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(Photo by joanneleon. October, 2012)
“To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.”

― William Pickens

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News and Opinion

Protesters ask bookstore to stop carrying Adidas apparel
United Students Against Sweatshops plan flash mob as part of weekend boot camp for campus organizers

Armed with bullhorns, protest signs and a choreographed routine to Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” members of the Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops asked those working at the University’s Barnes and Noble College bookstore to stop selling Adidas apparel yesterday.
Stoni Tomson, a Brown University sophomore who visited the University this weekend to participate in the protest, said the group finds fault with the sporting goods brand because of its factories’ standards overseas.
“There are reports coming out of factories in Indonesia of workers receiving death threats, even one miscarriage right on a factory floor,” she said. “On one level, what Adidas is doing is wrong. On another, it is also violating our schools’ code of conduct policy.”
While protesters asked to speak to the bookstore’s manager, a flash mob broke out in front of the Barnes and Noble Café, chanting and singing. Another group hung a banner from the second floor, while others chanted about sweatshops from the balcony and escalators.

“R-U Sweat-free?” they said. “Hey, you-should be.”

Jeremy Scahill on Obama's War Machine, American Assassinations & Journalism
Israel demands our support because it fights its ‘war against terrorists’ in our name
We westerners set the precedent when it comes to "collateral damage", now the Israelis are reeling out the same tired excuses

We Westerners set the precedents in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq – trains, bridges, TV stations, wedding parties, blocks of civilian apartments, you name it – and now the Israelis can trot along behind and produce, whenever necessary, the same tired list of excuses we invented for Nato.
That wise old Israeli owl Uri Avneri – he is 89 years old – thinks this is just the trap that Hamas fell into by launching its preposterous “Gates of Hell” rocket attacks in revenge for Jabari’s death. The whole Operation “Pillar of Defence” was about destroying Hamas’s weapons – not about the largely ineffective missiles themselves.

Isn’t this why Israel gave its operation the name it did? For, despite our constant repetition of “Operation Pillar of Defence”, Israeli friends tell me that the correct Hebrew translation of this sick war is Operation Pillar of Cloud. Which makes a lot more sense. For this comes from the Book of Exodus (13:21) – “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way.”

Israel pounds Gaza amid frantic diplomatic truce efforts

Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continued late Tuesday despite frantic diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire deal, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Earlier in the day, a Hamas official told reporters a deal would be announced shortly during Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo. But senior Israeli officials said a ceasefire agreement had not yet been reached.

Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes and rocket attacks from Gaza continued for a seventh day, with the Israeli toll rising to five following the deaths of an Israeli soldier and civilian contractor Tuesday. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense last week, according to Palestinian officials.

Tel Aviv bus hit by bomb, 10 wounded

Nov 21 (Reuters) - A bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding at least 10 people in what officials said was a terrorist attack that could complicate efforts to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

The blast shattered windows on the bus, which was driving along a tree-lined street next to Israel's huge defence ministry complex. Israel's ambulance service said three of the wounded were in a severe condition.

“There’s No Safe Place in Gaza”: A Dispatch

“There’s no safe place in Gaza,” says Fatmah Abu Awwad, who came to her brother’s house from the Twam area north of Gaza City with her husband and two children on Friday, when they realized it was only going to get worse. “But because you’re with your family you feel better. If someone destroys my house, at least here I know someone will look for me.”

Now, the middle-aged English teacher spends the nights laying awake and worrying about the family’s future. It’s like the feeling she had four years ago—she doesn’t know where the next strike will hit and she’s not sure if she’ll see the morning.

When I ask her son Tayeb, a shy nine-year-old with inquisitive eyes, how he’s doing, he can only tell me one thing: “I’m so scared.”

Fatmah knows Tayeb is anxious. “Now that he is older, he is very afraid,” she tells me. “It’s not like the first war, when he didn’t understand what was going on. Now, at night, he is shaking all night and sweating, like he has a bad fever. I thought it was tonsillitis at first, but now I realize it’s just that he’s very afraid.”

