ED’S Sunday Morning News And Views Clippings That Won’t Be In Your Sunday Paper!
(Ratting Out The “Main Stream “Media)
Since the start of our tragic war in Iraq, the organization that has done the most extensive, and most respected, counting of the bodies is aptly named Iraq Body Count.
I’ve relied on their work in my many, many articles and book about the war, its victims, and the media, for over a decade now. (Current death count: nearly 4,500 US troops and at least 125,000 Iraqi civilians).
Now they’ve posted an important piece by Josh Dougherty on the verdict in the Bradley Manning case at their site that (1) compares how US soldiers who committed war crimes in Iraq have gotten off easy and (2) thanks Manning for releasing material that documented thousands of civilian casualties there that we wouldn’t know about otherwise.
On October 22, 2010, the group WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs, a series of nearly 400,000 classified military records, also known as "SIGACTs". These documents have remained publicly available on the internet in various forms since the original release, and IBC has been working since then to carefully integrate them into our database. As of today, more than 4,000 civilian deaths have been added to the IBC database derived exclusively from these records, and roughly 10,000 more are likely to be added as the work continues.1 …
In others words: those who killed civilians got off, the man who exposed the shocking numbers, and much else revelatory about the wars (and our allies) in Iraq and Afghanistan gets severely punished.
Two excerpts, but read it all:
For example, the US Marines involved in one of the most notorious massacres of civilians in Iraq by US forces, in Haditha in November 2005, faced virtually no legal consequences. One Marine was convicted of a minor offense for which he served no jail time, and the rest have all been acquitted or had all charges dropped and will live the rest of their lives in freedom. The helicopter pilots who gunned down at least ten civilians, including two Reuters journalists and a father of two children who stopped to try to help the wounded, as documented in the “Collateral Murder” video exposed by Bradley Manning, face no punishment of any kind…
IBC has produced a list of thousands of incidents in the Iraq war between 2004-09, killing several thousand Iraqi civilians that have now been sourced exclusively from the documents released by Bradley Manning, and who would otherwise have remained hidden to the world at large. These and thousands of others like them are known to the world today only because Bradley Manning could no longer in good conscience collude with an official policy of the Bush and Obama administrations to abuse secrecy and “national security” to erase them from history. If Manning deserves any punishment at all for this, certainly his three years already served, and the disgraceful abuse he was made to suffer during it, is more than enough.
His Conviction On Espionage Act Charges Poses Grave Dangers For American Journalism.
Manning had already pleaded guilty to ten of the lesser charges against him—for instance, unauthorized possession and improper storage of classified material, which together carry a maximum twenty-year term. But this was not enough for the prosecution: it pressed on with a dozen more serious offenses, including the potential capital crime of aiding the enemy as well as charges stemming from the Espionage Act of 1917, which Richard Nixon retooled as a weapon against domestic leakers in his vendetta against Daniel Ellsberg. (Such a use of the statute has never been decided on the legal merits until this case.) Judge Denise Lind announced a verdict that splits the difference, acquitting the soldier of aiding the enemy but convicting him on the Espionage Act charges. Private Manning could still face a prison term of more than 130 years (the sentence will be determined in a separate proceeding). The consequences for American journalism are grave, as the government now has even greater incentive to prosecute as a spy any confidential source who passes classified information to the press, criminalizing what has long been a vital (and tacitly accepted) conduit of essential public information. Such collateral damage to the Fourth Estate will not be mourned by a government that has become aggressively intolerant of leaks, whistleblowers and, it often seems, a well-informed citizenry.
Fort Meade is the too-perfect setting for Manning’s court-martial: an Army base, it is also home to the National Security Agency, now famous for its powers of digital intrusion after the spectacular revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden. The NSA is the largest bureaucracy in the bloated US security complex, a farrago of draconian harshness coupled with casual indiscipline, dodgy legality with solemn appeals to the rule of law, and state-of-the-art IT with chronic power outages and a shambolic incapacity to run a search of its own employees’ e-mails.
