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by Bill Bigelow
In the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, Daniel Ellsberg, who secretly copied and then released the Pentagon Papers, offers a catalog of presidential lying about the U.S. role in Vietnam: Truman lied. Eisenhower lied. Kennedy lied. Johnson “lied and lied and lied.” Nixon lied.
Ellsberg concludes: “The American public was lied to month by month by each of these five administrations. As I say, it’s a tribute to the American public that their leaders perceived that they had to be lied to; it’s no tribute to us that it was so easy to fool the public.”
by Mark Weisbrot
When I was a student at the University of Michigan, the FBI took down the license plates numbers of the people who drove to our meetings of the local Latin American Solidarity Committee, which was trying to end the US-sponsored terrorism and wars in Central America. This we learned from documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. The surveillance of our local, peaceful, and law-abiding group – long before the Patriot Act or the "war on terror" – was so extensive that one of our members who wrote a history of the group had to thank the FBI for keeping such a complete and detailed record of our activities.
by Paul Buchheit
We hear a lot about corporations avoiding federal taxes. Less well known is their non-payment of state taxes, which along with local taxes make up 90% of U.S. education funding.
Pay Up Now just completed a review of 2011-12 tax data from the SEC filings of 155 of the largest U.S. corporations. The results show that the total cost of K-12 educational cutbacks in recent years is approximately equal to the amount of state taxes left unpaid by these companies.
Corporations Neglect Their State Tax Responsibilities
The Psychology of Washington
by Huck Gutman
The protagonist of a long series of detective novels, the admirable Inspector Maigret, would see a mystery at the heart of what goes on in America. How is it that violence barely disturbs us, yet we protect ourselves against its manifestation by a massive state apparatus dedicated to searching through the lives of ordinary Americans?
For those who follow politics, the mystery can be posed in personal terms. How is it that a senator who opposed the widespread gathering of telephone records of American citizens can, as president, approve the continuation and expansion of just such a program?
It is probably beyond even Maigret’s acute intelligence to fully analyze a Barack Obama buffeted by a multitude of forces and views. But the world our president lives in, that is a knowable phenomenon.
President Obama has advisors, not just military and civilian but political. All of them have a vested interest in assuring that nothing goes wrong in small ways, even as they ignore things going wrong in large ways.
By Doug Fine
With 16 states having decriminalized or legalized cannabis for non-medical use and eight more heading toward some kind of legalization, federal prohibition’s days seem numbered. You might wonder what America will look like when marijuana is in the corner store and at the farmers market. In three years spent researching that question, I found some ideas about the plant that just don’t hold up.
1. If pot is legal, more people will use it.
As drug policy undergoes big changes, I’ve been watching rates of youth cannabis use with interest. As it is for most fathers, the well-being of my family is the most important thing in my life. Whether you like the plant or not, as with alcohol, only adults should be allowed to partake of intoxicating substances. But youth cannabis use is near its highest level ever in the United States. When I spoke at a California high school recently and asked, “Who thinks cannabis is easier to obtain than alcohol?,” nearly every hand shot up.
“Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” ~ Al Gore For me during the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama could do no wrong. Well, he wasn’t perfect to be clear, but he seemed like he had it all together, and really meant what he said. He told us that he would pull the troops out from Iraq within sixteen months from the date he took office. He told us he would end no-bid contracts when it came to his administration’s handling of government contractors. He said he would eliminate caps on damages for discrimination cases. I believed him on those things for the most part. He also said he would expand the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally he promised to sign the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act into law. Ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies. He also said he would ensure freedom to unionize and fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
by Rob Hopkins