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Robert Scheer is editor in chief of the progressive Internet site Truthdig. He has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. He conducted the famous Playboy magazine interview in which Jimmy Carter confessed to the lust in his heart and he went on to do many interviews for the Los Angeles Times with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and many other prominent political and cultural figures. He is currently a clinical professor of communications at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Scheer has written nine books, and his latest, "The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street" (Nation Books), was released on September 7, 2010. Scheer was raised in the Bronx, where he attended public schools and graduated from City College of New York. He studied as a Maxwell Fellow at Syracuse University and was a fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where he did graduate work in economics. Scheer is a contributing editor for The Nation as well as a Nation Fellow, and is a former national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. He has also been a Poynter Fellow at Yale, and was a fellow in arms control at Stanford.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 How the Government Outsourced Intelligence to Silicon Valley
It is clear that the company, from its inception, had made its primary function the designing of surveillance programs for the spy agencies. In fact, Palantir would not have managed to stay in existence were it not for a multimillion-dollar investment and substantial technical support provided by the CIA.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Citigroup: The Original Gangsta
The Justice Department Justice Department announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial. The fine is paltry compared with the far greater damage Citigroup wreaked upon working Americans who lost so much but because, without a trial, there will be no public accountability of the cynicism that Citigroup's leaders visited upon unknowing consumers.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 Hillary Clinton Flaunts Her Surveillance State Baggage
As secretary of state in an administration that has charged three times as many Americans with violations of the draconian Espionage Act as all preceding presidents combined, Clinton must know that the Obama Justice Department has effectively moved to silence whistle-blowers from stating their case in court.
Thursday, June 26, 2014 One Court, Indivisible, Votes Liberty and Justice For All
In an opinion endorsed by all factions on the court, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. summarily rejected the assertion of the Obama Justice Department and the liberal attorney general of California, defending that state's top court's view, that a warrantless search of the vast data contained on a cellphone is comparable to looking into a detainee's cigarette pack or reading a few pages tucked into his pocket.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014(2 comments)
Where's Saddam Hussein When the U.S. Needs Him?
The stiff sentences meted out Monday to three Al-Jazeera journalists, all veterans of Western news organizations, have finally shocked the media establishment. They also embarrassed Kerry, who had come to Cairo to curry favor with the military dictatorship.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush's Horrifying Legacy
The Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush's enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense. This was, and will always be, viewed properly as Bush's quagmire, a murderous killing field based on blatant lies.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 Feinstein vs the CIA: A Moment of Truth
It was a truly historic moment Tuesday when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to warn that the CIA's continuing cover-up of its torture program is threatening our constitutional division of power. The spy agency now acts as a power unto itself, and the agency's outrages have finally aroused the senator's umbrage.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014(2 comments)
Honoring the "Accomplices" to Truth Who Caught Clapper in a Lie
What is threatening about the Snowden leaks is not the exposure of effective tactics employed by the U.S. in the fight against terrorism but rather the Keystone Cops-style ridicule it has brought upon America's claim of leadership in that effort.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 The Super Bowl of War: Three Decades of Failure in Afghanistan
"The money they should have paid to the police," Karzai said, "they paid to private security firms and creating militias who caused lawlessness, corruption and highway robbery. What they did was create pockets of wealth and a vast countryside of deprivation and anger." Hey no problem, war is just another violent game we love to play. America, this Bud's for you.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014(9 comments)
Who Needs the Gestapo When You Have "Angry Birds"?
