The Interpreters We Left Behind.
"As our troops pull out of Iraq
and Afghanistan, we're abandoning fixers and translators to the dangerous countrymen who view them as traitors. Asylum in the U.S. could be their last hope. If only we'd let them in
What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now?
"With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
Secret and Lies of the Bailout.
"The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come." [Via]
Murder of an Idealist.
"For six hours on September 11, the American compounds in Benghazi, Libya, stood siege. When the attack was over, J. Christopher Stevens's
body was pulled from the wreckage—the first U.S. ambassador killed by militants in over thirty years. Since then, his death has been politicized and the details of the attack distorted. Sean Flynn straightens out the story of Stevens's last days in Libya—and reveals the true believer we lost that day."
The Permanent War
(video). "This project, based on interviews with dozens of current and former national security officials, intelligence analysts and others, examines evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies and the practice of targeted killing." Part 1: Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists.
Part 2: A CIA veteran transforms U.S. counterterrorism policy.
Part 3: Remote U.S. base at core of secret operations. [more inside]
Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'. Kenan Malik's
essay is awarded 3 Quarks Daily's
Top Quark for politics & social science by judge Stephen M. Walt
: "Soldiers in today’s culture wars believe 'European civilization' rests on a set of unchanging principles that are perennially under siege—from godless communism, secular humanism, and most recently, radical Islam. For many of these zealots, what makes the 'West' unique are its Judeo-Christian roots. In this calm and elegantly-written reflection on the past two millenia, Malik shows that Christianity is only one of the many sources of 'Western' culture, and that many of the ideas we now think of as 'bedrock' values were in fact borrowed from other cultures. This essay is a potent antidote to those who believe a 'clash of civilizations' is inevitable—if not already underway—and the moral in Malik’s account could not be clearer. Openness to outside influences has been the true source of European prominence; erecting ramparts against others will impoverish and endanger us all."
Coming Apart: After 9/11 transfixed America, the country’s problems were left to rot.
"No national consensus formed around 9/11. Indeed, the decade since has destroyed the very possibility of a common narrative."
Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?
"A whistleblower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals."
The Secret History of Guns.
"The Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, and, for most of its history, the NRA all worked to control guns. The Founding Fathers? They required gun ownership—and regulated it. And no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers—the true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement. In the battle over gun rights in America, both sides have distorted history and the law, and there’s no resolution in sight." [Via]
Worst. Congress. Ever.
"With the debt ceiling impasse and legislative gridlock sucking all the air out of Washington, Foreign Policy asked the experts: Is this really the worst Congress ever?
Introducing The Real Reagan.
"There is much to appreciate and even like about America's 40th president, and his two terms in office were not without significant achievements. But Ronald Reagan and his presidency are also badly misunderstood. To mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, we are offering what we hope will be a respite from the hagiography that has taken hold elsewhere -- a critical, but fair and respectful, exploration of the real Ronald Reagan
ACLU launches "Spyfiles" to track domestic surveillance.
"The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new website
Tuesday to track incidents of domestic political surveillance by the government along with a report
(PDF) claiming such incidents have increased steadily since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to the report there have been 111 incidents of illegal domestic political surveillance since 9/11 in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The website, Spyfiles
, will serve as the ACLU's online home for all news and reports of domestic spying."
The Exterminator’s Want-Ad,
a short story by Bruce Sterling, is a twisted first-person missive by a former K-Street lobbyist making his way in a post-collapse socialist regime of sharing. It's part of the Shareable Futures
series of short stories and speculative essays at Shareable.net
Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror.
"In a case
pitting free speech against national security, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a federal law
(PDF) that makes it a crime to provide 'material support'
to foreign terrorist organizations, even if the help takes the form of training for peacefully resolving conflicts
"How could anyone be against transparency? Its virtues and its utilities seem so crushingly obvious. But I have increasingly come to worry that there is an error at the core of this unquestioned goodness. We are not thinking critically enough about where and when transparency works, and where and when it may lead to confusion, or to worse. And I fear that the inevitable success of this movement--if pursued alone, without any sensitivity to the full complexity of the idea of perfect openness--will inspire not reform, but disgust. The 'naked transparency movement,' as I will call it here, is not going to inspire change. It will simply push any faith in our political system over the cliff." [Via]
Geoengineering and the New Climate Denialism.
"[S]ometimes the politics around an issue become so twisted that it's necessary to address the politics before we can have a real discussion about the problems and how to solve them. That's the case with geoengineering
Quit Lying About Roosevelt!
"Amity Shlaes, the GOP's Great Depression philosopher-queen, couldn't be more dangerously wrong." [Via]
The Axis of Upheaval:
A special report on the coming age of instability.
Politics, the Press, and the Public.
Bill Moyers speaks
with Glenn Greenwald
and Jay Rosen
about the role of the establishment press in America’s dysfunctional political system.
Robots at War: The New Battlefield.
"It sounds like science fiction, but it is fact: On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, robots are killing America’s enemies and saving American lives. But today’s PackBots, Predators, and Ravens are relatively primitive machines. The coming generation of 'war-bots' will be immensely more sophisticated, and their development raises troubling new questions about how and when we wage war." [Via]
Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA.
"This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA
. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
Depression 2009: What would it look like?
"Lines at the ER, a television boom, emptying suburbs. A catastrophic economic downturn would feel nothing like the last one." [Via]
After the Imperial Presidency.
"Will the new president and Congress undo the executive-power
plays of the Bush era?"
is a new documentary
which details how the government set aside the rule of law in its pursuit of harsh interrogations
of suspected terrorists. You can watch it online
or on some PBS affiliates
, but PBS won't run it nationally until January 21, 2009. Scott Horton
suspects that may be because PBS is afraid of political retaliation
The Stakes, 2008.
Eight of the Washington Monthly's
contributing editors "consider the looming challenges that America is likely to face—in the economy, education, the courts, and other areas—during an Obama or McCain presidency, and how, based on what we know about the two men, they are likely to handle them." [more inside]
"Dear Mr. President-Elect,
It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food." Michael Pollan advises the next president on what he can and should do to remake the way we grow and eat our food. [Via]
"A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record
of recklessness and dishonesty."
Don't Think of a Maverick!
offers some tips on framing
to the Obama campaign.
, the man who taught rulers how to rule
Presidential Crimes: Moving on is not an option.
"In deciding about legal redress, we need to be clear about the large stakes in our decision. The very multiplicity of the apparent crimes, the sheer array of arguably broken laws, is dizzying. But that multiplicity must be faced, for in it we will see that what got in President Bush’s way was not any one law but the rule of law itself. It is the rule of law that has been put in jeopardy by a project of executive domination; it is the rule of law that will continue to be in peril; and it is only, therefore, by addressing the crimes through legal instruments—through a formal, legal arena, and not simply through the electoral repudiation of bad policy—that the grave and widespread damage stands a chance of being repaired."
2009: A True Story.
"My name is Sara Ford and I am 18 years old. I moved to California at the end of last year. Before the first attacks... before everything changed." [Via] [more inside]
Kiki and Bubu!
Austrian art collective monochrom
presents the adventures of two sock puppets. Part One: Kiki and Bubu and The Shift.
"Bubu wants to know why his dad is busy all the time. And Kiki explains him why... because of the neoliberal shift." Part Two: Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege.
"Bubu ran into a bunch of liberals and they gave him a book. They said if he doesn't read it, they're going to beat him up. But Bubu can't read! And so Kiki helps..." [Via BB]