Private Manning was an Army intelligence analyst deployed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Hammer in Iraq when, in 2010, he amassed 90,000 field logs from the Afghan War and 392,000 from Iraq, files on the Guantánamo prisoners and 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables—a huge trove, but still less than 1 percent of what Washington classified in 2010. Manning passed them all to WikiLeaks, which published most of them through well-established newspapers and magazines.
Many of the leaks are not flattering to Washington’s amour-propre. The most famous is the “Collateral Murder” video: the gunsight view from an Apache helicopter opening fire on a couple of armed men and several civilians in Baghdad in July 2007. But the logs from both wars include reports of night raids gone wrong, Afghan outposts laboriously built and then abandoned, civilian casualty estimates whose existence had been officially denied, and documentation of torture by Iraqi authorities under the noses of occupying US soldiers. The diplomatic cables show Washington lobbying to keep the minimum wage down in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; to impose US-style patent law regimes abroad for the benefit of Big Pharma; and to suppress criminal investigations in Germany into the CIA kidnapping of a terrorist suspect that turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
One might guess that Manning’s exfiltration of so many documents required amazing feats of subterfuge, but it needed no deception beyond scrawling “Lady Gaga” on a CD-ROM, with the files later sent to a WikiLeaks site from a Barnes & Noble in suburban Maryland while the private was on leave. There was no security to speak of at the SCIF (sensitive compartmented information facility) at FOB Hammer, where the “infosec” (information security) protocols were casually flouted with the full knowledge of supervisors. This was not an anomaly: 1.4 million Americans have top-secret security clearances—480,000 of them private contractors. Security clearance vetting is cursory, like so much else about the sloshy and erratic US infosec: intact military hard drives can turn up for sale in the bazaars of Kabul, and top-secret documents have been accessed by all sorts of people through the file-sharing technology installed on government laptops by the children and grandchildren of national security officials, as Dana Priest and William Arkin documented in Top Secret America, their book on our ballooning security state.
IBC has produced a list of thousands of incidents in the Iraq war between 2004-09, killing several thousand Iraqi civilians that have now been sourced exclusively from the documents released by Bradley Manning, and who would otherwise have remained hidden to the world at large:
This is not yet even a complete record, as many thousands more are likely to be added as the work of integrating the documents continues. Just a few examples include:
These and thousands of others like them are known to the world today only because Bradley Manning could no longer in good conscience collude with an official policy of the Bush and Obama administrations to abuse secrecy and "national security" to erase them from history. If Manning deserves any punishment at all for this, certainly his three years already served, and the disgraceful abuse he was made to suffer during it, is more than enough.
Apparently getting “hot under the collar” is not just a figure of speech. According to a new study published in the journal Science, a team of U.S. scientists “found that even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders, as well as group conflicts and war.” The BBC reports: The researchers looked at 60 studies from around the world, with data spanning hundreds of years.
They report a “substantial” correlation between climate and conflict.
Their examples include an increase in domestic violence in India during recent droughts, and a spike in assaults, rapes and murders during heat waves in the US.The report also suggests rising temperatures correlated with larger conflicts, including ethnic clashes in Europe and civil wars in Africa. . .
The scientists say that with the current projected levels of climate change the world is likely to become a more violent place. They estimate that a 2C (3.6F) rise in global temperature could see personal crimes increase by about 15%, and group conflicts rise by more than 50% in some regions. Besides the obvious problem of correlation versus causation, there is also the crucial but much-neglected difference between “climate change” and “weather.” Not to mention that blaming the Bosnian genocide or the Algerian civil war on global warming is a hard sell, to say the least. But, hey. Now you have a retort the next time someone tells you to chill out.
“Absent a well-founded, good faith belief that a journalist is engaged in terrorist activities, compiling and analyzing a journalist’s metadata would violate core First Amendment principles, and U.S. law,” Gyllenhaal and Morgan-Prager wrote.
They asked Clapper whether any U.S. intelligence agencies helped in the “collection, use or analysis” of any metadata from McClatchy freelancer Jon Stephenson’s cellphone while he worked in Afghanistan last year.
Metadata includes logs and timing of phone calls and lists of Internet communications, but does not include the actual contents of communications.
