• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 9 juli 2016

Geen Jorwert Zonder Corruptie

Oud-voorzitter Europese Commissie voortaan op loonlijst Goldman Sachs

De draaideur tussen politiek en bedrijfswereld blijft onverminderd spinnen. De legendarische bank Goldman Sachs sloeg niemand minder dan de oud-voorzitter van de Europese Commissie Jose Manuel Barroso himself aan de haak.
vrijdag 8 juli 2016

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Vorige week veroorzaakte oud-Europees commissaris Neelie Kroes ophef met een wereldvreemd interview dat ze gaf aan de VRT. Kroes klust nu bij voor Uber hoewel ze bij haar aantreden plechtig beloofde dat ze nooit zou toetreden tot een bedrijf na haar mandaat, “zelfs niet bij een Bread & Breakfast”, zei in het Europees parlement. Een zinnige uitleg voor die gebroken belofte wist ze niet te verzinnen en dus sloot ze het interview maar voortijdig af met een arrogant knikje.
Maar de draaideur tussen politiek en bedrijfswereld blijft onverminderd spinnen. De legendarische bank Goldman Sachs sloeg niemand minder dan de oud-voorzitter van de Europese Commissie Jose Manuel Barroso himself aan de haak.
Met de Brexit die voor de deur staat, zit Goldman Sachs met een praktisch probleem. De bank werkt in Europa vanuit Londen. Mogelijk zullen een aantal eenheden het Kanaal moeten oversteken. Officieel heet het dat Barroso moet helpen in de "challenging and uncertain economic and market environment". Wat Barroso gaat verdienen bij Goldman Sachs is niet duidelijk.
Barroso is lang niet de eerste politicus die na zijn carrière voor Goldman Sachs gaat werken. De Belgische socialist Karel Van Miert ging hem ooit voor. Al is de omgekeerde beweging even gebruikelijk. Zowel de voormalige Italiaanse premier Romano Prodi als de voorzitter van de Europese Centrale Bank Mario Draghi stonden ooit op de loonlijst van Goldman Sachs. De huidige Europees Commissaris van Onderzoek en Innovatie Carlos Moedas werkte ook voor Goldman Sachs.
De Amerikaanse regering onder Bush werd zelfs smalend ‘government Sachs’ genoemd. De minister van Financiën die de VS door de crisis van 2008 leidde, was Henri Paulson, een voormalige ceo van Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs wordt er onder meer van beschuldigd geholpen te hebben bij het verhullen van het Griekse begrotingstekort.

Frank Westerman's Provinciale Schrijverij 2


Na de publicatie van het Chilcot-rapport schreef de Amerikaanse journalist en auteur Eric Margolis  dat hij

who had covered Iraq since 1976, was one of the first to assert that Baghdad had no so-called weapons of mass destruction, and no means of delivering them even if it did. For this I was dropped and black-listed by the leading US TV cable news network and leading US newspapers...

The planned invasion of Iraq was not about nuclear weapons or democracy, as Bush claimed. Two powerful factions in Washington were beating the war drums:  ardently pro-Israel neoconservatives who yearned to see an enemy of Israel destroyed, and a cabal of conservative oil men and imperialists around Vice President Dick Cheney who sought to grab Iraq’s huge oil reserves at a time they believed oil was running out. They engineered the Iraq War, as blatant and illegal an aggression as Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939…

The planned invasion of Iraq was not about nuclear weapons or democracy, as Bush claimed. Two powerful factions in Washington were beating the war drums:  ardently pro-Israel neoconservatives who yearned to see an enemy of Israel destroyed, and a cabal of conservative oil men and imperialists around Vice President Dick Cheney who sought to grab Iraq’s huge oil reserves at a time they believed oil was running out. They engineered the Iraq War, as blatant and illegal an aggression as Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939…

The US and British media, supposedly the bulwark of democracy, rolled over and  became an organ of government war propaganda. Blair had the august BBC purged for failing to fully support his drive for war. BBC has never recovered.

