Provocative and informative, news and opinion that you did not see on the nightly news. Learn the rest of the story. You may not agree with everything here, but you will find it thought provoking and illuminating.
By Danny Schechter
Is the Iraq War actually over? 
The county has a long way to go to recover from a war that is not over. The war that began with the bang of shock and awe ended with the whimper of withdrawal with few of the issues solved. Many Americans are saying “good,” while most Iraqis are saying good riddance.
By Ellen Brown
The Way to Occupy a Bank is to Own One 
The campaign to “move your money” has gotten a groundswell of support. Having greater impact would be to “move our money” — move our local government revenues out of Wall Street banks into our own publicly-owned banks.
By Glenn Greenwald
Bradley Manning Deserves a Medal 
The oppressive treatment of Manning is designed to create a climate of fear, to send a signal to those who in the future discover serious wrongdoing committed in secret by the US: if you’re thinking about exposing what you’ve learned, look at what we did to Manning and think twice. The real crimes exposed by this episode are those committed by the prosecuting parties, not the accused.
By Bill van Auken
Obama, Congress Back Legalization of a Police State 
Despite the attempts of liberal and pseudo-left groups to promote illusions that Obama would veto the legislation because of concerns over its assault on democratic rights, the Democratic president’s only worry was that it might call into question the sweeping powers that he and his predecessor, George W. Bush, have already seized.
By Phil Rockstroh
Liberating America’s Worldview 
Occupy Wall Street protesters appealed to the broader U.S. population — and even the police — as fellow members of the 99 percent, but many Americans still fear breaking with the oppressive status quo and most police will follow orders in harsh crackdowns.
By Bob Burnett
2011: The Year Corporations Attacked Democracy 
For eighty years, Americans have feared robots, worrying they might one day rule the world. In 2011 we realized our real enemies are not robots, but multinational corporations, who have declared war on democracy.
By Joan Brunwasser
Election Integrity’s Victoria Collier Speaks Up 
What Jim and Ken’s monumental efforts really exposed- the devastating final analysis- is how easy it is to corrupt our entire system with just a few well-placed criminals stationed as sentinels against justice at every level of our system.This is one of the greatest conspiracy stories of our time, and still very hard for most Americans to stomach. But we’ve got to keep telling the truth. It’s more important now than ever.
By Chris Floyd
War Without End, Amen: The Reality of America’s Aggression Against Iraq 
The Iraq War has not ended. Not for the dead, not for their survivors, not for the displaced, the maimed, the lost, the suffering, not for all of us who live in the degraded, destabilized, impoverished world it has spawned, and not for the future generations who will live with the ever-widening, ever-deepening consequences of this irrevocable evil.
By Matt Gratz
Obama & Clinton Called as Witnesses for Bradley Manning 
Manning’s defense lawyer listed the Commander-in-chief and Secretary of State, among many other officials, as witnesses on Friday in a 20-page witness list posted online for the public to view. The names have since been censored. The preliminary hearing termed Article 32 is scheduled to begin on Dec. 16th at Fort Meade.
Indefinite Military Detention Measure Passes On Bill Of Rights Day 
The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, passed 86 to 13 and is expected to be signed quickly by President Obama, who withdrew a veto threat against the bill Wednesday. Six Democrats, six Republicans and one independent opposed the bill. By withdrawing his threat to veto the NDAA, President Obama has abandoned yet another principled position with little or nothing to show for it.
“Small Business Owner” in Walker Ad Actually a Billionaire That Helped Outsource Thousands of Jobs to China 
For the fifth month in a row, Wisconsin has led the nation in jobs lost AND another large (and very profitable) company-Thermo Fisher-is closing its plant as part of a larger transition toward non-American labor in Mexico and elsewhere. In the midst of this carnage, Walker has the nerve to put up an ad with “Chris” who is purportedly a small business owner that is extolling the virtues of Scott Walker’s job-creatin’ business utopia…that is losing more jobs than other state.
Occupy Wall Street Prepares For Occupation 2.0 
In celebration of their three-month anniversary, Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City are gearing up for Occupation 2.0, an attempt to occupy a small piece of unused land that is owned by the Trinity Church in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. If all goes according to plan, the second occupation would begin this Saturday, Dec. 17th.
By Robert Scheer
Christopher Hitchens: Reason in Revolt 
Hitch was the opposite of the opportunistic pundits who competed with him for public space. He took immense risks, not the least in offering himself for waterboarding before concluding it was unmistakably torture, or challenging the greatness of God, knowing full well that he was exposing himself as an object of wildly irrational hate.