“We regard any targeted collection of the metadata of our journalists as a serious interference with McClatchy’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news,” the two McClatchy officials wrote.
Clapper’s Office Had No Immediate Comment Late Tuesday.
Stephenson has claimed his reporting was monitored by the U.S. intelligence programs revealed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on behalf of New Zealand’s military.
On Sunday, the Star-Times newspaper of New Zealand reported that the New Zealand military conspired with U.S. spy agencies to monitor Stephenson’s communications with sources in Afghanistan. New Zealand officials have denied the allegations.
Stephenson’s claim was the latest revelation in the ongoing debate over government snooping since Snowden in June revealed two top secret U.S. programs that monitor millions of Americans’ telephone and Internet communications each day.
U.S. intelligence officials have denied Stephenson’s claim, but wouldn’t elaborate on what did happen. Other intelligence officials and experts suggested Stephenson’s phone calls to Afghan sources might have been caught up in standard military intelligence monitoring of enemy combatant’s communications. The Logs:
This wouldn't be the first time the U.S. has been accused of deliberately targeting first responders after one of its drone attacks. It's called a "double-tap" strike. In other words, murder on top of murder. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if No. 1, another country were bombing us with drone strikes, and No. 2, it was then bombing the first responders to those attacks?? I don't think "possible" war crime adequately conveys it. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found that the U.S. has indeed done this in Pakistan (if not other places as well).
What -- this isn't on the front page of every newspaper in the country? Perish the thought. Neither is this story of yet another child killed by a drone strike. There's your Mr. Hope & Change in action.
Laura Flanders, Truthout: Laura Flanders interviews Noam Chomsky about Bradley Manning; the secretive TransPacific Partnership agreement; the wisdom of indigenous people; "tiny robots;" Obama's "terrorism operation," maybe biggest in history; and more. Read the Article
Wisconsin's Student Bill of Rights is a 43-point program written by high schoolers. Similar to the , it calls for student input in school decision-making; support for technology, arts, music and bilingual education; freedom from discrimination; culturally relevant learning; restorative justice in school discipline; and college counseling - and access - for all. Points 6 and 7 bring a Wisconsinite twist: "Students have a right to a school environment where all teachers and staff have the right to collectively bargain" as well as "a desegregated public education system that is not undermined by privatization."
"I've gotten a lot of comments saying it was the teachers making the students write it," says Karla De Jesús,17, from Milwaukee. "There's a lot of discrimination. It's so hard to believe that students are doing something."
As students in Racine tried to get the bill encoded in district policy last year, the school board resisted. "They didn't approve of it, because we were too political," says Berenice Beltrán, 17, a Racine student "They said we were brainwashed."
Wisconsin's collective memory suggests otherwise. As the governor maneuvered to squash organized labor, the conversation percolated from news outlets to dinner gatherings to math and social studies lessons. "If you were in Milwaukee when Scott Walker was going into office," says Kika Meráz, 19, a Milwaukee native who now attends Marquette University, "everyone knew what collective bargaining is, what privatization is."
As most public sector unions lost between one- and two-thirds of their members, the group spearheading the bill, Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES), exploded. Between 2011 and 2012, YES grew from 200 to 600 dues-paying members, with 15 chapters spread across high schools and universities in Milwaukee and Racine. Last April, students pushed the Milwaukee school board to approve the Student Bill of Rights in principle. Teachers, who now have to recertify their union every year and can no longer automatically collect dues, have turned to student organizers as allies in local and state-level struggles. Though Michael Moore and Tom Morello have left the capitol, and Scott Walker hasn't been dethroned, the uprising continues - this time, in the hands of those with few rights to begin with.
Milwaukee is the urban area in the country, with blacks mostly confined to the city's North Side and Latinos to the South. The loss of manufacturing jobs has thrown people of color into of low-wage work or unemployment.