The harrowing specificity about our once presumed private lives, as revealed this week in yet another devastating trove of documents from Snowden and reported in the Times and The Guardian, might one day open the floodgates to a totally regimented society.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014(2 comments)
No Place to Hide: We're All Suspects in Barack Obama's America
In Barack Obama's speech Friday, his unbridled defense of the surveillance state opened the door to the new McCarthyism of Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein, the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees, who on Sunday talk shows were branding Edward Snowden as a possible Russian spy.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014(1 comments)
The NSA Plays Mad King George in This Revolution
What is at issue in the information Snowden's courageous actions have revealed is our government's denial of the core principles of the enlightenment: rule by, and of, an informed and thoughtful citizenry that has come to be smothered by the omnipresent corporatized national security state.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013(1 comments)
NSA, Benghazi and the Monsters of Our Own Creation
"We know everything but learn nothing" would be an honest slogan for the NSA, CIA and lesser-known spy agencies that specialize in leading us so dangerously astray. For all of their massive intrusion into the personal lives of individuals throughout the world, it is difficult to recall a time when the "intelligence" they collected provided such myopic policy insight.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013(1 comments)
Bill O'Reilly's War on Jesus
What we stand for is a launching pad for multi-national corporations that wantonly exploit the resources and peoples of this planet with abandon. All the while, these modern plunderers are protected by the massive military power of a U.S. government that those same corporations refuse to support with the profits they have buried abroad.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013(1 comments)
Progressives on the Take
Democrats bear as much responsibility as Republicans for allowing our once promising democracy to degenerate into a plutocracy of the irresponsible super-rich. It is they who betrayed the New Deal legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to rein in the Wall Street greed that caused so much suffering for ordinary folks. Obama is great at bemoaning a reality that his party helped establish.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 Welcome Back, Jesus
This is a pope who in his native Argentina bothered to witness and tend to the needs of those who suffered most, and he comes to us now as a singular voice to remind us of the Occupy movement, which mostly secular liberal mayors in U.S. cities brutally silenced to suit the convenience of the superrich who own our politics.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013(5 comments)
Heroic Diplomacy: How Barack Obama Finally Earned That Peace Prize
Instead of celebrating the president's returning to his original promise as peacemaker, the warmongers of both parties in Congress, egged on by the unholy alliance of Saudi Arabia and Israel, are crying foul. Their outrage is an affront to morality and logic, as well as a stark betrayal of a legitimate public concern over the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 Be Thankful for the People Struggling to Limit NSA Spying
On Monday the Supreme Court, ruling on an emergency petition, declined to do the right thing and hear a case challenging the massive government surveillance of Americans, revealed by the leaks from Edward Snowden. For the time being, the court acceded to the Obama administration's argument that it has the legal right to continue its unprecedented bulk collection of American phone records without any restraint.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013(2 comments)
The True Patriots in Congress Trying to End NSA Tyranny
George Washington warned us in his farewell address "to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. ..." It's an alert that's been ignored in the nation's hysterical reaction to the attacks of 9/11 that culminated in the NSA's assault on our Constitution's guarantee of "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. ..."
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Pay No Attention to That Imperialist Behind the Curtain
In Saudi Arabia, Kerry said that President Obama had dispatched him to assure the monarchy that the United States remained committed to protect the Royal Kingdom against external threats. That presumed threat refers to Iran, and Kerry is out to assuage Saudi, Egyptian and, most important, Israeli fears that peace might break out between Iran and the United States.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013(4 comments)
Obama, Congress Owe Snowden Thanks, and a Pardon
If Feinstein is "totally opposed" to the surveillance of foreign leaders, why has she given a blank check for surveillance of most Americans, violating their rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that she has taken an oath to defend? That's a question that also ought to be answered by the president, who should welcome Snowden back to his country and give him the Medal of Freedom for his public service.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013(4 comments)
What Fine? Why JPMorgan Is Laughing All the Way to the Bank
JPMorgan has been shameless and, as The New York Times reports, "At least seven federal agencies, several state regulators and two foreign countries are investigating the bank." But the betting in the business press is that Dimon will survive quite nicely, secure in his roughly $20 million pay and backed by a hand-picked board of directors focused on the bank's still buoyant stock price.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 Racism and Cruelty Drive GOP Health Care Agenda
