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Truthout Daily Digest | Monday, 27 April 2015

Suicide on the Great Sioux Nation

Jason Coppola, Truthout: A suicide state of emergency has been declared on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Lakota Nation is coming together to deal with historical trauma, and find strength and hope for their youth.

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Now Is the Time for the Progressive Movement to Win

Leslie Thatcher, Truthout: Salvatore Babones talks with Truthout about his new book, the significance of social science in formulating social and economic policy and the urgent need for new and different US policies for everything from employment to education to health care.

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New York Airport Workers Strike, Telling Management “Poverty Wages Don’t Fly”

Matt Surrusco, Truthout: Airport baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants calling for higher wages, more affordable benefits and union representation rallied outside LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, accompanied by labor organizers and members of the union they hope to join.

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Confronting Brunch

Peter Frase, Truthout: When Black Lives Matter protesters chose to interrupt the comfortable Sunday tradition of brunch by reading aloud the names of police-murdered Black men to restaurant-goers, it opened the door to a serious analysis of this curious culinary phenomenon.

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Vermont Activists Battle Democratic Governor for Single-Payer Health Care

Steve Early, In These Times: Bitter recriminations over Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s health care retreat have morphed into broader controversies about workers’ rights, contract concessions and a state austerity budget.

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Food Stamps Are Worth Double at These Michigan Farmers Markets – Helping Families and Local Businesses

Araz Hachadourian, YES! Magazine: The USDA is putting $31 million behind a program that helps low-income families take home twice the veggies, and local farmers make twice the money.

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The Glyphosate Saga and “Independent Scientific Advice,” According to Germany, the UK and France

Staff, Corporate Europe Observatory: Germany is charged by the EU with the safety review of glyphosate, yet three scientists sitting on its scientific panel on pesticides are employees of BASF and Bayer, two major pesticides producers. Meanwhile, the UK has simply privatized its governmental Food and Environment Research Agency.

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Crisis, Opportunity and Climate Austerity in Drought-Stricken California

Kate Aronoff, Waging Nonviolence: The drought problem California is facing is a microcosm of sorts for climate change itself, and all the more reason why adequately confronting it has implications well beyond the state’s borders.

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To Defend the Environment, Support Social Movements Like Berta Caceres and COPINH

Jeff Conant, Inter Press Service: If the world is going to reduce the destructive environmental and social impacts that too often accompany economic development, we need to do all we can to recognize and support the peasant farmers, Indigenous Peoples and social movements that put their lives on the line to stem the tide of destruction.

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PETA’s Cruel and Unusual Crush

Jill Richardson, OtherWords: Joe Arpaio, the hardline anti-immigrant sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, prides himself on making jail a miserable place to be. Why would PETA ever pal around with this guy? Because Arpaio took meat off his prisoners’ menu.

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Memories of Galeano’s Fire: My Afternoon With the Late Uruguayan Writer

Danny Postel, Pulse Media: “My heart has been heavy since learning over the weekend of the death of the radical and marvelously lyrical Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, whom I had the enormous pleasure of meeting some 20 years ago,” the author writes in this tribute to the late Galeano.

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This week in Speakout:

Dean Baker highlights The Washington Post’s message to readers that the elite “will lie, cheat and steal to pass their trade deals”; Jesse Hagopian spotlights Garfield High School teacher Heather Robison’s conscientious test objector declaration; Tom H. Hastingsreflects on Earth Day as a holiday with an agenda; Jack A. Smith remembers the earthshaking lesson the United States experienced in Vietnam; Stacy Malkan examines how the media fell for a GMO front group attack; Matt Peppe explains why Cuba won’t extradite Assata Shakur; Brian Terrell celebrates how activists are making history and building a future in the Nevada desert; James Dorsey reports on Israel’s racism-related soccer woes; David Swanson analyzes the “gradual injustice” of drone warfare; Evaggelos Vallianatos memorializes Audrey Moore’s battle against the carcinogens that ultimately killed her; and more.

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BuzzFlash

The BuzzFlash commentary will return soon.