The headquarters of Milwaukee's Voces de la Frontera, YES's parent group, are the "ER of the South Side," a refuge for the city's Latino community. Its meeting hall hosts citizenship classes, support groups for families with members who are detained or in deportation proceedings, voter training, youth organizing and worker organizing - including the ongoing . Its hallways are lined with photos from the 2006 and May Day marches since then. A state-shaped fist abuts "Stand with Wisconsin 2011." Scott Walker's face appears with the tagline, "I have seen the face of Democracy. This ain't it."
During the 2011 capitol occupation, students from Milwaukee and Racine, the state's fifth-largest city with a combined 43 percent black and Latino population, bused to Madison every weekend. For the recall votes that followed, YES launched "Vote for Our Future," a nonpartisan engagement campaign. Five hundred high school students, mostly younger than 18 and many bilingual, door-knocked in Milwaukee and Racine. In one day, the canvass tallied upward of 8,000 doors knocked and 3,500 voters who committed to go to the polls.
The assault on collective bargaining - and education funding - was a rap on students. "Many of us are first-generation students, and many of us are getting through school with the guidance of our teachers," says Kennia Coronado, 19, a student at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. "In the country where my parents are from, Mexico, teachers are respected."
After students came to the capitol every week in spring 2011, teachers reciprocated. Since then, YES has found it easier to recruit adult chaperones for getting out the vote. In Milwaukee, teachers have hosted student-led professional development on social justice pedagogy. The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association recently created a full-time youth organizing position, which will support student organizing and conduct trainings for teachers. Now, many teachers are allies in the multi-city push for student rights.
Without a bill of rights, students are left with a disciplinary code. "What it basically is is a book that helps you get expelled from school and suspended," says Rafa Diaz, 14, a high school freshman in Milwaukee.
The bill was written by YES with input from groups from Milwaukee's predominantly black North Side, including Urban Underground, Youth Rising Up and Pathfinders. "We tried to narrow it down to three pages," De Jesús says. "It was kind of hard because there are so many issues in these schools."
In October 2011, 195 of 215 students at the bilingual ALAS High School walked out over district funding cuts and excessive school policing. In December, organizers held a youth summit at South Division High School to launch the bill of rights. By February, the bill was finalized.
The Racine and Milwaukee teachers unions immediately endorsed it. After 250 students packed a Milwaukee school board meeting in March - and 50 spoke - the district passed it in spirit, requesting revisions prior to full adoption. The Racine school board delayed putting the bill on the agenda until November 2012 - with a two-day window before voting. With the superintendent's urging, the board voted it down.
This September, Racine students will try to implement it as part of the district's triannual revision of the student code. Meanwhile, each of YES's 12 high school chapters will take on one of the 43 rights for passage.
The Student Bill of Rights is a vehicle for struggle that transcends any set of formal rights. Separately, students have been working on implementing Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, organizing with Voces against deportations and the state's now-sidelined voter ID law and undergoing leadership training at Voces's Freedom School.
For those without rights, building power doesn't always come with an . As a youth organization, organizers confront standard challenges recruiting new members, engaging members who have moved on to college, winning respect from teachers and working with teachers and administrators without having to curtail their language or demands. In Milwaukee and Racine counties, students and teachers face an extra hurdle in accessing resources stipulated under the bill of rights with the explosion of voucher and charter schools under the pretext of school "choice." Grassroots opposition is still materializing.
As student activists become more visible, they also carry targets on their backs. After Voces's nonpartisan canvassing helped Racine surpass the surrounding county in voter turnout for the first time this fall, conservative shock jock Mark Belling took to his radio show to accuse the group of being "political." Under pressure from conservatives, the United Way, the Racine Community Foundation and the Racine school district pulled funding from students' Martin Luther King Day celebration.
In the national memory, these struggles are a sidebar to the Wisconsin Spring. On Milwaukee's South Side, the uprising was the tip of a longer history of resistance.
"My mother would take me to May Day, and I would see the Latinos out in the streets and the messaging and marches around immigration," says Coronado, whose mother was undocumented for 13 years after coming from Mexico. "As a Latina, and as a woman, I see many injustices."
"We were aware that our classrooms were too large before Scott Walker," Meráz says. "We were aware that we didn't have a voice before Scott Walker."
