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Common Dreams Highlights Thursday, 18 December 2014

Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

News & Views | 12.18.14


Report: Secret CIA Document Admits US Drone Program “Counterproductive”
by Jon Queally
Document published by Wikileaks reveals agency’s own internal review found key counter-terrorism strategy “may increase support” for the groups it targets.


‘A Slap in the Face’: Vermont Gov. Jumps Ship on Single-Payer Healthcare
by Deirdre Fulton
Proponents of state’s trailblazing effort to build universal healthcare system slam governor for abandoning plan he once championed.
Chevron Halts Arctic Drilling Plans ‘Indefinitely’
by Andrea Germanos
Decision “further proof that technical challenges of drilling in icy waters, where a spill is all but inevitable,” said Farrah Khan of Greenpeace Canada.
US/NATO Building “New Berlin Wall” by Expanding Military Footprint: Putin
by Jon Queally
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes questions on wide-ranging set of issues, but strongest remarks reserved for foreign attack on nation’s economy and expansion of NATO.
Good News for Greece’s Anti-Austerity Left as First Round Election Fails
by Jon Queally
Initial round parliamentary elections, out of three, failed to garner enough votes for any party to win. If upcoming votes also fail, leftwing Syriza Party will get chance at popular vote and best opportunity yet to jettison austerity agenda.
Wealth Gap Between Rich and Poor Americans Highest on Record
by Sarah Lazare
New analysis from Pew Research Center finds that economic gains of the wealthiest continue to soar as the middle-class and low-income families face chronic stagnation.
Judge Exonerates 14-Year-Old Boy Executed in 1944
by Nadia Prupis
George Stinney, Jr. did not receive fair trial in murder case in Jim Crow south, judge says.
more news…


We Can Ban Fracking, New York Paves the Way
by Wenonah Hauter
The decision in New York will have a ripple effect across the country and act to strengthen efforts against fracking nationwide.
Vermont’s Governor Sadly Has It Wrong. Now IS the Time for Single-Payer Everywhere
by Andy Coates
Vermonters throughout the state understand that an equitable health care system must be truly universal and must remove all financial barriers to medically necessary care.
Why the US-Cuba Deal Really Is a Victory for the Cuban Revolution
by Tom Hayden
The hostile US policy, euphemistically known as “regime change,” has been thwarted. The Cuban Communist Party is confidently in power.
“Cuban Five” at Heart of US-Cuba Deal
by Marjorie Cohn
Without the release of the Cuban Five, Cuba would never have freed Alan Gross. And Obama could not have undertaken what ten presidents before him refused to do.
If It’s True on Cuba, It’s True on Iran
by Trita Parsi, Ryan Costello
Almost everything the president said about the failure of America’s Cuba policy could be said of our policy on Iran.
Obama and the Beginning of the End of the Cuban Embargo
by Amy Goodman
The failed United States policy against Cuba, which has for more than half a century stifled relations between these neighboring countries and inflicted generations of harm upon the Cuban people, may finally be collapsing.
more views…


more newswire…

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Truthout Daily Digest Thursday, 18 December 2014

Maya Schenwar | Declaring War on Heroin

Maya Schenwar, Truthout: Even as officials eschew “drug war” language, many states’ actions in response to the heroin panic have taken the same old tack. Overwhelming, well-publicized evidence that mandatory minimums do not reduce crime has apparently been cast aside in the swirl of the heroin scare.

Read the Article

Red Love: Toward Racial, Economic and Social Justice

Lilia D. Monzó and Peter McLaren, Truthout: Racism is exacerbated through a capitalist production process that teaches us that some people have a God-given right to pursue their own economic and social interests without regard for others’ right to thrive in the world, free of fear for their own survival, and with dignity and freedom. The antidote is red love.

Read the Article

Can Congress End the Cuba Embargo? Many Republicans Want the Embargo to Fall

Robert Naiman, Truthout: A left-right coalition, supported by the president and public opinion, could successfully push Congress to end the Cuba embargo.

