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09.18 'Terrifying' New Climate Models Warn of 6-7°C of Warming by 2100 If Emissions Not Slashed

09.17 New Report Details 10 'Critical Transitions' to Tackle the Climate Crisis and Feed the World

09.16 Common pesticide makes migrating birds anorexic [Neonicotinoids, again...]

09.16 ACT plans far-reaching electrification of vehicles and homes in drive to reduce emissions

09.16 'Like a sunburn on your lungs': how does the climate crisis impact health? [Important]

09.16 $1m a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world [Important]

09.15 German Study: Alarming Levels of Dangerous Plastics in Children's Bodies

09.15 Sea levels may rise more rapidly due to Greenland ice melt

09.15 The world has a third pole – and it's melting quickly

09.14 Not Just the Bees, First-of-Its-Kind Study Shows Neonics May Be Killing Birds Too [A GESTALT: Like happened at Boeing, deregulation has displaced scientific and engineering professionalism in many companies and governments to focus on profits/economics almost exclusively. But after similar failure of scientific rigor, die-off reports of bees, worms and sea-life, generally, there must be a moritorium on production, sale and use of all potentially dangerous chemicals!]

09.13 Trump Rollback of Key EPA Water Protection Rule Denounced as 'Callous' and 'Immoral' Giveaway to Big Polluters

09.13 Worms fail to thrive in soil containing microplastics – study

09.13 Dolphins in Channel carry 'toxic cocktail' of chemicals [What is safe to eat?]

09.11 How Can We Address Climate Change Through Agriculture? [3:43 video]

09.11 New solar tech could revolutionise electricity production

09.11 'It can kill you in seconds': the deadly algae on Brittany's beaches

09.10 How to look after your mental health

09.10 Who’s Ready for the Electric Moped Moment? [Uses car lanes instead of sidewalks!]

09.09 The Climate Investment That Promises 400 Percent Returns

09.09 Suicide rates are rising across the US, especially in rural areas

09.08 Blend solar panels with agriculture, new study recommends

09.08 Before Hurricane Dorian, Charleston Already Had a Flooding Crisis

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09.16 From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing's Glass House

09.15 'No Policy, No Facts, Just Displays of Violence': Ocasio-Cortez Says Hysterical Ad Proves GOP Has No Response to Progressive Vision [0:30 video]

09.14 Sanders Campaign Hits Back Against 'Dishonest' Biden Attack on Medicare for All [The facts don't lie, but America's media totally does lie when paid by advertisers to distort single-payer as more expensive: 1:35 video]

09.12 Media bias is OK – if it's honest [‘It should be obvious that there can’t be such a thing as a neutral journalist.’]

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09.18 Why Trump Can’t Learn: An Educated Guess by a Veteran Teacher [Might dyslexia explain the Republican party, generally?]

09.18 'Heartless and Unconscionable': Outrage as General Motors Cuts Off Healthcare for 50,000 Striking Workers [Hideous corporate behavior putting 50,000 families at greater health and bankruptcy risk.]

09.18 Whole Foods Will Cut Health-Care Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Employees [Hideous corporate behavior putting 2,000 families at greater health and bankruptcy risk.]

09.18 US healthcare is booming. So why do one in five workers live in poverty?

09.18 Greta Thunberg to Congress: ‘You’re not trying hard enough. Sorry’

09.17 'The silenced': meet the climate whistleblowers muzzled by Trump

09.17 Democrats have long blamed 'culture' for black poverty. Joe Biden is no exception

09.17 The Guardian view on the future of work: share out the benefits

09.16 America is stuck with Brett Kavanaugh

09.16 Sanders Responds to Biden's Praise for Pharma Companies: 'Their Behavior Is Literally Killing People Every Day'

09.15 'Americans are waking up': two thirds say climate crisis must be addressed

09.15 The Plutocratic War on People: Centrists and Conservatives are Ignoring the Giant Elephant in Our National Living Room

09.14 The U.S. Health-Care System Found a Way to Make Peanuts Cost $4,200

09.14 California church leaders 'used homeless as forced labour' [A coarsening of public behavior...]

09.14 Taco Bell customer who was treating homeless group to meals says she was kicked out of restaurant [A coarsening of public behavior...]

09.14 We Asked Prosecutors if Health Insurance Companies Care About Fraud. They Laughed at Us.

09.14 Elizabeth Warren’s Health Care Plan Still Leaves a Lot of Unanswered Questions

09.14 Medicare for All Would Cut Poverty by Over 20 Percent

Justice Matters

09.14 NY AG uncovers $1 billion in Sackler family wire transfers amid opioid probe: report

09.12 'Decades of Progress Are at Stake' as Trump Reaches 150 Lifetime Judicial Appointments and Right-Wing Court Takeover Accelerates

09.12 JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR ISSUES SCATHING DISSENT TO SUPREME COURT'S ASYLUM RULE DECISION: THE STAKES 'COULD NOT BE HIGHER'

09.11 Former top FEMA officials arrested on fraud charges in Puerto Rico

09.09 The great break-up of Big Tech is finally beginning [Facebook and Google effectuate the evil of data analytics]

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09.12 The insidious ideology pushing us towards a Brexit cliff-edge

09.12 Boeing's travails show what's wrong with modern capitalism

International & Futurism

09.18 If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil [1:45 video]

09.17 ONLY A GREEN NEW DEAL CAN DOUSE THE FIRES OF ECO-FASCISM

09.17 The Guardian view on Modi’s 100 days: trashing lives and the constitution

09.17 The Observer view on the threat posed to Israel by another Benjamin Netanyahu victory

09.17 For Palestinians, Israel’s elections promise nothing but defeat

09.17 I now look back on my 20 years of climate activism as a colossal failure

09.17 The world ignored the warning signs – and now the Middle East is on the brink

09.16 EXCLUSIVE: Iranian drones launched from Iraq carried out attacks on Saudi oil plants

09.16 'We walk with our heads high': the women who care for country by fighting fire with fire

09.16 Inheritance tax would be scrapped by the Brexit party – good news for the very rich

09.16 Tunisian exit polls suggest shock victory for political outsiders

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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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