One cheer for Scott Walker. By provoking the Wisconsin uprising, he's aroused the voice of resistance - and it has a future.
ALEC vs. Kids: ALEC’s Assault on Public Education. That’s the alarmingly accurate title of a new report that focuses on how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) education task force has used a state-by-state report card to fabricate failure in state public education systems in order to create sales opportunities for their corporate membership.
That concept is, of course, not new: the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was famously known as No Corporation Left Behind, when instead of delivering equal access to public education to millions of American children, it provided billions of dollars in profits to corporate clients through dubious processes of testing and assessment and supplemental educational services.
The wedding of big business and education benefited many, including Sandy Kress, chief architect of NCLB; Harold McGraw III, textbook publisher; Bill Bennett, former Reagan education secretary; and Neil Bush, the then-president’s youngest brother.
Apparently, ALEC likes that business model.
ALEC – All About Favoring Corporations
ALEC was formed in 1973 by a group of conservative activists who came together to advance a national right wing agenda in state legislatures across the country. They do this by coordinating and connecting corporate special interests, insurance companies, lobbyists, right wing think tanks, the super rich and conservative state legislators.
So it is no surprise that the hallmark of ALEC model legislation is to make conditions as favorable to corporations as possible. The group is behind just about every bad Republican initiative, including union-busting, Voter ID and Stand Your Ground gun laws that helped George Zimmerman go free after murdering an unarmed Trayvon Martin.
Recently the conservative lobbying group has found its way into the previously untapped market of public education by producing an education “report card.” And the 2013 result is not a pretty sight.
Report Full Of “Shoddy” Research
Professor Christopher Lubienski and doctoral candidate T. Jameson Brewer, both of the University of Illinois, reviewed the document:
The ALEC report card assigns its grades based on states’ policies regarding their support for charter schools, their implementation of school voucher plans, and the permissiveness they display toward homeschooling.
The authors contend that these grades are based on “high quality” research demonstrating that the policies for which they award high grades will improve education for all students, Lubienski and Jameson write. Instead, the report card draws on the work of advocacy groups and is grounded in ideological tenets, leading the authors to assign high grades to states with unproven and even disproven market-based policies, the reviewers add. They point out that the authors’ claims of a growing body of research lacks citations; their grading system contradicts testing data that they report; and their data on alternative teacher research is simply wrong.
In fact, the research ALEC highlights is quite shoddy and is unsuitable for supporting its recommendations, Lubienski and Jameson conclude. The report’s purpose appears to be more about shifting control of education to private interests than in improving education.
Virginia is one of the nine states profiled in the report. Here’s what happened there:
Putting Profits Before Children
Governor Bob McDonnell received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from virtual learning company K12 Inc., and promptly requested the introduction of ALEC model legislation to expand virtual education in 2010.
It passed in the Virginia legislature, and K12 Inc. swung into action in Carroll County, one of the state’s most impoverished counties, to maximize the public money it would receive. Even when the school board voted to close K12 Inc. down because it did worse than traditional schools on 20 out of 22 measures, Virginia legislators with ALEC connections enacted a law in 2012 requiring high school students to take an online course to graduate.
71 Bills Based On ALEC ‘Models’
ALEC’s ‘model’ bills are making their way into state legislatures, as in Virginia, and they are dangerous.
Currently, at least 71 bills introduced in 2013 that make it harder for average Americans to access the civil justice system resemble ‘models’ from ALEC, according to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy.
These are bills that would weaken the legal rights of people who are wrongfully harmed by a corporation. Not surprisingly, given the interests of ALEC, they are bills designed to provide protection for the industries who wrote them, by changing the rules to limit accountability when a corporation’s products or actions cause injury or death.
We need to kick ALEC out of education, and indeed, out of our lives.
REPUBLICANS / TEA PARTY ARE REAL PUBLIC LOSERS IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY…….. JUST LOOK AT THIS GUY WHO PUTS IT ALL INTO PERSPECTIVE……. DIDN’T EVEN GRADUATE FROM SCHOOL…..