Read the Article

White House Refuses to Meet With Grieving Black Mothers Whose Sons Were Executed by Cops

Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Kevin Berends, Black Agenda Report: Despite thousands of calls and emails, neither Barack Obama nor Attorney General Eric Holder has agreed to meet with the mothers of slain boys and men. The women advocate for changing existing laws providing loopholes that allow police to kill their children with impunity.

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Boots on the Ground: The Best Solution to Disaster Response on our Waterways

Marc Yaggi, Truthout: Disasters on our waterways have been occurring at an unprecedented rate in a climate of lax government regulations. In February, 140,000 tons of toxic coal ash sludge and wastewater leaked into North Carolina’s Dan River, highlighting why boots on the ground activism is crucial.

Read the Article

Homeless People: Do You Just “Walk On By”?

Pam Bailey, Truthout: Is there a helpful way to respond when you encounter one of the approximately 578,424 people who are homeless on any given night in the United States?

Read the Article

Little Progress in Lima Climate Talks

Nick Fillmore, Truthout: With yet another United Nations climate change conference making very little real progress, a near-miracle will be required if countries are to reach a meaningful and binding global agreement on carbon emissions at next year’s conference in Paris.

Read the Article

Quiet Distress Among the (Ex) Rich

Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism: The restructuring of the economy to save the banks at the expense of pretty much everyone else has hurt some former members of the top 1% and even the 0.1%. The fact that economic distress has moved pretty high up the food chain is a sign that this recovery isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.

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The Perils of Criminal Justice “Reform” and the Promise of Abolition

Nancy A. Heitzeg, Critical Mass Progress: As “criminal justice reform” continues to capture public attention, we must never stop asking the hard questions. Ask early and often, because once these measures are enacted, it may be too late.

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Closing in on ALS? Link Between Lethal Disease and Algae Explored

Lindsey Konkel, Environmental Health News: In New England, medical researchers are now uncovering clues that appear to link some cases of the lethal Lou Gehrig’s disease to people’s proximity to lakes and coastal waters – and they suspect that toxic blooms of blue-green algae may play a role.

Read the Article

Warning: Fracking May Harm Public Health

Rebecca Rehr, OtherWords: Federal rules are so weak that the fracking industry faces no national obligation to reveal which chemicals it uses in the process. Yet many of the chemicals widely believed to be used, such as formaldehyde and benzene, are known carcinogens that don’t belong in our air and water.

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Paul Krugman | Good Economic News in the US Should Not Lead to Complacency

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: The United States had a genuinely good employment report earlier this month, and we’re finally seeing some actual wage growth. Good news can turn into bad news, however, if it encourages complacency.

Read the Article


All Executions Are “Botched” Because Capital Punishment Is Inhumane

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: Despite the outrage of the media and politicians at “botched” executions, there is no way to make capital punishment humane and morally acceptable.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

GOP Lawmaker Wants a Woman to Get Permission From the Father Before Having an Abortion

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Jim Hightower: Thinking of Amazon Workers This Holiday Season

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Jon Stewart Dismantles Sean Hannity’s Racism Yet Again

Watch the Video at Comedy Central

How Torture Puts Americans at Risk

Read the Article at Consortium News

Arctic Still Heating Up Twice as Fast as Rest of Planet

Read the Article at The Christian Science Monitor

US Executes Fewer Prisoners, but Deaths Are More Brutal

Read the Article at The Guardian

Here’s All the Plastic in the Ocean, Measured in Whales

Read the Article at Grist

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Truthout Daily Digest Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Henry A. Giroux | Academic Madness and the Politics of Exile

Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: Academic exile seems like more than a reprieve. Instead it’s a kind of public space where a new language, understanding of politics and new forms of solidarity can at least be nurtured among the displaced.

