03 Feb

Truth Out Today

Thursday 3 February 2011

Noam Chomsky | “The Arab World Is on Fire”
Noam Chomsky: “‘The Arab world is on fire,’ al-Jazeera reported on Jan. 27, while throughout the region, Western allies ‘are quickly losing their influence.’ The shock wave was set in motion by the dramatic uprising in Tunisia that drove out a Western-backed dictator, with reverberations especially in Egypt, where demonstrators overwhelmed a dictator’s brutal police. Observers compared the events to the toppling of Russian domains in 1989, but there are important differences.”
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Egyptian Protests Grounded in Decades of Struggle; Portend Regional Transformation
Max Ajl, Truthout: “Egypt is throbbing with resistance. Cairo is cloven between the forces of revolution and those of counterrevolution. Hundreds of thousands of people – on Tuesday, February 1, well over a million – have been streaming each day into Tahrir Square, the largest plaza in the Arab world, located in the heart of downtown Cairo. Army tanks line the streets, helicopters and F16s buzz overhead, and pro-Mubarak demonstrators, many of them hired thugs, bloodied thousands of protesters yesterday in Tahrir and elsewhere. Yet the people keep pushing for Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak’s unconditional ouster, and not just in Cairo. Alexandria has been convulsed, while Suez, a small city abutting the Suez Canal, has been riven with some of the fiercest street battles between the police and protesters, while workers there have gone on strike, demanding that Mubarak step down from his palace in Heliopolis.”
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JPMorgan Hid Doubts on Madoff, Documents Suggest
Diana B. Henriques, The New York Times News Service: “Senior executives at JPMorgan Chase expressed serious doubts about the legitimacy of Bernard L. Madoff’s investment business more than 18 months before his Ponzi scheme collapsed but continued to do business with him, according to internal bank documents made public in a lawsuit unsealed on Thursday. On June 15, 2007, an obviously high-level risk management officer for Chase’s investment bank sent a lunchtime e-mail to colleagues to report that another bank executive ‘just told me that there is a well-known cloud over the head of Madoff and that his returns are speculated to be part of a ponzi scheme.'”
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Patrick Leahy Introduces Bipartisan PATRIOT Act Reforms, but Civil Rights Groups Unsatisfied
Nadia Prupis, Truthout: “Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced a reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act last week that would extend and reform some provisions set to expire on February 28. Leahy’s reforms, known as the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011, would limit the government’s power in gathering intelligence on individuals in the United States. But many civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Library Association (ALA) and the Campaign for Reader Privacy say the reforms do not go far enough to reduce the PATRIOT Act’s impact, which the ACLU calls unconstitutional.”
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Protesters Clash Again on Cairo’s Streets
David D. Kirkpatrick and Alan Cowell, The New York Times News Service: “With the eyes of the Arab world upon them, protesters seeking the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak regrouped at Tahrir Square on Thursday after a night of gunfire and a day of mayhem that left at least five dead and more than 800 wounded in a battle for the Middle East’s most populous nation. The outcome is pivotal in a region where uprising and unrest have spread from Tunisia to many other lands, including Jordan and Yemen, forcing their leaders into precipitate concessions to their suddenly vocal foes and stretching American diplomacy.”
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News in Brief: Protests in Yemen Remain Passionate, and More …
Tens of thousands of protesters and pro-government counter-protesters took the streets in Yemen on Thursday; journalists covering the political protests and uprisings in Egypt have been attacked and detained by police and other pro-government actors; US Census: minorities could gain more power in Washington; Republicans challenging Obama’s climate policies.
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Jim Hightower | The Kochs Are Coming
Jim Hightower, Truthout: “The multibillionaire Koch brothers are used to running their nefarious network of political front groups from behind closed doors, keeping their identities and self-serving involvement secret from the media and us hoi polloi. For more than three decades, Charles and David Koch have been quietly funneling tens of millions of dollars from their industrial fortune into the Cato Institute, Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and dozens of other right-wing organizations set up to push their extremist laissez-faire agenda of plutocratic rule. From behind their plush curtain, they’ve operated as the right wing’s Wizard of Oz – only Ozzier.”
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Pogrom in Cairo – Where Was Obama?
Robert Naiman, Truthout: “Contrary to what we were led to believe – that the US-backed and US-financed Egyptian military would protect the right to peaceful protest – on Wednesday, February 2, in Cairo, the Egyptian military permitted ‘Mubarak supporters’ – who, according to press reports, were clearly organized by the government, and many of whom were police or other government employees – to physically attack peaceful antigovernment protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Crucially, the US-backed and US-financed Egyptian military did not block the violence.”
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The Egyptian Tinderbox: How Banks and Investors Are Starving the Third World
Ellen Brown, Truthout: “Underlying the sudden, volatile uprising in Egypt and Tunisia is a growing global crisis sparked by soaring food prices and unemployment. The Associated Press reports that roughly 40 percent of Egyptians struggle along at the World Bank-set poverty level of under $2 per day. Analysts estimate that food price inflation in Egypt is currently at an unsustainable 17 percent yearly. In poorer countries, as much as 60 to 80 percent of people’s incomes go for food, compared to just 10 to 20 percent in industrial countries. An increase of a dollar or so in the cost of a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread for Americans can mean starvation for people in Egypt and other poor countries.”
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Paul Krugman | US Conservatives Raise a Stink Over Meddlesome Government
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: “Conservatives are convinced that the Environmental Protection Agency is messing with Texas. The state has been battling the federal agency for years over pollution regulations, and now it is suing, insisting that the agency is abusing its power. Also, officials say that forcing the state to adopt stricter emissions rules will cost jobs and lead to hardship. In fact, late last year, the E.P.A. announced it would issue greenhouse-gas permits in Texas because the state refuses to do so.”
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Israel Sides With Its Loyal Ally in Cairo
Lawrence Davidson, Truthout: “On Tuesday, February 1, I watched Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu give a talk about the ongoing events in Egypt. In essence, he said that if the demonstrations against the 30-year-old dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak succeeded, the world would get an Iranian-style regime in Egypt and that would be the end of democracy… Yesterday, Wednesday, February 2, we saw what our great Egyptian ally was capable of. The Egyptian army had promised that they would not shoot at the protestors – but, alas, there was a loophole. They never said they would not facilitate the arrival of thousands of thugs who would, well, not exactly shoot the demonstrators… By tomorrow, if Mubarak emerges victorious from the fray, there should be joy in Jerusalem.”
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US Must Shift Paradigm Away From Its Current View of Arab World
Laith Saud, Truthout: “It cannot be lost on any informed observer of the Arab world that the tremendous political momentum of the past week, although spontaneous, is focused, reasoned and democratic. Protests are not popping up sporadically anywhere in the Arab world. No, rather, they are manifesting themselves in countries whose regimes are staunchly pro-Western. This reality explains the ambivalence of the Obama administration. Considering the significance of these world-changing events, it is important to explain why this is the case, so as to ameliorate fears based on myths or the unknown. Although these movements are directed against pro-Western regimes, they are not about the West. They are about the accountability of Arab governments; they are about jobs and, ultimately, the democratic will of the Arab peoples.”
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Donald Rumsfeld, “Defender of the Constitution” (Really)
Barry Eisler, American Constitution Society Blog: “Here’s what I thought when I heard the Conservative Political Action Conference has decided to honor former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with something CPAC calls the ‘Defender of the Constitution Award.’ As I imagine CPAC is aware, Rumsfeld is the man who signed the very first memo authorizing the torture techniques that later became infamous with the revelations of photos from Abu Ghraib prison.”
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If you wonder what can explain the pathological hysteria of the Tea Party and right-wing whites, one need look no further than the headline from an Associated Press article today, February 3.

