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Truthout Daily Digest Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Laura Flanders | Noam Chomsky Talks US Militarism and Capitalism, at Home and Abroad

Laura Flanders, Truthout: Professor and author Noam Chomsky speaks with Laura Flanders on the US bombing of Iraq and Syria, US policing and the criminalization of Black life, the US-China carbon emissions deal, and more.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

GMO Contamination Denial: Controlling Science

Don Fitz, Truthout: Did you ever think that investigation of the potential dangers of putting GMOs into food would be based on objective research? Through all of its phases, scientific research is subject to repression, manipulation and more insidious forms of control that push it toward a profit-based consensus.

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A Brutal “Torture Report,” but No Accountability

Mike Ludwig, Truthout: While the Obama administration does not deny the brutality of the CIA’s top secret, post-9/11 torture program, detailed in the long-awaited “torture report” releasedtoday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the administration is refusing to hold anyone publicly accountable.

Read the Article

William Ayers | Bad? Suffering From Youthful Tendency Disorder? Lost Children in a Lost Society

William Ayers, Teachers College Press: In his foreword, titled “Through a Glass Darkly,” to Crystal T. Laura’s new book,Being Bad: My Baby Brother and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, William Ayers reflects on how that pipeline actually functions.

Read the Excerpt

Torture Has No Place in US Society

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: Todaymarks a new chapter in US history. Every US citizen should read the summary of the CIA torture report and learn from it. We must acknowledge that the Bush administration committed torture and war crimes, and we must promise to never, ever do these things again.

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Chomsky Turns 86: Happy Birthday, Noam

Dan Falcone, Truthout: Renowned linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky turned 86 years old on December 7. Dan Falcone revisits some of his best interview questions to Chomsky, and Chomsky’s thoughtful responses.

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Hidden Files on Treatment of Internees Could Change the Definition of Torture

Samantha Newbery, The Conversation: On December 2, the Irish government announced that it will ask the European Court of Human Rights to reconsider its 1978 judgment on the UK’s treatment of internees in Northern Ireland. This action has the potential to affect how torture is defined in law.

Read the Article

This Week Senate Democrats Can Limit the ISIS War

Robert Naiman, Truthout: If Americans don’t want to embark on another endless war, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee must vote to restrict the use of US ground troops in combat against ISIS and pass an authorization for the use of force with an expiration date.

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NYT DealBook’s Dishonest Salvo at Elizabeth Warren Over Calling Out an Unqualified Nominee for Treasury

Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism: Even though The New York Times DealBook is a reliable defender of Big Finance meal tickets, it’s managed to skim above abject intellectual dishonesty. But the DealBook has published three pieces in defense of an unacceptably weak Obama administration nominee for an important Treasury post.

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ALEC Fumes: Transparency Threatens Corporate Free Speech!

Brendan Fischer, PR Watch: After spending hundreds of millions of dollars in undisclosed funds on state and federal elections, the corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council are demanding that state legislators preserve their “right” to anonymously spend money on politics and curry favor with elected officials.

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We’re All Tired – Protests Against State Violence Go Worldwide

Kate Aronoff, Waging Nonviolence: Simultaneous protests over the abduction and likely murder of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, were held in France, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and other countries. At the action in New York City, demonstrators gathered for a vigil in Union Square and then moved to the Mexican consulate.

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Kind of Blue: Contextualizing the Ebola Crisis, Humanitarian Imperatives and Structural Deficits

Sonasha Braxton, Hampton Institute: “The beneficial nature of having a US passport in my back pocket is that it also serves as a ‘get out of Ebola land’ card. In other words, this blue passport affords you the opportunity to get evacuated, while everyone else stays behind.”