Ik citeer Margolis omdat het werk van deze publicist zo haarscherp aantoont wat er aan de Nederlandse journalistiek ontbreekt, namelijk een kritische benadering van de macht. Zo beweerde de meest gerespecteerde opiniemaker van de polderpers, wijlen Henk Hofland, in De Groene Amsterdammer van 15 april 2015, onder de kop 'Hillary's nieuwe wereld,' dat mevrouw Clinton toen ‘al de ideale kandidaat,' was voor het Amerikaanse presidentschap, en wel omdat zij ‘als vrouw van president Clinton een groot incasseringsvermogen’ had ’opgebouwd en later als minister van Buitenlandse Zaken aanzienlijke politieke ervaring’ had ‘opgedaan.’ Bovendien ‘kent [ze] de wereld,’ zo stelde de toenmalige éminence grise van de Nederlandse journalistiek met grote stelligheid. Nog afgezien van alle schandalen waarbij Hoflands ‘Hillary’ betrokken is geweest, en het feit dat zij gefinancierd wordt door de Amerikaanse ‘oligarchie,’ met haar 'unlimited political bribery,’ zoals oud-president Jimmy Carter in juli 2015 opmerkte, is tevens algemeen bekend dat mevrouw Clinton als senator en havik de illegale inval in Irak volmondig steunde. Met andere woorden: Hoflands ‘ideale kandidaat’ voor de belangrijkste politieke functie in de wereld heeft een zogeheten ‘agressieoorlog’ gesteund, een oorlogsmisdaad, waarover Robert H. Jackson, de Amerikaanse hoofdaanklager tijdens de Processen van Neurenberg, destijds verklaarde:

If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us,

en

This trial is part of the great effort to make the peace more secure. It constitutes juridical action of a kind to ensure that those who start a war will pay for it personally.

en 

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Desondanks, of beter nog, juist daarom gold voor Hofland -- door zijn sycofanten in de polder tot de ’beste journalist van de twintigste eeuw’ uitgeroepen -- dat ‘Hillary’ de ‘ideale kandidaat’ was voor de ongeveer 55 procent van de Amerikaanse kiesgerechtigden die nog de moeite neemt om tijdens de presidentsverkiezing te stemmen, een extreem laag percentage dat door de Atlantische opiniemaker Hofland ruim een halve eeuw angstvallig verzwegen werd. Dat zijn ‘Hillary’ mede verantwoordelijk was voor een ‘supreme international crime,’ en volgens het internationaal recht veroordeeld had moeten worden, is voor H.J.A. Hofland en zijn zelfbenoemde 'politiek-literaire elite' een te verwaarlozen detail geweest. In zijn witte westerse denken speelden gekleurde volkeren geen rol van betekenis, zij behoorden de geschiedenis slechts over zich heen te laten komen, want, zo beweerde hij meermaals, ‘het Westen’ was ‘vredestichtend.’ Het moet voor een onafhankelijke journalist onmiddellijk duidelijk zijn dat Hofland geen journalistiek maar propaganda bedreef. Daarom is het ook zo misselijk makend dat hij door pluimstrijkers als de journalist en auteur Frank Westerman nu wordt verheerlijkt. Westerman schreef in een puberale stijl over zijn leermeester ondermeer:

Als collega-redacteur bij NRC Handelsblad mocht ik Henk zeggen, maar ik durfde hem domweg niet aan te spreken. Twee turven hoog, en toch zoveel autoriteit! Wat me weerhield was geen vrees, maar ontzag. 

Ontzag voor een man die zijn werkzaam leven lang precies wist wat het establishment accepteerde, en vooral ook wat het niet accepteerde, en op die manier moeiteloos uitgroeide tot de stem van de gevestigde orde, die zich liet inhuren om propaganda te maken voor onder andere het westers militair-industrieel complex, zoals ik gedocumenteerd heb proberen aan te tonen op deze weblog. Ook daarom zijn de volgende woorden in Westerman’s hagiografie over Hofland zo intens weerzinwekkend:

 Om een handtekening heb ik nooit durven vragen. Hoe zou ik dat moeten aanpakken – met een klop op de deur van zijn schrijfkamertje aan de Paleisstraat in Amsterdam, waar de beroemde sofa stond waarop hij zijn middagtukjes deed (power naps avant la lettre)?

