Friday, November 30, 2012

WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning testifies

Democracy Now!:

Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has testified for the first time since he was arrested in May 2010. Speaking Thursday at a pretrial proceeding, Manning revealed the emotional tumult he experienced while imprisoned in Kuwait after his arrest in 2010, saying, "I remember thinking, ’I’m going to die.’ I thought I was going to die in a cage." As part of his testimony, Manning stepped inside a life-sized chalk outline representing the six-by-eight-foot cell he was later held in at the Quantico base in Virginia, and recounted how he would tilt his head to see the reflection of a skylight through a tiny space in his cell door. Manning could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious of 22 counts against him. His trial is expected to begin in February. He has offered to plead guilty to a subset of charges that could potentially carry a maximum prison term of 16 years. "What’s remarkable is that he still has this incredible dignity after going through this," says Michael Ratner, who was in the courtroom during Manning’s appearance. "But I think all these prison conditions, sure, they were angry at Bradley Manning, but in the face of that psychiatric statement, that this guy shouldn’t be kept on suicide risk or POI, they’re still keeping him in inhuman conditions, you can only ask yourself, they’re trying to break him for some reason. The lawyer, David Coombs, has said it’s so that he can give evidence against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks." Ratner is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a lawyer for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Palestinians celebrate UN victory

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court say they will study what a Palestinian status upgrade at the UN will mean for future war crimes tribunals. It's one of the real implications for what's seen by many as a largely symbolic victory for the Palestinians. But for now, people in the West Bank and Gaza are celebrating, as Nadim Baba reports.

Polar ice melt 'accelerating'

A group of scientists has discovered that polar ice is melting three times faster than it was twenty years ago. More than 20 polar research teams that have been studying ice in Greenland and Antarctica say the melting is already causing sea levels to rise. Emma Hayward reports.

Fast food workers strike for living wage

Democracy Now!:

Fast-food workers walked off the job in New York City Thursday to hold a series of rallies and picket lines in what has been called the largest series of worker actions ever to hit the country’s fast-food industry. Hundreds of workers at dozens of restaurants owned by McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and others went on strike and rallied in a bid for fair pay and union recognition. Organizers with the Fast Food Forward campaign are seeking an increased pay rate of $15 an hour, about double what the minimum-wage workers are making. Workers and their allies demanded a wage that would let them support their families. Democracy Now! co-host Juan González spoke to many of the striking workers for his latest New York Daily News column, "One-day strike by fast-food workers at McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants is just the beginning."

Israel and Palestine: an animated introduction

Hey friends - it's time to stop saying, "It's too complicated!" You can't stay on the sidelines anymore. Watch this Jewish Voice for Peace 6 minute mini-primer about why Israelis and Palestinians are fighting, why the US-backed peace process has been an impediment to peace, and what you can do to make a difference. Find out more at

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Canada's NDP supports Palestine statehood bid


In Ottawa, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair called the resolution a reasonable request by the Palestinians and criticized the government's decision to vote against it.

"What we have from the Canadian side, under the Conservatives, is negativism, reproach, attack, threats," Mulcair said.

"We would like to see Canada playing a constructive role as we once proudly did on the world stage. Under Mr. Harper's Conservatives, we no longer play a constructive role."

Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said his party does not support the motion before the UN

Continue reading here.

Climate changes threaten Iraqi wetlands

Marshes restored after they were drained under Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980's are now under the risk of being completely destroyed due to rising temperatures and drought. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports from Iraq's southern marshes.

Palestinian statehood bid at United Nations

Thousands of Palestinians have held celebrations in the West Bank and elsewhere, hours before a vote at the UN General Assembly that is widely expected to give Palestine upgraded membership status at the world body. The demonstrations have largely been held by supporters of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, but, in a departure from previous policy, Hamas leaders have also said they support the move. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Al Jazeera's Renee Odeh reports on Palestine's bid for a limited upgrade at the United Nations.

Growing US movement to legalize marijuana

Democracy Now!:

We turn now to look at the outcome of this month’s historic votes in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Even before this, 18 states and the District of Columbia allowed the medical use of marijuana. Now, many are asking whether the passage of these latest measures could be the beginning of the end for marijuana prohibition. All of this comes as the federal government continues to consider marijuana an illegal drug, and the Obama administration has supported police crackdowns even on medical marijuana. Meanwhile, it has ignored studies that show the plant can be effective in treating everything from depression to cancerous tumors. For more, we are joined by Martin Lee, a longtime investigative reporter and author of several books. His most recent is "Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana — Medical, Recreational and Scientific."

Lloyd Blankfein is the face of class warfare

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

POWs in North Korea still missing after decades

It has been nearly 60 years since the end of the Korean War. But South Korea says the North Korean government still refuses to acknowledge the existence of prisoners of war held in the north. And time is running out for POWs to be reunited with their families living in the south. Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports from Seoul.

Egypt protesters continue to call for Morsi's fall

Egypt's anti-government protesters have called for another mass rally on Friday, after staging scenes reminiscent of last year's revolution. It's estimated 200-thousand people packed into Cairo's Tahrir Square, chanting against President Mohamed Morsi and his new powers. Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid has this report from Cairo.

French conservatives in chaos

France's Conservative opposition is edging towards a split after its disputed leadership election. Jean-Francois Copay, a right-wing supporter of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, has been declared the winner of the vote within the UMP. But his opponent wants a re-run because of alleged irregularities. Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from Paris.

Inside Story - Holding Chevron accountable

After decades of oil drilling, they have seen their land destroyed, and their waters polluted. But members of Ecuador's indigenous communities have yet to see a single penny for the damage inflicted on their lives by Chevron and its subsidiary, Texaco.