Nepal Terrorized by Aftershocks That Stymie Relief Efforts

Read the Article at The New York Times

Dallas Cops Killed a Man Within Seconds of Arriving at His Door; They Won’t Face Criminal Charges

Read the Article at ThinkProgress

“Freddie Gray Was Me”: Frustration With Police Simmers After Death in Baltimore

Read the Article at The Guardian

Declassified: Report on NSA Surveillance Flares Up Battle for Privacy

Read the Article at RT

Federal Appeals Court Dismisses Lawsuit in Border Patrol Shooting of Mexican Teen

Read the Article at El Paso Times

For-Profit Corinthian Colleges to Shut Down More Than Two Dozen Remaining Schools

Read the Article at the Los Angeles Times

Glenn Greenwald: The Key War on Terror Propaganda Tool – Only Western Victims Are Acknowledged

Read the Article at The Intercept


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Truthout Daily Digest | Sunday, 26 April 2015

Indigenous People Occupy Brazil’s Legislature, Protesting Bill’s Violation of Land Rights

Santiago Navarro F. and Renata Bessi, Truthout: Indigenous people from across Brazil recently occupied space in front of the country’s legislature, protesting a proposed constitutional amendment that would transfer the decision-making power to demarcate indigenous territories to Brazil’s legislature, which protesters fear could lead to corporate land grabs.

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Racial Inequality and the Economics of Social Justice

Max Eternity, Truthout: Markers of economic and social inequality abound, so it should come as no surprise that US institutions are ripe with racial injustice, including the extrajudicial killing of Black men by police.

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John and Harriet: Still Mysterious

Cass Sunstein, The New York Review of Books: Mill and Hayek help to define the liberal tradition, but in both temperament and orientation, they could not be further apart. Mill was in some ways a radical. Hayek was not exactly a conservative, but he generally venerated traditions and long-standing practices.

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The TPP: Toward Absolutist Capitalism

Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism: The Trans-Pacific Partnership implies a form of absolute rule and enshrines capitalization as a principle of jurisprudence. The threat against sovereignty is an issue where the grassroots on left and right can unite.

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Clinton’s Weak Campaign Finance “Pillar”

Rob Hager, Truthout: Hillary Clinton’s campaign finance soundbite stirred attention, but disclosure of money in politics and constitutional amendment advocacy are well-worn diversions from the strategies needed to overcome plutocracy.

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$1.7 Billion Needed to Improve Ebola-hit Countries’ Health Care, Says Oxfam

Valentina Ieri, Inter Press Service: Oxfam urges the international community to invest in stronger public services, and to help local people to recover from the immediate psychological, social and economic impacts left by the disease.

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We’re All in This Together – Let’s Start Acting Like It

David Doody, Ensia: As we exacerbate extreme weather, plasticize and acidify oceans, clear-cut forests, pollute the air, destroy biodiversity, deplete and pollute water and more, we fail to ensure the continuation of the systems that make vibrant and healthy lives for future generations possible.

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Where’s the Justice for Glenn Ford?

Lily Hughes, Socialist Worker: The state of Louisiana stole 30 years of Glenn Ford’s life, and released him from prison with just $20 in his pocket. Now the state is fighting a measly compensation of a little over $300,000 to Ford.

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Free the Buses: Riders Say Transit Is a Human Right

Amy Roe, Equal Voices: On March 1, King County, Washington, made international headlines when it introduced a reduced fare for low-income people. The transit movement is one response to the “affordability gap” – a growing chasm between what workers are paid and what it costs to get to work.

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Official Leaks: “These Senior People Do Whatever They Want”

Marcy Wheeler, Expose Facts: CIA Director Leon Panetta decided to partner with Hollywood to write a selective version of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and the rest of the CIA and DOD had to fall in line, going so far as exposing some of the SEAL team members’ identities.

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Does Fast Track Supporter Earl Blumenauer Also Support Israeli Settlements?

Robert Naiman, Truthout: Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer – who has been endorsed by J Street, spoke at the J Street conference and has been praised by J Street Portland for his support of the two-state solution, is apparently also a “Two-Stater In Name Only.”

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BuzzFlash

The BuzzFlash commentary will return soon.

Nepal Earthquake: Death Toll Exceeds 900

Read the Article at The Guardian

Two Huge Magma Chambers Spied Beneath Yellowstone National Park

Read the Article at Science News

Eight States Dealing With Huge Increases in Fracking Earthquakes

Read the Article at EcoWatch

In Stealth Move, Congress Backs Israeli Right’s War on Settlement Boycotts

Read the Article at Forward

World Group Seeks Ban on Uranium and Nuclear Power

Read the Article at Climate News Network

The Surprise Issue of the 2016 Election?