   In plaats daarvan zag ik mijn kans schoon toen ik in 1996 op reportage mocht naar New York. Uit eerbetoon en nieuwsgierigheid, niets dan dat, liep ik van het Empire State Building naar Hoflands tweede huis: het Chelsea Hotel. Rode baksteen. Merkwaardige balkonnetjes. Shabbyness. Maar ook: een tijdloze lobby met hout en glas, versleten vloerkleden, kraakverse exemplaren van The New York Times. Ik nam plaats in een van de zetels, opgaand in het filmdecor om me heen, en niet omdat Allen Ginsberg of Arthur Miller hier ooit zaten. Maar gewoon om me voor even Hofland te wanen.

Weerzinwekkend of niet, mijn collega Frank Westerman, demonstreert onbewust feilloos wat er fout is aan de Nederlandse journalistiek. Door het poldermodel, waarbij iedereen die meent mee te tellen even gecorrumpeerd is als alle anderen die menen mee te tellen, bestaat er in de polder geen serieuze journalistiek. Ons kent Ons, met als gevolg figuren als Westerman, die zelfs geen ‘handtekening’ durfde te vragen aan de man die ook geestelijk ‘[t]wee turven hoog,’ hoog was, en internationaal niet meetelde, maar onder provincialen ‘toch zoveel autoriteit!’ bezat. Voor Westerman en zijn soortgenoten blijft gelden dat Allen Ginsberg en Arthur Miller slechts onbeduidende tuinkabouters zijn, vergeleken bij het heertje dat na gedane arbeid op zijn ‘beroemde sofa,’ let op de taalkundige waanzin, ‘zijn middagtukjes deed.’ 



Blair

Whitewash Won’t Cover Blair’s Guilt

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This week’s Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was as polite and guarded as a proper English tea party. No direct accusations, no talk of war crimes by then Prime Minister Tony Blair or his guiding light, President George W. Bush.  But still pretty damning.
Such government reports and commissions, as was wittily noted in the delightful program ‘Yes, Prime Minister,’ are designed to obscure rather than reveal the truth and bury awkward facts in mountains of paper.
And beneath mountains of lies.  The biggest lie on both sides of the Atlantic was that the invasion and destruction of Iraq was the result of ‘faulty intelligence.’ The Bush and Blair camps  and the US and British media keep pushing this absurd line.
This writer, who had covered Iraq since 1976, was one of the first to assert that Baghdad had no so-called weapons of mass destruction, and no means of delivering them even if it did. For this I was dropped and black-listed by the leading US TV cable news network and leading US newspapers.  
I had no love for the brutal Saddam Hussein, whose secret police threatened to hang me as a spy. But I could not abide the intense war propaganda coming from Washington and London, served up by the servile, mendacious US and British media.
The planned invasion of Iraq was not about nuclear weapons or democracy, as Bush claimed. Two powerful factions in Washington were beating the war drums:  ardently pro-Israel neoconservatives who yearned to see an enemy of Israel destroyed, and a cabal of conservative oil men and imperialists around Vice President Dick Cheney who sought to grab Iraq’s huge oil reserves at a time they believed oil was running out. They engineered the Iraq War, as blatant and illegal an aggression as Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939.
Britain’s smarmy Tony Blair tagged along with the war boosters in hopes that the UK could pick up the crumbs from the invasion and reassert its former economic and political power in the Arab world. Blair had long been a favorite of British neoconservatives. The silver-tongued Blair became point man for the war in preference to the tongue-twisted, stumbling George Bush. But the real warlord was VP Dick Cheney.
There was no ‘flawed intelligence.’ There were intelligence agencies bullied into reporting a fake narrative to suit their political masters. And a lot of fake reports concocted by our Mideast allies like Israel and Kuwait.
After the even mild Chilcot report, Blair’s reputation is in tatters, as it should be. How such an intelligent, worldly man could have allowed himself to be led around by the doltish, swaggering Bush is hard to fathom. Europe’s leaders and Canada refused to join the Anglo-American aggression. France, which warned Bush of the disaster he would inflict, was slandered and smeared by US Republicans as ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys.’
In the event, the real monkeys were the Bush and Blair governments.  Saddam Hussain, a former US ally, was deposed and lynched.  Iraq, the most advanced Arab nation, was almost totally destroyed. Up to one million Iraqis may have been killed, though the Chilcot report claimed only a risible 150,000. As Saddam had predicted, the Bush-Blair invasion opened the gates of hell, and out came al-Qaida and then ISIS.
The US and British media, supposedly the bulwark of democracy, rolled over and  became an organ of government war propaganda. Blair had the august BBC purged for failing to fully support his drive for war. BBC has never recovered.
Interestingly,  this week’s news of the Chilcot investigation was buried deep inside the New York Times on Thursday. The Times was a key partisan of the war.  So too the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and the big TV networks. Without their shameful connivance, the Iraq War might not have happened.
Bush and Blair have the deaths of nearly 4,500 US soldiers on their heads, the devastation of Iraq, our $1 trillion war, the ever-expanding mess in the Mideast, and the violence what we wrongly blame on  ‘terrorism’  and so-called ‘radical Islam.’
The men and women responsible for this biggest disaster in our era should be brought to account. As long as Bush and Blair swan around and collect speaking fees, we have no right to lecture other nations, including Russia and China, on how to run a democracy or rule of law. Bush and Blair should be facing trial for war crime at the Hague Court.
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Killer Robot. Further Militarization American Police

