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Articles

Articles
Are Citizens Finally Waking Up to Fight Gerrymandering?
Max Skidelsky: The practice of gerrymandering has subverted US democracy for more than 200 years. Now it finally seems as though voters are fed up with being disenfranchised in this way and are pushing for changes through grassroots movement. ... Currently it is the GOP that is primarily guilty of this undemocratic practice — for the obvious reason that they control a solid majority of state legislatures. ... But Democrats are doing the same thing where they can ... Grassroots movements are installing independent districting commissions ... Gerrymandering not only has a 200-year history in the United States, its very purpose is to maintain power... Visit Website ]
Feb 6, 2018, 2:10pm

Articles
Pennsylvania Keeps All Death-Row Inmates in Solitary Confinement. The ACLU Calls That Unconstitutional.
Maryam Saleh: The 156 death row inmates in Pennsylvania state prisons go to sleep every night the same way they wake up: in an 8-by-12 foot cell illuminated by artificial light around the clock. On weekdays, they are allowed out of their cells for a maximum of two hours to exercise in a small, enclosed space. They leave their cells thrice a week to take showers and are occasionally allowed to go to the law library. ... The disastrous psychological and physiological effects of prolonged isolation are well-documented. It can lead to hypersensitivity to stimuli, delusions, hallucinations, and panic attacks. Prisoners’ lack of interaction with other people can lead to paranoia, anxiety, nervousness, and depression... Visit Website ]
Jan 26, 2018, 10:54am

Articles
Finding Your Voice - Forget About Siri and Alexa — When It Comes to Voice Identification, the “NSA Reigns Supreme”
Ava Kofman: ... Classified documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA has developed technology not just to record and transcribe private conversations but to automatically identify the speakers... The technology works by analyzing the physical and behavioral features that make each person’s voice distinctive, such as the pitch, shape of the mouth, and length of the larynx. An algorithm then creates a dynamic computer model of the individual’s vocal characteristics. This is what’s popularly referred to as a “voiceprint.”... Although the NSA is known to rely on finger and face prints to identify targets, voiceprints, according to a 2008 agency document, are “where NSA reigns supreme.”... Visit Website ]
Jan 19, 2018, 4:24pm

Articles
Force of Evil: Abraham Polonsky and Anti-Capitalist Noir
Chris Welzenbach: Policy lies at the heart of Abraham Polonsky’s Force of Evil, arguably the most anti-capitalist film ever to emerge from Hollywood. Released 70 years ago to puzzled critics and an indifferent public, over time it would achieve cult status among devotees of film noir while offering a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been accomplished by Polonsky and other members of the Hollywood Left had the blacklist not intervened. ... Typical of Polonsky’s dialogue in his 1947 screenplay is the following declaration by Roberts, the boxing impresario played by Lloyd Gough: “Everything is addition or subtraction. The rest is conversation.” I cannot imagine a more succinct summation of capitalism... Visit Website ]
Jan 17, 2018, 1:05pm

Articles
The Biggest Secret - My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror
James Risen: I was sitting in the nearly empty restaurant of the Westin Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, getting ready for a showdown with the federal government that I had been trying to avoid for more than seven years. The Obama administration was demanding that I reveal the confidential sources I had relied on for a chapter about a botched CIA operation in my 2006 book, “State of War.” I had also written about the CIA operation for the New York Times, but the paper’s editors had suppressed the story at the government’s request. It wasn’t the only time they had done so... Visit Website ]
Jan 3, 2018, 3:25pm

Articles
Water Is Life “This Is Not A Symbolic Action” — Indigenous Protesters Occupy Oil Platforms in Radicalized Fight Against Pollution in the Amazon
The skiffs arrived a few hours after sundown on September 18, a dark and moonless night in the Peruvian Amazon. They landed at several points along the broad Corrientes River, which flows south over the country’s densely forested border with Ecuador. Hundreds of indigenous Achuar men, women, and children, many carrying ceremonial spears, organized into units by clan and village. They then followed their apus, or chiefs, toward seven targets: the area’s lone paved road, a power plant, and five facilities for the pumping and processing of petroleum. ... For nearly a half-century, the state oil company, Petroperú, and its foreign partners have wreaked systemic contamination on the region, transforming daily life and poisoning the five rivers, whose waters fuse with the Ucayali River to become the Amazon... Visit Website ]
Dec 27, 2017, 5:11pm

Articles
Top 10 Basic Income Articles of 2017
Scott Santens: #6 ... "Mothers And Basic Income: The Case For An Urgent Intervention" by Petra Bueskens for New Matilda - Articles and blog posts written about UBI from a female perspective are another perspective I think we need much more of, and this piece by Petra Bueskens was my favorite of the year. She effectively asks the question, "Is it acceptable that we as a society free-load on the unpaid care work without which society would cease to function?" She identifies mothers, most especially single mothers, as a specific socioeconomic and political group in urgent need of basic income... Visit Website ]
Dec 22, 2017, 3:06pm