Central Park five: jailing of innocent teens

Democracy Now!:

An explosive new documentary looks at a case once referred to as "the crime of the century”: the Central Park Five. Many people have heard about the case — but far too few know that innocent men were imprisoned as a result. The film tells the story of how five black and Latino teenagers were arrested in 1989 for beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. Media coverage at the time portrayed the teens as guilty, and used racially coded terms like "wolf pack" to refer to the group of boys accused in the attack. Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed. However, the convictions of the five were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed to the crime, after the five defendants had already served sentences of almost seven to 13 years. New York City is refusing to settle a decade-long civil lawsuit brought by the men. And now, lawyers for the city are seeking access to footage gathered for the new film. We speak to one of the Central Park five, Raymond Santana, filmmaker Sarah Burns, and journalist Natalie Byfield.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

John Adams on religion

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The State of Female America

Democracy Now!:

We spend the rest of the hour with someone who has fought tirelessly for women’s rights here in the United States and around the world: Eve Ensler. Her new play is called “Emotional Creature” and is now playing in New York City. Ensler is the award-winning playwright and creator of “The Vagina Monologues” and V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Her new campaign is called One Billion Rising. Eve Ensler will be speaking tonight on “The State of Female America,” moderated by Laura Flanders, in New York City. “One of the things we are trying to deal with and make happen with One Billion Rising is to look at the intersection between the violence that happens to women in the homes, in the streets, and at their jobs,” Ensler says.

Yasser Arafat's body exhumed in Ramallah

A planned military funeral was cancelled, and Arafat's remains were quietly returned to his tomb later on Tuesday morning. The whole process took about 10 hours.

Climate Change: What the world has to say

Rising temperatures, melting icecaps, deforestation, carbon emissions, seabed pollution. These are just a handful of topics that will be discussed at the COP18/CMP8 conference in Doha, Qatar. As the global media turns its focus onto the event, we went out to the streets, across the world to find out how climate change impacts people personally, and asked what they expect to come out of this meeting.

Bernie Sanders: standing up for the working class

Monday, November 26, 2012

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford removed from office

Mayor Rob Ford testified he didn't read a handbook for councillors that outlines when to declare conflict of interest. 

In a bombshell ruling, a judge has found Mayor Rob Ford guilty of breaching provincial of conflict of interest law and ordered him removed from office in 14 days — though Ford can launch an appeal, and also seek an order to allow him to stay in office until the appeals process is done.

Ford has 30 days to appeal. If his lawyer cannot convince Divisional Court to “stay” the removal order within the 14 days, council will have the option of either appointing a councillor to be caretaker mayor until the end of the term in December 2014 or triggering a $7-million byelection.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland’s decision appears to disqualify Ford from running in any byelection held before the regularly scheduled October 2014 mayoral election, but it does not say he can’t run in future elections. Hackland could have banned Ford from running for up to seven years.

Ford has not yet commented on the ruling. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case centred around Ford’s decision to participate in a February council debate on whether he should be forced to repay $3,150 to lobbyists whose donations to his football foundation he improperly accepted. 

Ford made an impassioned speech urging council to excuse him — “To ask me to pay it out of my own pocket personally, there is just, there is no sense to this,” he said — and then voted with the 22-12 majority to cancel an earlier council order to reimburse the money. 

The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, a provincial law, is strict: members of council cannot speak or vote on issues in which they have a financial interest.

Hackland could have allowed Ford to keep his job, even if he found that Ford broke the law, by accepting the argument that Ford’s actions were inadvertent or a result of an error in judgment, or that the amount of money in question — $3,150 — was unlikely to influence him.

But Hackland rejected all of the arguments put forth by Ford’s lawyer, Alan Lenczner. In dismissing the suggestion that Ford had made an error in judgment, Hackland suggested Ford had deliberately ignored the law in question.
Continue reading here.

Egyptians polarized over Morsi's decree

The decree to extend Mohamed Morsi's presidential powers has polarised opinion and caused violence to erupt in various parts of Egypt amid protests. Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from the capital, Cario.

Walmart protests: 1,000 stores on Black Friday

Democracy Now!:

A wave of historic protests struck the retail giant Wal-Mart on Black Friday — the busiest shopping day of the year. Workers and their supporters demonstrated at more than 1,000 stores. The Wal-Mart protests were organized in part by OUR Walmart, an organization backed by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union. Nine people, including three Wal-Mart workers, were arrested at a protest in Los Angeles after they blocked traffic. We broadcast the voices of protesters in Secaucus, New Jersey, and speak to Josh Eidelson, a contributing writer for The Nation magazine.

The Climate Question: Degrees of Change - Part 2

Climate change has become one of the biggest, most complex issues of our time. And the warnings from some of the world's leading scientists are getting louder. But skeptics remain. Despite the data, many are unconvinced that the science is on target. So, we ask: Is climate change man-made and, if so, what can we do to stop it?

Morsi re-ignites protests: new powers decree

Democracy Now!:

Protests continue in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree last week, seizing wide-ranging powers and protections from judicial review or oversight. Morsi made the move one day after he helped secure a ceasefire ending Israel’s assault on Gaza. More than 500 people have been injured in clashes between police and protesters since the decree was issued. Morsi has tried to reassure his detractors that the measure giving him sweeping new powers is temporary and not intended to concentrate power in his hands. He proclaimed the decision just a day after he brokered a deal to end Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip. We go to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The UK's student movement at a crossroads

What was supposed to be the biggest UK student march of 2012 ends as a chaotic washout, leaving the future uncertain for Britain's student movement.

The Climate Question: Degrees of Change - Part 1

Climate Change has become one of the biggest, most complex issues of our time. And the warnings from some of the world's leading scientists are getting louder. But sceptics remain. Despite the data, many are unconvinced the science is on target. So we ask: is climate change man-made and, if so, what can we do to stop it? From the crumbling ice caps of the Arctic to the shifting sands of the Arabian Gulf, Al Jazeera takes you around the world to see first-hand the impact mankind is having on our planet. Against the backdrop of a major UN Climate Change Conference in Qatar, join Nick Clark as he looks at the efforts that have been made to address Climate Change, the failures of previous agreements and the challenges that lay ahead.

Walmart workers demand better wages

Across the United States, employees of the retailer Walmart have walked off the job in protest against poor working conditions. They're demanding higher wages and better healthcare from the worlds largest retailer. From Maryland, Kimberly Halkett reports.

Syrian refugees suffer in squalid camps

The number of Syrian refugees registered in neighbouring countries has nearly doubled since the beginning of September to more than 440,000, the UN refugee agency said on Friday. Many of those displaced by the government's bombardments of cities and towns have also fled to a squalid camp in the Syrian village of Atmeh near the Turkish border. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from Atmeh, where he met refugees suffering from a severe lack of basic needs.