Legal Experts Raise Alarm over Shocking Use of 'Killer Robot' in Dallas


'The fact that the police have a weapon like this...is an example of the militarization of the police and law enforcement—and goes in the wrong direction'
Dallas police officers respond to the ambush attack on July 7, 2016. (Photo: AP)Dallas police officers respond to the ambush attack on July 7, 2016. (Photo: AP)
As news emerges that police officers in Dallas, Texas used an armed robot to kill the suspected shooter in Thursday night's ambush, experts are warning that it represents a sea change in police militarization that only heightens risks to human and constitutional rights.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Friday morning during a press conference that police "saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate" where the suspect had taken refuge in a parking garage as police tried to negotiate with him, adding that he was "deceased as a result of detonating the bomb."
The suspect, identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, was killed around 2:30am Friday morning after an hours-long standoff with police. The shootings killed five officers and left more than a dozen people injured. Johnson reportedly confirmed that he had acted alone and was not affiliated with any group.
Many noted that this appears to be the first time that domestic police have used a lethal robot to kill a suspect.
According to Marjorie Cohn, Professor Emerita at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and editor and contributor to Drones and Targeted Killings: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, it's a sign that U.S. law enforcement is continuing to go in "the wrong direction." 
"Due process is not just enshrined in our constitution, it's also enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
—Marjorie Cohn, 
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
"The fact that the police have a weapon like this, and other weapons like drones and tanks, is an example of the militarization of the police and law enforcement—and goes in the wrong direction," Cohn told Common Dreams. "We should see the police using humane techniques, interacting on a more humane level with the community, and although certainly the police officers did not deserve to die, this is an indication of something much deeper in the society, and that's the racism that permeates the police departments across the country. It's a real tragedy."
Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina, told The Atlantic on Friday, "This is sort of a new horizon for police technology. Robots have been around for a while, but using them to deliver lethal force raises some new issues."
As security expert and University of Pennsylvania professor Matt Blaze noted on Twitter on Friday, numerous safety concerns about the robot's protocols—for example, how easily it might be hacked—remain unaddressed.
"How was the control link to the Dallas bomb robot secured? Stakes go *way* up when something like this is repurposed as a weapon," he wrote.
As Popular Science tech editor David Gershgorn also explained:
Repurposing a robot that was created to prevent death by explosion clearly contrasts with the way these machines are normally used. Bomb disposal robots are routinely used to minimize the potential of harm to officers and civilians when disarming or clearing potential explosives from an area. They are often equipped with their own explosive charges and other tools, not to kill, but detonate other potential bombs in the area.
Questions also arose regarding the necessity of the suspect's killing after he reportedly told police during negotiations that there were "bombs all over" downtown Dallas.
As Cohn noted, officers could have determined where those devices were located, "if in fact there are bombs," had they left the suspect alive. Moreover, she said, killing him violated his constitutional right to due process.
"Police cannot use deadly force unless there's an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury to them or other people. If the suspect was holed up in a parking garage and there was nobody in immediate danger from him, the police could have waited him out. They should have arrested him and brought him to trial," Cohn said. "Due process is not just enshrined in our constitution, it's also enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the U.S. has ratified, making it part of U.S. law."
Likewise, Stoughton told The Atlantic, "Policing has a different mission [than the military]: protecting the populace. That core mission, as difficult as it is to explains sometimes, includes protecting some people who do some bad things. It includes not using lethal force when it's possible to not."
Many noted the connection between potentially the first use of an armed robot in domestic policing and the deployment of such tools in active war zones. Defense technology expert Peter W. Singer wrote on Twitter, "this is 1st use of robot in this way in policing. Marcbot has been ad hoc used this way by troops in Iraq." 
"The same way that the Obama administration uses unmanned drones in other countries, we see a similar situation here."
—Marjorie Cohn,
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Cohn said, "The same way that the Obama administration uses unmanned drones in other countries to kill people instead of arresting them and bringing them to trial, we see a similar situation here....As the technology develops, we're going to see the increasing use of military weapons in the hands of the police, which is going to inflame and exacerbate a very volatile situation."
"We can see that many of the weapons that are being used by the military are in the hands of the police," she added. "This is a very volatile situation, very dangerous situation, and is only going to make the tensions worse and kill people and violate constitutional rights."

