VOICES FOR CHANGE

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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Ryan’s Joke Is on Us
Jim Hightower
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My guess is that Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s highly touted budget guru, doesn’t have a very tight grip on the concept of irony.

Otherwise, why would he choose April Fools’ Day to release the latest version of what the GOP intends to do to federal programs (and to the people who count on them) if it takes total control of Congress? But there he was on April 1, declaring with a straight face that, “We [Republicans] believe that ...

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NSA Spying is Here to Stay
Jim Hightower
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On Monday, April 14, the the Washington Post and the Guardian US newspapers received the Pulitzer for Journalism Public Service for their reports on NSA spying. In light of their hard work, let's recap events of the last year.

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Lessons Not Learned in Boston Bombing
Froma Harrop
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Airport gift shops throughout New England are piling "Boston Strong" T-shirts in vivid colors. "Boston Strong" became a rallying cry of solidarity after the terrorist bombing last year at the Boston Marathon.

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The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies
Chris Hedges
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The most prescient portrait of the American character and our ultimate fate as a species is found in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Melville makes our murderous obsessions, our hubris, violent impulses, moral weakness and inevitable self-destruction visible in his chronicle of a whaling voyage. He is our foremost oracle. He is to us what William Shakespeare was to Elizabethan England or Fyodor Dostoyevsky to czarist Russia.

Our country is ...

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The Hedge Fund Managers Tax Break: Because Wall Streeters Want Your Money
Dean Baker
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The coming of tax day provides a great opportunity for everyone to focus on their favorite tax break, and there are many from which to choose. However for all the sneaky and squirrelly ways that the rich use to escape their tax liability, none can beat the hedge fund managers’ tax break. This is the way the rich tell the rest of us, because they are rich and powerful, the law doesn’t apply to them.

The hedge fund managers’ tax break, which is ...

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If Jesus had a Wife, Would it Change the GOP War on Women?
Juan Cole
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This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

A Coptic fragmentary manuscript page that dates back to a few hundred years after Jesus’ death (and the text of which may go back to the second century) has been found by ...

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The Global Banking Game is Rigged and the FDIC is Suing
Ellen Brown
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Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:

Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now ...

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From J.P. Morgan to Jamie Dimon
Nomi Prins
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(This piece originally appeared in the New York Daily News, April 10, 2014): New York is a wonderful town — if you run a mega bank. Because for over a century, the Big Six banks and their leaders have dominated not just the U.S. banking industry, but American and global finance, traversing the power corridor ...

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Russian Sanctions-Busting? Putin’s Bruited 500k B/D Oil Deal With Iran Draws US Threats
Juan Cole
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This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

Russia has rejected US criticism of a plan that has been floated to import 500,000 barrels a day of petroleum from Iran on a barter basis. 

The US Treasury Department has been instructed by Congress to place a financial blockade on Iran.  The US has had that country kicked off major international bank exchanges, making it very difficult for Iran to pay for imports or get paid for exporting ...

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The Chicago Way
David Sirota
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In America, there is regular ol' corruption, and then there is Chicago Corruption, with a capital "C." America's third largest city is so notoriously corrupt, all you have to do is say "Chicago politics" and many people instantly start making jokes about payoffs and reciting lines from "The Untouchables."

Yet, while the Windy City's brand of corruption is extreme, it is also emblematic, as a recent spate of revelations ...

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Hiding Profits in Slimy Offshore Wormholes
Jim Hightower
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The dictionary defines the caterpillar as a “wormlike larva” and a “crawler.” Also, that “pillar” part of the word is derived from a French verb that means to “pillage, abuse, mistreat.”

Good to know. Now, meet Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest maker of construction and mining machines.

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Sniffing the Ethical Rot in Wall Street’s Culture
Jim Hightower
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Not too many years ago, any news story about bonus money would've been about some 20-year-old baseball player — an up-and-coming superstar getting $100,000 or so on top of his salary as an extra incentive to join the Yankees, Giants, Red Sox or whatever team. Sportswriters dubbed them: "Bonus Babies."

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US and Canada: Together at Last?
Froma Harrop
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What country do Americans overwhelmingly like the most? Canada.

What country do Canadians pretty much like the most? America.

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All Sheldon Adelson Wants
Froma Harrop
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There is something truly spectacular about Sheldon Adelson. Witness the parade of Republican supplicants paying tribute in his Las Vegas lair. They would include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

What's remarkable is not the aesthetics of possible presidential nominees beseeching a casino oligarch in return for campaign cash. Wannabes from the other party also engage in such activities — ...

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Dear America: Climate Change’s Threatening Water, Plants, Animals No Matter What Party You Belong To
Juan Cole
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A Gallup poll has found that only 35% of Americans are concerned about climate change, and that proportion is barely up from the previous year. 