Read the Article at Campaign for America’s Future

European Officials May Be Pushing a Regime Change in Greece

Read the Article at Al Jazeera America


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Truthout Daily Digest | Friday, 17 April 2015

Fighting a Low-Intensity War, Indigenous Tupinamba Recover Their Land in Brazil

Santiago Navarro F., Renata Bessi and translated by Miriam Taylor, Truthout: While Brazilian state forces were sent to Tupinamba territories to guarantee law and order, the indigenous people became determined to do something the government refused: demarcate the borders of indigenous land. After self-demarcation, the Tupinamba reclaimed and occupied their territory.

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Jordan Downs: Toxic Cleanups Underway, but Many Fear It’s Too Little, Too Late

Daniel Ross, Truthout: Jordan Downs, a subsidized housing project in Watts, Los Angeles, sits in one of the most heavily polluted regions in California. Although three separate toxic cleanups in and around Jordan Downs are underway, environmentalists, community advocates and residents fear the worst of the damage has already been done.

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Diversifying the Environmental Movement Isn’t Enough

Olivia Aguilar, Truthout: Recent calls to diversify the environmental movement often ignore the racist complexities associated with the history of the movement. Environmentalists don’t have a diversity problem, they have an identity problem. And it’s rooted in a racist history and unchecked biases.

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A Trade Rule That Makes It Illegal to Favor Local Business? Leak Shows TPP Would Do That and More

David Korten, YES! Magazine: A leaked document substantiates claims by opponents that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a corporate-rights agreement designed to facilitate the export of US jobs, allow corporations to sue governments for enacting labor and environmental protections and make it illegal for governments to favor local businesses.

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Reparations in Chicago: The Homestretch

Kelly Hayes, Transformative Spaces: Tuesday was a historic day in Chicago. The movement for reparations for survivors of police torture is on the brink of a tremendous victory, as Chicago’s City Council now stands ready to pass the first legislation in US history that provides reparations for police violence.

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What Did Democrats Win in the Cardin Compromise on the Corker Bill?

Robert Naiman, Truthout: Democrats supported the amended Corker bill not because they think the bill is perfect, but because the “coach blew the whistle on the play.” You don’t want to be like a soldier who thinks he’s still fighting a war after his government has already signed a deal.

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Khalil Muhammad: To Stop Police Killings, Transform the Political Culture That Threatens Black Lives

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: Protests were held from coast to coast Tuesday in a day of action against police violence and racial profiling. Amy Goodman is joined by Khalil Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America.

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SEIU President Mary Kay Henry Speaks at a San Fransciso McDonald’s Protest for $15 an Hour

Staff, Labor Video Project: Protests of fast-food workers were held throughout the US and globally April 15. SEIU President Mary Kay Henry called on Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton and other candidates to support the $15 an hour campaign.

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Four Reasons Why the Transition From Fossil Fuels to a Green Energy Era Is Gaining Traction

Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch: Don’t hold your breath, but future historians may look back on 2015 as the year that the renewable energy ascendancy began, the moment when the world started to move decisively away from its reliance on fossil fuels.

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Five Corporations That Probably Didn’t Pay Taxes This Year

Kevin Mathews, Care2: While the average US taxpayer tends to dread April 15, not every person needs to get upset about Tax Day. These people (or, well, “people”), better known as corporations, have found that the existing tax rules actually work in their favor.

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The Storm Is Over

Kathy Kelly, teleSUR: Just about everyone longs to raise their children in a world where drought, storms and brutal want won’t loom as insoluble, inevitable catastrophes. But other storms will come, and we will have to see how we weather them. What if our terrible fear of each other could pass us by?

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It’s Not Easy for Obama to Prove He’s Green

Emily Schwartz Greco, OtherWords: Just as cutting back from two packs of cigarettes a day to one pack won’t do away with your personally inflicted cancer risks, all President Obama’s great steps toward a lower-carbon future won’t paint his legacy green.

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BuzzFlash

A Fourth of All Part-Time College Instructors Require Government Financial Aid

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: The populist protests for livable wages have spread far beyond the most visible recent public actions that were focused on the fast-food sector.