Poverty and Capitalism

Richard D. Wolff: Poverty Has Always Accompanied Capitalism

Sunday, 03 July 2016 00:00 By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview

"Poverty has always accompanied capitalism (as Thomas Piketty's work documents yet again)," says economist Richard D. Wolff.
The following is a Truthout interview with Richard D. Wolff about Capitalism's Crisis Deepens.
Mark Karlin: Let's start with the a statement from the preface of your book: "Questioning the capitalist system, let alone discussing system change, simply does not occur to mainstream academics and the journalists and politicians they trained. Such discourses are repressed." How is an open public discussion of capitalism stifled?   
Richard D. Wolff: What economic theory Americans learn comes mostly - directly or indirectly - from college and university teachers: their classes, the textbooks they write, the journalists and politicians shaped by them, etc. The substance of the mainstream economics delivered in these ways is this: economics is a basic science that explains how the economy works. By "the economy" is meant modern capitalism as if (1) nothing else, no other system, was of interest today (other than for historians) and (2) no alternative ways of theorizing, thinking about economies, exist or are worth considering. Indeed, most mainstream textbooks have the word "economics" in their title as if no differentiating adjective (such as neoclassical or Marxist etc.) needs to be added to let readers know which among alternative theories was being used by the author. The mode of repressing critical theories of capitalism and serious and sustained discussions of alternative systems in the US is chiefly by acting as though such theories and alternatives are not there. Denial rather than critical confrontation and debate is the norm.
Most non-economists only have a rather vague notion of capitalism. In the US, for the sake of argument, let's state that most Americans associate capitalism with freedom. Does capitalism actually have anything to do with ensuring a free society?
Capitalism usually overthrew its predecessor system (often feudalism, sometimes slavery or still others) violently and accompanied by slogans of "freedom" as in the French revolution's "liberte, egalite, fraternite" or Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation." Capitalism represented itself as freeing serfs, slaves, etc. Freedom became capitalism's self-celebration which it largely remains. Yet the reality of capitalism is different from its celebratory self-image. The mass of employees are not free inside capitalist enterprises to participate in the decisions that affect their lives (e.g., what the enterprise will produce, what technology it will use, where production will occur, and what will be done with the profit workers' efforts help to produce). In their exclusion from such decisions, modern capitalism's employees resemble slaves and serfs. Yes, parliaments, universal suffrage, etc. have accompanied capitalism - an advance over serfdom and slavery. Yet even that advance has been largely undermined by the influence of the highly unequally distributed wealth and income that capitalism has everywhere generated.
Even the Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sanders touts as socialist are actually blended economies. What is your reaction to using, let's say Sweden, as a model economy that is capitalistic with elements of socialism, such as a larger percentage of the Gross Domestic Product going toward the common good and greater union involvement in corporations? Clearly, the Scandinavian nations lean more toward capitalism than a Marxist model of socialism.
