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Classic WhoWhatWhy: Police State Gears Up
by Dave Lindorff
In the wake of civil unrest this year spurred by deaths of black suspects in police custody, on May 18 President Obama made a surprise announcement to limit police militarization. This topic is not new to WhoWhatWhy readers. We first brought you the story of the disturbing trend of police departments arming themselves with surplus weapons from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq in February 2014.
Dick Cheney’s Biggest Lie
Kurt Eichenwald states bluntly that reporters are perpetuating “one of the greatest falsehoods in history.” He’s referring to Dick Cheney’s infamous claim in 2002 that, “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.’’ Actually, there was a lot of doubt, both inside the US intelligence community and around the world. And reporters should know that when chickenhawks roll it out as a defense for destroying Iraq.
Clinton Friend’s Memos on Libya Draw Scrutiny to Politics and Business
The New York Times reports on odd “advisory” emails between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and longtime Clintonista Sidney Blumenthal that show the “blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy” that have enriched the Clintons and their cronies. But it’s more than merely blurry: Blumenthal was emailing memos about Libya to Hillary while America was toppling Col. Gaddafi. And guess what? He was also working with businesses seeking contracts in a post-Gaddafi Libya. That’s truly murky.
Iowa Spent $50 Million to Lure IBM. Then the Firings Started
Five years ago the cities of Dubuque, Iowa and Columbia, Missouri showered a combined $84 million in tax breaks and other incentives on IBM to bring much-needed jobs to their lagging economies. Big Blue ate up the incentives. But earlier this year it began spitting out workers as they cut labor costs and left for greener pastures. It’s a now-familiar process that, in this increasingly hyper-capitalist system, happens more quickly and more often than ever before.
The Presidential Empire
The term “the imperial presidency” was coined by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in 1973. It described the unique Cold War phenomenon of excessive Executive power that created the National Security State. Although the imperial presidency faded slightly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it has been supercharged since 9/11 and, according to the excellent piece in Dissent, created a National Surveillance State that is unlikely to fade any time soon.
It’s The Beginning of the End for Coal in the US
Coal pollutes, poisons and pillories the environment in ways that make fracking look like windpower. It produces megatons of CO2. It spreads mercury. And coal mining often relies on mountaintop removal to bring up the black stuff and discard the leftovers in once-vital river ecosystems. But coal production and use is fading. This is the upside of fracking, the fallout of the oil glut and, even better, the rise of renewables conspiring to kill off the black cloud of coal.
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