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Loretta Lynch Supporters Stage Hunger Strike to Urge Confirmation

Read the Article at Politico

We Need to See Realistic LGBT People on Our Screens, Not Toxic Caricatures

Read the Article at The Guardian

Petcoke in Chicago: A Toxic Gift From the Koch Brothers

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

House Votes to Repeal Estate Tax

Read the Article at The Hill

Small Aircraft Lands on Capitol Hill Lawn, Pilot Taken Into Custody

Read the Article at Huffington Post

Overfished Stocks at All-Time Low

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Marines Set for New Mission in Troubled Central America

Read the Article at Marine Corps Times


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Truthout Daily Digest | Thursday, 16 April 2015

Doing the Unthinkable: Giant Gas Pipeline to Flank a New York Nuclear Power Plant

Ellen Cantarow, Truthout: The federally approved Algonquin Pipeline expansion will come so close to the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester, New York, that experts say a rupture could cause a Fukushima-like catastrophe, making the entire region uninhabitable for generations.

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Drug Reform Is About Animal Rights, Too

Andrew Gargano, Truthout: While drug raids have become known for the human casualties they claim and their infringement on the Fourth Amendment, they also contribute to an inordinate number of animals killed.

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Tom Hayden: Cuba Has Stood Up to US Hegemony for 55 Years

Mark Karlin, Truthout: In this interview, activist and author Tom Hayden discusses his new book, Listen, Yankee! Why Cuba Matters, and explains the changing nature of Cuban-US relations and the legacy of the Cuban Revolution.

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Tax (Break) Day

Jasmine Tucker, Truthout: Each year, the US loses out on billions of dollars in revenue due to corporate tax breaks. Every dollar the government spends on a tax break is a dollar it can’t spend elsewhere, yet few Americans are aware of how much corporate tax breaks cost the government.

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Transnational Companies Driving Deadly Conflict in Guatemalan Indigenous Territory

Jeff Abbott, Truthout: As privatized hydroelectric projects – part of “Plan Mesoamerica” – have rapidly expanded in Guatemala, so too have conflicts with indigenous populations. The plan would interconnect the infrastructures of all Central American countries.

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Hotel Industry Spins Wage Hikes as Extreme While CEOs Rake in Millions

Mary Bottari and Jody Knauss, PR Watch: The little-known trade association representing the $163 billion hotel industry is a major force fighting behind the scenes on Capitol Hill and in statehouses and courtrooms across the country to keep workers’ wages low.

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The Chevron Tapes: Secret Videos Reveal Company Hid Pollution in Ecuador

Kevin Koenig, Amazon Watch: Recently released videos are a true treasure trove of Chevron’s misdeeds and corporate malfeasance. Chevron is seen finding its own extensive contamination – in areas the company claimed to have cleaned up in 1998 – then pre-gaming the judicial inspections to defraud the court.

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Physical Murder and Political Asphyxiation: The Story of Danielle Hicks-Best

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Black Agenda Report: An 11-year-old Black girl is raped twice by men and winds up jailed and institutionalized for years by a callous and predatory system. Danielle Hicks-Best was simply used to justify the salaries and maintenance of a system based on the decapitation of Black bodies.

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US Chamber of Commerce Doubling Down on Political Juggernaut

Carrie Levine, The Center for Public Integrity: The Chamber of Commerce’s new election season strategy will include a greater emphasis on recruiting the right sort of business-friendly GOP candidates and intervening in primaries as it attempts to sculpt a compliant Congress that mirrors its priorities.

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Bill O’Reilly’s Latest “White” Dream

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: When Bill O’Reilly says that it’s “open season” on white men in this country, he’s either mind-numbingly ignorant or just not taking a good hard look at our society today. White privilege and male privilege are very real.

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Obama to Remove Cuba From Terror List After Latin American Outcry; Will the Embargo Follow?

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: While Cuba is being removed from the US terrorism list, the trade embargo remains in place. Former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray Treto discusses the dire effects US sanctions have had on the Cuban population.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

Four Election Stories That Show the GOP Is Moving Even Further Right

Robin Marty, Care2: From primaries to party leaders, Tea Partiers are becoming the predominate face of the GOP. That could mean a party ready to crumble if it becomes too extreme or, even more frightening, if today‘s Congress ends up being more “moderate” than the Congress that convenes in 2017.