Judges say Morsi's decree is unconstitutional

In Egypt, judges scuffled with members of the Muslim Brotherhood during a press conference to condemn President Mohamed Morsi, who had earlier sacked some of the country's most senior lawyers. The Judges' Club said Morsi's decree granting himself wider powers, is unconstitutional. They say they'll fight the move, which gives the president immunity from legal challenges. Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from Cairo.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gaza children return to school after ceasefire

As part of the Gaza ceasefire agreement, Israel has eased restrictions on Palestinian fishermen. Restrictions are also being eased on children, who have gone back to school for the first time since the ceasefire started. Nadim Baba has more from Gaza.

Rome braces for student protest

Thousands of students have marched through Rome in an unauthorized protest against education spending cuts. Claudio Lavanga reports.

UK to halve its troop presence in Afghanistan

Britain is considering halving its troop presence in Afghanistan over the next six months. It believes the Afghan army has shown remarkable progress, as it takes on full responsibility for the country's security. But as Steve Chao reports from Helmand, not everyone is convinced.

We support Walmart workers: Thanksgiving Day

Larry Hagman 1931 - 2012


He also was devoted to solar energy, telling the New York Times he had a $750,000 solar panel system at his Ojai estate, and made a commercial in which he portrayed a J.R. Ewing who had forsaken oil for solar power. He was a longtime member of the Peace and Freedom Party, a minor leftist organization in California. 

Hagman told the Times that after death he wanted his remains to be "spread over a field and have marijuana and wheat planted and harvest it in a couple of years and then have a big marijuana cake, enough for 200 to 300 people. People would eat a little of Larry."

Continue reading here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Economy depends on success of Walmart strike

Walmart employees and supporters rally in support of striking workers in front of a store in Pico Rivera, California, on Tuesday.

Walmart and other big-box retailers have helped eviscerate the very American middle class they depend on to buy their stuff

A half-century ago, America's largest private-sector employer was General Motors, whose full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today's dollars, including health and pension benefits. Today, America's largest employer is Walmart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart's employees work fewer than 28 hours per week and do not qualify for benefits.

There are many reasons for the difference – including globalization and technological changes that have shrunk employment in American manufacturing, while enlarging it in sectors involving personal services, such as retail. But one reason, closely related to this seismic shift, is the decline of labor unions in the United States.

In the 1950s, over a third of private-sector workers belonged to a union. Today, fewer than 7% do. As a result, the typical American worker no longer has the bargaining clout to get a sizeable share of corporate profits.

At the peak of its power and influence in the 1950s, the United Auto Workers could claim a significant portion of GM's earnings for its members. Walmart's employees, by contrast, have no union to represent them. So, they've had no means of getting much of the corporation's earnings.

Walmart earned $16bn last year (it just reported a 9% increase in earnings in the third quarter of 2012, to $3.6bn), much of which went to Walmart's shareholders – including the family of its founder, Sam Walton. The wealth of the Walton family now exceeds the wealth of the bottom 40% of American families combined, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

The labor action is unlikely to dim the enthusiasm of buyers looking for Walmart bargains, but it's at least garnering media attention. Walmart employees have a chance to air their grievances in public – not only lousy wages (as low at $8 an hour), but also unsafe and unsanitary working conditions, excessive hours and sexual harassment – generating bad publicity for the company exactly when it wants the public to think of it as Santa Claus. And the threatened strike, the first in 50 years, is gaining steam.

A new study by the thinktank Demos reports that raising the salary of all full-time workers at large retailers to $25,000 per year would lift more than 700,000 people out of poverty, at a cost of only a 1% price increase for customers.

And, in the end, retailers would benefit. According to the study, the cost of the wage increases to major retailers would be $20.8bn — about 1% of the sector's $2.17tn in total annual sales. But the study also estimates the increased purchasing power of lower-wage workers, as a result of the pay raises, would generate $4-5bn in additional retail sales.

Continue reading here.

Protest: drones, Afghan War at White House

Code Pink greets newly elected President Obama with demand to end Afghan war and stop secret drone warfare.

Taking shelter in a Palestinian refugee camp

In just over week of violence, at least 1,100 Palestinian rockets have landed in Israel, and more than 900 air strikes carried out in the Gaza Strip which killed at least 162 Palestinians. Al Jazeera spent the night with a family in an area often targeted by the bombing raids. Casey Kauffman reports from Jabalya Refugee camp.

Palestinians bury victims of Israeli attacks

Palestinians in Gaza have started to clean up, repair and rebuild after 8 days of Israeli attacks killed at least 160 people and caused millions of dollars of damage. The UN says more ten thousand Palestinians were internally displaced by the conflict. Al Jazeera's Casey Kauffman met the family of one of the conflict's last victims.

Indonesian workers demand higher wages

Indonesian workers demand higher wages.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Corporations and the exploitation of workers

Are US workers bearing the brunt of bad management and fiscal irresponsibility by being forced into poverty wage jobs? Inside Story Americas with presenter Shihab Rattansi discusses with William Gould, the former chairman of the National Labour Relations Board under Bill Clinton; Mike Elk, a labour journalist for In These Times and Eileen Appelbaum, a senior economist from the Center for Economic and Policy.

Fault Lines : Fracking in America

For years now, the United States has tried to lower its dependence on foreign oil for its energy needs. With stability in the Middle East in question, drilling at home has never been more attractive, but it often comes at a cost. Natural gas extraction - fracking - is being touted as the answer. The way fracking is taking place, there are questions being asked about the process and its implications.

More casualties reported overnight in Gaza

The death toll in Gaza has climbed up to 139 overnight, while two more Israelis were killed. Meanwhile another night of Israeli air strikes plunged much of Gaza City into darkness. One of the buildings hit was this government building - surrounded by apartment blocks. Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba reports from Gaza.

US drone strikes in Pakistan

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Wal-Mart accused of threatening workers

Democracy Now!:

Wal-Mart workers across the country are planning to stage unprecedented walkouts and protests on Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Wal-Mart has sought to counter the effort by filing an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and, according to critics, threatening workers with retaliation. We’re joined by William Fletcher, a Wal-Mart worker and member of the employee advocacy group OUR Walmart; and Josh Eidelson, a contributing writer for The Nation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Paralysed dog study offers hope for humans

A 10-year-old dachshund, Jasper, has helped scientists achieve a medical breakthrough. After researchers took some cells from the paralysed dog's nose and implanted them in his injured spine as part of a new study, Jasper could walk again. There is hope it could help treat people who are immobile. Al Jazeera's Emma Hayward reports.

