“As goes California,” says the adage, “so goes the nation.” All eyes are therefore on the Golden State as it attempts to solve its $26 billion budget deficit. The world’s eighth largest economy is not going quietly into that pit of debt and devastation that has devoured Third World countries whole. The State’s voters have drawn a line in the sand against further tax hikes, while Democratic leaders have drawn a line at further cuts in services or selloff of public assets. State legislators are deadlocked, caught between the rock of tax ceilings and the hard place of debt limits. Continue reading →
In a major national security speech on May 21, President Obama demonstrated an unnerving ability to keep too many options on the table by proposing five possible courses of action for the prisoners at Guantánamo: release or transfer, trials in federal courts, trials in a revamped version of the Military Commissions (the “terror trials” introduced by former Vice President Dick Cheney in November 2001), and indefinite detention. As I mentioned in an article last week, “At the time, civil liberties groups, lawyers and numerous commentators — myself included — responded with undisguised hostility towards the last two options.” Continue reading →
Fmr. Congressmember Cynthia McKinney Back in U.S. After Being Detained and Deported from Israel
Former Congressmember Cynthia McKinney arrived back in the United States Tuesday following her deportation from Israel. McKinney was one of 21 activists seized by the Israeli military in international waters last week as they tried to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. We speak with McKinney and with filmmaker Adam Shapiro who was detained and deported as well.[includes rush transcript]
Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate.
Adam Shapiro, documentary filmmaker, human rights activist and Palestinian rights activist. Adam was a co-founder of the ISM in Palestine. He was filming the voyage of the Arion for the Free Gaza Movement last week.
Democracy Now! – 7/8/09 – Cynthia McKinney Back in U.S. After Israeli Detainment (part 1 of 1)
Under the rubric of cybersecurity, the Obama administration is moving forward with a Bush regime program to screen state computer traffic on private-sector networks, including those connecting people to the Internet, The Washington Postrevealed July 3.That project, code-named “Einstein,” may very well be related to the much-larger, ongoing and highly illegal National Security Agency (NSA) communications intercept program known as “Stellar Wind,” disclosed in 2005 by The New York Times.
America’s top military commander Admiral Mike Mullen says President Obama may send even more troops to Afghanistan than the nearly 70-thousand strong force already there, by the year’s end. Mullen says he’s also concerned about a possible Israeli military strike against Iran. Mike Kellerman reports.
Last night I turned on CBS TV news to see what they were saying about the Obama-Medvedev summit on reducing nuclear weapons. The first ten-minutes of the show was about the coming funeral and memorial service for Michael Jackson and the legions of people who tried to get tickets to the memorial that will be held inside a basketball arena.
Finally the story came and went about the nuclear negotiations. Not much to it.
The current START-1 treaty between the US and Russia expires on December 5. Obama and Medvedev agreed in principal to cut deployed nuclear warheads from current levels to somewhere around 1,500-1,675 each. Still more than enough to bounce the rubble after a nuclear exchange.
Gary Sick at the Daily Beastexplains how the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) have become a formidable power in Iran. “Technically,” he writes, “they take their orders from the leader, but has he ever dared to contradict them? On the contrary, he seems always to court them by granting them ever-greater influence and responsibilities.”
President Ahmadinejad “has appointed his fellow guardsman to positions throughout the bureaucracy” and “The economic role of the Revolutionary Guards has been remarked on in recent years. The Guards themselves and companies run by the Guards have won major contracts in every corner of the economy, from airport construction to telecommunications to auto manufacturing.”
“The three-year-old just walked right past me,” the Santa Rosa, CA, pediatrician reported, “talking into a cell phone.” That stark image of toddler attached to machine has troubled me. “I was amused at first,” the physician continued. “Then I felt sad. She was learning how to relate to people through a machine. It was so mechanical. Cell phones can connect people, but they also speed things up.” Must we rush even toddlers into machines?
“Half of British children aged 5 to 9 own a mobile phone. Some Experts are Unhappy,” headlines a June 23, 2009 article in the UK’s daily “The Times.” It reports that “Lawrie Challies, an emeritus professor of physics who has led the Government’s mobile-phone safety research, says that parents should not give children phones before secondary school.” (Mobile phones for children: a boon or a peril? Times Online – UK) University of Melbourne pediatrics professor Michael Carr-Gregg, a leading Australian psychologist, “is worried about the power of mobile phones to distract and overexcite” and “says that no children should be allowed a mobile phone until the age of 12.” The French Government bans sales of mobile phones to children under 6.
Some of the following videos may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
Uyghur Protests Widen as Xinjiang Unrest Flares
New protests have erupted in China’s western Xinjiang region, two days after at least 156 people were killed and over 1,000 wounded in the country’s worst ethnic violence in decades. On Tuesday, some 200 ethnic Uyghurs–mostly women–took to the streets to protest over the mass arrest of more than 1,400 people following Sunday’s clashes. Later, hundreds of ethnic Han Chinese marched through the streets of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. The two sides blame each other for the outbreak of violence.[includes rush transcript]