VOICES FOR CHANGE

A Local Fight for the Future of the Internet
David Sirota
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The business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with ...

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Top Seven Really Disturbing News from Iraq
Juan Cole
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This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

1.  Last Wednesday Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki angrily lashed out at the Kurds, accusing them of harboring the terrorists of the so-called ‘Islamic State.’  Since the Kurds have in fact fought the IS radicals, al-Maliki’s charge is hard to take seriously.  Rather, it appears to be a sign of how angry he is that Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani is pressuring him to step down.  I ...

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ABC News’ Diane Sawyer Mistakes Stricken Palestinians for Israelis
Juan Cole
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This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

In the current round of fighting between mighty Israel and the little Gaza Strip, Israeli airstrikes have killed 53 Palestinians.

The supposedly deadly little rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have killed or injured no Israelis, though they have done some property damage.  In fact, those rockets have no guidance systems and very seldom hit anything, mostly landing in the desert. 

Nevertheless, ...

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Nomads of the Digital Age
Amy Goodman
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The freedom to communicate and to share has entered a new era. The power promised by this freedom, by the Internet, is immense, so much so that it frightens entrenched institutions. Governments, militaries, corporations, banks: They all stand to lose the control they exert over society when information they suppress runs free. Yet some of the most ardent advocates for the free Internet have become targets of these very institutions, forced to live on the run, in exile or, in ...

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New Iraq Offensive Backfires
Jim Hightower
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Republican opportunists hoping to score political points are hammering President Barack Obama with vitriolic criticism and blaming him for the latest upheaval in Iraq. So I was pleased when, finally, two Republicans spoke out loudly to deflect those partisan attacks.

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The Egyptian Counterrevolution Will Not Be Televised
Amy Goodman
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Egypt sentenced three Al-Jazeera journalists this week to severe prison terms, in court proceedings that observers described as “farcical.” Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were charged with fabricating news footage, and thus supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which was ousted from power in a military coup a year ago and labeled a terrorist organization. Along with the three jailed journalists, three other foreign journalists were tried and convicted in absentia. ...

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What Lurks in a Child’s Online World?
Froma Harrop
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What is the most shocking takeaway from the story of the two 12-year-olds who repeatedly stabbed their friend — nearly to death — on the imagined orders of a fantasy character?

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The Last Commencement Address
Tom Engelhardt
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Internet Class of 2014, I’m in awe of you! To this giant, darkened auditorium filled with sparkling screens of every sort, welcome! 

It would, of course, be inaccurate to say, as speakers like me once did, that after four years of effort and experience you are now about to leave the hallowed halls of this campus and graduate into a new and adult world.  The odds are that you aren’t.  You were graduated into that world long ago.  ...

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Fox News and GOP Are Not in the Same Business
Froma Harrop
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The curtain has dropped on the tale of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher famous for refusing to pay grazing fees for use of public land. He became a hero to anti-government zealots who oddly failed to see this second helping of taxpayer largesse (the modest fees he didn't pay already reflected a government subsidy) as the action of a ...

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Psssst, Wanna Buy My Corporation?
Jim Hightower
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Where’s Charles Dickens when we need him? The novelist, who laid bare the shame of gross income inequality in 19th century England, came up with some perfect names for his more despicable characters, including Scrooge, Mr. Tulkinghorn, and Miss Havisham.

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Top 5 Signs that It is Karl Rove Who is Brain Dead, Not Hillary Clinton
Juan Cole
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This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

Karl Rove was reported to have raised questions about Hillary Clinton’s mental well-being because of her fall in late 2012. He later walked back his allegation, but not too much.

It is of course Rove who has careened about deeply harming the U.S. because of some mysterious malady (more likely lack of a heart than anything in the brain).  Consider:

1.  Karl Rove melted down on election ...

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Is Journalism Losing Its Nerve?
David Sirota
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When I went into journalism, one of the first things I was told as a freshman is that journalism is different from stenography. It is supposed to be — or at least has been — about using rights granted under the First Amendment to be a check on government and corporate power.

Yet, the hedge in that last sentence is deliberate — and appropriate. That's because a new survey from the Indiana University suggests things are fast changing in the ...

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Wheelering and Dealing at the FCC
Amy Goodman
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Michael Powell is the son of Gen. Colin Powell. The elder Powell knows a thing or two about war. He famously presented the case for invading Iraq to the United Nations, on Feb. 5, 2003, based on faulty evidence of weapons of mass destruction. He calls that speech a painful “blot” on his record. So it is especially surprising when his son threatens “World War III” on the Obama administration.

Michael Powell is the president of the NCTA, ...

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New York Times Turns Paul Krugman into His Opposite
Dean Baker
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Remember Paul Krugman yelling that huge budget deficits will impose an enormous burden on our children and threaten to sink the economy? You probably don’t remember this because he has been strongly arguing the opposite position for the last five years.

This is why it was ...

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Fox News Asks Rand Paul If Harry Reid Is Right to ‘Call Americans Domestic Terrorists’
Juan Cole
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Not since George W. Bush complained that the problem with the American economy was that “too many of our imports come from abroad” has such hilarious use of the English language been on display.  The furor on the Right about Harry Reid terming “domestic terrorists” the militiamen who brought sniper rifles across state lines to confront the Bureau of Land Management produced the following interview by Fox News of Rand Paul.