This is what the Democrats are up against when it comes to voting in this country! This right wing MORONIC behavior is typical and when you can’t even speak in a fluent dialect why in hell do you make a complete ass of yourself on national television? This radical right wing insanity which lacks respect for others is what’s wrong with our country. Ask yourself why these cretins in our society have to act this way in public? Maybe this is why the radical right attacks public education so as to create more of this kind of MORON in our society! Lower education standards and you create the perfect head bobbing moron needed to vote in the conservative base.
After viewing this video I’ve come to the overall conclusion it is hopeless to even respond to the right wing trolls trolling these news-zap public forums today. I will continue to post my opinions and no more. God help our country if we have voters like that MORON speaking at Rep Roby’s town hall meeting in Alabama. The boy needs to be watched and most of all he needs professional help and soon!
REMEMBER TO REGISTER TO VOTE FOR 2014…… WE NEED TO STOP THE RADICAL RIGHT WING INSANITY IN THIS COUNTRY…..
Apparently the "ex-gay" rally earlier this week was a "great day for former homosexuals in America," despite the fact that nobody showed up
It looks like Tom McClusky has left the Family Research Council.
Is Rep. Trey Gowdy is auditioning to be the craziest Republican member of Congress?
According to Jeffrey Kuhner, the fact that President Obama acknowledged the historical fact that Ho Chi Minh was inspired by Thomas Jefferson insulted "the memory of the nearly 60,000 Americans who died in Vietnam" by somehow "granting legitimacy to Vietnam’s odious
It seems that if you are against abortion but also an atheist, anti-choice groups will refuse to work with you.
Finally, Scott Lively is mad at the Pope for using the phrase "a gay person," instead of "a person who struggles with homosexual temptation" because the former phrase is "a major concession to sexual-orientation theory when used by a church leader about Christians.
David Krieger, Truthout: Of the many social, political and economic issues that plague the US today, none can be addressed by nuclear weapons. Yet this continues to be a huge drain on our economy and our attention. David Krieger explains why something so "pointless" remains a huge problem globally. Read the Article
On the News With Thom Hartmann: A New Report on Student Debt Proves Overall Loss of Wealth for American Students
Thom Hartmann, Thom Hartmann Program: This week on the news with Thom Hartmann Republicans may finally push Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to fix the filibuster; A new report shows that each student who takes out $50,000 dollars to pay for college will face a lifetime loss of wealth of $200,000; Polling numbers released yesterday show that the majority of Kentucky voters disapprove of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's job performance; and More. Watch the Video and Read the Transcript
Phyllis Bennis, Foreign Policy in Focus: "Until negotiations are based not on U.S. support for Israeli power but on international law, the ‘peace process' will continue to fail," writes Phyllis Bennis about the upcoming peace talks between Palestine and Israel. Read the Article
Staff, Making Contact: Given the huge blow that unions have taken in this new economy, Progressive Radio's Matthew Rothschild interviews author Bill Fletcher Jr. about why working Americans and unions have lost touch with one another. Read the Article
Rand Wilson, Workerist: The United States is alone among industrialized countries in allowing workers to be considered "at will" employees who can be dismissed for any reason – justified or not. Labor should seize the opportunity to champion the passage of "just cause" standards into state laws. Read the Article
TOPPING THE CHARTS ON DAILY KOS:
· Sally Quinn's column is a setback for women everywhere, by Susan Gardner
· Ed Schultz skewered Scott Walker last night (awesome video), by Puddytat
· The new white poor are not Honey Boo Boo, they sleep in their cars and shop at Trader Joe's, by chaunceydevega
· Zimmerman stopped for speeding, had gun in car, by varii
· Tell the feds to enforce the law on C.E.O. pay, by Daily Kos Campaigns
· Republicans offer details on plan to starve American citizens, by Jed Lewison
· Montana experiment brings NHS-style health care to USA; saves state millions, patients delighted, by james321
· Most viral Facebook meme: So much for trickling down, eh? , by Daily Kos Facebook
That's basically the equivalent of 3,600 free commercials all tearing down Terry McAuliffe and propping up Ken Cuccinelli.
If you don't think it's right for these television stations to be airing this "documentary," let them know by signing our petition right now: