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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 22,363

Journal Archives

Biden the new fantasy stalking horse for Clinton supporters

Certain Clinton supporters would have conniptions and deliver condescending lectures if Elizabeth Warren or anyone else not actually running were to be included in the opinion polls conducted by such estimable dispensers of bullshit as CNN & Co. Yet some are now posting and posting and posting these fantasy polls with Biden in them so that Sanders doesn't look that close to Clinton. (Why Biden? Why not George Clooney, or Pope Francis, since they are equally candidates?) At this point I think the Clinton suppoers do this more to reassure themselves than to fool anyone.

Clinton is no doubt the favorite. Sanders' main problem is what it's been all along. He has a small fraction of the Clinton money, little coverage, and dismissive coverage = most people still don't know he exists. Among those who do, it's already a landslide for him over the politics of fake caring and neoliberalism that Clinton (and Clintons generally) have always fought for.

"Forgive" is double talk.

The Greek people are the victims here, only they may one day be in a position to forgive what has been done to them by the Troika, the oligarchs, and the politicians of the now deposed ruling parties. It was never debt, it is plunder. It was never a bailout, except to the German and French banks who actually got the EU taxpayers' money that the Greek people were then told they "owe." Austerity was never reform, it was always a typical IMF program to break the economy, impoverish the people, and subordinate it to the desires of international capital.

(Greece) Tension with Berlin peaks over war reparation claims, jibes

Source: Kathimerini (Greek Daily)

Tensions peaked between Greece and Germany on Wednesday after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras renewed Greek demands for war reparations from Berlin for Nazi war crimes and statements by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble were perceived by authorities in Athens as offensive.


Athens was also said to be annoyed at the terse rection from the German government to new Greek demands for war reparations from Germany. In particular, Greek diplomats were said to be irked by a statement by a spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry which suggested that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias did not broach the issue of war reparations during his recent visit to Berlin. The spokesman for Greece's foreign ministry, Constantinos Koutras, said he understood that Kotzias had indeed raised the issue of war reparations during his visit to Berlin on February 10.

There was exasperation in Germany too with Bavarian conservative Hans Michelbach responding to suggestions by Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos that German assets in Greece could be seized.

"If it came to Greek violations of German property, Germany would know how to defend itself," he said.

Read more: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_12/03/2015_548129

Yesterday's story on the Greek reparations claim:


Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos has said he is ready to sign an older court ruling that will enable the foreclosure of German assets in Greece in order to compensate the relatives of victims of Nazi crimes during the Second World War.

Greece's Supreme Court ruled in favor of Distomo survivors in 2000, but the decision has not been enforced. Distomo, a small village in central Greece, lost 218 lives in a Nazi massacre in 1944.


During the same debate, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed his government’s firm intention to seek war reparations from Germany, noting that Athens would show sensitivity that it hoped to see reciprocated from Berlin.

Tsipras told MPs that the matter of war reparations was “very technical and sensitive” but one he has a duty to pursue. He also seemed to indirectly connect the matter to talks between Greece and its international creditors on the country’s loan program. “The Greek government will strive to honor its commitments to the full,” he said. “But it will also strive to ensure all unfulfilled obligations toward Greece and the Greek people are fulfilled,” he added. “You cannot pick and choose on ethical issues.” Tsipras noted that Germany got support “despite the crimes of the Third Reich” chiefly thanks to the London Debt Agreement of 1953. Since reunification, German governments have used “silence, legal tricks and delays” to avoid solving the problem, he said. “We are not giving morality lessons but we will not accept morality lessons either,” Tsipras said.


So Putin issued an ultimatum to Kiev that it had to follow within 48 hours, or it would be bombed. Putin ordered the Russian military to conduct a shock and awe campaign that leveled the Ukraine infrastructure and destroyed the Kiev military, killing tens of thousands of people from the air. The Russian army invaded and occupied all Ukraine within a couple of weeks (which it undoubtedly could do). It now holds Kiev and has installed an occupation government. Is that what you think is a valid analogy?!