By H. Kevin McNeelege
Waiting in the Examining Room 
Reflections on a post-op visit to a surgeon’s office
By Bob Alexander
I Wish We’d Stop Doing This 
I am not going to vote for a Capitalist in 2012. I don’t care whether they’re a “moderate” capitalist or not. I don’t care if they’re short, tall, fat, crazy, stupid, black, white, Conservative, or Liberal Capitalists. I will never vote for any of them again.
By Phil Rockstroh
Dying Empire Bebop: The Sedition Of Ecstatic Novelty 
John Coltrane reported that the conception and creation of his timeless masterpiece, “A Love Supreme” ended his addiction to drugs and alcohol. This soul-reviving suite should be made the suggested soundtrack of every drug and alcohol rehab unit in the United States — if not played on a repeating loop at every gas station, convenience store, and shopping mall on the planet.
Bradley Manning’s lawyer demands judge step down over Assange link 
Lawyer claims Department of Justice hopes to force Manning into plea bargain to give evidence in WikiLeaks investigation
FBI considered a sting aimed at Newt Gingrich in 1997 
It is a curious case in the annals of the FBI: The bureau considered a sting operation against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich after sifting through allegations from a notorious arms dealer that a $10 million bribe might get Congress to lift the Iraqi arms embargo.
By Robert Greenwald
Help NAACP End Voter Suppression 
We are working with NAACP to fight voter suppression.
By David Swanson
Set Your Doomsday Clock to 11:51 
The National Defense Authorization Act is not a leap from democracy to tyranny, but it is another major step on a steady and accelerating decade-long march toward a police state. The doomsday clock of our republic just got noticeably closer to midnight, and the fact that almost nobody knows it, simply moves that fatal minute-hand a bit further still.
From Arab Spring to Russian Winter? 
The December discontent in Russia is a conservative protest vote of the middle class against modernization. The social agenda of the left won, while the competitive agenda of liberals, a group which happens to include Medvedev and United Russia, lost.
Pathetic Partisan Persuasion and Other Stupid Stuff 
American voters in the main cast for more-or-less their partisan persuasion, that is Democrat or Republican. But still quite a few offended by both will insist to vote for their choice of the “lesser-evil” major candidate. We must do better than this.
Kristallnacht in Palestine 
Virtually daily, Israeli security forces attack, kill, or injure Palestinian civilians with impunity. They also destroy their property by bombing, shelling, bulldozing and uprooting it.
“With Friends Like These” 
It would certainly be ironic if the members of the “invented” Palestinian nation were expected to ask for recognition from the members of the “invented” Jewish/Israeli nation, at the demand of a member of the “invented” American nation, a person who, by the way, is of mixed German, English, Scottish and Irish stock.
ICC prosecutor: Concerns over Gaddafi’s death 
The death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was captured and killed by fighters in October, may have been a war crime, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court [ICC] has said.
Dan Froomkin: Financial Transaction Tax Sparks Hopes That Obama Will Play Robin Hood In 2012 
Advocates of a tiny but lucrative tax on financial transactions are increasingly hopeful that President Barack Obama’s need to more firmly establish himself as the Main Street candidate in 2012 will lead him to back the measure. The tax-though nearly inconsequential on a per-trade basis-would reap billions in revenue from Wall Street’s most rapacious institutions while also cutting down on their incentive to engage in the high-stakes, lightning-fast gambling that has proven particularly lucrative for them, at the expense of others.
Who will deliver the US postal service from destruction? 
Around 120,000 postal workers will lose their jobs with another 100,000 positions going unfilled. Saturday delivery will be gone, and first-class letter delivery will be slowed. Some historic postal buildings, including those with New Deal-era murals, have already been sold off. How could this venerable institution founded in 1775, which ran deficits for most of its existence as the “US Post Office Department”, face a possible shutdown?
Immigration Crackdown Also Snares Americans – Preston 
growing number of United States citizens have been detained under Obama administration programs intended to detect illegal immigrants who are arrested by local police officers. In a spate of recent cases across the country, American citizens have been confined in local jails after federal immigration agents, acting on flawed information from Department of Homeland Security databases, instructed the police to hold them for investigation and possible deportation. Americans said their vehement protests that they were citizens went unheard by local police officers and jailers for days, with no communication with federal immigration agents to clarify the situation.
Occupy Disrupt US Shipping – RT 
Video of massive “Occupy” protests erupted across America that paralyzed the West Coast on Dec 12. From the blocked port of Oakland to the shipping hub of Seattle, thousands of disenchanted activists have taken to the streets in defiance of a police crackdown. Ports shut down in San Diego, Los Angeles, Anchorage, Tacoma, Seattle, Longview and Oakland.
David Corn: Hitchens and I Shared an Office 
Observing Hitchens practice his craft and thrust and parry with intellectuals almost as sharp as him was as valuable an experience as I could have imagined. It sure beat attending J-school. Yet policy and political debates, as important as they are, come and go. Examples remain. Hitchens set one for me. And I know there is no reason to ask him to rest in peace.