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BuzzFlash

Hillary Clinton’s Likely Planned Chipotle Moment Represents Tawdry Mass Media and Politics

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: This is the level that politics has sunk to: a likely pre-strategized nonevent – probably leaked by the Clinton campaign to The New York Times – creating an international media sensation.

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Gay Marriage Still Under Attack by Religious Right Zealots

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Fracking and Big Ag Are Polluting 80 Percent of the Depleted Groundwater in California

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Alzheimer’s Breakthrough: Scientists May Have Found Potential Cause of the Disease

Read the Article at The Independent

How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World

Read the Article at Mother Jones

Boston Marks Two Years Since Marathon Bombings

Read the Article at The Boston Globe

“Fight for 15” Movement: Low-Wage Workers Plan Walkouts, Protests

Read the Article at the Tribune News Service

New Bill Would Help Domestic Violence Survivors Find Shelter for Their Pets, Too

Read the Article at RH Reality Check


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Truthout Daily Digest | Friday, 3 April 2015

Wind Powers “Green” Growth in Kenya, but for Whom?

Chris Williams, Truthout: Lake Turkana, in northern Kenya, is a remote, arid region, home to nomadic pastoralists. It’s also part of a government development plan to increase domestic energy production with a 310-megawatt wind farm, along with new paved roads. But who really benefits from this development?

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Executive Action Leaves Many Undocumented Immigrants in State of Apprehension and Uncertainty

Erika L. Sánchez, Truthout: While many undocumented immigrants are relieved and excited about the Obama administration’s immigration executive action, some fear that the policy will only be temporary, and that giving information to the government can possibly put them in a more vulnerable position.

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The Native American Genocide and the Teaching of US History

Tanya H. Lee, Truthout: In many classrooms, the United States is left out of the list of countries where genocide has occurred. In this piece, Native American history professors discuss the controversy over including indigenous genocide on the AP US history exam, as well as the larger picture of how that history is taught.

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The Rise of Islamic State Offers Policy Lessons for US Hawks

Patrick Glennon, Truthout: Patrick Cockburn’s new book, The Rise of Islamic State, looks at the legacy of recent wars. It emphasizes how convoluted ongoing conflicts in the Middle East truly are, and how we must search for nuanced approaches to diplomacy.

Read the Book Review

Student Debt Strikers Grow in Number and in Power

Kate Aronoff, Waging Nonviolence: Today, there are more than 100 debt strikers. Their goal is to ramp up pressure on the US Department of Education to relieve not only the debt they incurred, but all the loans of students at Corinthian Colleges. They declare that for-profit colleges are not, in fact, too big to fail.

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The Great Game in Afghanistan: The US Is Losing Out

Dilip Hiro, TomDispatch: Having spent an estimated $1 trillion and sacrificed the lives of 2,150 US soldiers, Washington finds itself increasingly consigned to observer status in Afghanistan. A new chapter could unfold in war-torn Afghanistan, in which the Chinese role would only grow, while the United States might end up as a footnote in the long history of that country.

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Indiana Scrambles to Contain Growing Corporate, Public Outcry Over Anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom” Law

Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now!: As Indiana faces pressure to repeal a new “religious freedom” law, Arkansas lawmakers have passed a similar bill that could allow business owners to refuse service to LGBTQ customers.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

Who’s on Your Side – Elizabeth Warren or Jamie Dimon?

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: Sure, some politicians like Elizabeth Warren do speak out about issues that affect everyday people, but by and large, corporations and the rich get their way, much as they did over 200 years ago when the British parliament passed the Tea Act. The solution is to get money out of politics once and for all.

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Grassroots Movement Blocks Water Privatization in Mexico

Alfredo Acedo, The CIP Americas Program: The rapid and massive response by peasant and indigenous organizations has, for now, made it clear that the privatization measures of the current government will have an increasingly high political cost.

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Pledges for Humanitarian Aid to Syria Fall Short of Target by Billions

Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service: The third international pledging conference for humanitarian aid to Syria was able to raise only about $3.8 billion against an anticipated $8.4 billion. Nearly half the world’s top donors didn’t give their fair share of aid to the Syrian humanitarian effort in 2014, based on the size of their economies.

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Los Angeles Teachers Escalate Action to Demand Fair Treatment

Karla Griego, Labor Notes: New leaders have mobilized around a platform modeled on a similar initiative by the Chicago Teachers Union. Demands include safe, clean and fully staffed schools; smaller class sizes; a commitment to arts, music and physical education; and good salaries and benefits to encourage teacher retention.

