Left Leaving Radio Waves

Peter B. Collins Going Off the Air
by Mark Crispin Miller
We may have to get progressive talk shows put on the Endangered Species List, now that the president has reinstated it. Otherwise there won't be any voices on the air except the voices of the right, whether "centrist" (corporate) or explictly far-right (corporate).
As Brad Friedman notes in his report on Peter B. Collins' forced departure (see here), the economic crash is threatening to finish off those last few figures who have managed somehow to resist the oligopolistic tide that has by now all but submerged the US media.

That purge, now near-complete, has actually been in the works for years. It was the purpose of the vast "de-regulation" of the media begun by Reagan back in '87 (soon after the corporate press obligingly refused to look too deeply into Iran/contra) and continued by Bill Clinton nine years later (and a fat lot of good it did him.)
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Pakistan Protest Grows, Converging on the Capital

Nawaz Sharif under House Arrest; Army on Alert; Protesters Continue to Converge on Capital
by Juan Cole (Informed Comment)
In the midst of Pakistan's ongoing political crisis, the government of President Asaf Ali Zardari sent out highly mixed signals on Saturday and Sunday.
Lawyers take to the streets protesting the Zardari regime.
His government looked like it might be backing off its more hard line measures. The government of President Zardari pledged to appeal to the courts to lift bans on political activity imposed on Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif, leaders of the rival Pakistan Muslim League (N). It also allowed Geo TV to resume broadcasting (Geo had been critical of Zardari).

But at the same time, Zardari continued to brandish the police and the military at his opponents and their planned Monday demonstration. Zardari seems a little out of touch with political reality and with how unpopular he has been making himself, maintaining that "There is no law and order problem posed by the present protest. The long march, which will not be allowed to take place, is transitory and a one-time affair and the PPP would form its government in the Punjab in the next few days, leaving its rivals to repent." Add a comment
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Killing a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys

Is the Israeli Lobby Running Scared? Or Killing a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys
by Robert Dreyfuss
Is the Israel lobby in Washington an all-powerful force? Or is it, perhaps, running scared? Judging by the outcome of the Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman affair this week, it might seem as if the Israeli lobby is fearsome indeed. Seen more broadly, however, the controversy over Freeman could be the Israel lobby's Waterloo.

Let's recap. On February 19th, Laura Rozen reported at ForeignPolicy.com that Freeman had been selected by Admiral Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, to serve in a key post as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC, the official in-house think tank of the intelligence community, takes input from 16 intelligence agencies and produces what are called "national intelligence estimates" on crucial topics of the day as guidance for Washington policymakers. For that job, Freeman boasted a stellar resumé: fluent in Mandarin Chinese, widely experienced in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, and an ex-assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration.

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Occupation of Iraqi Artists

The Ongoing Occupation of Iraqi Artists
by Dahr Jamail
For centuries, artists, writers, and intellectuals have been meeting in Baghdad’s teahouses over tulip-shaped glasses of sweet lemon tea, cigarettes, and shisha pipes.

A car bomb detonated near one of the oldest teahouses a year-and-a-half ago, causing massive destruction around the area. When it reopened recently, Mohammed Al-Mumain, a 59-year-old biology teacher resumed his visits there. The portly, jovial teacher brought tea for my colleague and I before settling to talk,
“The mind needs art and education. I come here because the lamp needs electricity. The lamp of my mind, like that in all of us, needs to discuss and review life continually. That feeds me. When I come here I feel like a teenager again. All that I need, the old culture along with the new, I find here.”
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Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel

Statement by Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel
by F4P
Dear Colleagues; Several F4P members are signatories to this statement, and are aware that it was rejected by both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail (as an op-ed). For the rest, please help this important statement get into broad circulation - pass it on to your networks (faculty, community, MPs, university presidents, unions etc.).  You may also wish to write to the Star and Globe editorials and express your dismay that they have chosen not to publish it.
Over 150 Jewish Canadians signed a statement expressing their concerns about the campaign to suppress criticism of Israel that is being carried on within Canada.  The signatories include many prominent Canadians, including Ursula Franklin O.C., Anton Kuerti O.C., Naomi Klein, Dr. Gabor Mate, and professors Meyer Brownstone (recipient of Pearson Peace Medal), Natalie Zemon Davis, Michael Neumann, and Judy Rebick. 

The signatories are particularly concerned that unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism deflect attention from Israel’s accountability for what many have called  war crimes in Gaza.  They state that B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have led campaigns to silence criticism of Israel on university campuses, in labor unions and in other groups. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff unquestioningly echo the views of these particular Jewish organizations.   
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Rome Is Burning - So Let's Attack Iran

The American Rome Is Burning - So Let's Attack Iran
by Eric S. Margolis
Iran has haunted every U.S. administration since the days of President Jimmy Carter. While running for president, Barack Obama proposed opening talks with Tehran and trying to end the long Cold War between the United States and Iran. Obama's sensible idea was greeted with the deepest dismay by ardent supporters of Israel and Rambo Republicans who want to see the US go to war with Iran, a nation of 70 million, and destroy its nuclear infrastructure.