Israeli airstrikes continue to pound Gaza

Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip have continued for a seventh day, despite calls for a truce, with the overall death toll reaching 111, according to medical sources.

Gaza death toll: 100; Israel targets media building

For the second time, Israeli air strike has hit the media building that houses both local and foreign journalists in Gaza. Israel, however, denied it is targeting the media. Meanwhile, the number of dead has continued to rise across the Gaza Strip. Al Jazeera's James Bay reports.

John Adams on religion

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Palestinian civilians bear brunt of bombings

Democracy Now!:

President Obama has announced his full support for Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip even as dozens of Palestinians, including many civilians, continue to be killed by U.S.-supplied weaponry. At least 95 Palestinians have been killed in air strikes by warplanes and drones. More than 700 have been wounded, including 200 children. On Sunday, a massive air strike leveled a home in Gaza City killing 12 people, including 10 members of the same family. Over the past week, rockets fired from Gaza have killed three Israelis. We go to Gaza to speak with Raji Sourani, an award-winning human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages"

The Huffington Post:

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai is reported by The Yeshiva World News to have said, "We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water." Haaretz also reports that Yishai stated, "The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages."

Continue reading here.

Israeli pilot speaks out against govt. on BBC

Brave Israeli Soldier, Yonatan Shapira, speaks out about the Zionist Israeli governments crimes.

Read the blog "The Dark History of Modern Day Zionism" -

You can also follow Choice and Truth at;

Majority of Canadians support, appreciate unions

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Re-build the wall separating corporation and state

How many more millions of Americans would be working today if, rather than investing a billion dollars in Mitt Romney, the corporate elite had invested a billion dollars in research and development, new factories, new workers?

Tony Benn chides BBC on air for Israel bias

Tony Benn accuses the BBC ON AIR of capitulating to the Israeli Government by refusing to air an appeal for the Gazan people by the Disaster Emergency Commitee (DEC) he then broadcasts the address himself much to the consternation of the interviewer!

Disaster Emergency Commitee (DEC)
Gaza Crisis
PO BOX 999

Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza humanitarian appeal:
Launched by UK charities on 22 January to raise money for Gaza aid relief and reconstruction

Participants: Action Aid, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision

Information on 0370 60 60 900 or at DEC website

In November 2005, BBC Head Mark Thompson traveled with his Jewish wife to Israel, where he held direct talks with Ariel Sharon, which were intended to let the BBC 'build bridges with Israel'. Thompson's Wife Jane Blumberg is a Zionist, makes you wonder how easy the decision came to the BBC now right!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tragedy reopens Ireland abortion debate

The death of an Indian dentist who was refused a termination even though she was miscarrying, continues to make waves in Ireland. Savita Halappanavar's death due to septicemia last month has reignited the controversial debate of abortion. Thousands of pro-abortion rights campaigners have been marching in cities across Ireland. Al Jazeera's Rory Challands reports from Dublin.

Israel fires 500 strikes in Gaza, civilian toll grows

Democracy Now!:

Israel is continuing to pound the Gaza Strip with air strikes amidst fears that Israel could soon launch a ground invasion into Gaza. Israeli troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers are now massing near the Palestinian territory. Earlier today, 85 missiles exploded within 45 minutes in Gaza City, sending black pillars of smoke. At least 21 Palestinians have died in the most recent round of violence, while three Israelis died on Thursday. Israel said it launched 150 air strikes overnight, while Palestinians fired a dozen rockets into Israel. Israel has started to draft 30,000 reserve troops in a sign the assault may soon widen. Among the casualties of Israeli violence was the 11-month-old son of a BBC Arabic journalist, Jihad Misharawi. Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil traveled to Gaza today to condemn the Israeli attack. For more, we get a report from Rafah by Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, who says, "One thing that we ought to talk about here is the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. This is a situation of targeting a population of civilians, exactly like Israel is shooting in a fishbowl. And there is no shelter, and there is nowhere to run for the general population. Gaza is living in a very dire situation." We also speak with Gershon Baskin, the founder of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, who was the initiator of the secret talks between Israel and Hamas for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Oliver Stone blasts US media, Petraeus

Today on Talk to Al Jazeera, Rosalind Jordan has a conversation with Oliver Stone.

Oliver Stone on untold US History

Democracy Now!:

Academy Award-winning Oliver Stone has teamed up with historian Peter Kuznick to produce a 10-part Showtime series called "Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States." Drawing on archival findings and recently declassified documents, the filmmakers critically examine U.S. history, from the atomic bombing of Japan to the Cold War, to the fall of communism, and continuing all the way through to the Obama administration. Contrary to what’s taught in schools across the country, the filmmakers found the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were militarily unnecessary and morally indefensible. They also suggest the Soviet Union, not the United States, ultimately defeated the Germans in World War II. And, they assert, the United States, not the Soviet Union, bore the lion’s share of responsibility for perpetuating the Cold War. The filmmakers also found U.S. presidents, especially in wartime, have frequently trampled on the Constitution and international law, and they note the United States has brought the world dangerously close to nuclear war by repeatedly brandishing nuclear threats. The first episode of the series aired Monday night on Showtime. For more about this series and the companion book, we are joined by Stone and Kuznick.

Benjamin Franklin on the usefulness of churches

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Inside Story - A slap on the wrist for BP?

It has been two-and-a-half years since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and spilling nearly five billion barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, oil giant BP has reached a settlement with the US government. The company agreed to pay $4.5bn - the largest criminal fine in US history - in an attempt to resolve charges related to its oil spill. Although this is a record-setting penalty, it is one the company can comfortably afford to pay. So, as the region continues to suffer, does BP's $4.5bn settlement go far enough?

Gaza hospitals struggle to cope

Israel's campaign of air strikes on Gaza's continued for a second night. The number of casualties is rising and Hamas' retaliation is causing panic inside Israel. For the first time, rockets fired from Gaza have reached the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Air raid sirens sounded there for the first time in more than 20 years. Inside Gaza, the bombardment is causing so many injuries that hospital staff face being overwhelmed. And the return fire into Israel is also causing casualties. Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba reports from Gaza.

