January 19, 2022

The Park Center for Independent Media circulates the Indy Brief. Subscribe for a weekly selection of news stories from journalists operating outside traditional corporate systems.

The Izzy Award
Nominations Open for 14th Annual “Izzy Award” for Independent Media

The Izzy Award will celebrate its 14th year this spring, and nominations are officially open for work produced during the calendar year 2021.

PCIM will again grant this honor — named after legendary journalist I. F. “Izzy” Stone — for outstanding achievement in independent media. This year’s award will go to an independent media outlet or individual journalist whose work is published independently.

Journalists, academics, and the public at large may submit nominations until midnight EST on Tuesday, February 2, 2022. The winner will be announced early next spring, with an award ceremony to follow in April 2022.

Nominations should include 250 words or less explaining why the entry is worthy of consideration. They should also include supporting web links (no more than four) and/or attached materials. Send submissions to Raza Rumi, director of PCIM, at pcim@ithaca.edu.

Read more on nominations here.

The Edge
Turning off the Tap: The Pentagon Fails its 4th Consecutive Audit

One of the biggest blacked-out stories of 2021 surely has to be the news, on November 16, that the Pentagon once again had abysmally failed to pass an audit, despite the best efforts of 1,200 top-flight Wall Street auditors operating on a $220-million budget, to vet the Pentagon’s estimated $3 trillion balance sheet of assets and liabilities, and its fiscal year 2021 spending budget of $740 billion.

Pentagon spending accounts for half the entire annual discretionary budget of the U.S. government each year. The fact that this largest agency in the U.S. government cannot, and for decades has refused to, provide the government with an auditable accounting of its expenditures doesn’t seem to count as major news in the U.S. corporate media.

The result of this unaccountable expenditure is the yearly ballooning of the Pentagon’s funds, diverting needed money from the public good.

Dave Lindorff follows up to his Izzy Award-winning 2019 piece on the Pentagon’s accounting fraud, in which he correctly warned this transparency issue would persist.

Read Lindorff’s full report on The Edge.

It Is Time to Disobey; We Need a Revolutionary COVID Camaraderie

The American public is being told to get used to living with COVID-19. This means “we” are being asked to abide the inequalities that disallow a more robust challenge to the virus.

As we near entering a third year into the pandemic, more than 5.5 million people have died globally, with the most dispossessed dying disproportionately. And there is no unified national or global response.

As Zillah Eisenstein writes, the climate crisis and pandemic have exposed engrained injustices across U.S. policy and systems. To achieve a true democracy, it would have to be revolutionized to include those the U.S. massacred, enslaved, and neglected at the start.

Unfortunately, vaccine inequity continues, and a handful of billionaires multiply their wealth as so many others face hunger and eviction. Eisenstein determines: “it is time to imagine and come together and demand what we need.”

Read Eisenstein’s full commentary on The Edge.

More from the Edge
Jan. 6 Insurrection: The Shape of Democracy One Year Later

On January 6, 2021, loyalists to then-President Donald Trump unleashed a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol building. The riot interrupted the certification of the 2020 election after Trump gave a speech doubling down on his “big lie” that the outcome of voting was fraudulent.

Members of the mob called for former Vice President Mike Pence to be hung for his role in President Biden’s certification, and had erected a gallows ostensibly for this purpose. By the end of the attack, five people had died, hundreds were injured, and Americans watched as members of Congress were forced to evacuate the Capitol.

Just one year later, partisan lines have revealed differing accounts of the day’s events.

Read the full report on The Edge.

Time to Stop Modernizing America’s Nukes and to Start Negotiating Peace

This summer, investigative journalist Dave Lindorff warned of the production of nuclear materials under Joe Biden. Read his urgent account of the dangers involved on The Edge.

The Biden administration’s proposed military budget calls for the production of nuclear “pits”— the spherical plutonium-based implosion bomb that dropped on Nagasaki.

Not since 1992 has the U.S. arms industry invested in these, but Biden’s massive $753-billion National Security Budget has allotted funds to — prematurely — ensure the Plutonium-239 in America’s nukes hasn’t broken down enough to render them duds.

The U.S. aims to restart its “pit” manufacturing “to serve as triggers for new thermonuclear bombs and warheads planned for use by new planes, ships and ballistic missiles, and perhaps as small ‘useable’ tactical bombs with yields as low as 5 kilotons.”

“This is a bunch of really terrible ideas.”

The U.S. has a history of nuclear production during peacetime, including its “first use” strategy — contrary to common belief, “retaliation is not what the Minuteman or Trident missiles were designed for.”

Read Lindorff’s full commentary on The Edge.

In Other News

1. New York probe finds ‘significant evidence’ against Trump and Ivanka as AG files new court motion (The Independent)

2. Lumber Prices Are off the Rails Again. Blame Climate Change. (The Atlantic)

3. West Virginia Lawmakers Introduce 15-Week Abortion Ban (HuffPost)

4. Fanta Bility: US officers charged with fatally shooting girl (BBC)

5. Russia could act against Ukraine ‘at any moment’, says US (The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website, and The Edge, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.