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General Interest

Items of interest to all.

The Elements Of A Successful Revolution

Shadi Hamid
Simon Schama

Shadi Hamid and Simon Schama comment on what makes a revolution more likely to succeed - or fail.
Source: The Elements Of A Successful Revolution

Anand Gopal

Scott Horton Interviews Anand Gopal 

Independent journalist Anand Gopal discusses why counterinsurgency strategy works better in theory than in practice. He explains how the "denying al-Qaeda sanctuary" justification for U.S. military deployments ignores the real reasons the 9/11 attacks succeeded.

Eric Margolis

Scott Horton Interviews Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis discusses Egypt’s fake revolution. He comments on the criminal charges against former Pakistani president Musharraf and reminds us of the still unsolved mystery of who really killed Benazir Bhutto.

Lester Brown

How Close are we to the Edge

As food prices rise, and civil unrest builds throughout the Middle East, Lester Brown wonders if these two could be connected.

Music includes Earth Anthem, Subterranean Homesick Blues, In A World Gone Mad..., brother can you spare a dime, Diamonds & Rust, climate change, We'll Meet Again

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The U.S.' Perpetual State of War

Andrew Bacevich

Harry Kreisler talks with Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, for a discussion of the causes and consequences of the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. Bacevich explores the origins of militarization and the factors that sustained their existence for more than six decades.
Source: Conversations With History: America's Path to Permanent War

Ray McGovern

Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern, former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses why the corrupted mainstream U.S. media needs to be supplanted by WikiLeaks. They comment on the State Department’s successful interference with Spanish and German courts seeking to indict U.S. officials.
Source: Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern, December 13, 2010

Music includes Earth Anthem, house on fire, Waist Deep in the Big Muddy, Robin Williams on Reagan, Freedom Trilogy, Who's Next, 900 Miles, We'll Meet Again

Pentagon Using Our Tax Dollars For Human Trafficking

(519 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

There is a shocking article this week in The New Yorker entitled “The Invisible Army” by Sarah Stillman.

Ms. Stillman begins by writing of two women in Fiji, Vinnie Tuiaga and Lydia Qeraniu, who are looking for work in 2007. They get recruited by a local firm called Meridian Services Agency which promises them both jobs in Dubai. You know Dubai. You have seen pictures of that opulent, exciting city I am sure.

But once they get to Dubai, according to Ms. Stillman, they are informed they are actually bound for jobs on U.S. military bases in Iraq. They unwittingly have been dragooned into what Stillman calls the Pentagon’s “invisible army.”

According to Ms. Stillman there are over 70,000 of such workers, called “third-country nationals” or TCN’s, in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They are workers primarily from South Asia and Africa who end up living in barbed-wire compounds on U.S. bases, employed by “fly-by-night” contractors and subcontractors.

Most of them are forced to endure harsh living and working conditions, sometimes robbed of rightful compensation, sexually abused, inadequately housed and fed. Stillman claims there have been food riots involving thousands in some of the Pentagon “subcontractor camps”.

Science Friday: The Six Coolest Videos You'll See Today

The 1st is a vid from National Geographic featuring UC Davis researchers. The 2nd is of a cool new electric vehicle. The 3rd is of alkali metals and their sometimes violent reaction to h2o. The 4th is of singing sand dunes. The 5th is of a real life example of the Bernoulli Effect. And the last is a time lapse at the Very Large Telescope Array in Chile’s Atacama Desert

Nat Geo special features UC Davis Keck CAVES

    A National Geographic Channel special feature, ‘X-Ray Earth,’ ... featuring work by UC Davis geophysicist Magali Billen and the Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences.

Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness

Gail Hornstein
Millicent Monks

Psychologist Gail Hornstein talks about her book, AGNES’ JACKET: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness in this interview. And Millicent Monks talks about her memoir, SONGS OF THREE ISLANDS: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family. It’s about how she coped with a mother and a daughter who are mentally ill. Monks is the great-grandniece of Andrew Carnegie.
Source: Gail Hornstein & Millicent Monks: Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness

Egyptian army

On Planet Money, they look at the Egyptian military's deep business ties to everything from dishwashers to resort hotels. And they consider how those ties influence how the military responds to the crisis.
Source: The Friday Podcast: Egypt's Military, Inc.