Climate change has become a partisan issue in the US, such that a majority of ...

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On Our Highest Court, a Former Lobbyist Guts Campaign Finance Reform
Joe Conason
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For a large and bipartisan majority of Americans, the increasing power of money in politics is deeply troubling. But not for the conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court, whose members appear to regard the dollar's domination of democracy as an inevitable consequence of constitutional freedom — and anyway, not a ...

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I Think They Can
Jim Hightower
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Like that little choo-choo in the classic children’s book “The Little Engine that Could,” Moral Monday is the little movement that says, “I think I can” and keeps chugging up the hill.

This new progressive coalition became a full-throttle citizen uprising in North Carolina  early last year.

Led by Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP, they ...

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McCutcheon and the Vicious Cycle of Concentrated Wealth and Political Power
Robert Reich
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If wealth and income weren’t already so concentrated in the hands of a few, the shameful “McCutcheon” decision by the five Republican appointees to the Supreme Court wouldn’t be as dangerous. But by taking “Citizen’s United” one step further and effectively eviscerating campaign finance laws, the Court has issued an invitation to oligarchy.

Almost limitless political donations coupled with America’s ...

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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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Milking Public Education
Alex Xourias
Op-Ed

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Rationality

Fox News’ demented poster boy: Why angry rancher Cliven Bundy is no patriot

The right’s new fixation: An angry old white man who thinks freedom means not having to follow the law.

Politics

Rand Paul Bailed on his Plan to Reform Big-Money Politics

As a candidate, he touted a proposal to curb the influence of lobbyists and donors. As a senator, he shelved that plan, and accepted contributions from influence peddlers.

President Obama

Obama budget plan would boost U.S. tax revenues, cut deficits: CBO

There is virtually no chance that Congress will advance Obama’s plan in its entirety.

Ukraine News

Ukraine Port Base Attacked

At least three assailants killed during attack on Mariupol base as top-level talks begin in Geneva over ongoing crisis.

Ukraine News

NATO’s Military Presence Increased in Response to Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine

The alliance’s chief said that more air policing aircraft will fly above the Baltic region and warships will be deployed to the Baltic Sea.

Economy

President Obama Addresses Challenge of Economy Through Job-Training Initiatve

Today, Obama will announce an initiative that deals with training workers for skills they need for open jobs.

Banking Policy

“We Are in Great Danger”: Ex-Banker Details How Mega-Banks Destroyed America

“The power has only been more consolidated,” warns Goldman Sachs veteran Nomi Prins in an interview with Salon

Presidential Debate

Millennials Shunned Hillary in 2008. Her Shadow Campaign Won’t Let It Happen Again.

Inside Ready for Hillary’s campus organizing blitz.

Climate Change

IPPC Report Claims Action Against Climate Change Needs to be Taken Now

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows what must be done to slow down global warming.

Environment

Climate Panel Says Emissions Rising, Avoids Blame

U.N. expert panel on climate change highlights the disconnect between international goals to fight global warming.

Edward Snowden

Reporters Who Broke Snowden Story Return to U.S. for First Time

Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras arrived at JFK on Friday.

Ukraine News

Police Buildings Seized in Ukraine

Security forces exchange fire with men in Kramatorska and separatists also take buildings in Slovyansk and Donetsk.

Climate Change

UN Expert Panel Finishes Scientific Guide to Take Action Against Global Warming

After an all-night session had experts working on a scientific guide to stop global warming from reaching dangerous levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change created high-profile reports.

Voting Rights Act

Obama Criticizes Republicans for their Efforts to Restrict Voting Rights

The Obama administration continues its prevention of discrimination at the polls by challenging states who have restrictions in place.

North and South Korea

North Korea Accuses US Hypocrisy in Pyongyang’s Recent Launches

The North’s National Defense Commission was referring to South Korea’s missile test carried out last month, which is capable of exploding a ton of power to areas of North Korea.

Minimum Wage

Minnesota Lawmakers Approve Raising Minimum Wage

The Democrat-run Senate approved the measure on Wednesday, which raises the state’s minimum wage to $9.50.

Keystone XL Pipeline

Democratic senators press Obama for Keystone decision by May 31

11 Democratic senators have petitioned the president.

Responsibility of NATO

US Troops Pressured to Deploy to Eastern Europe by NATO

Move suggested to back member states that feel threatened by Russian military build-up near Ukraine.

Ukraine News

Ukraine Ready to Use Force to Clear Out Pro-Russian Separatists

Authorities said they are prepared to use force to clear government building of pro-Russian separatists, who seized buildings in the east of the country.

2016 Elections

Hillary Clinton ‘Thinking’ About Running in 2016 Presidential Race

Hillary Clinton was asked if she planned on running in the 2016-presidential election and her response was that she was “thinking” about it.

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