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Dia Kayyali: FBI’s “Suicide Letter” to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Dangers of Unchecked Surveillance

Vox Populi

In 2014 The New York Times published an unredacted version of the famous “suicide letter” from the FBI to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The letter, discovered by historian and professor Beverly Gage, is a disturbing document. But it’s also something that everyone in the United States should read, because it demonstrates exactly what lengths the intelligence community is willing to go to—and what happens when they take the fruits of the surveillance they’ve done and unleash it on a target.

The anonymous letter was the result of the FBI’s comprehensive surveillance and harassment strategy against Dr. King, which included bugging his hotel rooms, photographic surveillance, and physical observation of King’s movements by FBI agents. The agency also attempted to break up his marriage by sending selectively edited “personal moments he shared with friends and women” to his wife.

Portions of the letter had been previously redacted. One…

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Chris Hedges: The Bankruptcy of Capitalism

Chris’s usual trenchant critique of capitalism and of the Left’s recapitulation of it.

Vox Populi

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

There will be no economic or political justice for the poor, people of color, women or workers within the framework of global, corporate capitalism. Corporate capitalism, which uses identity politics, multiculturalism and racial justice to masquerade as politics, will never halt the rising social inequality, unchecked militarism, evisceration of civil liberties and omnipotence of the organs of security and surveillance. Corporate capitalism cannot be reformed, despite its continually rebranding itself. The longer the self-identified left and liberal class seek to work within a system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” the more the noose will be tightened around our necks. If we do not rise up to bring government and financial systems under public control—which includes nationalizing banks, the fossil fuel industry and the arms industry—we will continue to be victims.

Corporate capitalism is supranational. It owes no loyalty…

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Medea Benjamin: I am American, Jewish and banned from Israel for my activism

This reminds me of now-Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to the Robert Morris campus roughly ten years ago. At the end of his remarks, he asked for questions, and I asked him to lay out his vision of a Middle East in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have been resolved: what would that look like? He bloviated for several minutes without answering the question. Clearly, he had–and has–no idea what peace would look like in that region.

Vox Populi

This month, the Israeli government announced that activists affiliated with 20 organizations, including my organization Codepink, would be banned from entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories because of our support for the nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

As a Jew, this causes me tremendous sadness because I have a lifetime attachment to Israel and Palestine. It also deepens my commitment to working for peace and equality for all the peoples of the region.

I first went to Israel 50 years ago, right after the June 1967 war. I was 16 years old and spent the summer living on the kibbutz Ein Gedi, right on the Dead Sea. I loved the kibbutz, where I learned about farming, communal living and socialism (yes, it was a socialist kibbutz at the time). I also learned, however, about the contempt and racism many Jews exhibited towards Palestinians and…

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Do Not Lie Down

Just when I’m about to give up hope, I run across this…

daniel r. cobb

There will always be bigots who insist on denying the rights of others not like them, and those driven by greed who only want to take, to consume and devour and in doing so, leave our planet despoiled.  Social and environmental justice have always been continuous struggles. However, don’t be discouraged into thinking that justice isn’t just.

Civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and environmental rights movements are all fighting the same enemy.  That enemy is the existing corporate and political power structure, a predominantly male, Republican body that has brought together many of humanity’s worst sins, namely greed, racism, misogyny, and for very many, willful self-delusion, into a dangerous and potent political force.  Incredibly, the directors of this movement, the McConnells, Kochs, and Trumps of the world have little in common with the most fervent in their base.  Yes, bigotry and misogyny run rampant, but beyond that, the stratospheric…

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Bill Moyers: Farewell

Bill Moyers is leaving the field. His strong voice was always reassuring: even if we didn’t agree on everything, I knew his values, his hopes, his goals were the same as mine. What voices will fill the void created by his absence? What values, what hopes, what goals will they push to the fore? Who will listen? And who will go beyond speaking and listening–to act on behalf of those goals? Yeats articulated my fears at this moment: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”

Vox Populi

“Democracy is fragile, and no one can say with certainty that it can withstand the manifold risks to which it is now exposed,” writes Moyers in farewell.

In a quiet post published to BillMoyers.com on Friday titled simply, “Farewell,” the veteran muckraker and site’s namesake—whose work in public life goes back to the Johnson administration in the early 1960s and whose journalistic career spans from his teens as a local newspaper reporter in East Texas to his most well-known role as the host of several PBS shows and documentaries—announced that the online project would soon enter “archive mode” and cease its daily output of progressive news and commentary.

Though Moyers, now eighty-three, has announced retirement at several intervals in his later career, on Friday he wrote, “Now it’s time for another farewell, and with this note I am signing off.” Its final day of regular operation will be Wednesday, December…

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Elizabeth Romero: Doors

Vox Populi

The door to the apartment closes with a sound like this:
Car doors sound like this:
Then the sound of distance
your mind stretches to measure.
There are doors in our dreams.
You can’t find them.
They won’t open.
You can’t fit through them.
You don’t have the key.
A young boy runs down the stairs in sneakers.
The door closes.
A police car door, an ambulance door,
the door of a hospital.
Well, people move on; they move on, that’s all.
Sometimes they die. Maybe in a hospital
the machines humming, the nurse
closes the door, a triangle of light
grows thin and disappears.
Every day you leave and come back
leave and come back
The door closes the door closes the door closes.
One day it closes for the last time.
You don’t live there anymore.


Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Romero

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Dr. Joel Kahn: The 1 Minute Health Booster

Great culinary health tips.

Vox Populi

As a cardiologist dealing with patients suffering from hardening of the arteries and other diseases of poor nutrition and inflammation, I suggest that you would be wise to buy the following three traditional spice combinations and use them liberally as one of the easiest ways to boost your nutrition. I prefer organic spices purchased within the last 12 months. Throw the old moldy ones away.

1. Apple Pie Spice
In my home, this bottle gets used in smoothies, on cereals, in coffee, and on fruit. This powerhouse mix usually has cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. By sprinkling this tasty and sugar-free mix on your food and drink you can boost the antioxidant level of meals tremendously.

Antioxidants work to reverse the “rusting” and aging effects of stress and toxins on your arteries and other organs. In a study of more than 3,100 food items, cloves were the top antioxidants among…

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