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06.14 The Trump administration is waging a quiet war on education

06.11 Underpaid Adjunct Professors Sleep in Cars and Rely on Public Aid [The disease of rapacious-capitalism infects the education system]

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06.17 Oil companies double down on plastics as public outcry grows [Obscene!]

06.17 Ocasio-Cortez: "We’re Going to Fight to Repeal the Hyde Amendment"

06.15 'The Changes Are Really Accelerating': Alaska at Record Warm While Greenland Sees Major Ice Melt

06.15 So much plastic is being made that "recycling has no impact" [Non-recyclable plastic must be made illegal to manufacture, use]

06.15 Climate crisis: aviation industry hears clamour for electric planes

06.15 We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet [Increased ice melt in polar latitudes has been disguising reality in the middle latitudes. This effect will soon be replaced by record heat as ice volume and seasonal melting increasingly declines.]

06.15 This all-male council in Texas just voted to ban abortion [1:59 video; Bad assumptions foment ignorant actions...]

06.14 The Trans Mountain pipeline is a disaster – but Trudeau can make it right

06.14 The Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal, study finds

06.14 Climate crisis: Alaska is melting and it’s likely to accelerate global heating

06.13 Chemical companies at centre of Guardian's Cancer Town series face state legal action [7:56 video]

06.12 'This is not a "what if" story': Tokyo braces for the earthquake of a century

06.12 Plant Species Have Been Disappearing 500 Times Faster Than Normal, Thanks to Humans

06.12 Atmospheric carbon levels are leaping. We can't afford more years like this

06.12 Politics as Usual and Planetary Destruction

06.12 Most 'meat' in 2040 will not come from dead animals, says report

06.11 Forest twice size of UK destroyed in decade for big consumer brands – report

06.11 Twice as many plants have gone extinct than birds, mammals, and amphibians combined

06.11 NOAA forecasts very large ‘dead zone’ for Gulf of Mexico

06.10 Conservatives should change how they think about global warming. I did [Another crisis issue conservatives won't acknowledge...]

06.10 Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply [Who won't understand this?]

06.10 Greenpeace activists board BP oil rig as it is towed out to sea [Fossil fuel company conduct should be illegal...]

06.09 Racism as a Public Health Crisis

06.08 GreenWay Reaches 100 EV Fast Chargers In Poland!

06.07 Single-Payer Reform—“Medicare for All”

06.07 Purpose in Life Protects Against Cognitive Decline Among Older Adults

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06.15 China's Expanding Media Dominance in Africa

Daily: FAIR Blog
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

06.17 Climate change leadership would create a new 'American century' [We must incentivize the strategic good, again, before it's too late.]

06.17 Jon Stewart takes aim at McConnell in continued fight for 9/11 victim compensation fund [2:56 C-SPAN video]

06.17 Drug Cop Worth $400 Million After Bets on Brooklyn Real Estate [A better role-model than Trump or Kushner!]

06.15 Hard Times in the Imperial Valley

06.15 Ro Khanna Forces Beltway Bandit to Refund Millions From Price Gouging

06.15 White House physicist sought aid of rightwing thinktank to challenge climate science [When your President is a quack he naturally surrounds himself with sycophants]

06.14 Do Your Jobs: Sick and Dying, They Brought Themselves Down Here to Speak - To No One

06.14 The Case for Reparations [5:31 video]

06.14 Bernie Sanders just made a brilliant defense of democratic socialism

06.14 Texas Progressive Jessica Cisneros Announces Primary Challenge to Unseat "Trump's Favorite Democrat" in Congress

06.13 Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan for Everything — Except Health Care

06.13 Where do the 2020 Democratic candidates stand on the key issues?

06.13 Hidden Figures Way: Nasa renames street to honor black female mathematicians

06.13 Why are we still pretending 'trickle-down' economics work? [We aren't ‘laffing’ now! In Trump-world all the worst people are celebrated. Ref.: 3:07 Idiocracy Courtroom Scene]

06.13 What’s actually in the Green New Deal, explained with a video [7:30 video]

Justice Matters

06.14 Justice Denied, Delayed, or Done Right? Serious Concerns as Prosecutors Throw Out Charges in Flint Water Crisis Cases [A very flawed prosecution using suspiciously limited evidence has been thrown out, a stronger case will be brought using newly found, voluminous evidence.]

High Crimes

06.17 'Blatant Theft': Netanyahu Unveils Illegal Settlement Named 'Trump Heights' in Occupied Syrian Territory [Great deal: the U.S. gives Israel $Billions every year, and they name an illegal settlement—to be built on Palestinian land—after Trump]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

06.15 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion [More equality or bring back the guillotines!]