Now, as the United States fights for its economic life, the Iran question and its alleged nuclear weapons program have again become an issue of major contention. Officials in the Obama administration and the media issued a blizzard of contradictory claims over Iran's alleged nuclear threat, leaving us wondering: who is really charge of U.S. foreign policy?
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How the Permanent Power Structure Is Trying to Stop Obama

by Danny Schechter (Author of Plunder)
Some things don’t change. Obama may be in the White House, shuffling between the safety of the center and the language of change (“changeguage?”), firm in his commitment to the doctrine of neo-prog pragmatism which  all too often requires the abandonment of ideas and ideals that could offend both the right and wrong people.

image: He is in office, but is he in power?

The mistake that many make is to confuse the trappings of symbolic power with the exercise of real power. Truth be told, real power is exercised mostly by unchecked private interests, lobbyists and our media. They have the power to obstruct policies, stir up controversies and orchestrate pressure to kill measures they don’t like. They are well-funded minority and work skillfully in the shadows and through highly paid PR practitioners.
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Uranium Along the Iditerod Trail

Alaska Natives protest uranium exploration on Iditarod Trail
by Brenda Norrell   
A coalition of Alaskan Indigenous Peoples, Alaskan citizens, students and community organizations are demonstrating support for students protesting Uranium activity in the traditional cultural use areas near the Arctic Inupiat community of Elim.
Alaskans from various organizations and communities gathered at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod on March 7th, downtown Anchorage, to demonstrate support for the students and community of Elim. Students in Elim will be protesting uranium as dog mushers race through the Elim checkpoint 123 miles from Nome.

Funny Murray, an Inupiaq Para-professional in Elim, says that the students are leading the effort to raise awareness on the uranium’s destructive impacts to the environment, ecosystem and people.
“The Elim Students Against Uranium (ESAU) researched how uranium development can cause damage to the health of the environment, plants, animals and people. They (ESAU) are speaking up for environmental justice here in Elim, the Bering Sea and the Arctic.”

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Messages from Gaza

I Want to Write
by Mohammed M. Mustafa
Dear All - My name is Mohammed M. Mustafa from Gaza, Palestine. I can read, speak and understand English very well. But I like to express my opinion.

Here is a story compiled with photos on how Israel killed innocent Palestinians. In the photo there is a building that belongs to a Palestinian family in Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza. With prior warning, Israeli Army destroyed the house by missile in an air strike.
Residents of the house received a 5-minute warning; five minutes were enough for them to leave their house, and for the cameraman to station his camera, but for the man on bicycle, he had no choice, and received no warning.
Take a look at the photos, please.
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Prideful Tormentor: Bush Boasts of Torture

Bush Boasted about Tortured Captive
by Jason Leopold
About the time President George W. Bush was boasting of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s capture in late 2002, the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing was undergoing waterboarding, according to top-secret documents released in a New York federal court case.
One heavily censored page of what appears to be a CIA internal report about the torture of “war on terror” detainees reads: “Interrogators administered [redacted] waterboard to Al-Nashiri.” The same page indicates that a dozen of 92 destroyed videotapes of the CIA’s interrogations were of detainees undergoing brutal treatment. “There are 92 videotapes, 12 of which include EIT [enhanced interrogation techniques] applications,” the page says.

Though U.S. officials confirmed more than a year ago that al-Nashiri and two other detainees were subjected to the drowning sensation of waterboarding, the page, which was released on Friday, represents rare documented evidence that the technique, regarded as torture at least since the Inquisition, was used against prisoners in American custody.
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Prisons, Profits, and the Banality of Evil

Lost Liberty Blues: Prisons, Profits, and the Banality of Evil
by Chris Floyd   
Lamar Alexander is certainly one of the biggest non-entities in the history of modern American politics.
Picture: Chain gang, Pitt County, North Carolina, 1910 (Many thanks to R. Coalson for the pic, from Shorpy, the vintage photo blog)
You would have to range far and wide to find a more negligible, pointless, unproductive figure on the national level than Alexander, the senior U.S. senator from Tennessee; indeed, you'd be hard-pressed to find such a one on the smallest school board or city council in the remotest corner of the country.

And like Bush with his Crawford dude ranch, Alexander adopted an entirely faux pose as a soil-of-the-soil type in a cynical campaign ploy. Perhaps only George Walker Bush could match Alexander in the "coasting through life with corporate coddling" sweepstakes. Like Bush, Alexander was once a Republican governor who did almost no work in office, letting the Democratic leaders of the state legislature -- with whom he had some cozy business entanglements -- handle the nitty-gritty of governing while he whiled away the hours greasing wheels for his cronies and cutting sweetheart deals to enrich himself. [For details on some of these wheels and deals, see here, here, here, here and here.]

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Obama and the Declarative "I"

Signing Statementing Our Way to Empire
by David Swanson
President Obama's second signing statement has generated a great deal of news coverage referring to it as his first. And the coverage largely suffers from the shadow of Obama's predecessor (and of Bush's fat sidekick), not to mention the shadow of Obama's recent statement about signing statements.

Let's get a few things out of the way: Obama has not abused power to the extent Bush and Cheney did, and he would have to work very hard to do so. I voted for him. I'm confident McCain-Palin would have been much worse. I support many things Obama has done in his first month-and-a-half and can't recall ever approving of a single thing that came out of the White House in the previous eight years other than George W. Bush's suitcases and his traitorous criminal self.

But I'm a citizen, not a fan. We don't need summer soldiers, spectators, or cheer leaders. We need a little honesty. If you want to praise unconstitutional presidential power because of the current president's brand name, you may actually be the explanation for the recently reported decline in religion in America: you've decided to worship a political party instead.
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