28 Mar

Truth Out Today, March 28, 2011

Richard D. Wolff | Social Security (Video)
For Truthout, economist Richard D. Wolff discusses Social Security and the irony of those who, during our current depression, are challenging a program meant to support all Americans.

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. He has a PhD in Economics from Yale University as well as degrees from Harvard University (history BA) and Stanford University (economics MA). Wolff has authored or co-authored 10 books and over 50 scholarly articles and 75 popular articles. His recent work has concentrated on analyzing the causes and alternative solutions to the current global economic crisis.

His documentary film on that crisis, Capitalism Hits the Fan, can be previewed at He also published a book of essays on the current crisis in 2010 entitled Capitalism Hits the Fan: the Global Economic meltdown and What to Do About it. Detailed information on and copies of his many writings, audios and videos of his media interviews, lectures, and classes, and his speaking schedule are all available at his website:


Garment Worker Open University: Can Education Better Factory Conditions?
Anne Elizabeth Moore, Truthout: “Bright and extremely early one Sunday morning in January, slightly more than 400 young women and a handful of young men trundled out of bed to attend class on the east side of Phnom Penh, Cambodia…. Students sat in classes, repeated lessons back to instructors, took breaks to laugh and play in the courtyard and dreamed about their futures. It looked and felt like any college campus in the world – at least, any low-income college campus. Except that these women were learning about labor law. Because – oh yeah, did I forget to mention this? – they’re garment factory workers.”
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Intervention in Libya: Is It Really the Only Option?
Stephen Zunes, Truthout: “The decision by the United States and its Western allies to intervene militarily against the Libyan regime of Muammar Qaddafi may have averted a massacre, but it is fraught with serious risks of eventually costing even more lives. Furthermore, it could undermine the remarkable and overwhelmingly nonviolent pro-democracy movements which have been sweeping the Arab world in recent months. As will be described below, had Libya’s popular uprising maintained its largely nonviolent discipline of its early days, there probably would not be the bloody stalemate and other dangers now emerging in the conflict.”
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The Lessons of Fukushima
Hugh Gusterson, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: “As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. Can humans change their behavior, thereby improving their chances of survival, not just through natural selection, but also through cultural learning? Or are we hardwired to repeat our mistakes over and over, like humanoid lemmings? More to the point, what lessons will we learn from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, an accident thought to be impossible just two weeks ago?”
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News in Brief: “Kill Team Photos” Published, and More …
Rolling Stone released a series of photos of the infamous 5th Stryker Brigade soldiers, who killed at least four unarmed civilians during a shooting spree in Afghanistan; the United States joins China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen as the world’s most frequent executioners; Blogger Ran Yufei, 46, was formally arrested Monday by Chinese police for challenging the ruling Communist Party; Las Vegas becomes the foreclosure capital of America as property markets worsen; Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has promised to continue supporting Planned Parenthood in Congress.
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The Deficit Hawks Target Nurses and Firefighters
Dean Baker, Truthout: “Many people might think that the country’s problems stem from the fact that too much money has been going to the very rich. Over the last three decades, the richest 1 percent of the population has increased its share of national income by almost 10 percentage points. This comes to $1.5 trillion a year, or as the deficit hawks are fond of saying, $90 trillion over the next 75 years. To put this in context, the size of this upward redistribution to the richest 1 percent over the last three decades is roughly large enough to double the income of all the households in the bottom half of the income distribution. The upward redistribution amounts to an average of more than 1.2 million dollars a year for each of the families in the richest 1 percent of the population.”
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Mainstream Coverage of WikiLeaks Has Fallen Far Short
Andrew Kennis, Truthout: “Through interviews with Truthout, experts and members of the public interest community characterized news media coverage of WikiLeaks as being poor, inadequate and more akin to soap opera-ish tabloid coverage rather than serious journalism assessing revelations of US foreign policy abuses. When news coverage was more serious, a friendly frame of reference to successive US administrations was often used, with concerns about the standing of US diplomacy – not its revealed disregard for democratic values – taking front and center.”
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Democracy Movement Spreads to Syria
Emad Mekay, Inter Press Service: “The revolution contagion sweeping across the Arab countries has spread to Syria, leading to rare protests challenging the grip of the ruling Baath Party on the country. The regime was quick to describe the turmoil as a foreign-inspired plot aimed at punishing the country for its support of groups opposed to US and Israeli policies in the region. Dozens have died and many more were injured after security forces used live ammunition against protests that started in the town of the southern town Deraa. The protests spread to several cities including Sanamain, Hama, the port city of Latakia and the capital city Damascus.”
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And I Dream: A Young Iraqi Doctor Thinks His People’s Time Is Coming Soon
Gilgamesh, Truthout: “Don’t get me wrong – Iraqi people and Arabs are patient people, and we, the silent majority, are not quick to rage. We have patiently waited for our leaders to improve our country and be true to their promises, but all we got was disappointment, and worse, the feeling of being duped over and over again…. For now, I can feel the rage boiling in the streets – a volcano that is about to erupt. I cannot be certain if the next step is a revolution or a riot, but I am certain that this regime has been unmasked, and that the chains of fear and oppression have been broken. Tyranny and injustice can’t live any longer in this place.”
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Unpacking for a Disaster: What You Need to Survive the Unexpected
Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch: “The first American responses to the triple calamity in Japan were deeply empathetic and then, as news of the Fukushima nuclear complex’s leaking radiation spread, a lot of people began to freak out about their own safety, and pretty soon you couldn’t find potassium iodide pills anywhere in San Francisco. You couldn’t even – so a friend tells me – find them in Brooklyn. The catastrophes were in Japan and remain that country’s tragedy, so we need to keep our own anxieties in check. Or harness them to make constructive changes in preparation for our own future disasters (without losing our compassion for those killed, orphaned, widowed, displaced – and contaminated – in northeastern Japan). But last week saw a deluge of bad information and free-floating fear in this country.”
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Al Jazeera’s Revenge on Arab Regimes and Washington
Mohamed El Oifi, Rue89 (translation by Leslie Thatcher): “Bolstered by its audience and its centrality, Al Jazeera has become a major actor in the Middle East, feared by some, hated or envied by others. Nonetheless, by skillfully erecting – in a region dominated by authoritarianism and corruption – transparency and freedom of expression as supreme values and the democratic cause as a legitimate struggle, it has succeeded in disarming its detractors, marginalizing its competitors and even defeating its enemies.”
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From Poll Taxes to Voter ID Laws: A Short History of Conservative Voter Suppression
Kevin Donohoe, ThinkProgress: “Thursday, ThinkProgress reported that the Ohio House had approved the most restrictive voter ID law in the nation – a bill that would exclude 890,000 Ohioans from voting. Earlier this week Texas lawmakers passed a similar bill, and voter ID legislation – which would make it significantly more difficult for seniors, students and minorities to vote – is now under consideration in more than 22 states across the country. Conservatives have said voter ID laws are necessary to combat mass voter fraud. Yet according to the Brennan Center for Justice, Americans are more likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than commit voter fraud. And the Bush administration’s five-year national ‘war on voter fraud’ resulted in only 86 convictions of illegal voting out of more than 196 million votes cast. Instead conservatives are employing an old tactic: using the specter of false voting to restrict the voting rights of minorities and the poor.”
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More Radioactive Water Leaks From Japan Site
Read the Article at MSNBC

