15 May

Truth Out Today, May 15, 2011

Sunday 15 May 2011

The Renewable Future
Achim Steiner, Helen Clark and Kendeh K. Yumkella, Project Syndicate: “Renewable energy triggers sharply polarized views. For some, it is a costly white elephant; for others, it is humanity’s savior, promising to emancipate us (and our environment) from the ‘folly’ of fossil fuels. So a hardheaded, credible, and, above all, impartial analysis, which would provide a much-needed dose of pragmatism and realism to the debate, is long overdue. The new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), involving more than 120 scientists, economists, and technology specialists, provides that long-overdue assessment.”
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IMF Chief, Apprehended at Airport, Is Accused of Sexual Attack
Al Baker and Steven Erlanger, The New York Times News Service: “The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was taken off an Air France plane at Kennedy International Airport minutes before it was to depart for Paris on Saturday, in connection with the sexual attack of a maid at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, the authorities said. Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62 … was widely expected to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency.”
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The Return of the Real McCain
Joe Conason, Truthout: “For the longest time, a certain admirable, independent senator from Arizona disappeared from public life, replaced by an irresponsible, opportunistic and occasionally demagogic figure, who seemed to have been warped by his presidential ambitions and his disappointment in losing. But John McCain has now returned, just in time to refute the sinister attempt by his fellow Republicans to justify torture as the instrument of Osama bin Laden’s demise.”
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At Bahrain Hearing State Department Skipped, Human Rights Groups Urge “Forceful” Action
Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress: “Friday, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission – an entity within Congress chaired by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) charged with investigating human rights abuses – held a hearing titled ‘Human Rights in Bahrain,’ designed to probe abuses against pro-democracy activists in the Arab monarchy. Noticeably absent among the witnesses testifying were any representatives from the U.S. government, which has been closely allied with Bahrain throughout the uprising and resulting humanitarian crisis.”
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Treasure Islands: An Offshore Awakening
Nicholas Shaxson, Palgrave Macmillan: “He allowed his country, through its oil industry, to become the African linchpin of the gigantic, secret Elf system – a vast, spooky web of global corruption secretly connecting the oil industries of former French African colonies with mainstream politics in metropolitan France, via Switzerland, Luxembourg, and other tax havens. Parts of Gabon’s oil industry, Joly discovered as she dug deeper and deeper in Paris, had been serving as a giant slush fund: a pot of secret money outside the reach of French judicial authorities in which hundreds of millions of dollars were made available for the use of French elites.”
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Field Notes on Wall Street Reform: the Battle Continues
Robert Pollin, New Labor Forum: “President Barack Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010. Dodd-Frank is the most ambitious measure aimed at regulating U.S. financial markets since the Glass-Steagall Act was implemented in the midst of the 1930s Depression. However, it remains an open question as to whether Dodd-Frank is capable of controlling the hyper-speculative practices that produced the near-total global financial collapse of 2008-2009, which in turn brought the global economy to its knees with the Great Recession.”
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Armed Conflicts Claim Unprecedented Number of Civilians
Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service: “Afghanistan, once described as the graveyard of empires, is ranked number one as the country with the most ‘significant rise’ in civilian deaths last year, turning it into a veritable killing field, according to a new report by the London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG). The annual report, titled ‘Peoples Under Threat’, says civilian killings in Afghanistan have increased every year in the last five years… According to the study released Thursday, this year’s figure is expected to exceed the 3,000 civilians killed in 2010.”
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Synecdoche Wisconsin
Bo Winegard, Truthout: “Although the political battle in Wisconsin has received more media coverage, similar battles are occurring in many states, including Ohio, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, New Hampshire, Kansas, and others. In other words, although Wisconsin is a particularly compelling example of a state government pushing extreme neoliberal austerity policies, it is not alone. If we want to understand the economic/political situation in Wisconsin – and, therefore, the economic/political direction the United States is taking – we need to understand the underlying circumstances that manifested it.”
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Hamas-Fatah to Form Unity Government, Israel Angered, US Shocked
Richard Silverstein, Truthout: “The last few weeks have brought some of the biggest news in some time, and shocked many long-term observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas, Fatah and the new Egyptian government have pulled off a coup and negotiated in total secrecy an agreement that would reconcile the two previously warring factions in a unity government. The plan is startling for a number of reasons.”
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The Sense and Morality of Agnosticism
Vincent Bugliosi, “Divinity of Doubt: The God Question”: “I can say with relative confidence (because what I’m saying, at least it would seem,has to be true) that there is only one necessary religion that has any merit to the people who inhabit this earth, and that’s the Golden Rule: ‘Whosoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them’ (from the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:12). To treat others as you would want them to treat you (the only obvious exception being when acting in any kind of self defense) is the highest, most noble form of human behavior and the basis of all morality. No matter what some papal encyclical says.”
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As Israel-Palestinian Violence Erupts on Three Borders, Israeli Troops Fire on Protesters
Read the Article at AP

In Prison Reform, Money Trumps Civil Rights
Read the Article at The New York Times

Who Will Replace Strauss-Kahn, the Progressive Challenger to Sarkozy?
Read the Article at Guardian UK

Insurance Gone, Paralyzed Athlete Fights for His Life
Read the Article at MSNBC

Huckabee Says He Won’t Run for President: “All the Factors Say Go, But My Heart Says No”
Read the Article at NPR

North Korea and Iran Sharing Ballistic Missile Technology
Read the Article at BBC

India, Pakistan Exchange Border Fire After Soldier Killed
Read the Article at Reuters

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