Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Truthout... News Briefs 01/03/11

From Truthout.org…
News Briefs
Monday 03 January 2011 

Noam Chomsky | Breaking the Israel-Palestine Deadlock
Noam Chomsky: "While intensively engaged in illegal settlement expansion, the government of Israel is also seeking to deal with two problems: a global campaign of what it perceives as 'delegitimation' - that is, objections to its crimes and withdrawal of participation in them - and a parallel campaign of legitimation of Palestine." 
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Thom Hartmann | They Will Steal It!
Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Koehler Publishers: "Here's the irony: We came to believe in the concepts of freedom, egalitarianism, justice, tolerance, and democracy without being forced to do so, and yet we repeatedly try to force that on others. Our military budget today is larger than that of every other country in the world - combined. Since World War II, we've been stuck in a rut that two of our presidents - Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy - explicitly warned us about, of relying on our military to help make the world safe for its democracies. The saner and smarter alternative, the higher road we need to be taking, is best demonstrated by the work of a man named Greg Mortenson."
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Can Blue Dog Democrats Survive the 112th Congress?
Barbara Barrett, McClatchy Newspapers: "As the 112th Congress dawns this week, North Carolina's trio of conservative Democrats find themselves not only a minority within the U.S. House of Representatives, but within their own party as well. US Reps. Heath Shuler, Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre represent a breed of Democrat that got hurt badly in the November election. Conservative Southerners fell in droves, with the Blue Dog Caucus losing half its members." 
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Dean Baker | Hugh Jidette and Hugh Janus Go to Washington
Dean Baker, Truthout: "By this point, many people have come across the name Hugh Jidette, the moniker of the fictional presidential candidate created by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to advance its agenda of cutting Social Security and Medicare. In the more realistic version of this story we would have Hugh Janus, the Wall Street lobbyist who is constantly plotting ways to take away the benefits that tens of millions of retired workers depend upon."
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How Afghanistan Became a War for NATO
Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service: "The official line of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the NATO command in Afghanistan, is that the war against Afghan insurgents is vital to the security of all the countries providing troops there. In fact, however, NATO was given a central role in Afghanistan because of the influence of U.S. officials concerned with the alliance, according to a US military officer who was in a position to observe the decision-making process."
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News in Brief: GOP Congress to Target Spending, and More ...
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Republican majority set to take over the House this week is planning to slash government spending by tens of billions of dollars in the next few months, starting with a motion to repeal Obama's health care law; Florida's Governor-elect, Rick Scott, has recommended creating a panel to study whether government-owned hospitals are necessary; Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) this week is set to become the longest serving female senator in US history; Andrew Cuomo plans one-year freeze for state workers. 
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Jonathan Alter | Obama's State of the Union Challenge
Jonathan Alter: "Barack Obama is coming off the most historic legislative achievements since Lyndon Johnson, but politics is the ultimate what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business. The president needs to begin charting a new course now for the nation. Notice how I didn't say 'for the world.' Global leadership is essential, but our preeminent challenge today is national." 
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Stephen Pitt | Six by Twelve
For over six months Bradley Manning has spent twenty three hours a day in solitary confinement in a six by 12 foot cell, under unrelenting lights, with neither pillow nor sheet, waiting to be tried. Is the US government attempting to compel Manning to make possible false confessions that would implicate Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? 
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Wendell Potter: The Health Care Spin Continues
Rose Aguilar, Your Call: "Wendell Potter says he wrote Deadly Spin to show how a huge share of healthcare premiums bankroll relentless propaganda and lobbying efforts focused on protecting profits. The book is as much about public relations and spin as it is about healthcare. 'Without basic knowledge of PR tactics and the ability to distinguish between fact and distortion, Americans - and that includes journalists, both professional and citizen - are at the mercy of spin doctors and the public relations practitioners whose loyalty to their clients outweighs the public's right to the truth,' he writes.... Potter says even though the health insurance bill has passed, the spin continues." 
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Massachusetts Is Latest State to Target Greenhouse Gases
Terry Winckler, Earth Island Journal: "So, now Massachusetts has joined the list of states that aren't waiting for Congress to turn this country away from greenhouse-gaseous sources of energy. That state has set aggressive limits on emissions and plans to reach those targets by relying on clean energy programs already in place, including components of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) of which Massachusetts is a part." 
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Chris Hedges | Ralph Nader: "The Left Has Nowhere to Go"
Chris Hedges, Truthdig: "Ralph Nader in a CNN poll a few days before the 2008 presidential election had an estimated 3 percent of the electorate, or about 4 million people, behind his candidacy. But once the votes were counted, his support dwindled to a little over 700,000. Nader believes that many of his supporters entered the polling booth and could not bring themselves to challenge the Democrats and Barack Obama. I suspect Nader is right. And this retreat is another example of the lack of nerve we must overcome if we are going to battle back against the corporate state. A vote for Nader or Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney in 2008 was an act of defiance. A vote for Obama and the Democrats was an act of submission. We cannot afford to be submissive anymore." 
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