Covering This Gaza War

It's incredible to watch this war being covered on the inside, as it should have been during the previous war, by hundreds of foreign as well as local journalists.

In 2008 Israel and Egypt sealed their borders confining the journalists to the outskirts of the war inside the Strip. Myself and Ayman Mohyeldin (now NBC Foreign Affairs Correspondent) were left to describe what was happening to the outside world. We couldn't cover every strike, every tragedy, we couldn't be everywhere and we weren't awake 24 hours a day. Now, Gaza is under the microscope, whether via social media, print, radio, TV -- there is no ignoring what is raging within.

This week I heard a TV correspondent, who I very much respect and admire, throw back to the studio with the words "as Palestinians call it, the Israeli siege on Gaza." She was standing in Gaza City where Israeli ground forces were surrounding the perimeter of the Strip. Warships surrounded the sea and drones and F16s patrolled the skies above. If there was ever a time to call Gaza under siege with certainty, it was then. Yet as she stood talking about the strikes and the people killed, her need to be balanced at the end made her unable to tell the cold bold truth.

There is a general problem with media when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The need to sanitize events so as not to be controversial and upset the wrong people, the lack of humanizing the conflict for fear that it will make you look sympathetic or worse empathetic to the Palestinians, which could be career suicide. But not being bold and telling it how it is ultimately is a disservice to the truth and to journalism.

Israeli F-16 attack destroys Egyptian houses

An Israeli strike destroyed houses on the Egyptian side of the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip Monday.

A security source said that Israeli F-16 fired missiles at tunnels and houses adjacent to the border.

Oxfam supported kindergarten destroyed in Gaza violence

An Israeli airstrike has destroyed one Oxfam supported kindergarten (Al Bajan kindergarten) and left another damaged (Al Housna kindergarten) in Karama, North West Gaza City, the international aid agency said today. The agency had repaired water and sanitation facilities in the two kindergartens as part of an effort to improve the quality of life for people in communities that had been heavily affected during the last major Israeli military campaign on Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009.

The Internet at War (#Anonymous Operation Israel)
Some Things Never Change: Governments Still Present Biggest Threat to Open Internet

Some things change, but others stay the same. While the types of threats facing Internet users worldwide have diversified over the past few years, from targeted malware to distributed denial of service attacks, one thing has remained constant: governments seeking to exert control over their populations still remain the biggest threat to the open Internet.

Corporate Compliance

This is no more apparent than in the latest edition of Google's Transparency Report. As Dorothy Chou explains on Google's Public Policy Blog, government requests for both user data (see this Deeplinks post for more details) and content removal is on the rise. Content removal requests were stagnant for quite some time, notes Chou, but have spiked during the first half of 2012, during which there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content.

Dozens who protested in Yemen during Arab Spring still missing

The last time Yahya Sadoon saw his son Tareq was ten months ago. After father and son ate lunch together, twenty-year-old Tareq headed out to Change Square to participate in the daily demonstration calling for the ouster of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
He said he believes that the National Security Bureau, a government intelligence body, kidnapped Tareq and is keeping him at one of their secret prisons because he was an active supporter of the uprising against Saleh.

“In February, an official at the National Security Bureau called me and set up an appointment to negotiate my son’s release,” Sadoon said. “He said he could release Tareq from prison if we paid him a ransom of $1000. I’m too poor to pay so much money,” he said with a sigh, adding, “Tareq’s mother keeps crying all the time and I can’t take it anymore.”

Yahya then broke into tears as he looked at a poster of his son.

Yemeni Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashhor told The Media Line that at least 64 of the youths who took part in the uprising against the former regime have been missing since 2011. In many cases, he said, their families have no information about their fate.

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

The Evening Blues

The Reagan-O'Neill Myth of Bipartisan Social Security Reform

Tax the rich

In the audio recording from the civilian account sent out by Al Jazeera English, he says that they think Israel is using white phosphorous.  

PK Gaza - Gaza Parkour

Let it Be


Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

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