Read the Article

It’s Time for an Honest Conversation About Why People Don’t Vote

Joe Brewer, Truthout: People understand that voting alone will not magically change a system that has been decades in the making. The system must be dismantled and evolve into new configurations of civic participation and collective action.

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John Pilger | The Siege of Julian Assange Is a Farce

John Pilger, Truthout: The United States is pursuing Julian Assange, with the help of the UK and Swedish governments, because WikiLeaks exposed US crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Read the Article

A Plea for Reconciliation and Healing of the Nation

Mildred Pitts Walter, Truthout: Some may say they had nothing to do with slavery, that they are not racist and not guilty. However, we have all participated in or observed and allowed institutions and other individuals to perpetuate racism in this nation. There must be acknowledgement of wrong to another human being, admission of racism and willingness to change to achieve reconciliation.

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Private Equity Now Looking to Even Bigger Chumps, Namely 401(k)s and Retail

Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism: One of the reasons that private equity has managed to flourish is that its biggest investor group is what is traditionally referred to as dumb money: public pension funds, which account for 25 percent of industry assets.

Read the Article

Fossil-Fueled Republicanism

Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch: In the wake of the midterm elections, Republican energy hawks are ascendant. They are preparing to put pressure on a president already presiding over a largely “drill-baby-drill” administration to take the last constraints off the development of North American fossil fuel reserves.

Read the Article

Now That the Senate Has Picked New Leaders, Will We Get New Policies?

Robin Marty, Care2: With a short lame-duck session to finish first, 2015 already looks like a legislative session that will be full of butting heads, dueling policies and outside action groups hoping to see politicians represent their demands. Will anything actually get accomplished, though?

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Is Obama’s Immigration Plan Too Modest? Proposals Cover Less Than Half of Nation’s Undocumented

Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now!: President Obama is considering issuing an executive action that could protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Obama’s executive actions will not provide any formal, lasting immigration status, but many immigrants will receive work permits.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

“Dude Needs a Vacation”: A Net Neutrality Update

Michael Winship, Moyers & Company: Since President Obama made a strong statement in support of net neutrality, opposition from the telecom and cable companies and their supporters in Congress has countered the initial, intense burst of enthusiasm from the media reform community.

Read the Article

On the News With Thom Hartmann: A Texas Oil Regulator Won’t Respect the Will of Voters, and More

In today‘s On the News segment: Neuroscience may understand how another round of new climate deniers got elected to Congress; next time you visit a salon, your hairstyle may come with a side of toxic chemicals; a Texas oil regulator says she won’t respect the will of the voters; and more.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript


It Should Be Illegal for Corporations to Pay CEOs More Than the Companies Pay in Income Taxes, but They Do

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: A report released todayindicates, “Of America’s 30 largest corporations, seven (23 percent) paid their CEOs more than they paid in federal income taxes last year.”

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Ferguson: There Is No Way That This Ends Well

Read the Article at Esquire

Fracking to Be Permitted in Largest National Forest on the East Coast

Read the Article at the Associated Press

Comet Landing 2014: Rosetta Probe Philae Discovers Organic Molecules on Comet

Read the Article at International Business Times

Bill Cosby Loses Control: Comedian No Longer Dictating the Narrative – and It’s About Time

Read the Article at Salon

Why Republicans Can’t Quit the Government Shutdown Game

Read the Article at Talking Points Memo

Here’s What’s Happening With the Big Keystone Pipeline Vote

Read the Article at Mother Jones

Do Wars Really Defend the United States’ Freedom?

Read the Article at History News Network

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Truthout Daily Digest Sunday 18 May 2014


Radical Art Is an Act of Uncompromising Passionate Resistance

Mark Karlin, Truthout: To be a radical and revolutionary artist is to be defiant of any imposition of form or content by any economic system, artistic academy or political status quo.