Articles
Corporate profiteers plunder Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican socialist and journalist Roberto Barreto documents the corporate rip-offs that have dominated reconstruction in the months following Hurricane Maria's devastation. ... The vultures are making off with millions in contracts that include inflated rates of pay, which were agreed upon through a highly suspect and corrupt process. The elites are also trying to get away with privatizing the few public services that we have left. ... The main problem with these deals and government-awarded contracts is that they hold back desperately needed reconstruction efforts at every step of the way. The politicians and business people are squandering time and resources while Puerto Rico continues to reel... Visit Website ]
Dec 20, 2017, 5:22pm

Articles
A "new era" for China?
As China's economic, political and geostrategic role increases, Charlie Hore assesses the position of China today and outlines a number of challenges that face the country's ruling class ... As the USA's economic and political power declines, China is signalling its arrival as a world power, with very deep capital reserves to invest abroad, and the ability to think strategically decades ahead. ... As one astute if slightly paranoid factory owner told a researcher a few years back: "China is different from other countries. In the West, it is the rich people who influence politics and the government fears the rich. Now, in China, it is the rich who fear the government and the government fears the poor. The poor have a high potential to threaten social stability and social order."... Visit Website ]
Dec 19, 2017, 2:34pm

Articles
The Heart of Poverty Is in the United States
In the United States, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, 41 million people are living in poverty. Professor Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, wants to know why. ... In a new feature published by The Guardian, Alston leads reporter Ed Pilkington through some of the most impoverished communities around the country: Los Angeles, San Francisco, small towns in Alabama and West Virginia. ... “There is no magic recipe for eliminating extreme poverty, and each level of government must make its own good faith decisions,” Alston writes. “But at the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the USA, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated.”... Visit Website ]
Dec 16, 2017, 2:04pm

Articles
Memo to CBS on George W. Bush: Dan Rather Got It (Mostly) Right
Russ Baker: The real problem with Rather was not — as CBS would have us believe — that he failed to properly vet a fake document during an investigation into whether George W. Bush pulled strings to avoid combat duty in Vietnam. ... (In fact, the documentation for Bush’s self-serving actions is clear and compelling.) ... The core issue is what CBS left unsaid. Rather’s producers were poking into an authentic story that powerful political forces had long been trying to suppress: how the then-President of the United States, who had taken the country into war in Iraq under false pretenses, resulting in untold unnecessary deaths, himself had gone AWOL from military service years earlier — and covered it up... Visit Website ]
Dec 14, 2017, 4:02pm

Articles
How Monsanto's GM Cotton Sowed Trouble in Africa
Joe Bavier: When America’s biotech giant tried to export its know-how to small cotton farmers in Burkina Faso, there was a problem: The quality sank. ... In 2000, farmers in Burkina Faso, Africa’s top cotton grower, were desperate. Their cotton fetched top prices because its high-quality fibre lent a luxurious sheen to clothing and bedsheets. But pests – bollworms – were threatening the crop. ... U.S. seeds and pesticide company Monsanto proposed an answer: a genetically modified strain of cotton called Bollgard II, which it had already introduced in America and was marketing worldwide. ... The Burkina farmers agreed to a trial and the country introduced seeds with the gene in 2008. ... But there was a problem. While the bug-resistant genes produced more volume, the quality fell. Last season, the cotton farmers of Burkina Faso abandoned the GM varieties.... Visit Website ]
Dec 11, 2017, 3:47pm

Articles
if it takes 100 years - Poetry by Raymond Nat Turner
I am the North Star—
Hope; Never wavering, organizing,
burning thorough bars, walls, wire—
I am consciousness of all
creatures, crystalline water,
clean, sweet air, black soil
From forgotten reservations
Visit Website ]
Dec 8, 2017, 10:39am

Articles
Dakota Access Pipeline Company Paid Mercenaries to Build Conspiracy Lawsuit Against Environmentalists
The Intercept: The private security firm TigerSwan, hired by Energy Transfer Partners to protect the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, was paid to gather information for what would become a sprawling conspiracy lawsuit accusing environmentalist groups of inciting the anti-pipeline protests in an effort to increase donations, three former TigerSwan contractors told The Intercept. ... “It grossly distorts the law and facts at Standing Rock,” said Greenpeace general counsel Tom Wetterer. “We’ll win the lawsuit, but it’s not really what this is about for ETP. What they’re really trying to do is silence future protests and advocacy work against the company and other corporations.”... Visit Website ]
Nov 15, 2017, 1:05pm

Articles
A New Report Sheds Light on the Plot to Murder Honduran Activist Berta Cáceres
Lauren Carasik: In Honduras, the United States willfully ignores institutional rot and buttresses crooked strongmen. ... The assassination of Cáceres ignited a global groundswell of outrage. Now an independent investigation has confirmed that powerful interests are trying to suppress the truth of the sprawling murder plot. In the report, titled “Dam Violence: The Plan That Killed Berta Cáceres,” five international human-rights experts reveal evidence that state agents, high-ranking executives, and employees of the company whose dam she resisted had participated in planning, executing, and covering up her murder. The report slams the Honduran government’s poor job of investigating and prosecuting those involved... Visit Website ]
Nov 15, 2017, 11:31am


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