Inside Story - United against austerity

Millions of workers across Europe are protesting against austerity, as labour unions raise concerns about growing social anxiety. Labour unions organised a day of action on Wednesday to urge Europe's leaders to abandon their austerity programmes. It was the biggest co-ordinated response yet to sweeping budget cuts being imposed in Europe's struggling economies.

Breaking truce, Israel kills civilians in Gaza

Democracy Now!:

Israel is threatening to launch a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip after breaking an informal ceasefire with an ongoing series of deadly attacks. At least 13 Palestinian civilians have been killed, including a baby and a mother pregnant with twins, in addition to more than 100 wounded. Israel says it has launched the strikes to prevent Palestinian rocket fire, but the latest round of violence began last week when Israeli troops killed a young boy in Gaza. The situation has escalated since Saturday, when Palestinian militants fired at an Israeli military vehicle near the Israel-Gaza border. After Palestinian militant groups agreed to an informal truce on Monday, Israel broke two days of quiet with Wednesday’s attack. Israel’s attack on Gaza marks its largest since the U.S.-backed operation that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians nearly four years ago. We go to Gaza City to speak with Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer.

The decline of the BBC in one screenshot

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Current top headlines on BBC News website:

1) Gaza missiles fired at tel aviv (main headline)
2) Israel's Gaza rocket problem
3) "Hamas targets our children"

4) "Determined to follow path of jihad"
5) UK's Hague criticises Hamas.
6) Life on hold in Israel
7) Conflict test for changed Egypt 
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BBC Arabic cameraman Jihad Masharawi weeps while he holds the body of his 11-month old son Ahmad, at Shifa hospital following an Israeli air strike on their family house, in Gaza City on Wednesday.

However, the chronology of events of the recent flare-up began on November 5, when an innocent, apparently mentally unfit, 20-year old man, Ahmad al-Nabaheen, was shot when he wandered close to the border. Medics had to wait for six hours to be permitted to pick him up and they suspect that he may have died because of that delay.
 Then, on November 8, a 13-year-old boy playing football in front of his house was killed by fire from the IOF that had moved into Gazan territory with tanks as well as helicopters. The wounding of four Israeli soldiers at the border on November 10 was therefore already part of a chain of events where Gazan civilians had been killed, and not the triggering event.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mainstream media fails to report Gaza atrocities

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) report on Sunday November 11, five Palestinian civilians including three children had been killed in the Gaza strip in the previous 72 hours, in addition to two Palestinian security personnel. Four of the deaths occurred as a result of Israeli military firing artillery shells on youngsters playing soccer. Moreover, 52 civilians had been wounded, of which six were women and 12 were children. (Since we began composing this text, the Palestinian death toll has risen, and continues to rise.)

Articles that do report on the killings overwhelmingly focus on the killing of Palestinian security personnel. For example, an Associated Press article published in the CBC world news on November 13, entitled 'Israel mulls resuming targeted killings of Gaza militants,' mentions absolutely nothing of civilian deaths and injuries. It portrays the killings as 'targeted assassinations.' The fact that casualties have overwhelmingly been civilians indicates that Israel is not so much engaged in "targeted" killings, as in "collective" killings, thus once again committing the crime of collective punishment.
Another AP item on CBC news from November 12 reads 'Gaza rocket fire raises pressure on Israel government.' It features a photo of an Israeli woman gazing on a hole in her living room ceiling. 

Again, no images, nor mention of the numerous bleeding casualties or corpses in Gaza. Along the same lines, a BBC headline on November 12 reads 'Israel hit by fresh volley of rockets from Gaza.' Similar trends can be illustrated for European mainstream papers.

News items overwhelmingly focus on the rockets that have been fired from Gaza, none of which have caused human casualties. What is not in focus are the shellings and bombardments on Gaza, which have resulted in numerous severe and fatal casualties. It doesn't take an expert in media science to understand that what we are facing is at best shoddy and skewed reporting, and at worst willfully dishonest manipulation of the readership.

Furthermore, articles that do mention the Palestinian casualties in Gaza consistently report that Israeli operations are in response to rockets from Gaza and to the injuring of Israeli soldiers. However, the chronology of events of the recent flare-up began on November 5, when an innocent, apparently mentally unfit, 20-year old man, Ahmad al-Nabaheen, was shot when he wandered close to the border. Medics had to wait for six hours to be permitted to pick him up and they suspect that he may have died because of that delay.

Then, on November 8, a 13-year-old boy playing football in front of his house was killed by fire from the IOF that had moved into Gazan territory with tanks as well as helicopters. The wounding of four Israeli soldiers at the border on November 10 was therefore already part of a chain of events where Gazan civilians had been killed, and not the triggering event. 

We, the signatories, have recently returned from a visit to the Gaza strip. Some among us are now connected to Palestinians living in Gaza through social media. For two nights in a row Palestinians in Gaza were prevented from sleeping through continued engagement of drones, F16s, and indiscriminate bombings of various targets inside the densely populated Gaza strip. The intent of this is clearly to terrorise the population, successfully so, as we can ascertain from our friends' reports. If it was not for Facebook postings, we would not be aware of the degree of terror felt by ordinary Palestinian civilians in Gaza. This stands in stark contrast to the world's awareness of terrorised and shock-treated Israeli citizens.

Continue reading here.

Bill Maher talks election results with Eliot Spitzer

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” joins “Viewpoint” host Eliot Spitzer to assess the post–Election Day political landscape. In a wide-ranging interview, they discuss Karl Rove’s Fox News Ohio denial, Mitt Romney’s candidacy, whether Chris Christie can be “a hopeful beacon for the Republican Party,” Bill Kristol’s shifting opinion on tax policy and how the GOP needs to change moving forward.

“The conservatives lost, and now, now is the time for progressives,” Maher says. “We can obsess about every stupid thing that conservatives do, and they will keep doing stupid things, but really what we need to do, I think, is turn our attention to the president and hold his feet to the fire on those issues like getting out of Afghanistan, civil liberties, stopping the drug war, climate change — these are issues where he was not not able to do I’m sure as much as he wanted to do in the first term, but look, he has no more elections to run. If not now, when? This is the time.”