Why anyone who claims to be pro-life would want to deny health care to single mothers is an enduring mystery in the morally mischievous ethos of the Republican Party. But the exclusion of a working poor population that skews disproportionately black in the South is simply a continuation of the divide-and-conquer politics that have informed Republican strategy since Nixon.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013(1 comments)
The Government Leakers Who Truly Endanger America Will Never Face Prosecution
Al-Qaida is hardly on the rise anywhere in the world, with much of its leadership now dead and the remaining elements barely able to communicate. But until a more vigorous enemy turns up, the overblown terrorist enemy used to justify the vastly profitable surveillance state, with selective scary news leaks, is all the military-industrial complex has got.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 Obama's Friends in Low Places
If you still require to be disabused of Obama's pretend populism, consider his decision to select William M. Daley, JPMorgan's representative in Washington, to be his White House chief of staff. It gave Dimon the key White House connection to accompany the passkey he already had at Treasury with his pal Timothy Geithner as secretary.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 The People Win as Lawrence Summers Trades Power For Wealth
As for Summers' future, not to worry; after he left the Clinton administration and before signing up with the Obama White House, he admits to having added upward of $31 million to his wealth. Last week, with his Fed nomination still open, he had to pull back from one of his lucrative Citigroup speaking gigs, but now he is back in play.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 Obama Remembers He's Not George W. Bush
It may come to naught -- calls for peace so rarely still the drums of war -- but there was a moment Monday when the odds for sanity seemed to finally stand a chance of prevailing. It came when President Obama acknowledged the Russian proposal for Syria to avert war by agreeing to destroy its chemical weapons stock as "a potentially positive development."
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 The Prince: Meet the Man Who Co-Opted Democracy in the Middle East
Even though many of the folks attempting to overthrow the government in Syria are sympathetic to al-Qaida, the Assad government's connection with Iran trumps that concern for U.S. hawks. The Saudis have the wherewithal to buy our very expensive war toys; need we say more? Saudi Arabia's efforts in Syria are just one sign of its broader effort to expand its regional influence.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013(1 comments)
The Moment the U.S. Ended Iran's Brief Experiment in Democracy
The U.S. government at the time of the coup easily had manipulated Western media into denigrating Mossadegh as intemperate, unstable and an otherwise unreliable ally in the Cold War, but the real motivation for hijacking Iran's history was Mossadegh's move to nationalize Western-controlled oil assets in Iran.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013(12 comments)
Restore Honor and Pardon Edward Snowden
That Obama has been forced by public opinion to come to his senses on this issue, even in a limited way, is a tribute to the courage of Snowden, who should be honored as the poster boy for the right of the citizen to protest government injustice rather than be hunted as a fugitive. Absurd as it sounds in this era of fear mongering, a presidential pardon for Snowden would bring honor to our country.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013(1 comments)
A Statement of Peace, or an Epitaph
We have never been very good at challenging our nation's own reprehensible behavior, but if we don't take proper measure of the immense extermination wrought by two small and primitive nuclear weapons as compared with today's arsenals, we lose the point as to why they must be banned.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 Gag Me With Lawrence Summers
The idea that Barack Obama would still consider appointing Lawrence Summers to head the Federal Reserve rather than order an investigation into this former White House official's Wall Street payments mocks the president's claimed concern for the disappearing middle class. Summers is in large measure responsible for that dismal outcome.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013(1 comments)
The Return of Lawrence Summers, Mr. Spectacular Failure
The question is why Summers, the man who got it all wrong, would imagine that he could be in the running to head the Federal Reserve? Why would he ever fantasize that President Obama might turn to someone who always gets it wrong to right a still struggling economy? Maybe because he knows Obama better than we do.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 A Gift From the United States to Mideast Zealots
In the end, the argument was not secular versus religious, but rather whether power would reside in the ballot box or the barrel of the gun. The United States, and too many of Egypt's self-proclaimed secular democrats, ended up on the wrong side of that choice.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013(3 comments)
America's New Cold War: Why the Allies Side With Snowden
At its best, the "metadata" aggregation, including the logs of all email traffic and telephone calls, is a paranoid assault on our right to personal space enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. At worst it is an out of control grab for worldwide power over the new information age.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 The Good Germans in Government
The question we should be asking is not why do folks like Ellsberg, Snowden and Bradley Manning do the right thing, but rather why aren't we bringing charges against the many others with access to such damning data of government malfeasance who remain silent?
