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Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines

Truthdig, a Web magazine that provides expert in-depth coverage of current affairs as well as a variety of thoughtful, provocative content assembled from a progressive point of view. Editor, Robert Scheer. Publisher, Zuade Kaufman.

Published: 2016-09-30T00:50:24+00:00


Striking Prisoners Are Bending the Arc of the Moral Universe Closer to Justice


By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan Right now, under some of the most repressive circumstances that exist in the United States, a national movement is growing for prisoners’ rights.

Undermining Democracy, Corporations Pour Millions Into Local Ballot Fights


By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams Public Citizen finds that total corporate spending on just eight local measures has topped $139 million.

President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation


Despite the ups and downs in his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facts and figures from Obama’s presidency tell a story of unprecedented support for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.

Tensions Over Dakota Access Pipeline Intensify in Wake of Police Raid


  Policemen gather at the site of one of the protests. (Screen shot via Unicorn Riot) A peaceful prayer ceremony at a Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) construction site was interrupted Wednesday by a highly militarized police raid in which 21 protesters were arrested. The website Unicorn Riot, which has been covering the protests closely, described Wednesday’s events: The caravan [of demonstrators] was followed by two helicopters and a circling airplane. Workers had left the area moments before the protectors arrived. After praying for nearly an hour, everyone gathered to caravan to a second site. … The water protectors went to a second site to pray. They prayed for 40 minutes and as they left the site, a large amount of police vehicles arrived and blockaded the only exit on the public road leading to the DAPL work site. Dozens of militarized police with shotguns appeared with a Bearcat armored vehicle as well as an MRAP [a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle]. … After blockading the exit points, police vehicles sped across open fields towards the crowd of protectors as they left the site. Several arrests were made, as police brandished loaded shotguns, and assault rifles. Images and video of the police raid were shared via social media: Water Protectors gather to pray at #DakotaAccessPipeline construction site. Heliocopters swirl overhead. #NoDapl— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) September 28, 2016   Crop duster flies over spraying as people move back to their vechiles. #NoDAPL— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) September 28, 2016 Unicorn Riot also streamed live video of the police raid:   This new wave of state-sponsored aggression toward the DAPL demonstrators comes just one week after Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II testified before the United Nations Human Rights Commission. “I am here because oil companies are causing the deliberate destruction of our sacred places and burials,” he said. “This pipeline threatens our communities, the river and the earth.” In a statement made after his testimony, Archambault noted that the monthslong, peaceful protests have only “been met with violence.” “Thousands have gathered peacefully in Standing Rock in solidarity against the pipeline,” he said. “And yet many water protectors have been threatened and even injured by the pipeline’s security officers.” Several days after his U.N. testimony, The New York Times published an opinion piece by Archambault. In it, he explains the cultural importance of the land. He also critiques the politics governing this environmental issue. “Perhaps only in North Dakota, where oil tycoons wine and dine elected officials, and where the governor, Jack Dalrymple, serves as an adviser to the Trump campaign, would state and county governments act as the armed enforcement for corporate interests,” he writes. “In recent weeks, the state has militarized my reservation, with road blocks and license-plate checks, low-flying aircraft and racial profiling of Indians.” After briefly outlining the historical pattern of conflict between Native Americans and the U.S. government, Archambault reinforces the peaceful message of his tribe. “As American citizens, we all have a responsibility to speak for a vision of the future that is safe and productive for our grandchildren,” he writes. “As our songs and prayers echo across the prairie, we need the public to see that in standing up for our rights, we do so on behalf of the millions of Americans who will be affected by this pipeline.” The Morton County Sheriff’s Department notes that since Aug. 11, 95 people have been arrested “for illegal protest activity” in the area. Other outlets continue to assert that, despite the escalating reactions to the demonstrators, mainstream media continue to ignore the issue. —Posted by Emma Niles

Gaining Weight



Trick or Treat



We Can’t Have War Without Racism. We Can Have a World Without Both.


By Robert Fantina / World Beyond War The U.S. military encourages terms such as “camel jockey” or “raghead” to demean freedom fighters in the deserts of the Middle East. And all the while it proclaims itself a beacon of freedom and democracy, a fairy tale not believed much outside its own borders.