Harvey Wasserman: Safe Radiation Is a Lethal Lie
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Why Are There So Few Robots to Deal With Nuclear Crisis in Japan?
Read the Article at The Washington Post

Division of National Institute of Health Officially Includes Marijuana as Medical Option
Read the Article at The Washington Independent

Bernie Sanders on the Ten Worst Corporate Tax Avoiders: It’s Time for Them to Pay Up and Share the Sacrifice
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Governors Face Budget Blowback
Read the Article at Politico

Paul Krugman: American Thought Police
Read the Article at The New York Times

Click here for more BuzzFlash headlines

Many of the older nuclear reactors in the United States have the same flawed General Electric design as the Fukushima, Japan, plant that is facing ongoing radiation leakage.

In fact, just in the last few hours, we have learned that one of the core reactors at Fukushima was apparently breached and that radioactive particles are contaminating sea water outside the containment area:

Speculation surrounding the extent to which the radiation may be leaking into the Pacific Ocean was also mounting after tests last weekend found nearby seawater contaminated 1,850 above legal limits.

More recent tests showed that this figure has dropped, although Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Agency said that he suspects radioactive water from the plant is leaking into the ocean.

Yet, there is little active, visible protest in the US to the threat of nuclear power plants designed and run by private corporations for profit.

Contrast that to the 200,000 protesters against nuclear energy who took to the streets this weekend in Germany.

Despite radioactivity reported in the rain as far away as the East Coast of the US , the nuclear issue hasn’t reached a critical point of debate here.

But it should, because the nuclear power lobbying industry is hard at work in Washington to make sure federal loan guarantees and subsidies come their way, along with immunity for damage done by a nuclear catastrophe.

It will be too late to protest after a nuclear plant disaster in the US.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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