Occupy offshoot bails out people, not banks

Democracy Now!:

An offshoot of Occupy Wall Street has launched a new movement called "Rolling Jubilee" to buy distressed debt from financial firms, often for pennies on the dollar, and then canceling it so that borrowers do not have to repay. The people who incurred the debt in the first place then get a certified letter informing them they are off the hook. Typically, financial institutions sell debt for pennies on the dollar to third parties who either try to collect on it or bundle it up for resale. However, the Rolling Jubilee activists say they are buying up the debt in order to "liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal." Tonight, Rolling Jubilee is holding a sold-out benefit concert in New York City to continue its anti-debt fundraising. The group says it has already raised $129,000 through online donations, which is enough to buy approximately $2.5 million worth of defaulted loans, due to their steep markdowns. We’re joined by Pamela Brown, a Ph.D. student in sociology at the New School and one of the organizers of the Rolling Jubilee. She also is participating in the Occupy Sandy efforts to organize local relief efforts to people hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy.

Warren to seek Senate filibuster reform

Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senator-elect from Massachusetts, The Huffington Post:

I'm honored to serve the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate, and I'm grateful for everything you've done to help send me to Washington.

When I'm sworn in just a couple of months from now, I want to fight for jobs for people who want to work. I want millionaires and billionaires and Big Oil companies to pay their fair share. And I want to hold Wall Street accountable.

But here's the honest truth: we'll never do any of that if we can't get up-or-down votes in the Senate.

Remember Jimmy Stewart's classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? I love that movie. That's what most of us think of when we hear the word "filibuster" -- a single passionate senator speaking for hours about legislation they fiercely oppose until they literally collapse with exhaustion.

But that's not what today's filibuster looks like. In reality, any senator can make a phone call, say they object to a bill, then head out for the night. In the meantime, business comes to a screeching halt.

Senate Republicans have used this type of filibuster 380 times since the Democrats took over the majority in 2006. We've seen filibusters to block judicial nominations, jobs bills, political transparency, ending Big Oil subsidies -- you name it, there's been a filibuster.

We've seen filibusters of bills and nominations that ultimately passed with 90 or more votes. Why filibuster something that has that kind of support? Just to slow down the process and keep the Senate from working.

I saw the impact of these filibusters at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Forty-five senators pledged to filibuster any nominee to head that new consumer agency, regardless of that person's qualifications. After I left the agency, they tried to hold Richard Cordray's nomination vote hostage until the Senate agreed to weaken the agency to the point where it could no longer hold the big banks and credit card companies accountable. 

That's not open debate -- that's paralyzing progress. 

I learned something important in my race against Senator Brown: voters want political leaders who are willing to break the partisan gridlock. They want fewer closed-door roadblocks and more public votes on legislation that could improve their lives. 

On the first day of the new session in January, the senators will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote. The change can be modest: If someone objects to a bill or a nomination in the United States Senate, they should have to stand on the floor of the chamber and defend their opposition.

I'm joining Senator Jeff Merkley and six other newly elected senators to pledge to lead this reform on Day One, and I hope you'll be right there with us. Our campaign didn't end on Election Day -- and I'm counting on you to keep on working each and every day to bring real change for working families. 

This is the first step.

The latest attacks on Gaza

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

UK gas trading market 'manipulated'

While most countries set the price of gas around the price of oil, Britain decided that an unregulated gas trading market was a better idea. The fear now is that lack of oversight has led to a cartel. Al Jazeera's Lawrence Lee reports from London.

UN to vote on US embargo of Cuba

Cubans are calling for the end to the trade embargo imposed by the United States after the 1959 revolution. They say the sanctions are outdated and are stopping development and economic growth on the island. The United Nations is to vote on a resolution condemning the blockade on Tuesday. Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo reports from Havana.

BBC scandal exposes cover-up of pedophilia

Democracy Now!:

A major media scandal has toppled the head of the BBC over the network’s handling of two reports on sex abuse, wrongly implicating a politician in one, and killing a report on its own popular BBC host, the late Jimmy Savile. One year after his death, Savile has been accused of abusing potentially hundreds of victims, while the BBC stayed silent. We’re joined by three guests: Lark Turner, who has been researching and writing about the BBC scandal involving Jimmy Savile for the New York Times; Tim Gopsill, a longtime British reporter who warns that much of the criticism directed at the BBC’s handling of this scandal comes from conservative media outlets in the U.K. who want to see the network dismantled and defunded; and Donald Findlater, a sexual abuse spokesperson for the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and director of Stop It Now! U.K.

Sign here to stop Golden Dawn Nazis in Montreal!

Why this is important

The existence of a Nazi Organization in Canada such as Golden Dawn, the Greek Neo-Nazi party, is against the Canadian Charter of Human Rights.

Their leader has written extensively on the goodness of the nazis and white supremacy, and ends a passage quoted on the site with a “HEIL HITLER”. Not to mention their goal of expelling gays, immigrants, addicts, the disabled, and those with mental illness from Greece, and creating a blood registry to ensure citizens’ “purity”. Or the brutal beatings of gays and immigrants, often with help from the cops.

L'existence d'une organisation nazie au Canada comme L'aube Doree, l'organization Naziste de Grece est contraire à la Charte Canadienne des droits de l'homme.


Golden Dawn is a Nazi & Organization that has been allowed in the Greek Parliaments, Greek courts have declared them LEGAL even though their actions and beliefs break European Union Laws, they are now being investigated by the European Union. We demand that Canadian government prevents them from establishing any Nazi organization in any shape or form. It is hypocritical to allow them to practice racism and discrimination in the most immigrant friendly country in the world! PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION!  

Sign the petition here.

It's time to bailout the people

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Latin American states seek 'drug war' review

The leaders of several Latin American countries want an international review of drug policies. The issue was brought to the centre of international attention after two US states voted to legalise recreational marijuana use last week. The issue is no laughing matter for the presidents of Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica. They say their efforts to fight drug smuggling, often with deadly results, will be affected. Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reports from Washington.

Protests greet Merkel in Portugal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been met by protests on a short visit to Portugal. Merkel was in Lisbon to show her support for the country's economic reforms. Portugal is half-way through a three-year, $99bn bailout program and but public unrest over austerity is growing with many people blaming Germany. Al Jazeera's Nick Spicer reports from Lisbon.