Rapid Burnout, Dissatisfaction of U.S. Doctors Threatens Public Health Crisis


Tim Waclawski / CC BY-ND 2.0 Half of U.S. physicians are “disengaged, burned out, and demoralized and plan to either retire, cut back on work hours, or seek non-clinical roles,” reports MedPage Today, citing a new nationwide survey commissioned by The Physicians Foundation. “Many physicians are dissatisfied with the current state of the medical practice environment and they are opting out of traditional patient care roles,” said Walker Ray, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation, in remarks that appeared with the survey. “The implications of evolving physician practice patterns for both patient access and the implementation of healthcare reform are profound.” MedPage Today reports: The majority of the 17,236 physicians surveyed (54%) describe their morale as somewhat or very negative, 63% are pessimistic about the future of the medical profession, 49% always or often experience feelings of burn-out, and 49% would not recommend medicine as a career to their children, according to the survey. Physicians identified regulatory/paperwork burdens and loss of clinical autonomy as their primary sources of dissatisfaction. They spend 21% of their time on non-clinical paper work duties, according to the survey, while only 14% said they have the time they need to provide the highest standards of care. About two-thirds (72%) said third-party intrusions detract from the quality of care. … The survey indicates that only 33% of physicians now identify as private practice owners, down from 49% in 2012, while 58% identify as employees, up from 44% in 2012. Physicians also indicated that “they’re disengaged from key initiatives of healthcare reform,” MedPage Today reports. Only 43% said their compensation is tied to value. Of these, the majority (77%) have 20% or less of their compensation tied to value. Only 20% are familiar with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) which will greatly accelerate value-based payments to physicians. While 36% of physicians participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs), only 11% believe ACOs are likely to enhance quality while decreasing costs. Physicians also are dubious about hospital employment of doctors, another mechanism for achieving healthcare reform. Two-thirds (66%) do not believe hospital employment will enhance quality of care or decrease costs. Even 50% of physicians who are themselves employed by hospitals, do not see hospital employment as a positive trend. The survey additionally found: * 80% of physicians are overextended or are at capacity, with no time to see additional patients * 48% of physicians said their time with patients is always or often limited * Employed physicians see 19% fewer patients than practice owners * 46.8% of physicians plan to accelerate their retirement plans * 20% of physicians practice in groups of 101 doctors or more, up from 12% in 2012 * Only 17% of physicians are in solo practice, down from 25% in 2012 * 27% of physicians do not see Medicare patients, or limit the number they see * 36% of physicians do not see Medicaid patients, or limit the number they see One Truthdig reader said of the findings: One should compare what’s happened in the medical profession with what’s happened in the nation’s universities—greed and ideologically driven (rather than empirically based) business modeling turned control of persons educated to perform the profession’s real work over to hordes of bean counting ‘administrators’ whose policies and actions deprive doctors and professors of autonomy, reduce both time to perform and fair reward for their work, and slash due respect for their hard acquired skills and the developed judgment needed to effectively use them with patients and students. These results follow from privatization, which is a form of theft consisting of the capitalist practice of plunde[...]

Did Donald Trump Actually Win the First Presidential Debate?


Writer Ted Rall argues that, if debates are “graded on a curve,” the Republican candidate did better than the Democrat on Monday night; vegetarianism might be beneficial to the planet, but it could negatively impact the lives of millions if practiced worldwide; meanwhile, more affordable solar panels have changed investors’ minds about fossil fuels. These discoveries and more, below. The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate I know it runs counter to conventional wisdom – that’s so rare for me! – but I award the first 2016 presidential debate to Donald Trump. The State of Vaccine Skepticism in Four Maps Interactive graphic reveals data from a recent study on vaccine confidence around the world. Music Confounds the Machines Everyone’s talking about the great speech T Bone Burnett gave as the keynote address to AmericanaFest yesterday. If you missed it, here’s the transcript (posted with permission from the Americana Music Association): Paris Really Is Going to Transform the Seine A long-discussed plan to permanently ban cars from the river’s quayside gained approval Monday, after a tough debate. Earth’s CO2 Passes the 400 PPM Threshold—Maybe Permanently Carbon dioxide levels often hit lows in September, but now remain above a crucial benchmark.  World’s First Baby Born With New ‘3 Parent’ Technique It’s a boy! A five-month-old boy is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people, New Scientist can reveal. Why Donald Trump Has Spent a Decade Hating on Rosie O’Donnell Toward the end of Monday night’s presidential debate, Donald Trump released a torrent of incoherent words that seemed to revolve in some fashion around … Rosie O’Donnell? What Would You Pay for an Empty Room? A new app wants to “democratize” city spaces by offering private, well-designed rooms by the hour—but only elites can afford its rates. What Would Happen If the World Suddenly Went Vegetarian? Eliminating meat from our diets would bring a bounty of benefits to both our own health and the planet’s – but it could also harm millions of people. Deciding What’s True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism In Deciding What’s True, Lucas Graves traces how media outlets’ internal fact-checking has morphed into something almost antithetical: the very public evaluation of factual assertions made by politicians and other news figures, writes Scott McLemee. All of Our Astrological Signs Are Wrong, According to NASA According to “the Astrotwins,” I’m due for some “upstart energy” on Friday “when the annual new moon in Libra kicks off a fresh six month earning cycle.” Google Says Its New AI-Powered Translation Tool Scores Nearly Identically to Human Translators Say hello to the new Google Translate. A Family of Exploiters: Trump’s Children Made ‘the Help’ Buy From Their Own Lemonade Stand Donald Trump’s admitted federal tax evasion, frequent refusal to pay those he hires, and many bankruptcies [3] have imparted a key singular message to his kids: Let the poor, common plebes deal with your money problems for you. Bisexual People Face Invisibility, Isolation, and Shocking Rates of Discrimination and Violence A new report previewed recently at the White House in a groundbreaking policy meeting found that while more than half of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community identifies as bisexual, bisexual people experience alarming rates of invisibility, societal rejection, violence, discrimination, and poor physical and mental health—often at rates higher than their lesbian and gay peers. The Military Logic of Punishing Chelsea Manning’s Suicide Attempt The state’s control over the body is paramount. What’s the Purpose of the Bestseller? ‘The Bestseller Code’ reve[...]

Here’s What Hillary Clinton Could Do to Get Bernie Sanders’ Supporters to Vote for Her (Video)


Socialist millennial Kate Aronoff outlines seven things the Democratic presidential candidate “has to do to maybe, just maybe” win her vote.