This is exactly what I'm talking about: Let's dispense with the analogies. Western propaganda is engaging in an awesome misrepresentation of a civil-war conflict that started in Kiev, and got Russians involved on the side of the Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Even if you want to say Moscow planned this from behind one side (the way the State Department has admitted doing from behind the other), you've got this absolutely rabid nonsense being dispensed by people like Breedlove and Nuland and in the U.S. media - and on DU, where people think nothing of calling Putin a "Hitler." And that's what they did with Saddam! Therein lies the analogy - not in any actions, but in the absurdity of the propaganda being claimed and swallowed, and in its dangerousness. When people invoke "appeasement" of the Nazis as a valid parallel in this case, they are flirting with World War III.

Billboards are being rolled out as surveillance vehicles.

Giant advertising billboards in London are recognizing human faces, interacting with human viewers (by changing the billboard content dependent on crowd responses), playing the surveillance footage back on a subsidiary screen, and sending messages to everyone in the vicinity not only via a subscription service but also SMS (which means: harvesting phone numbers alongside facial records). This variety of data about individuals collected without their consent can be used to identify them, to profile them as consumers, and to sell to any other entity (such as state agencies).

A recent story in the advertising industry's promotional organ, Ad Week, engaged in a roll-out of a new phase of the technology. In a brilliant PR coup, it was associated with a campaign to end violence against women. Thus a worthy campaign to address a very urgent and important social problem is exploited to sweeten the introduction of new corporate-owned surveillance technology and of new technological intrusions upon the rights of individuals.

There is little questioning the PR effectiveness of exploiting worthy causes to advance agendas of surveillance, profit and control. The initial result, as seen in a thread started on the story here on DU, was to divide people between those critical of the technology and those celebrating it because, in this case, it is being used to communicate a good message.

Here is the story, in Ad Week - note the unintentional implications of the sub-head. (The facial recog tech is being used to advertise, in this case. But of course we'll be hearing and we have heard how blanket surveillance will end crime, etc.)

Presented for an open discussion of all angles:

The Bruised Woman on This Billboard Heals Faster as More Passersby Look at Her. Facial recognition technology used to fight domestic violence

Here's an interesting use of facial recognition technology on billboards—to do something a little more inspiring than target you with the right products.

To coincide with International Women's Day this Sunday, London agency WCRS teamed up with Women's Aid and Ocean Outdoor to create some remarkable digital billboards about domestic violence. They use facial recognition to recognize when people are paying attention to the image of a bruised woman. As more people look at the ad, her bruises and cuts heal faster, communicating the benefit of not turning a blind eye to the problem.

The campaign premieres today at Canary Wharf, but it's actually already won an Interactive Award in Ocean's annual Art of Outdoor competition 2014. The video below is the case study made for those awards—with a different image, as you can see.


Interesting view. I have a different one.

Your version is not impossible.

What I see right now, however, is this:

1) The Donbass fighters won a military victory against Kiev's forces.

2) They are not proxies (as in "invented by Moscow") but an indigenous resistance of Russian-speaking Ukrainians that gets support from Russians privately, and from the Moscow government. Just like NATO supports Kiev and supported the coup last year. The difference being that the war has caused one million mainly Russian-speaking Ukrainians to flee into Russia, where their presence gets Russian-Russians angry about the situation, and where they are doubtless working to gain support.

3) Defining #2 correctly does not mean one supports or opposes any of these sides.*

4) Kiev was pressured at least as much as Putin to effect a ceasefire, since they were losing ground and hoping to make up for it by escalation and conscription.

5) Breedlove, Nuland and Kiev are trying to undermine it with fabrications about a Russian state military "invasion," and have been fabricating similar stories for many months without the appearance of proof (as if an actual "invasion" could be hidden).

6) The German government doesn't like #5 and is using Der Spiegel to expose their views on it openly.

