All this nambypambyism about the Gulf Oil Spill has got me down, so I figured I’d go to the smartest guy on the planet to get his what’s what.
I met Stephen Hawking at his perch at the Mt. Palomar observatory. It took me a few moments to get used to his computer-generated voice, but once I did, it was the only voice I could imagine being attached to that kind of cerebrum.
“I like to look at the stars,” he told me. “It puts our little mortal lives into high relief.”
Tens of thousands of Israelis protested in the streets of Tel Aviv last weekend against their right-wing government’s attack on an unarmed humanitarian aid flotilla sailing in international waters. International condemnation of the raids continued in foreign capitals. Meanwhile, in Washington, Democratic congressional leaders were lining up alongside their Republican colleagues to defend the Israeli assault. Countering the broad consensus of international legal scholars who recognize that the attack was in flagrant violation of international norms, prominent Democrats embraced the Orwellian notion that Israel’s raid, which killed at least nine activists and wounded scores of others, was somehow an act of self-defense.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement after information leaked out that earlier reports of a vast new mineral discovery that had been found in Afghanistan were not actually new discoveries:
“We now know that ‘discovery’ of vast repositories of natural resources in Afghanistan was overstated, likely the result of a new policy rather than new information. The mineral wealth of the nation has been estimated for decades and known for years. The only new information revealed was that these reserves may be worth nearly one trillion dollars. These few facts, however, raise serious questions about the future of Afghanistan and our role there.
June 15, 2010 — In the wake of a rumor that WikiLeaks may soon publish a number of secret State Department cables, some are saying that the Pentagon is on the hunt for the whistleblowing organization’s founder Julian Assange. On GRITtv with Laura Flanders, Nation writer and blogger Jeremy Scahill says that while Assange may not exactly be on the run to the extent that is being portrayed, diplomats have reason to be concerned about what Wikileaks may have in its possession. “I think a lot of diplomats around the world are very, very nervous. At a minimum, they’re going to want to talk to Julian Assange,” Scahill says. “He denies that he has them [the cables], by the way.”
In addition to discussions of a potential secret prison and interrogation facility within the Bagram Air Base and the New York Times’s coverage of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, Scahill and Flanders talk about Erik Prince and rumors that Blackwater, his controversial private military company, is for sale. “There are rumors that he [Prince] may be the target of an investigation,” Scahill says. “If you’re on the market for a private army, you could probably buy cheap and buy fast if you’re interested.
The termination of Helen Thomas’ 62-year long career as a pioneering, no-nonsense newswoman was swift and intriguingly merciless.
The event leading to her termination began when she was sitting on a White House bench under oppressive summer heat. The 89-year old hero of honest journalism and women’s rights, the scourge of dissembling presidents and White House press secretaries, answered a passing visitor’s question about Israel with a snappish comment worded in a way she didn’t mean; she promptly apologized in writing (see Veteran White House Reporter Helen Thomas Retires After Israel Remarks). Recorded without permission on a hand video, the brief exchange, that included a defense of dispossessed Palestinians, went internet viral on Friday, June 7.
Consumer advocate, former presidential candidate and author, Ralph Nader, provides an assessment of the Obama administration’s first sixteen months in office, and suggests new ways for progressives to succeed in electoral politics.