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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Our Ancestors Evolved to Recycle, and More

In today‘s On the News segment: Our ancestors evolved to understand the importance of recycling; if you love seafood, eat up while you can; Canada may be home to the tar sands, but it’s also home to thousands of green energy jobs; and more.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript


Email of Florida GOP Consultants Reveals the Gerrymandering of Democracy

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: Florida Republican strategists wanted to continue to hamper democracy by ignoring a constitutional amendment passed by voters that prohibited them from doing so.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

The Most Gruesome Moments in the CIA “Torture Report”

Read the Article at The Daily Beast

Michael Brown and Eric Garner: Killed in the Name of the State?

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

There Has Been a Fatal School Shooting Every Five Weeks Since Sandy Hook

Read the Article at Mother Jones

How the Surveillance Industry Sells Itself

Read the Article at Vice

Iraqi Leader Asks US for More Air Power, Weaponry

Read the Article at the Associated Press

How Social Media Helped an Independent Candidate Beat the Odds in Taiwan’s Elections

Read the Article at Global Voices

The Most Violent US Police Force: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Read the Article at AllGov

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Common Dreams Highlights December 8,2014


Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

News & Views | 12.08.14


Marcellene Hearn: Required Reading: Prequels to the Torture Report


‘Get the FF Out’: Campaigners Reject Fossil Fuel Influence at Climate Summit

Ahead of Senate Report, CIA and GOP Circle Wagons To Defend Bush-Era Torture

With Global Tensions High, Experts Say Threat of Nuclear War Must Be Sharply Curbed

With Negotiators in DC, Opponents Vow to ‘Mobilize Like Never Before’ to Kill Corporate-Friendly Trade Deals

NATO Symbolically Lowers Flag in Afghanistan, But US War To March On

Obama’s Oil Boom Destroying Hope for Progress on Climate

and more…



Kumi Naidoo: Nature Does Not Negotiate: Climate Catastrophe Is with Us Now!

Jen Marlowe: No Exit in Gaza: Broken Homes and Broken Lives

Paul Buchheit: 2014: The Year of the Hypocrites

Frida Berrigan: How I Will Prepare My White Son for the Interactions He Won’t Have with Police

Glenn Greenwald: Release of Six Detainees After Twelve Years Highlights the Historic Evil of Guantánamo



Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood: BabyFirst AT&T U-verse App Wins Dreaded TOADY Award for Worst Toy of the Year

Friends of the Earth International: Anglo American’s Negative Influence on Climate Policies Exposed

Organic Consumers Association: Groups to Rally Against Legislation to Keep Consumers in the Dark

and more…

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Truthout Daily Digest Monday, 8 December 2014


Dahr Jamail | Extinction Rate Rivals That of Dinosaurs, 2014 Likely Hottest Year Ever

Dahr Jamail, Truthout: Recent studies show that current animal extinction rates from anthropogenic climate disruption now rival the extinction that annihilated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Once again, this month’s survey of the planet shows how climate disruption is continuing to intensify.

Read the Article

Environmental Group Files Legal Challenge to Offshore Fracking in California

Mike Ludwig, Truthout: Environmentalists have considered taking legal action against federal regulators since a Truthout investigation last year revealed details about offshore fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Read the Article

The Government’s Single-Source Theory of Investigative Journalism

Marcy Wheeler, ExposeFacts: Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling wants to show that several of the key witnesses against him (including his superior at CIA) have themselves mishandled classified information. The government’s argument explaining why that doesn’t hurt its case is rather revealing.

Read the Article

Sick, Poisoned and Hungry: The Bees of New York State

Jake Blumgart, Truthout: The unprecedented wave of bee die-offs continues, with a spotlight on New York and New England. The cause isn’t just pesticides, but banning the most toxic of those could be the first step to recovery.

Read the Article

Richard D. Wolff | The Wages of Global Capitalism

Richard D. Wolff, Truthout: The International Labor Organization’s Global Wage Report, released on December 5, clearly exposes the immense costs of a globalizing capitalism for the wage-earning majorities in Western Europe, North America and Japan.