7) The German strategy would seem wise for Kiev instead of trying their hand at conscription and escalation.

8) I hope we can agree that the ceasefire must hold!

* Personally, I'd have been for Maidan if it hadn't been hijacked by nationalists bent on starting a fight with Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Nazis provide soldateska for the Kiev side, but Russian-Russian extremists do the same for the Donbass side. I can't imagine I'd want to run into either paramilitary as a civilian, such formations tend to be barbaric. The Kiev official army, meanwhile, has engaged in some horrific shelling of civilian areas, a lot more of it than the other side.

Has nothing to do with your thread, or Women's Aid.

You posted an article from Ad Week - the magazine of the media whore industry - about an ad campaign devised by PR specialists.

"Media whores" is a common term to refer to members of the advertising and PR industries, and it accurately describes their profession: they sell their integrity to paying customers. They will always pose as though sincere, and say whatever they're being paid to say, without regard for its truth value. (It may be true, it may not. Doesn't matter.) As a professional matter they cannot care for the consequences, good or bad, but of course they'll congratulate themselves when the consequences appear to be good (as in this case).

"Media whores" here does not refer to Women's Aid.

Sorry that Women's Aid, which may be a very legitimate group (I don't know) took advice from whatever PR specialists recommended using clearly unethical means to gather data from random passers-by.

Sorry they chose this highly manipulative means to grab peoples' attention. (Really? Keep looking or the bruises get worse?!)

It is probably a fairly expensive campaign, although I don't know, at this point the technology may be mostly off-the-shelf. There's been a lot of development in the surveillance sector. This trend, as we see, has its apologists.

My point stands: Stunt promo usurps & distracts from a real issue. Good people make mistakes too.

Wrong, they have a record of who looked.

If they sent texts, they have a list of the numbers to which they sent the texts. Please do not attempt again to misinform us about this self-evident fact.

This data won't be wiped, since nothing need ever be wiped any more.

Numbers receiving texts can be automatically be matched to phone accounts & identities, and form a database for possible future exploitation.

The data can also be graded according to how long people looked - which doubtless matches roughly with consumer demographic profiles.

Many other demographic markers (sex, for example) don't require individual identification. (Not that identification is impossible, only that they're claiming they didn't do it in this case, of course.)

They can choose to sell the database at any later point. For charity, even. If anyone complains about such practices, they're supporting violence against women.

Stunt promo usurps and trivializes real issue.

Media whores (most of whom would as easily promote Halliburton or Monsanto if the money was right) congratulate themselves for being so noble and smart.

Some PR manager gets a prize and acts like they're Momma Theresa or Harriet Tubman.

Further push-advertising intrusion within public space legitimated.

In subsequent buzz, anyone who doesn't express wonderment at this nonsense is accused of being insensitive to important issue, or of supporting violence against women.

Apologists predictably dispense platitudes about technology being value-neutral. The demonstration of new surveillance technology is altogether harmless and if you don't think so, you're paranoid!

(Okay, so the facial scanners in this case may not have done bio-recognition and individual targeting. Surveillance cameras already do, and future billboards obviously will!)

Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine

Source: Der Spiegel (English edition), March 6, 2015.


On that same day, General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again "upped the ante" in eastern Ukraine -- with "well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery" having been sent to the Donbass. "What is clear," Breedlove said, "is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day."

German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn't understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn't the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove's numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America's NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.

The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove's comments as "dangerous propaganda." Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove's comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

Read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/germany-concerned-about-aggressive-nato-stance-on-ukraine-a-1022193.html

Details the German government's rift with the hardliners within the U.S. government and NATO, like Nuland and Breedlove, who are massively exaggerating (or fabricating) Russian state intervention in the Ukraine. While Germany works to negotiate a peace, this narrow faction are going all-in for the Kiev government and driving toward a confrontation with Moscow. This has Germans and Europeans alarmed, and the appearance of such a piece in Der Spiegel of all places is very big news.
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