Music includes Earth Anthem, The Fool on the Hill, Who Are The Brain Police, My Home Town, I Shall Be Released Any Day Now, Living For The Love Of You, Proud Mary, We'll Meet Again, Taste of Honey, Johnny I Hardly Know You

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U.S. Corporate Media Hearts Henry Kissinger, Biggest & Oldest Living War Criminal

(523 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

I spent two hours last night protesting Henry Kissinger’s appearance at the 92nd St. Y in NYC. Kissinger is hawking his new 600-page book on American Chinese relations and in which he assuredly buffs, revises and rationalizes his lengthy and deadly role in global history. “Hawking” is the right verb for the aged but dangerous Mr. Kissinger.

There were about 60 of us. We caused a bit of a stir on a refreshingly mild and busy Tuesday evening as the pedestrian and vehicular traffic streamed along Lexington Avenue.

I held a sign that read “ARREST KISSINGER” and wore the small square orange pin “IMPEACH THE WAR CRIMINALS” that the back flap of my knapsack usually sports.

Some of our protesting chants decried Kissinger as a war criminal. Some chants decried the 92nd St. Y for enabling him with their celebrity speaker’s forum.

Gulp--Obamaworld NO SENSE OF HUMOR for Flash-Mob Dancing Young or Manning Sympathizers

(525 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

Jefferson Memorial -- police state response to dancing protesters.

On May 28, 2011 Television host Adam Kokesh and several other activists participating in a flash-mob were arrested at the publicly-funded Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Their crime? Silently dancing, in celebration of the first amendment's champion; a clear violation of their right to free-expression.


After reading about this and watching the video, I googled an article I'd read a while back written by Kevin Zeese in consortiumnews about a flower-laying demonstration at a publicly-accessible Iwo Jima statue replica at the entrance of Quantico by some Bradley Manning protestors. Here are some excerpts of the paramilitary over-reaction to the protestors:

On March 20, Americans, in a vet-led assembly, gathered to support PFC Bradley Manning who is accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks and who has been held in solitary confinement at the Quantico Marine Base for seven months.

'Media Unpeople'

(527 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

It is not we who are the "media unpeople."

Good News, Zelaya Returning to Honduras; Bad News, Coup Oligarchs Continue Human Rights Abuses

(528 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

Dana Frank reports that 70 members of the US Congress are calling for suspension of U.S. military and police aid to Honduras because of how, especially in the last two months, there has been a serious acceleration of government repression.

Frank also reports that ousted President Zelaya will be allowed to return to the country:

On May 22, Zelaya and the current president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, signed a pact permitting Zelaya to return free of the trumped-up charges the coup makers leveled against him when the Honduran military packed him onto a plane to Costa Rica on June 28, 2009. Lobo also promised to allow plebiscites and to recognize the National Front of Popular Resistance, the broad coalition uniting labor, women’s groups, peasant organizations, gay alliances and Afro-indigenous movements.

But both of these “concessions” are already legally on the books, and grant nothing concrete to the opposition.

Zelaya’s return itself does have enormous popular significance. For hundreds of thousands of Hondurans, including those who are quite critical of him, he is the grand symbol of resistance to the ongoing military coup. He represents constitutional order, the rule of law and a hope for a different Honduran future based on social justice.

Living Through the Next Fifty Years

Mark Hertsgaard

Mark Hertsgaard talks with Terrence McNally. Mark Hertsgaard is a fellow of The Open Society Institute and The Nation's environment correspondent. He has covered climate change for twenty years and is the author of six books, including, most recently, HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. Terrence McNally is a journalist and radio host.
Source: Q&A: Mark Hertsgaard, Author

Wendell Berry
Paul Epstein

From Living on Earth, the Costs of Coal

If the true costs of the full lifecycle of coal were taken into account, this form of energy would be extremely expensive.