“Census estimates show big gains for US minorities,” the headline blares.

The white population is declining and minorities are surging, meaning that the notion of a white Christian nation has a short timeline – and the manic, alternative-universe behavior of the right wing has to do with a race against time with racial change.

How big is the minority growth?

Here are some walloping statistics from The AP article:

U.S. racial minorities accounted for roughly 85 percent of the nation’s population growth over the last decade – one of the largest shares ever – with Hispanics accounting for much of the gain in many of the states picking up new House seats.

Preliminary census estimates also suggest the number of multiracial Americans jumped roughly 20 percent since 2000, to over 5 million….

Some 40 states show population losses of white children since 2000 due to declining birth rates. Minorities represented all of the increases in the under-18 population in Texas and Florida, and most of the gains in the child population in Nevada and Arizona.

So, those who have a psyche closely aligned with America identified as a white nation, are feeling emotionally imperiled, and follow any Pied Piper who reinforces their world view that a return to the “real” America is the creation of a white, Christian government.

“The new engines of growth in America’s population are Hispanics, Asians and other minorities,” a demographer quoted in The AP article said. “But it’s just the tip of the iceberg. For the under-18 population – potential voters in the not-too-distant future – minorities accounted for virtually all the growth in most U.S. states.”

If you are pulling your hair out trying to understand the inexplicable bile and conspiratorial fantasies of many in white America, look no further than this AP article.

This is their nightmare come true.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

Mubarak Shows His Dark Side
Read the Article at The Guardian UK

Egypt: The Revolutionaries
Read the Article at TIME

In Iran, Internet Surfers Battle Cyber Police
Read the Article at AFP

Remembering Howard Zinn on the Anniversary of His Death and Germinating the Seeds of Truth
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Pawlenty’s Pabulum Portends Political Problem
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Rumsfeld Remains Largely Unapologetic About His Overall Handling of the Iraq War
Read the Article at The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders: Pentagon Spent Billions on Contractors That Committed Fraud
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

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