Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Truthout 7/13

Ellen Brown | How Brokers Became Bookies
Ellen Brown, Truthout: "Ever since December 2008, the Federal Reserve has held short-term interest rates near zero. This was not only to try to stimulate the housing and credit markets, but also to allow the federal government to increase its debt levels without increasing the interest tab picked up by the taxpayers. The total public US debt increased by nearly 50 percent from 2006 to the end of 2009 (from about $8.5 trillion to $12.3 trillion), but the interest bill on the debt actually dropped (from $406 billion to $383 billion), because of this reduction in interest rates."
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Could a "Great Negotiation" End the War in Afghanistan?
Robert Naiman, Truthout: "A commonly proffered argument against negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan has been: Why should the Afghan Taliban negotiate, when they think they are winning?' For many months, this argument was offered by administration officials to explain why they would not yet pursue serious negotiations with senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban."
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US Funds Life Imprisonment, Forced Labor and Death Penalty for Gays
Zimmer Barnes, Truthout: "Gay Americans experience only mild homophobia compared to their peers in many other countries, where governments choose to persecute, criminalize, arrest, jail, and, in the worst cases, execute gay citizens. In essence, these nations are engaging in state-sponsored homophobia, and many of them receive millions of aid dollars from the US in some cases in excess of $1 billion."
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Dahr Jamail | Toxic Dispersants Near Gulf Harm Humans and Wildlife
Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld, Truthout: "My eyes are burning as I type this. We've just returned from spending the day down in Barataria, located about an hour's drive south of New Orleans. The community of fishermen is swimming in oil. Within minutes of arriving, our eyes begin to burn and we begin to feel dizzy from airborne chemicals from the oil and dispersant."
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Robert Reich | The Root of Economic Fragility and Political Anger
Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog: "Missing from almost all discussion of America's dizzying rate of unemployment is the brute fact that hourly wages of people with jobs have been dropping, adjusted for inflation. Average weekly earnings rose a bit this spring only because the typical worker put in more hours, but June's decline in average hours pushed weekly paychecks down at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent."
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JoAnn Wypijewski: What Democrats Are Up Against in November (VIDEO)
Laura Flanders, GRITtv: "November elections are coming up and democrats around the country are starting to wonder if they can hold onto the House. Author and Nation contributor JoAnn Wypijewski joins us in the studio to describe her on the ground tour of the United States - talking to people, and figuring out the political fabric at stake."
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Obama Crafts First National Strategy to Fight HIV/AIDS
Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor: "The Obama administration will unveil the first national HIV/AIDS strategy Tuesday. The goal is to reduce the number of new infections and boost access to care for those already infected, an administration report says."
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Israeli Military: "Mistakes Were Made" in Deadly Flotilla Raid
Sheera Frankel, McClatchy Newspapers: "An Israeli military investigation into Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla concluded Monday that there were 'no failures, but mistakes were made.' Nine activists, all Turks, died and dozens were wounded in the assault. One of those killed had dual U.S.-Turkish citizenship."
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The Seven Circles of Juarez
Ioan Grillo, GlobalPost: "If Dante had ever been to Juarez he would have placed it squarely in the seventh circle of hell, the one housing 'violence' and 'ringed by a river of boiling blood.' The city, which lies on the Rio Grande just across from El Paso, Texas, is the murder capital of the world, claiming more than 5,500 killings since January 2008. It is responsible for one-fifth of the more than 25,000 drug-related murders that have occurred in Mexico since 2006 when President Felipe Calderon officially declared war on the country's heavily armed drug cartels."
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Leslie Griffith | Rachel Takes Us Back to the Future
Leslie Griffith, Truthout: "Every June, I leave my Northern California home and head south to our annual Gulf Coast family reunion. I might as well be an alien visiting from another planet. My appearance at these soirees is a bit scandalous because, quite frankly, many suspect that my time in California has turned me gay."
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Look to Women to End Conflict in Kyrgyzstan
Betsy Hood, Foreign Policy in Focus: "'Even now, I can't find the words to explain the kinds of horrors that are happening,' wrote Nurjan Tulegabylova with El Agartuu, a women's organization based in Kyrgyzstan. 'There are burned houses, but the worst is that corpses of people are lying on the street.'"
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Nick Turse | Death on Your Doorstep
Nick Turse, TomDispatch: "I've never heard a shot fired in anger. But I might know a little bit more about war than Sebastian Junger. Previously best known as the author of The Perfect Storm, Junger, a New York-based reporter who has covered African wars and the Kosovo killing fields, and Tim Hetherington, an acclaimed film-maker and photographer with extensive experience in conflict zones, heard many such shots, fired by Americans and Afghans, as they made their new documentary film Restrepo - about an isolated combat outpost named after a beloved medic killed in a firefight."
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