Extraction, processing, transportation and combustion of coal create large tolls on the environment and human health. We hear from poet and farmer Wendell Berry who slept in the Kentucky governor’s office to protest mountaintop removal. Host Bruce Gellerman also talks with Dr. Paul Epstein from Harvard University’s Medical School about his new study measuring the true costs of coal.
Source: Costs of Coal

Juan Cole

The Corruption Game

Juan Cole, a professor of history and director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, talks about U.S. government backing of corrupt dictatorships around the world.
Source: The Corruption Game

Bill McKibben

Pressure Cooking

Bill McKibben discusses the U.S. government's apathetic attitude toward global warming and that this forces the public to lead the fight against global warming.
Source: Pressure Cooking

Music includes Earth Anthem, La Rosita, Janis Joplin Me And Bobby Mcgee, Love Peace, Requiem For A Dream, Sweet Sir Galahad, Don't Let Me Down, We'll Meet Again

Play Program or Download(below the fold)


(Repost from 3-22-10)

This week I’ve begun a new screenplay -- a political thriller. A renowned Congressional progressive is taken for a ride on Air Force One by a relatively new, engaging, corporate-enabling African American president. By the time the plane reaches its destination the progressive has been morally lobotomized.

As for Oprah, up until Obama became President, I couldn’t say enough good things about her. “She’s America’s teacher!” I’d assert whenever she was mentioned. A role model of compassion and humanism. My favorite segments of her show were done with Eckhart Tolle -- conversations about the destructiveness of ego and living a soul-awakened life. If anyone could talk the talk about walking the walk, it was Oprah!

I did recognize that Oprah could also, on occasion, fall victim to “celebrity cronyism”. She would easily promote a fellow celeb’s bad movie to her massive audience. Loyalty to friends is considered an endearing trait, even, or maybe especially, when exposed on national TV. But in this case, it would have consequences. I pitied those naive enough to follow up with time and money on a dog of a movie thanks to her ... well .... let’s call it “codependency-tainted” hype.

URGENT! Call Congress Today to Vote Against the Afghan War, Blank Check for GWOT, Indefinite GITMO! (1-888-231-9276)

Congress is voting today on the war in Afghanistan.

Call Congress today and urge your Representative to vote to cut off funding for the Afghanistan War. Support the Lee amendment as the strongest against the war.

You can call toll-free, 1-888-231-9276, thanks to the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Demand an amendment be adopted striking Section 1034, "Affirmation of Armed
Conflict with Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Associated Forces," completely from the bill.

Demand a serious debate about the Afghanistan War and tell your representative
to vote to immediately end funding for the war and occupation.

Excerpts from Brian Beutler’s “Congress Poised to Give President Power to Continue GWOT Indefinitely.”

Can Dennis Kucinich Transcend the Dem Party and Primary Obama? We Need Him and He Needs Us!

(531 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

Kucinich is one of the VERY few in the belly of the beast -- that horror chamber of mostly profoundly pimped out and betraying representatives -- who is still asserting truth to power.

Can Americans of conscience stand behind him seriously enough to create a ground swell for the 2012 Presidency? Can Kucinich transcend a political party that has so profoundly sold out the welfare of millions of struggling citizens?

Kucinich is saying what seems like the obvious to anyone with a heart and conscience -- okay, a pulse -- but the sociopathic kleptocrats and war criminals are behind the controls of our government enabled by a pimped out, propagandizing media. Kucinich is so “uncool” for the media I relish the opportunity to stand behind him in defiance of them alone. I think it is high time substance shot down style in America!

Blood- and Oil- Thirsting US, Libya, & Wikileaks -- Follow the Oil

(534 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

Kevin Hall of McClatchy Newspapers reports that on April 20 the big Italian oil company Eni put off its deal with Gazprom, the big Russian oil company.

SCORE big and bloody for the US (and France). This has been a goal of the US for three years according to Wilikleaks documents claims Hall.

Hall discovered a confidential cable revealing that when Silvio Berlusconi was about to become the new Italian prime minister, he was being pushed to discourage Eni from helping Russian Gazprom’s interests in Libya. Eni is 30% owned by the Italian government. Eni’s helping Gazprom to dominate Europe’s energy supply has been a thorn in the side of American corporatists and thus the US corporate-agenda-ed government.

The oil in the Caspian region is the prize. Gazprom was going to partner with Libya and with Eni, the largest “player” there. Libya had been a former Italian colony, after all.

Science Friday: Earth, Sky, and Space

1st, a study shows how the atmosphere above Japan heated rapidly before the M9 earthquake. Then, the galaxy may swarm with billions of wandering planets. Then, researchers find that quiet places on Earth’s Crust are core-meltingly hot underneath. Then make sure to scroll all the way down for an award winning picture of the Aurora Borealis over a glacial lake in Iceland. The song is "Beneath a Phrygian Sky" by Loreena McKennitt

Atmosphere Above Japan Heated Rapidly Before M9 Earthquake