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Nature Needs a New Pronoun: To Stop the Age of Extinction, Let’s Start by Ditching “It”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, YES! Magazine: Objectification of the natural world reinforces the notion that our species is somehow more deserving of the gifts of the world than the other 8.7 million species with whom we share the planet. Using “it” absolves us of moral responsibility and opens the door to exploitation.

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Repeal the Patriot Act

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) have introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act (H.R.1466). This bill would end the mass surveillance of US citizens under the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, restoring instead the use of the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for any search.

Take Roots Action!

BuzzFlash

Protesters Arrested for Charging Supreme Court With Permitting the Selling of Democracy

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: As with the civil rights movement, as with Gandhi’s campaign for independence in India, when five people commit nonviolent protests and are stopped, ten more need to take their place – and then hundreds and then thousands.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Anti-LGBTQ Indiana Law Complicates GOP Presidential Campaigns

Read the Article at The Washington Post

Blackwater: Still the Top Pentagon Contractor for Afghanistan Training

Read the Article at The Nation

Palestinians Formally Join International Criminal Court

Read the Article at the BBC

Black America’s State of Surveillance

Read the Article at The Progressive

David Swanson: Television Commercial in California Asks Drone Pilots to Stop Killing

Read the Article at War Is A Crime

In the Belly of the War on Drugs Beast

Read the Article at Alongside a Border

The Right’s Made-Up God: How Bigots Invented a White Supremacist Jesus

Read the Article at Salon


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Australia Is Again Stealing Its Indigenous Children | Truthout

This is outrageous. It must be stopped. Why do these damn right wing fascist monsters always behave as if indigenous people are commodities? And seriously-WHO votes these freaks into office over and over after their behavior is plainly detrimental to our countries and most individuals? Is the brainwashing really so effective?
ohnwentsya

Australia Is Again Stealing Its Indigenous Children

Tuesday, 25 March 2014
By John Pilger, Truthout | News Analysis

Sorry day: Honor the stolen generation. (Image: <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierre_pouliquin/2555742909/" target="_blank"> Pierre Pouliquin / Flickr</a>)Sorry day: Honor the stolen generation. (Image: Pierre Pouliquin / Flickr)Journalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. Truthout relies on reader donations – click here to make a tax-deductible contribution and support our work.

The tape is searing. There is the voice of an infant screaming as he is wrenched from his mother, who pleads, “There is nothing wrong with my baby. Why are you doing this to us? I would’ve been hung years ago, wouldn’t I? Because (as an Australian Aborigine) you’re guilty before you’re found innocent.” The child’s grandmother demands to know why “the stealing of our kids is happening all over again.” A welfare official says, “I’m gunna take him, mate.”

This happened to an Aboriginal family in outback New South Wales. It is happening across Australia in a scandalous and largely unrecognized abuse of human rights that evokes the infamous Stolen Generation of the last century. Up to the 1970s, thousands of mixed-race children were stolen from their mothers by welfare officials. The children were given to institutions as cheap or slave labor; many were abused.

Described by a chief protector of Aborigines as “breeding out the color,” the policy was known as assimilation. It was influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis. In 1997, a landmark report, “Bringing Them Home,” disclosed that as many 50,000 children and their mothers had endured “the humiliation, the degradation and sheer brutality of the act of forced separation … the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state.” The report called this genocide.

Assimilation remains Australian government policy in all but name. Euphemisms such as “reconciliation” and “Stronger Futures” cover similar social engineering and an enduring, insidious racism in the political elite, the bureaucracy and wider Australian society. When in 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized for the Stolen Generation, he added: “I want to be blunt about this. There will be no compensation.” The Sydney Morning Herald congratulated Rudd on a “shrewd maneuver” that “cleared away a piece of political wreckage that responds to some of its supporters’ emotional needs, but changes nothing.”

Today, the theft of Aboriginal children – including babies taken from the birth table – is now more widespread than at any time during the last century. As of June last year, almost 14,000 Aboriginal children had been “removed.” This is five times the number when “Bringing Them Home” was written. More than a third of all removed children are Aboriginal – from 3% of the population. At the present rate, this mass removal of Aboriginal children will result in a stolen generation of more than 3,300 children in the Northern Territory alone.