Read the Article

No Exit in Gaza: Broken Homes and Broken Lives

Jen Marlowe, TomDispatch: Four months ago, the Awajah family’s home was demolished by the Israeli military – and it wasn’t the first time that Kamal, Wafaa and their children had been through this. For the last six years, the family has found itself trapped in a cycle of destruction and reconstruction.

Read the Article

Dean Baker | Benefits of Obamacare: More People Are Able to Work Less

Dean Baker, Truthout: The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, but it has been a huge step forward not only because it has insured millions of previously uninsured people, but even more importantly, because it has freed tens of millions of workers from dependence on their employers for insurance.

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Antonio Weiss Is Not Qualified to Be Undersecretary for Domestic Finance

Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario: Mr. Weiss might be qualified for other positions, for example in the Commerce Department. Based on the available facts, he is simply not qualified for the post of Undersecretary for Domestic Finance in the Treasury Department.

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Palm Oil and Extreme Violence in Honduras: The Inexorable Rise and Dubious Reform of Grupo Dinant

Jeff Conant, Truthout: Decades ago with Standard Fruit, Honduras was the archetype of the banana republic; today, with Dinant, it’s an oil palm republic, characterized by land grabs and violence against peasants and indigenous people. The problem is not the crop, but the agro-industrial model supported by the World Bank.

Read the Article

How Democrats in the South Will Rise Again

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: The Democratic Party needs to reflect on Sen. Landrieu’s loss Saturday, and learn from it. While the demise of the “Southern Democrat” may be historic, it doesn’t have to be permanent. Americans across the country favor the progressive policies that can get our country back on track.

Read the Article

Civil Disobedience Is an Act of Love: An Interview With Tim DeChristopher

Leslee Goodman, The MOON Magazine: “I think the people fighting climate change need to be willing to risk their comfort. For some people that may mean risking jail. For others it might mean risking their jobs, or their reputations,” says Tim DeChristopher.

Read the Interview

Shale Gas Projections Are in Decline – and We Shouldn’t Be Surprised

Hannah Petersen, The Conversation: The recent confidence in shale gas was likely premature, according to several new reports published in the United States. In particular, a study from the University of Texas claims the US boom will tail off by 2020 and not keep going to 2040, as previous, less thorough analyses have predicted.

Read the Article

Back on the Hamster Wheel

Victoria Bassetti, The Brennan Center for Justice: The 2014 election results were hardly dry on the newsprint, before almost every US politician and would-be politician hopped back on the hamster wheel, furiously spinning for more and more money.

Read the Article

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Mitch McConnell Wants a New Campaign Finance Loophole, and More

In today‘s On the News segment: Mitch McConnell thinks that there wasn’t enough spending in the last election; one city wants to do more to protect retail employees; there are still about 9 million Americans out of work in this country; and more.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript


As Hourly Wages Barely Rise During Job Growth, CEOs Receive Lavish Salary Increases

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: The United States continues to move economically backward into an “Upstairs Downstairs” society.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Chelsea Manning: I Am a Transgender Woman, and the Government Is Denying My Civil Rights

Read the Article at The Guardian

Top 2014 Hypocrites When It Comes to Capitalist Me­-First Entitlements

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Meet the BART-Stopping Woman Behind “Black Lives Matter”

Read the Article at Grist

Big Oil Democrat Mary Landrieu Loses US Senate Seat in Louisiana Runoff

Read the Article at CNN

My Whole Foods Nightmare: How a Full­-Time Job There Left Me in Poverty

Read the Article at Salon

These College Presidents Make at Least $1 Million as Tuition Soars

Read the Article at CNNMoney

Forensic Experts Identify Remains of One of Mexico’s 43 Missing Ayotzinapa Students

Read the Article at Global Voices

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Indigenous cultures rivalled those of many other civilizations – The Globe and Mail


Indigenous cultures rivalled those of many other civilizations

Teaches indigenous studies at McMaster University and is a member of the Beausoleil First Nation on Chimnissing

Thomas Jefferson once remarked that those who don’t read newspapers are better informed than those who do, even as the former may know nothing, the latter only know falsehood and error. This brings to mind Margaret Wente’s recent column about Olympic official Dick Pound, who said, “400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages.” Ms. Wente’s Saturday column has likely set back the first nations’ campaign for an accurate representation of native peoples in the mainstream media by 10 years.