Tuesday, June 18, 2013(2 comments)
The Terror Con
For defense contractors, the government officials who write them mega checks, and the hawks in the media who cheer them on, the name of the game is threat inflation. And no one has been better at it than the folks at Booz Allen Hamilton, the inventors of the new boondoggle called cyberwarfare.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 One American Who Isn't for Sale
The Carlyle Group is Big Brother. It is also the firm that owns Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., which, thanks to the revelations of one of its employees, whistle-blower Edward Snowden, we now know collects and stores much of the government's immense PRISM database spying on the lives of this nation's citizenry.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013(4 comments)
China Benefits From Bush's Folly
Almost half of Iraq's oil production already is shipped to China, and those once vilified commies, reincarnated as today's robber barons, are bidding for an even larger stake in Iraq's oil field production. The Cold War is indeed over, but China's red capitalists have won.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Congress Still Puts Out for Wall Street
Not content with having swindled tens of millions of Americans out of their homes and life savings, the very bankers who caused the biggest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression are now subverting government regulations designed to prevent comparable disasters in the future.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Tumblr Is Worth $1.1 Billion to Yahoo for One Reason: You
Shredding privacy is the essence of Tumblr's appeal to Yahoo, and even though it has said it will retain the social networking site's founders in key positions, one way or another that very personal data will be mined and inevitably fall into what users will discover to be the wrong hands. That is truly scary.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013(2 comments)
Elizabeth Warren, a Great Investment
Student loans amounting to more than $1 trillion exceed the total outstanding credit card debt in the U.S. Students actually spend their loan money on surviving as consumers in a tight economy, while learning skills needed for the economy of the future. On the other hand, the already too-big-to-fail banks have used the government's free money to become even more obscenely powerful.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Obama Did It for the Money
For Pritzker, as with the confirmation of Lew, the fix is in. The Republicans don't dare push back too hard on shady business practices that their deregulation legislation endorsed, and Democrats will go along with anything the president wants.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013(2 comments)
Google's Spymasters Are Now Worried About Your Secrets
Technological invasions of our privacy serve to undermine the bold assertion of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that the protection of personal, private space is essential to the freedom of the individual. Google has turned once private data into a commodity routinely exploited for profit.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 277 Million Boston Bombings
The horror of two pressure cooker bombs in Boston that has so traumatized us should help us grasp the significance of the 1.8 million bomblets dropped in Iraq over a three-week period. Obama was right to blast the use of weapons that targeted civilians in Boston as inherent acts of terrorism, but by what standard do such weapons change their nature when they are deployed by governments against civilians?
Tuesday, April 2, 2013(3 comments)
It Wasn't David Stockman Who Wrecked the Economy
What's all the outrage about? What's wrong with "putting the great Wall Street banks out in the cold to compete as at-risk free enterprises, without access to cheap Fed loans or deposit insurance"? What his critics find so disturbing is not a quaint argument about the purity of monetary policy but rather the bold assertion that the overall American system of crony capitalism is in fact wrecked.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013(1 comments)
Dumb Wars, Now and Forever
It is a staple of our widely trumpeted Judeo-Christian heritage that the acknowledgment of sin is a prelude to redemption. So how is it that there is no palpable sense of soul searching associated with the 10th anniversary of a war based on officially concocted lies and a policy of torture?
Tuesday, March 12, 2013(12 comments)
If Corporations Don't Pay Taxes, Why Should You?