Pat (not her real name) is the mother whose anguish was secretly recorded on a phone as four Department of Child Services officials, and six police officers, descended on her home. On the tape an official claims they have come only for an “assessment.” But two of the police officers, who knew Pat, told her they saw no risk to her child and warned her to “get out of here quick.” Pat fled, cradling her infant, but the one-year-old was eventually seized without her knowing why. The next morning a police officer returned to apologize to her and said her baby should never have been taken away. Pat has no idea where her son is.

Once, she was “invited” by officials to bring her children to “neutral” offices to discuss a “care plan.” The doors were locked and officials seized the children, with one of the youngest dragging on a police officer’s gun belt. Many indigenous mothers are unaware of their legal rights. A secretive Children’s Court has become notorious for rubber-stamping removals.

Most Aboriginal families live on the edge. Their life expectancy in towns a short flight from Sydney is as low as 37. Dickensian diseases are rife; Australia is the only developed country not to have eradicated trachoma, which blinds Aboriginal children.

Pat has both complied with and struggled bravely against a punitive bureaucracy that can remove children on hearsay. She has twice been acquitted of false charges, including “kidnapping” her own children. A psychologist has described her as a capable and good mother.

Josie Crawshaw, the former director of a respected families’ support organization in Darwin, told me, “In remote areas, officials will go in with a plane in the early hours and fly the child thousands of kilometers from their community. There’ll be no explanation, no support, and the child may be gone forever.”

In 2012, Coordinator-General of Remote Services for the Northern Territory Olga Havnen was sacked when she revealed that almost $80 million was spent on the surveillance and removal of Aboriginal children, compared with only $500,000 on supporting the same impoverished families. She told me, “The primary reasons for removing children are welfare issues directly related to poverty and inequality. The impact on families is just horrendous because if they are not reunited within six months, it’s likely they won’t see each other again. If South Africa was doing this, there’d be an international outcry.”

She and others with long experience I have interviewed have echoed the “Bringing them Home” report, which described an official “attitude” in Australia that regarded all Aboriginal people as “morally deficient.” A Department of Families and Community Services spokesman said that the majority of removed indigenous children in New South Wales were placed with indigenous caregivers. According to indigenous support networks, this is a smokescreen; it does not mean families and it is control by divisiveness that is the bureaucracy’s real achievement.

I met a group of Aboriginal grandmothers, all survivors of the first stolen generation, all now with stolen grandchildren. “We live in a state of fear, again,” they said. David Shoebridge, a State Greens MP, told me, “The truth is, there is a market among whites for these kids, especially babies.”

The New South Wales parliament is soon to debate legislation that introduces forced adoption and “guardianship.” Children under two will be liable – without the mother’s consent – if “removed” for more than six months. For many Aboriginal mothers like Pat, it can take six months merely to make contact with their children. “It’s setting up Aboriginal families to fail,” said Shoebridge.

I asked Josie Crawshaw why. “The willful ignorance in Australia about its first people has now become the kind of intolerance that gets to the point where you can smash an entire group of humanity and there is no fuss.”

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted withoutpermission.

JOHN PILGER

John Pilger is an Australian-born, London-based journalist, filmmaker and author. For his foreign and war reporting, ranging from Vietnam and Cambodia to the Middle East, he has twice won Britain’s highest award for journalism. For his documentary films, he won a British Academy Award and an American Emmy. In 2009, he was awarded Australia’s human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize. John Pilger’s films can be viewed on his website.

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John Pilger | Discovering the Power of People’s History – and Why It Is Feared TodayBy John Pilger, Truthout | Op-Ed
John Pilger | It’s the Other Oscars – and Yet Again the Winner Slips AwayBy John Pilger, Truthout | Op-Ed
John Pilger | “Good” and “Bad” War – and the Struggle of Memory Against ForgettingBy John Pilger, Truthout | Op-Ed

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Truthout Daily Digest | Monday, 22 December 2014

The Privatization of Infrastructure Is Costing Us All

Ellen Dannin, Truthout: We must ask: Who actually benefits from and pays for infrastructure? How is privatization affecting our roads and bridges – and our pocketbooks?