Global brands face UK tax scrutiny

Three of the biggest global brands are being asked to justify the small amount of tax they pay in the UK. The Public Accounts Committee has been asking why Starbucks recorded sales of nearly $5bn but paid less than $14m in taxes over the last 13 years. Google and Amazon are also under question. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from London.

"Fix the debt" a front for more corporate bailouts

Democracy Now!:

As the White House begins a series of meetings today on the looming "fiscal cliff," a coalition of the largest corporate firms and advocacy groups is lobbying for wide-ranging cuts in government spending, including to programs like Medicare and Social Security. The group, which includes 80 of the country’s most powerful CEOs, is called The Campaign to Fix the Debt. It was co-founded by former Clinton White House chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, previously the co-chairs of President Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Critics have accused the group of using the budget crisis to push for corporate tax cuts. We are joined by Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy project at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the new report, "The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks."

The working poor: who are they?

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Injured US soldiers demand better care

Some of the US soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered terrible injuries. The US government has long paid for their medical care. But families say the government needs to do more to help them. Rosiland Jordan reports from Washington.

Greek parliament passes brutal austerity budget

The Greek parliament has approved next year's budget imposing further austerity measures.
The budget contains cuts worth $13.5bn over the next two years. It also raises the retirement age from 65 to 67 and slashes pensions by as much as 15 per cent. Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips reports from Athens.

German solar power plants

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Bernie Sanders' message to John Boehner

Walmart Black Friday strike for stores across US

The Huffington Post:

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving regarded as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, may be dramatically different this year.

Organizers are planning a nationwide strike against Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, and are banking on a new strategy: online organizing.

Labor organizers are working with social action nonprofit Engage Network as well as corporate watchdog nonprofit Corporate Action Network to pull off what they are calling a "viral" -- meaning national and spreading online -- strike.

Walmart workers interested in joining the day of action are directed to this website, either to find a store near them with an organized strike or to "adopt an event" at a store near them. 

Brian Young, cofounder of the Corporate Action Network, said on a conference call coordinated by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union Thursday, that organizers cannot cover the roughly 4,000 Walmarts across the country, but enabling self-appointed leaders online has widened and decentralized the campaign. 

Supporters can also sponsor a striking worker, who may be losing wages in order to strike, by donating grocery gift cards. The campaign has raised more than $13,500 worth of donations toward grocery gift cards since Oct. 15 -- a figure that doesn't include significant funds raised through mailed-in checks, Jamie Way, of the UFCW, told HuffPost.

The campaign is also mobilizing strikers and supporters through a Facebook app, multiple Facebook pages, a Tumblr and Twitter with the hashtag #walmartstrikers.

Continue reading here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Venice submerged in near-record floods

The canals of Italy's famous city of Venice have been drenched by heavy rain, sending water levels soaring to near record highs. With a metre-and-a-half of water, 80 per cent of Venice was flooded at the peak of high tide. The combination of meteoroglical and astronomical factors that led to it, Sunday's tides the seventh highest of all time. Al Jazeera's Claudio Lavanga reports from Venice.

New technology powers Germany's bike growth

They have two wheels that can get drivers from one place to another with no effort, and they are taking Europe by storm. They are electric-powered bicycles, which are being built with the help of the multinational firm Daimler Benz. The bikes, which cost as much as $5,000, only help cyclists pedal if they want them to, but their motors can also effortlessly push up drivers to 45 kilometres per hour. Al Jazeera's Nick Spicer reports from Berlin.

Thomas Jefferson on Christianity

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Experts call Post Traumatic Stress an injury

Afghan soldiers and victims have testified in the preliminary trial of US soldier Robert Bales. He is accused of killing 16 civilians in southern Afghanistan in March. But his lawyers argue he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a condition that plagues millions of people but some experts say it is misunderstood. Tom Ackerman reports from Washington.

Harper toughens pot laws, two states legalize

The Canadian Press:

Ottawa - The same day that voters in two U.S. states approved the legalization of marijuana, the Harper government in Ottawa was bringing into force tough new mandatory penalties for pot.

The states of Washington and Colorado both voted in favour of ballot-box propositions Tuesday that remove criminal penalties for the possession and sale of recreational marijuana, while a similar provision in Oregon was defeated.

Tuesday was also the day that drug measures in the Conservative government’s omnibus Safe Streets and Communities Act, passed last spring, came into full force.

Canada’s new law provides a mandatory six-month jail term for growing as few as six marijuana plants, twice the mandatory minimum for luring a child to watch pornography or exposing oneself on a playground.

“Today our message is clear that if you are in the business of producing, importing or exporting of drugs, you’ll now face jail time,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in a release Tuesday, before U.S. polls closed.

By day’s end, Colorado had voted to permit adults over 21 to grow up to six pot plants in private, and Washington had voted to permit state-licensed growers to sell adult individuals up to an ounce of marijuana at a time.

Nicholson was not available Wednesday to comment on the American state votes but his spokeswoman reiterated in an email that “our government does not support the decriminalization or the legalization of marijuana.”

Contrast that with Geoff Plant, a former British Columbia attorney general who supports the Stop the Violence BC coalition that is campaigning for legal changes.

“The take-away for politicians is to realize voters on both sides of the border are increasingly wanting this change, and that should make politicians both nervous about what will happen if they don’t listen to voters and also less nervous about the risk associated with change,” said Plant.

In Mexico City, Luis Videgaray, the main adviser to Mexico’s president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, said the Washington and Colorado votes will force the Mexican government to rethink its efforts on halting marijuana smuggling across the border.

And Sean McAllister, a former assistant attorney general in Colorado, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper Wednesday that “I really think this is the beginning of the end for marijuana prohibition, not only in the U.S., but in many countries across the world, including the U.K. We didn’t just legalize it, we created a regulatory system.”

Eugene Oscapella, who teaches drug policy and criminology at the University of Ottawa, said one of the biggest impacts of Tuesday’s state legalization votes may be on Canadian perceptions.

He noted 14 states have decriminalized pot, plus two that have now legalized.

“People have begun increasingly to realize the current system, the use of the criminal law, imports terrible, terrible collateral harms — and it doesn’t stop people from using drugs,” Oscapella said.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

BBC director resigns amid scandals

The director general of the BBC has resigned. George Entwistle was only appointed two months ago, but he has faced a string of controversies. A flagship news programme, just in the last week, wrongly implicated a former Conservative party treasurer in a sex abuse scandal. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from London.

