‘NYT’ columnist says killing Palestinian civilians is… good for Palestinians

The New York Times has always had a double standard on human rights, but they usually aren’t very open about it.  They condemn Russian bombing as horrible war crimes, but criticize similar US bombing as mistakes and pretty much ignore Israeli bombing of Gaza. But they don’t come right out and say that killing is good or that it is cruel to be kind and kind to be cruel and Palestinians need to be shot for their own good. Until now. Columnist Shmuel Rosner says essentially this, and the Times published him three days ago: “Israel Needs to Protect Its Borders. By Any Means Necessary.” I...

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How Junk Science Sends Innocent People to Jail

On TV crime shows like CSI, NCIS, and Law & Order, science gets the bad guys. In real life, "science" often ensnares the innocent. Former NYPD Detective Harry Houck gets annoyed when TV shows make forensic science look infallible. "You watch a detective get down and look at a body (and say), 'He's been dead for three hours now... (H)e ate dinner four hours ago,'" scoffs Houck. "I can't do that." On TV, experts identify killers by their bite marks. In real life, experts claim they can do that. The TV show Cold Case Files covered the trial of Alfred Swinton. He was convicted of murder...

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How One Woman’s Fight to Save Her Family Helped Lead to a Mass Exoneration

Clarissa Glenn’s troubles with the law began on Mother’s Day, 2004, when she was on her way to the Pancake House with her three sons—Ben, Jr., Gerard, and Deon. They left their apartment in the Ida B. Wells Homes, a housing project on the South Side of Chicago, to meet her partner, Ben Baker, outside the building. They found him talking with a police sergeant named Ronald Watts, a notorious figure in the project. Watts oversaw a team of police officers who were supposed to be rooting out the project’s drug trade, but he was in fact running his own “criminal enterprise,” as another officer...

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Killing Gaza: New documentary features Life Under Siege

On August 13, as a five-day ceasefire took hold in Israel’s 51 day war with Gaza, Max Blumenthal and I headed for the hyper-militarized border terminal at Erez crossing. We had no plans to make a documentary at that point. I brought along my camera and shotgun microphone to record interviews that I could transcribe for written articles. It quickly became clear to us that the harrowing testimony we were gathering in the miles and miles of rubble that spanned Gaza’s shattered border regions should be the basis for a documentary. So I returned to Gaza again and again over the course of the next...

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The Perverse Incentives of Punishment

Todd Entrekin, the sheriff of the small Alabama county of Etowah, recently found himself in the national spotlight when an Alabama newspaper discovered that over the course of three years he pocketed at least $750,000 budgeted for feeding the people detained in his county jail. While the inmates in his jail ate meat from a package labeled “not fit for human consumption,” the sheriff bought himself a $740,000 beach house. And it was all seemingly legal, thanks to a 1911 Alabama law that many sheriffs interpret to mean that whatever funds they don’t spend on their jails they can keep for...

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Rand Paul: Congress Moves to Give the President Unlimited War Powers

In the near future, Congress will debate a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). I use the word “debate” lightly. So far, no hearings have been scheduled, and no testimony is likely to be heard unless something changes. That’s a shame, because this is a serious matter, and this is a deeply flawed AUMF. For some time now, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to declare war. The status quo is that we are at war anywhere and anytime the president says so. So Congress—in a very Congress way of doing things—has a “solution.” Instead of reclaiming its constitutional authority,...

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Lessons for U.S. Foreign Policy from the Failed War on Terror

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States launched an international war on terrorism defined by military intervention, nation building, and efforts to reshape the politics of the Middle East. As of 2017, however, it has become clear that the American strategy has not delivered the intended results. After 15 years of considerable strategic consistency during the presidencies of George Bush and Barack Obama, Donald Trump now takes the reins, having made a more aggressive approach to ISIS a central plank first of his campaign and, potentially, of his...

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