In fact, a brief survey of the original peoples of this continent illustrates an array of accomplishments that rival civilizations around the globe, including those in Western Europe. Yet today, in North America, the ancestors of those from both continents live side by side, separated by a canyon of misunderstanding. To gain insight, we need only turn to indigenous oral traditions, wampum belts, birchbark scrolls and Tsalagi and Aztec texts. In addition, scholars of all stripes from all corners of the globe have contributed to a greater knowledge of indigenous cultures.

Perhaps most impressive among their findings is that indigenous peoples were adept farmers, originally cultivating and harvesting two-thirds of the foodstuffs the world consumes today. These include the tomato, peanut, potato, chili peppers and corn. In fact, at the time of contact, and long before Gregor Mendel’s experiments with pea plants, the Huron in Ontario had genetically engineered 17 different varieties of corn. Not quite the Stone Age hunter-gatherers of Ms. Wente’s column.

But the achievements don’t end there. And because Ms. Wente uses European-inspired standards of success when measuring first nations “savagery,” a comparison is in order. At a time when the Anishinabek had societal codes forbidding incest, the crowned heads of France and England were as inbred as poodles. While Christians were burning “heretics” at the stake for suggesting the Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe, the Mayans were charting the movement of the stars, creating a calendar within seconds of modern-day atomic clocks. The Wet’suwet’en practised a matriarchal society, while on the other side of the Atlantic, women were the property of men.

In addition, and contrary to Ms. Wente’s assertion, the Haudenosaunee did influence the U.S. Constitution. American “founding fathers,” including Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson, explicitly recorded the first nation contribution. John Rutledge even articulated the structure of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and their “Great Law of Peace” to the drafting committee. (He spoke of a complex federalism whose leaders included executive, legislative and judicial branches – the latter of which were generally a group of elder women). The Haudenosaunee actually practise a 900-year-old democracy and the longest lasting peace between nations in recorded history.

Yet another disturbing aspect of Ms. Wente’s column was the dismissal of traditional ecological knowledge – this is the sum knowledge of a given first nation or Inuit community that has been accumulated and amended for thousands of years. Dismissing it reduces us to conclude, for instance, that the Inuit have survived in the world’s harshest climate by sheer luck. Of course, this is nonsensical. Sophisticated knowledge of ice flows, animal migrations, wind patterns and temperature fluctuations ensured their success in the past and educates scientists, the military and resource companies in the present.

In fact, such traditional ecological knowledge also significantly contributes to Western medicine: essiac is a cancer treatment, evanta cures leprosy, foxglove aids heart care, kava kava reduces stress, and quinine treats malaria. All of the above are indigenous inventions. Not only can such ecological knowledge save lives, it may also help save the world. First nations peoples have lived sustainably in North America for tens of thousands of years, respecting all life, however small, putting an emphasis on reciprocity and understanding that their relationship with ecosystems is one of life and death. At a time when first nations peoples can teach us so much, Ms. Wente would have us ignore them.

Indigenous cultures were and are diverse and vibrant.

They lived in cities larger than those in contemporary Europe, had greater populations, taller buildings, sophisticated governance structures, varied art forms, tested scientific knowledge and on, and on. What is truly savage is the perpetuation of a false representation of first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, particularly when they’ve worked so hard to overcome racism and stereotypes.

But perhaps Jefferson was right all along, we shouldn’t expect much from newspapers anyway.

Teaches indigenous studies at McMaster University and is a member of the Beausoleil First Nation on Chimnissing