Read the Article

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Another Trade Liberalization Scam

John Weeks, Truthout: The TPP represents not “freer” trade, but re-regulation of trade to entrench corporate profit making. Economist John Weeks skewers the free trade dogma that is the ideological justification and corporate sales pitch for neoliberal globalization.

Read the Article

Louisiana’s New Abortion Law Is the First Step in Turning Private Physicians Back Into Illegal Abortion Providers

Robin Marty, Truthout: While clinics are being shut down throughout the country by restrictive and medically unnecessary state laws, patients may soon learn that their last hope – their own private physician – has lost the opportunity to provide abortion care as well.

Read the Article

Truthout Interviews Ayanna Banks Harris on Stand Your Ground Laws and Reproductive Justice

Ted Asregadoo, Truthout: Ayanna Banks Harris talks about Marissa Alexander, a jailed mother who faces a possible 60 years in prison – in a state that has Stand Your Ground laws on the books – for firing a warning shot to keep her estranged husband from attacking her.

Watch the Interview

Returning Equality to the Campaign Finance Debate

Victoria Bassetti, Brennan Center for Justice: If money is speech, then rich people have more speech and more say in our political system, and that is anathema to our conception of how a democracy works.

Read the Article

Saudi-Iran Thaw Troubles the Neocons

Paul R. Pillar, Consortium News: Neocons and other hardliners are still fanning the flames of confrontation with Iran, but the recent thawing of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is making the hawks’ work more difficult.

Read the Article

Portland Is First US City to Divest Funds From Walmart

Laura Garcia and Molly Rusk, Yes! Magazine: On May 15, the city of Portland, Oregon got rid of $9 million, or 25 percent, of its investments in Walmart. The initiative also prohibits the city from purchasing Walmart bonds in the future.

Read the Article

Why Don’t We Know How Many People Are Shot Each Year in the US?

Lois Beckett, ProPublica: How many Americans have been shot over the past 10 years? No one really knows. We don’t even know if the number of people shot annually has gone up or down over that time.

Read the Article

Lessons From James Boggs: Capitalist Automation in the 21st Century

Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Report: Black American revolutionary worker James Boggs firmly believed that the destructive impact of automation was not a problem of technology itself, but rather of the capitalist system that employed the technology.

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Wonderfully Deceptive Superfood Marketing

Jill Richardson, OtherWords: Pom Wonderful made such outlandish claims that the Federal Trade Commission stepped in and told them to cut it out.

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The Other Side of Paradise

Serena Nanda, The Indypendent: From Miami to West Palm Beach, Florida’s Gold Coast is not just paradise for the 1%, but also for middle- and working-class people. A closer look at the region highlights its massive inequalities.

Read the Article

This week in Speakout:

Barbara Ellis writes an open letter to Warren Buffett about an alternative to investing in railcars that carry explosive fracked fuel; James and Jean Anton say that the bosses lost in Vermont with the passage of a GMO food labeling proposition; Dr. James Zogby expresses disappointment over John Kerry’s walk-back of his “apartheid state” comment; Richard Waddell argues that “surfer dude” Jason Greenslate does deserve food stamps; Bill Henderson wonders why the Obama administration continues to miseducate Americans about the global scope of climate change; Zachary Norris and Eveline Shen decry the treatment of struggling mother Shanesha Taylor who faces criminal charges for leaving her kids in a car during a job interview; James Mitchell wonders what John Lennon, a target for government scrutiny, would say now about mass surveillance; the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions characterizes the deadly mining disaster in Soma, Turkey as murder; Manash Bhattacharjee exposes what’s at stake in India’s general elections; Dr. Michael I. Niman excoriates the Obama response to looming environmental destruction; and more.

Read the Articles


The Buzzflash commentary for Truthout will return soon.

