities of a total political meltdown, or even a military coup, the US should not delay or cancel its withdrawal plans."
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Senate Committee Advances Dawn Johnsen to Head Powerful DOJ Office
Kyle Berlin and Jason Leopold, Truthout: "Following a month of delays, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to send Dawn Johnsen, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's powerful Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), to the Senate floor. The OLC advises presidents on the limits of their power. The Senate panel voted 12-7 to report Johnsen out of committee, and some Republicans were vocal in their opposition."
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Naomi Klein: Setting the Record Straight on Chile
Naomi Klein, 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."
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Goldman Sachs Authors a Greek Tragedy
Jim Hightower, Truthout: "Goldman, a global financial conglomerate and America's largest banking fiefdom, is notorious in our country for its arrogant, anything-goes corporate ethic that is astonishingly avaricious, even by Wall Street's dissolute standards. The firm is villainous enough that it could be its own reality TV show, perhaps titled, 'Bankers Behaving Badly.'"
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Justice Not Always Blind, Especially to Gender
Armin Rosen, Inter Press Service: "When Legal Momentum, a U.S. advocacy group that works with all aspects of gender in the legal system, started its National Judicial Education Programme in 1980, gender discrimination was an unacknowledged problem in the country's courtrooms."
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Banks' Record Profits Are a Political Matter
Thomas Piketty, Liberation: "... citizens are likely to quite logically conclude that this whole sequence is an economic absurdity: bank profits and bonuses take off, jobs and salaries remain at half-mast and now we have to tighten our belts to repay public debt, itself created to soak up the bankers financial follies ... bankers who, moreover, have returned to speculating, this time at the expense of governments ..."
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E.J. Dionne Jr. | The Big Lie About "Reconciliation"
E.J. Dionne Jr.: "Obama's critics have regularly accused him of not being as tough or wily or forceful as LBJ was in pushing through civil rights and the social programs of his Great Society. Obama seemed willing to let Congress go its own way and was so anxious to look bipartisan that he wouldn't even take his own side in arguments with Republicans.... Those days are over. On Wednesday, the president made clear what he wants in a health care bill, and he urged Congress to pass it by the most expeditious means available."
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Pacific Pushback: Has the US Empire of Bases Reached Its High-Water Mark?
John Feffer, "For a country with a pacifist constitution, Japan is bristling with weaponry. Indeed, that Asian land has long functioned as a huge aircraft carrier and naval base for U.S. military power. We couldn't have fought the Korean and Vietnam Wars without the nearly 90 military bases scattered around the islands of our major Pacific ally. Even today, Japan remains the anchor of what's left of America's Cold War containment policy when it comes to China and North Korea. From the Yokota and Kadena air bases, the United States can dispatch troops and bombers across Asia, while the Yokosuka base near Tokyo is the largest American naval installation outside the United States."
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