06.13 Even the 1% Know They Aren't Paying Their Fair Share: New Poll Shows 60% of Millionaires Support Warren's Ultra-Wealth Tax

International & Futurism

06.17 Saudi Arabia May Execute Teenager for His Protests — Including When He Was 10 [America's “best ally” is psychopathically insane]

06.17 Why Venezuela Is the Vietnam of Our Time [Powerful, clear writing!]

06.17 US Attacks Russia’s Power Grid; Trump Kept in Dark

06.17 Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia [Governments must subsidize very rapid installation of renewable energy to displace all fossil energy—aka DEATH ENERGY—power plants that must be made illegal ASAP]

06.15 Africa’s Lost Kingdoms

06.15 Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes surge in England and Wales

06.15 Extinction Rebellion protesters stop rush-hour traffic in London

06.15 Hong Kong leader suspends extradition bill amid protest pressure [1:37 video]

06.15 The US must stand with the people of Hong Kong [But this attacks Xi's authoritarianism, which Trump is most envious of for himself...]

06.14 As Angus Taylor ducks, weaves and dithers, China zooms past

06.13 What does it mean to be genetically Jewish? [Doing a mental dance with archanery: could a significant number of Russians and Palestinians be intentionally included or excluded as genetically Jewish? And why would Israel do this?]

06.13 Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman

06.13 Theresa May’s carbon emissions plan will fail if the chancellor remains complacent

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  Obama's FISA Statement is a Mess (Just like his Stand on Faith-based Programs)
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VIEWPOINT:

Obama's FISA Statement is a Mess (Just like his Stand on Faith-based Programs)

By Mark Crispin Miller

Obama's moves are not merely pragmatic gestures—they have serious constitutional implications.

Obama's recent rightward moves—concerning BushCo's faith-based programs, and the FISA bill—have both been loudly justified by commentators who would certainly deplore them if it weren't Obama who had made them.

The thinking goes like this: "Obama's our guy, and he's really cool, the candidate of 'change,' so we should cut him all the slack he needs, so he can get elected president. In any case, this recent stuff is not so bad. So let's all lighten up—or else. Because he has to make such moves, or he will lose; and those who criticize him now are only helping the Republicans."

That view is wrong on every count. Obama's moves are not merely pragmatic gestures, like Bill Clinton's "Sister Souljah moment" (to which they've been compared). While "standing up to Sister Souljah" (!) was purely a theatrical display, meant to "send a message" to particular voters, these shifts by Obama have serious consitutional implications, regardless of his good intentions or hisrare skill at finessing what he's done.

For example, his decision to expand BushCo's faith-based programs is a bad one, even if such good souls as Jim Wallis (a righteous evangelical) and Steve Benen (a righteous secularist) have hailed him for it. The fact that David Kuo has blessed Obama's move, and that the latter's campaign has consulted him about it, is ominous, to say the least. Kuo is a true believer, who understands that the idea behind those programs is to privatize the social welfare system—something that did not come up in the (brief) controversy over Obama's announcement. (For more on Kuo, read the final chapter of Jeff Sharlet's The Family, and Kuo's own memoir, Tempting Faith.) Moreover, there was no comfort in Obama's vow that no such funds will ever go to groups that proselytize, as such a rule is on the books already, and is unenforceable in any case.

It is, in short, the First Amendment that's at stake here, and its Establishment Clause, which is essential to the health of our democracy—and which Obama has just trashed, however suavely, and regardless of the fine credentials of his humanist supporters. And it's the Fourth Amendment that's at stake in the attempt to pass the FISA bill, which will give Bush & Co. even greater powers to keep us all under surveillance. As Glenn Greenwald notes, Obama's latest statement doesn't even mention that small matter (and otherwise does nothing but spread fog over the senator's capitulation).

Those who counsel silence on these matters seem to place their party, and its candidate, above the Constitution; and that posture is not just immoral, but gratuitous. All those anxious efforts to explain away Obama's cave-ins, and to halt all critical discussion of them, come from the conviction that he'll lose if there's a whisper of dissent within his camp, or if he doesn't pander to the right.

That conviction is completely groundless—based, as it is, on the persistent myth that Gore and Kerry lost to Bush & Co., because of Karl Rove's "genius" at "hardball politics" and "mobilizing Bush's base," etc. Traumatized by those "defeats" (and others, like Max Cleland's), those now shouting down Obama's (friendly) critics can't perceive that the Republicans are finished, and that John McCain cannot legitimately win. Only through election fraud and vote suppression can he possibly prevail (as it was only through such means that Bush & Co. prevailed, not once but twice).

And such a victory is in the works, unless we act against it now. (Rove is working for McCain—who, moreover, lately hired an A-Team of veteran anti-democratic operatives.)

Those who keep reflexively defending Obama should concentrate instead on how to keep the GOP from stealing this election, too.

If, therefore, they really want to see Obama win, those who keep reflexively defending him should concentrate instead on how to keep the GOP from stealing this election, too (something that Obama seems to think is quite impossible). Such activism would be more productive—and, in the noblest sense, more patriotic—than enabling his collusion in Bush/Cheney's crimes against the Constitution.


Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media ecology at New York University, recently edited a book about voting fraud, Loser Take All, a compendium of investigative reports. Miller researches such topics as modern propaganda, history and tactics of advertising, American film, and media ownership. His recent books include The Bush Dyslexicon and Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order.

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This story was published on JuLY 7, 2008.

 

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