Federal Government Offers States Greater Flexibility In Designing Essential Benefits 
Despite the GOP’s characterization of the Affordable Care Act as a one-size-fits-all federal mandate, the actual provisions of the law and the regulations promulgated by federal agencies reveal a state-based reform that allows governors and state legislators significant leeway and input in its implementation. For instance, today, the federal government issued guidance about oh the law’s essential health benefits: the standard benefits insurers will have to offer beginning in 2014. Regulators have long sought to balance affordability with comprehensiveness and in today’s “pre-rule bulletin,” the federal government has chosen to leave that task up to the states. Instead of establishing a single national standard, “states will be able to design benchmark plans based on one of four choices:
Did the Pentagon Help Strangle the Arab Spring – Turse 
As the Arab Spring blossomed and President Obama hesitated about whether to speak out in favor of protesters seeking democratic change in the Greater Middle East, the Pentagon acted decisively. It forged ever deeper ties with some of the most repressive regimes in the region, building up military bases and brokering weapons sales and transfers to despots from Bahrain to Yemen.
Bright Future for Solar 
The efficiency of conventional solar cells could be significantly increased, according to new research on the mechanisms of solar energy conversion led by chemist Xiaoyang Zhu at The University of Texas at Austin.
Dummies Guide to What Went Wrong in Europe – Baw 
Helga is the proprietor of a bar. She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. Helga keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers’ loans). Word gets around about Helga’s “drink now, pay later” marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Helga’s bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in town. A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Helga’s borrowing limit.
Taliban’s office in Doha – Pakistan Observer 
AFGHAN Taliban are proceeding ahead to open a Liaison Office in Doha, Qatar, a move aimed at facilitating formal beginning of talks between the US and Afghan resistance to find an amicable solution to the decades old war in Afghanistan and pave the way for the exit of the occupation forces. There is no doubt that the United States has given the approval for opening of the Taliban political headquarters, the first time the Islamist group will be treated as a recognised political party since it fell from power in 2001.
North Dakota\\\’s Banker Will See You Now – Businessweek 
Eric Hardmeyer may be the most popular banker in America. Over the last two years officials and advocacy groups in more than 30 states have called the Bank of North Dakota, where he is chief executive officer, to ask: How does the country’s only state-owned bank work? “As the financial crisis deepened and there were liquidity issues around the country,” says Hardmeyer, “our model was looked at a little bit deeper than it ever had been before.”
WikiLeaks defendant Manning to make court appearance 
When U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning walks into a military court Friday in Maryland, his many supporters and detractors will get their first glimpse of the soft-spoken Oklahoma native since his arrest in Iraq 19 months ago. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding the enemy, transmitting national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act and more than 20 other criminal charges. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in a military prison.
Climate Change May Modify Half Earth’s Plants 
Climate change will also drive the conversion of nearly 40% of land-based ecosystems from one major ecological community type – such as forest, grassland or tundra – toward another, according to a new NASA and university computer modelling study.
Eugene Robinson: Has Gingrich ever heard an idea he didn’t like? 
Can we please bury the notion that Newt Gingrich is some kind of deep thinker? His intellect may be as broad as the sea, but it’s about as deep as a birdbath. Gingrich’s debating technique is dogmatic insistence, rather than persuasion. His discourse knows no past and no future, just the glib opportunism of now.
Amy Goodman Interviews Rocky Anderson; Alternative to Obama 
A new political party has entered the fray as an alternative to Democrats and Republicans ahead of the 2012 elections. On Monday, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced will run for president with the newly formed Justice Party. Although hailing from a solidly Red state, Anderson has been known as one of the most progressive mayors of any major U.S. city in recent years. During his two mayoral terms from 2000 to 2008, Anderson was an outspoken champion of LGBT rights, environmental sustainability, and the antiwar movement in opposition to the Iraq War. Vowing to fight the influence of money over politics, Anderson kicked off his campaign on Monday with a pledge to limit individual donations to $100 a person. Anderson and the Justice Party say they hope to build a grassroots movement heading into the November 2012 elections. “We launched the Justice Party because the entire
Why Is Senator Wyden Promoting Republican Medicare ‘Reform’ Now? 
Outraged Democrats from Capitol Hill to the White House are denouncing Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) for sponsoring a new Medicare “reform” bill with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The House Republican budget authored by Ryan last spring, which would have transformed Medicare into a voucher program, left him and his party on the defensive with voters. But now conservatives are crowing. And Democrats are asking why Wyden would provide “bipartisan” cover for Ryan and the Republicans, just in time for the 2012 election?