Eric ...

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Antitrust in the New Gilded Age
Robert Reich
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We’re in a new gilded age of wealth and power similar to the first gilded age when the nation’s antitrust laws were enacted. Those laws should prevent or bust up concentrations of economic power that not only harm consumers but also undermine our democracy — such as the pending Comcast acquisition of Time-Warner. 

In 1890, when Republican Senator John Sherman of Ohio urged his congressional colleagues to act against the centralized ...

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Top 6 Pulitzer Prize ‘Traitors’ in American Journalism
Juan Cole
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The Pulitzer Prize committee’s opinion that Edward Snowden is a public servant rather than a traitor or criminal, as evidenced in its award to The Guardian and The Washington Post for their reporting from his trove of government documents, is a scandal on the American Right.  But it is not a new scandal.  Journalism is about the public’s right to know what our government is up to.  The National Security State is about preventing us from knowing what ...

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Hijacking the American Plane of State
Tom Engelhardt
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Isn’t there something strangely reassuring when your eyeballs are gripped by a “mystery” on the news that has no greater meaning and yet sweeps all else away?  This, of course, is the essence of the ongoing tale of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  Except to the relatives of those on board, it never really mattered what happened in the cockpit that day.  To the extent that the plane’s disappearance was solvable, the ...

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Yawning at Anonymous Posts
Froma Harrop
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Beats me how new apps like "Secret" and "Whisper" are going to make big money. Presumably, that is the objective of their Silicon Valley creators.

These apps combine ...

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People Sin, Not Music Festivals
Froma Harrop
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A curious discussion followed the tragedy at the recent South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Many of the festival's fans and critics turned the awful event into a call for "soul-searching" about what the festival had become.

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FROM AROUND THE WEB

The Supreme Court

Supreme Court Plays PR Games Since Hobby Lobby Ruling

Whether you agree with the Hobby Lobby decision or not, the Supreme Court is not playing PR games releasing a narrow opinion to generate a certain type of coverage.

Facebook

The UK Investigates Facebook’s Psychology Experiment

Facebook revealed a new psychology experiment that has the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office investigating its unethical speculations.

Obamacare

Paul Krugman Says Conservatives’ Rejection of Obamacare is ‘Scary’

Their refusal to acknowledge the program is working is not just pathetic, but it is scary, the New York Times columnist said.

War

Conservative Commentator Glenn Beck Says Liberals, Who Opposed Iraqi Invasion, Were Right All Along

The right-wing pundit says that, unlike himself, most liberals understood the Iraq War was a terrible idea.

Food Health

What Coke is Really Made Of

After coke is boiled down to just sugar, a Russian YouTuber shows viewers what they are really putting into their bodies.

Obama Administration

The fake patriotism of Fox News: What the right doesn’t understand about Memorial Day

When conservative pundits accuse Obama of “disrespecting” the military, they’re missing what’s really important

Hacking Scandal

A US Public Utility’s Control System Network Hacked

The utility company hacked is not being identified at this time.

China

China Says Cyber Spying Charges Harmed Relations Between the Two Countries

Beijing tells U.S. ambassador that indictment of five Chinese officials had seriously harmed bilateral ties.

Benghazi controversy

Democrats Entertain Boycotting the Benghazi Hearings

Dems can't boycott Benghazi hearings—so they should follow one writer's great idea: Let Alan Grayson ruin them.

China

China Accused of Cyber-Spying on American Companies

A U.S. grand jury accused five Chinese individuals of cyber espionage after revealing they targeted six American companies, stealing their trade secrets.

Death Penalty

News Organizations File Lawsuit Challenging Lethal Injections in Missouri

The Guardian, Associated Press and three other local newspapers have filed a lawsuit, which challenges the state for hiding information about their lethal injection practices.

George W. Bush

National Columnist Wants Readers to Believe Bush was Misunderstood

Leading pundits want you to think Bush isn’t such a bad guy. Here’s why that's not just wrong—but harmful.

CIA

Putin Advises Russians Not Search on Google

President warns Russians against making Google searches saying its web traffic goes through servers that are in the U.S.

Media

Fox News is Backing up Cliven Bundy’s Lies

Why do so many lunatics defend this racist? The crazy tales they’re hearing.

Media

Reasons Behind News Stations Running the Same Stories

A massive wave of consolidation by big conglomerates leaves you, the viewer, with dreck.

National Security Agency

Academic Researchers Reveal Two Encryption Tools Developed by NSA Greatly Increase Spy Ability

The RSA, a company within the security industry, developed these tools to give the NSA greater ability to eavesdrop on Internet communications.

Plane Crash

Credible Images from French Satellite Shows Debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight

A French satellite image shows 122 objects, a possible debris field.

Political Scandal

Reports Claim New Jersey Governor Christie’s Name Cleared in Traffic Scandal

The New York Times reported that after a review into the traffic scandal, Chris Christie had nothing to do with the orchestrated scheme.

Edward Snowden

Snowden’s “Call to Arms”

The whistle-blower’s remarks at SXSW not only called upon technologists, but all of us to resist mass surveillance

Education

Private Companies to Donate Software to Classrooms

President Obama will make an announcement today that reveals private companies’ donations of software and software licenses to bring more technology to students.

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