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Hands Off Assata: Protests Can Protect the Revolutionary Fugitive in Cuba Again

David Goodner, Truthout: In 1998, a nonbinding resolution called the Joanne Chesimard Fugitive Act passed both houses of Congress. The protest movement that erupted at the time points the way forward for how activists today can win a #HandsOffAssata campaign.

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Dean Baker | The Trade Agreement Piñatas

Dean Baker, Truthout: Many labor, environmental and consumer groups have stepped up their criticisms of the Obama administration’s plans for pushing fast-track trade negotiating authority recently. The purpose of fast-track is to allow the administration to negotiate to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact.

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The Hunger Games-ification of Police and the Community

Dr. Jason Michael Williams, Truthout: American policing began with the slave patrols, and yet, today, as then, the response to the outcries of Blacks on this issue is non-acknowledgement and condemnation – on par with the storyline of The Hunger Games, no?

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Labor Law for the 0.01%

John Logan, Truthout: The United States desperately needs labor law reform – but not the “Employee Rights Act” labor law for the 0.01% supported by Rick Berman and Newt Gingrich. Under existing law, unscrupulous corporations and their “union avoidance consultants” effectively choose whether a workplace gets a union.

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We Shouldn’t Blindly Worship Authority Figures

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: There’s a direct line leading from our hero worship of cops, to the arming of local police forces with weapons of war, to the killing of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The US is not yet an authoritarian state, but if we want to avoid that, we need to keep these dangerous trends in check.

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Cromnibus Pension Provisions Gut 40 Years of Policy, Allow Existing Pensions to Be Slashed

Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism: The Kline-Miller amendment, passed by the House, and part of the Senate bill forwarded to Obama for his signature, is one provision that could do immediate harm to working people who made their retirement plans based on the belief that their pension rights were secure.

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Citizens Take Monitoring Into Own Hands as Eagle Ford Shale Boom Continues Undaunted

Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog: During the past two years, Hugh Fitzsimons lll, a buffalo rancher on the outskirts of Carrizo Springs, Texas, has watched the fracking boom transform a rural locale into an industry hub. Desolate dirt roads are now packed with truck traffic and commercial development to service the growing industry.

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The War to Start All Wars: The 25th Anniversary of the Forgotten Invasion of Panama

Greg Grandin, TomDispatch: It was George H.W. Bush’s invasion of that small, poor country 25 years ago that inaugurated the age of preemptive unilateralism, using “democracy” and “freedom” as both justifications for war and a branding opportunity. The road to Baghdad, in other words, ran through Panama City.

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Let Us Speak! Let Us Speak! Let Us Speak! Voices From Ferguson to Sharpton

Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Black Agenda Report: Al Sharpton’s assertion that the people from Ferguson would be violent is more consistent with the position of the police than with the people of Ferguson. It is precisely this assumption that Black people are violent that is getting Black folks all over the country killed.

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Under Fire for Negligence, North Carolina Prisons Chief Seeks New Funding for Mental Health Treatment

Lisa Dawson, Solitary Watch: North Carolina corrections chief David Guice wants more than $20 million to improve the treatment of people with mental illness in the state’s prisons. His request comes on the heels of two recent reports showing neglect and abuse of prisoners with psychiatric disabilities in North Carolina.

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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Poverty and Inequality Are Getting Worse in the US, and More

In today‘s On the News segment: Even in the face of the so-called recovery, poverty and inequality are getting worse in our country; the National Labor Relations Board says that employees can use company email to form a union; Sen. Bernie Sanders keeps moving toward progress; and more.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

BuzzFlash

Colbert’s Most Impactful Moment Was at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: Colbert decimated both Bush – who was seated just a few feet away – and the lapdog DC press corps.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

12 Days of Christmas Apologies Political and Corporate Leaders Should Make

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: Bush, Cheney Committed War Crimes

Read the Article at The Huffington Post

Leaked CIA Documents Teach Operatives How to Infiltrate EU

Read the Article at RT

The Operators of the United States’ Largest Immigrant Detention Center Have a History of Prisoner Abuse

Read the Article at Newsweek

How a False Witness Helped the CIA Make a Case for Torture

Read the Article at Al Jazeera America

Obama Administration Aims to Create “Insider Threat” Job Specialty to Plug Leaks

Read the Article at Nextgov

Why Doesn’t the Right Wing Like Jeb Bush? He’s One of Them

Read the Article at BuzzFlash