Socialism, as a broad tradition of anti-capitalism early split between (1) those socialists who wanted a private capitalism (privately owned and operated enterprises plus markets) coupled with a large role for governmental economic intervention (regulation, taxation, social welfare spending, etc.) and (2) those socialists who wanted a much more thorough-going rejection of private capitalism such as those who often took the name communist (state-owned enterprises plus state planning) or those who equated socialism with the democratization of enterprise organization (conversion of enterprises into worker cooperatives). Scandinavian socialism is entirely of the first kind. It is a capitalism with a human or humane face via government economic intervention. Scandinavian countries have so far avoided both the classic communist version of socialism and the socialist reorganization of productive enterprises into worker cooperatives.
In summary form, what do you say to every candidate who ran for president as a Democrat or Republican -- with the exception of Bernie Sanders (who was not running as an orthodox socialist, but still promoted dramatic change in our economic structure) -- who argue that incremental change in capitalism and Wall Street is all that is necessary to lead the US into greater prosperity and more jobs?
For at least the last 30 years, the mass of Americans has seen stagnant real wages even as labor productivity rose steadily, losses of job benefits and security, reduced public services, and a political system increasingly corrupted and compromised by inequalities of wealth and income. Incremental changes in capitalism and Wall Street accompanied every step of these declines for most Americans. Promises that those incremental changes would work to the benefit of most Americans have proven to be false. To believe them now is to have learned nothing from the last 35 years of the nation's history.
In this presidential election, there has been very little talk about poverty. How is poverty an inevitable by-product of capitalism? Doesn't this make all these charitable drives "to eliminate poverty" disingenuous because it cannot be eliminated in a capitalistic system?
Poverty has always accompanied capitalism (as Thomas Piketty's work documents yet again). As an economic system, it has proven to be as successful in producing wealth at one pole as it is in producing poverty at the other. Periodic "rediscoveries of" and campaigns against poverty have not changed that. Capitalism's defenders, having long promoted the system as the means to overcome both absolute and relative poverty (i.e. to be an equalizing system), now change their tune. They either abandon equality as a social good or goal or else try to avoid discussing poverty altogether.
Why do you see another economic implosion, as we saw in 2008, as inevitable under the current capitalistic economic order in the US?
While "inevitable" is not a word or concept I use, my sense of what has happened in and to the US economy sees reason to believe another 2008-like implosion is quite likely. The reason is this: no real changes have been made in US or global capitalism. Corporate capitalism proved strong enough and its critics weak enough to enable the imposition of austerities as the chief policy response everywhere. So the speeding train of capitalism is "back on track," resuming its rush toward stone walls of excess debt, stagnant mass incomes, capital relocating overseas, etc. The too-big-to-fail and the too-unequal-to-be-sustained have only become bigger and more unequal. The ominous sense of impending implosion reverberates throughout the national politics and culture.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

MARK KARLIN

Mark Karlin is the editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout. He served as editor and publisher of BuzzFlash for 10 years before joining Truthout in 2010. BuzzFlash has won four Project Censored Awards. Karlin writes a commentary five days a week for BuzzFlash, as well as articles (ranging from the failed "war on drugs" to reviews relating to political art) for Truthout. He also interviews authors and filmmakers whose works are featured in Truthout's Progressive Picks of the Week. Before linking with Truthout, Karlin conducted interviews with cultural figures, political progressives and innovative advocates on a weekly basis for 10 years. He authored many columns about the lies propagated to launch the Iraq War.