Spain suicides result of economic crisis

Moments before Ameia Egana, aged 53, was to be evicted from her fourth floor apartment, she clambered over the balcony railing and jumped to her death. Police at the scene said she died on impact. It is the second suicide in Spain in a matter of weeks; a man facing eviction in Grenada was found hanging in his home. A local judge called to the scene said the law on evictions must be changed. Al Jazeera's Peter Sharp reports.

Rhino poacher gets record prison term

Animal rights campaigners are celebrating a record prison term given to a rhino poacher in South Africa. Chumlong Lemtongthai, a Thai man who was the head of an international ring that illegally traded rhino horns, has been sentenced to 40 years to jail. Lemtonghtai pleaded guilty to 59 charges, after he allegedly took advantage of a law allowing foreigners to hunt rhinos in South Africa by paying prostitutes to pose as hunters. He then sent the horns to Asia, where they were sold in tradional medicine markets. Al Jazeera's Mereana Hond reports.

Indonesian workers demand job security

Employers in Indonesia are threatening to close their factories as strike action spreads. The country's economy is booming but workers say there's no job security. Step Vaessen reports from one affected plant in West Java.

Why taxes have to be raised on the rich

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bill Maher on Hardball talks election results

Smiley, West on non-progressive Obama record

Democracy Now!:

As the most expensive presidential election in U.S. history comes to an end, broadcaster Tavis Smiley and professor, activist Dr. Cornel West join us to discuss President Obama’s re-election and their hopes for a national political agenda in and outside of the White House during Obama’s second term. At a time when one in six Americans is poor, the price tag for combined spending by federal candidates — along with their parties and outside groups like super PACs — totaled more than $6 billion. Together, West and Smiley have written the new book, "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto." Both Tavis and Smiley single out prominent progressives whom they accuse of overlooking Obama’s actual record. "We believe if [Obama] is not pushed, he is going to be a transactional president and not a transformational president," Smiley says. "We believe the time is now for action and no longer accommodation… To be the most progressive means you’ve taken some serious risk. And I just don’t see the example of that." West says that some prominent supporters of Obama "want to turn their back to poor and working people. It’s a sad thing to see them as apologists for the Obama administration in that way."

France relaxes stance on immigration

In 2010, about 116,000 foreigners were granted French citizenship, but in 2011 that figure fell by almost 30 per cent to 87,000. A more relaxed system under the country's new socialist government should reverse the decline and encourage many more to apply for a passport, but this is something the opposition is fighting hard to stop. Whatever their reason for wanting French nationality, immigrants will still have to navigate a maze of bureaucracy. Al Jazeera's Charlie Angela reports from Paris.

Remember: Obama approved the NDAA

Business Insider:

Despite his promise to veto amendments within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) President Obama said Wednesday he will approve the law allowing the U.S. military to arrest and hold anyone it deems a terrorist, even on American soil.

Phil Hirschkorn of CBS News reports the Obama administration abandoned its veto saying the final version of the bill had been "softened." The minor adjustments to the wording now give the President power to issue a waiver of the military detention requirement and allow the White House to use its own judgment in putting the controls into place.

A White House statement says, "We have concluded that the language does not challenge or constrain the President's ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people, and the President's senior advisors will not recommend a veto."

Executive Director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth told CBS, "By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law. In the past, Obama has lauded the importance of being on the right side of history, but today he is definitely on the wrong side."

The ACLU agrees. "If President Obama signs this bill, it will damage both his legacy and American's reputation for upholding the rule of law," Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office says. "The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era, and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill."

Pot: Colorado, Washington showdown with feds

Democracy Now!:

In a historic move, Colorado and Washington have become the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Fifty-two percent of voters in Colorado supported Amendment 64, which will amend the state constitution to allow those 21 and older to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana at specially regulated stores, and permit adults to grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes. Meanwhile in Washington, Initiative 502 passed by a 10-point margin. Now marijuana reform advocates are preparing for a showdown with the federal government, which still considers the plant a dangerous drug. “Maybe state-by-state, city-by-city, with voters saying, 'Even if the federal government is sticking to its line, we want something different,' there’s a hope out there this message will get through to the federal government and they’re going to start doing things differently,” says our guest, Mick Dumke, a reporter for Chicago’s alternative newspaper, the Chicago Reader. Dumke also notes Chicago City Council recently passed an ordinance that allows ticketing for low-level marijuana possession, but that has not stopped police from arresting people in certain neighborhoods.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cannabis legalization could impact cartels

Following the US Presidential election this week, the states of Colorado and Washington have quietly made history by voting to legalize the use of marijuana. The new legislation is likely to have an impact across the border in Mexico, where a deadly drug war is being waged. Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman reports from the capital Mexico City.

Protests against Greek austerity

Greeks can expect more spending cuts, tax hikes and job insecurity after Parliament passed another austerity bill. The decision led to rioting by groups of young protestors, exchanging rocks and petrol bombs for rounds of tear gas. Al Jazeera's Simon Mcgregor Wood reports from Athens.

Puerto Rico referendum approves statehood

Democracy Now!:

For the first time in Puerto Rico’s history, a majority of the island’s voters have supported a non-binding referendum to become a full U.S. state. The measure will require approval from the U.S. Congress, but President Obama has said he will respect the vote. Obama made the same promise last year when visited the island, becoming the first sitting U.S. president in half a century to do so. If Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state, its residents will have the right to vote in all U.S. elections, but will also have to start to pay federal taxes. We speak to Juan González, Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist.

Obama and the failure of capitalist democracy

Portland anti-austerity protests

Running street battles during Portland anti-austerity protests saw pepper spray, police baton charges, beatings and arrests. In New York, Occupy Sandy Relief, organized by Occupy Wall St., got there to offer assistance to people hardest hit by Storm Sandy. Over in DC, Veterans on their fourth week of occupation of the V.A. marched to the White House and The Black is Back rally was held at Malcolm X Park to condemn the hypocritical role of US imperialism as well as indefinite detention, drone attacks, aggressive military occupations and torture. Los Angeles held two actions: One against Deutsche Bank HQ to protest the European banking giant's violation of a federal court order and the Fort Hernandez solidarity action for cancer victim, Niko Black.