America's multinational corporations don't feel they should have to pay for a system of governance, even though it primarily serves their corporate interests. The U.S. government exists primarily to make the world safe for multinational corporations, but those firms feel no obligation to pay for that protection in return.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013(1 comments)
Whiny Billionaires in Need of Sequestration
The suddenly increased national debt is primarily the result of a deep recession caused by the top bankers and hedge fund hustlers of Wall Street, saved from their folly by massive and costly federal intervention. But instead of making the rich pay, ordinary citizens will be visited with job furloughs and a savaging of public services that often are lifesaving.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 Oscar 2013: Hollywood's CIA Celebration
This is the movie season to consider the CIA as a benign force, occasionally stumbling but in the end, driven by good intentions. The example of Iran, where the "Argo" caper is set, is instructive of the absurdity of that view. Iran for the past half century has been ravaged precisely by such CIA antics.
Friday, February 15, 2013 Senate Republicans Take a Stand Against the Public Interest
Republicans have turned on Hagel because he dared turn on them in the 2008 election when he refused to endorse Sen. John McCain. All other objections to his nomination are just noise, and what is really at issue is the failure to consider the national interest in its most dangerous manifestation: the waging of war. Hagel, severely wounded during the Vietnam War, has long urged caution in foreign military involvement.
Friday, February 8, 2013 America's Global Torture Network
When it comes to torture in the post 9/11 era, the record of the United States is so appalling that one must question our claimed abhorrence of the barbarism of other nations. In fact, the essence of our rendition program has been to outsource torture to those countries most sadistic in their use of "enhanced interrogation techniques."
Friday, February 1, 2013 It's Good to Be a Goldman
In the end, it doesn't matter whether these folks are Democrats or Republicans, nor whether they are operating at the highest levels of government or banking -- they take care of their own. It is the new model of crony capitalism that must have Adam Smith turning in his grave, for it has nothing to do with free-market performance.
Friday, January 18, 2013(2 comments)
Another Word for Propaganda
How did the Japanese-owned Sony Corporation that released Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" gain access to information on the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, so highly classified that it was denied to the official 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist attacks? The opening frame of the movie states the crime, clearly claiming that "Zero" is "based on firsthand accounts of actual events."
Friday, January 11, 2013(2 comments)
The Inconvenient Truth About Jack Lew
I suppose that he can't be much worse than Timothy Geithner, but that should be scant cause for cheer over the news that the president has nominated Jack Lew as Treasury secretary. Both championed the financial deregulation craze of the Clinton administration, and both are acolytes of Robert Rubin, the former Clinton Treasury secretary who unfettered Wall Street greed and then took his own considerable cut of the action.
Saturday, December 29, 2012(3 comments)
Cerberus Collected Ex-Government Opportunists
The former vice president was rewarded for his gaffe-filled performance in that job with the far more lucrative position of chairman of Cerberus Global Investments LLC. In mythology, Cerberus is the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades. How perfect a name for a company whose leaders have sold their souls.
Friday, December 21, 2012(2 comments)
Crony Capitalism's Power Couple
Where is Phil Gramm hiding? The former Republican senator from Texas, who wrote the radical banking deregulation of the 1990s and was rewarded for his efforts to enrich the banks with a plum job at Switzerland-based UBS, has not been heard from since his bank got nailed by the G-men.
Friday, December 14, 2012 The Shameful Exploitation of Bradley Manning
After being interned like some wild animal in that cage in Kuwait, Bradley Manning was transferred to Quantico, Va., Marine base and further subjected to conditions that his lawyer termed "criminal." What is protected in the First Amendment is not the right of commercial enterprises to exploit the news for profit, but of citizens to become informed. That requires the courage of heroic sources, including Bradley Manning.
Friday, November 16, 2012(1 comments)
The Land of Milk and Honey Once More
The shifting demographics of California, forerunners of an inevitable national trend, are producing an American electoral majority that is more culturally sophisticated, socially tolerant and supportive of a robust public sector than can be accommodated by the simplistic naysayers who now dominate the Republican Party.