Everyone Should Know Just How Much the Government Lied to Defend the NSA

Read the Article at The Guardian

Switzerland Rejects World’s Highest Minimum Wage

Read the Article at the BBC

For the First Time, a Judge Halts the Force-Feeding of a Guantánamo Detainee

Read the Article at NPR

The United States’ Homeless: The Rise of Tent City, USA

Read the Article at CNNMoney

Growing Evidence Points to Systemic Troubles in VA Health Care System

Read the Article at The Los Angeles Times

Why Are Kids Being Tried in Kangaroo Courts?

Read the Article at Rolling Stone

How Thomas Piketty and Elizabeth Warren Demolished the Conventional Wisdom on Debt

Read the Article at Salon

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The Oracle Report Sunday February 17 – Monday, February 18, 2013

Daily Energetic Analysis During the Time of Awakening
Sunday February 17 – Monday, February 18, 2013

First Quarter Moon Phase – Moon in Taurus/Gemini

This is my Many Thanks Day. Many thanks to everyone who participated in visualzing the parliament of owls across the sky yesterday. It is interesting that a group of owls is called a “parliament,” isn’t it? Many thanks also to Oracle Report reader Mike who informed us of this bit of information.

Another reader, Cheryl, asks why I use the owl symbolism here. I began working earnestly with “owl medicine” when I started research for my first book “Eris.” The owl has been long-regarded as a guardian, a protector, and force of the goddess. It also is associated with wisdom, of course. A few years ago, I introduced the technique of going inside ourselves and witnessing what was happening in the outside world, being energetically-buffered from the fray of events. The metaphor was to be like a wise old owl going inside the branches of a tree (or a hole in a tree) and peering out. I referred to this often, so this is how the notion of readers being like wise old owls began.

So now with thousands of readers and millions of hits to the site each year, the parliament has grown to a proportion that still surprises me. The word parliament is accurate because we represent and uphold the value of life and champion the dreaming of Gaia Sophia, the divine being embodied as the planet. This is the mission of this site.

There was massive black magic afoot yesterday. I am always cautious in how I “warn” of this because everyone is at a different level of understanding. But I may have to just be very blunt about it in the future because it was all I could do to get a note out and all Andrew could do to load it to the site from his location. He is a dear and assists however he can anytime Archontic forces interfere with me writing and uploading to the net. We owe him many thanks.

But there was also massive white magic afoot yesterday also. The fly-over of the parliament was a warning shot over the bow. It says that we stand with Gaia Sophia and hold the frequency of beauty, freedom, and love of life. It says that we just aren’t going to stand by and be oblivious.

The Sun has moved into Pisces, conjuncting Neptune (in its home sign), and joining Chiron, Mars, and Mercury. I’ve been living with Neptune conjunct my Pisces Sun for many months now. My teacher told me that it blows your eyes wide open to things – as if the clouds were parted – and she was entirely correct. The popular belief is that Neptune conjunctions produce more confusion, but I have not experienced it that way.

So this is what the energy will be like for the upcoming week. Clarity sparkles and brings great relief. But it ain’t easy. Emotions, psychic awareness, vicitmization, spirituality, addictions, and creativity are all triggered when the Sun goes into Pisces, but the addition of the other planets here and the fact that Neptune is in its home sign make it a mega-Pisces transit.

Let’s not forget also that Pluto is playing puppeteer to Mars and Saturn via sextile, with Saturn and Mars in trine. This means mega-transformation of structures and levels of energy. It’s also highly aggressive and warlike (hence the battle between light and dark yesterday). Saturn will station retrograde on Monday. This is going to bring a certain degree of bedlam. We know to take care and slow down any day a planet stations retrograde or direct because things get intense. Saturn is in Scorpio – the granddaddy of intensity.

The main thing to keep in mind is to stay grounded with all of this energy. Don’t get washed away in Neptune’s great wave. Temper emotions. Use your powers of expression to handle difficulties. This is a wonderful time of year and holds potential for powerful changes. Just look around and you will see it.

I will end with many thanks to all of you for holding light and beauty as the times become more turbulent.

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