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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
Number of posts: 49,223

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The Mask Has Been Lifted From Putin's Face

The sanctions so far are a joke –travel bans and such. More substantial ones will be on the way. Russia’s central bank is bracing for what’s coming. But these measures, even if they truly hurt, are not what will isolate Moscow. Instead, it is the mask that has been lifted from Putin’s face. He has declared himself. He has shown he’s not willing to play by the rules if he doesn’t like the rules. From now on, Putin will be the odd man out, the European leader that other leaders cannot trust. His word is worthless. No more can he flash his smile and rely on the picture to obscure his deeds. The tale that émigrés tell of a ruler who simply takes what he wants has been substantiated in Crimea.


Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare - BY Gareth Porter

Gareth Porter is a historian and investigative journalist on US foreign and military policy analyst. He writes regularly for Inter Press Service on US policy towards Iraq and Iran. Author of five books, the latest of which is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.



JAY: So, one more time, Gareth is a historian, an investigative journalist. He covers U.S. and foreign and military policy. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.
So, in the first part we talked a bit about Gareth's background, but we got up to the point where it was clearly the policy of the American neocons, of Israel—and I think we now know the Saudis were very much on board—from the late 1990s, at least, if not before, regime change in Iran was the big foreign policy objective. We talked about the Project for the New American Century, which kind of laid this all out fairly clearly, a document created by neocons towards the end of the Clinton administration. As the weapons of mass destruction narrative helped Bush and Cheney invade Iraq, they needed a narrative for an attack eventually on Iran. And that begins what Gareth picks up in his new book.

So thanks, Gareth.

So they needed to manufacture a whole narrative that would justify war. So how do they go about doing that?

PORTER: They went about doing it first of all by establishing John Bolton, who was the primary policymaker on WMD for the Bush administration, was—.

JAY: Who helped manufacture the whole Iraq narrative.

PORTER: He was the person who was coordinating this on the American side with Israel, working very closely with them, clearly. And his first move was to make sure that the IAEA would not be able to allow Iran to get by without being accused of having a nuclear weapons program, and he didn't believe that would be possible unless some special moves were made.


way more, just finished reading it:

Rich people taking all their profits off the top-leaving nothing for the 99%—We've heard this before

The debate was whether they should “allow” the Irish to eat the food that they themselves had worked to grow on the landlord’s farm:

In History Ireland magazine (1997, issue 5, pp. 32–36), Christine Kinealy, a Great Hunger scholar, lecturer, and Drew University professor, relates her findings: Almost 4,000 vessels carried food from Ireland to the ports of Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool and London during 1847, when 400,000 Irish men, women and children died of starvation and related diseases. She also writes that Irish exports of calves, livestock (except pigs), bacon and ham actually increased during the Famine. This food was shipped under British military guard from the most famine-stricken parts of Ireland; Ballina, Ballyshannon, Bantry, Dingle, Killala, Kilrush, Limerick, Sligo, Tralee and Westport. A wide variety of commodities left Ireland during 1847, including peas, beans, onions, rabbits, salmon, oysters, herring, lard, honey, tongues, animal skins, rags, shoes, soap, glue and seed. The most shocking export figures concern butter. Butter was shipped in firkins, each one holding 9 gallons. In the first nine months of 1847, 56,557 firkins were exported from Ireland to Bristol, and 34,852 firkins were shipped to Liverpool which correlates to 822,681 gallons of butter exported to England from Ireland during nine months of the worst year of the Famine.The poor did not have sufficient money to obtain the food produced and the British government facilitated its exportation


“The whole British argument in the famine was that the poor are poor because of a character defect”

John Nichols: Ryan is a sorry son of Ireland

............His great-great-grandfather had fled to America. But the Republican congressman was very much in evidence, wagging his finger at the famished. His oft-stated “culture of dependency” is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock. But it was also England’s excuse for lethal negligence…

The Irish historian John Kelly, who wrote a book on the great famine, was the first to pick up on these echoes of the past during the 2012 presidential campaign. “Ryan’s high-profile economic philosophy,” he wrote then, “is the very same one that hurt, not helped, his forebears during the famine — and hurt them badly.”…

You never hear Ryan make character judgments about generations of wealthy who live off their inheritance, or farmers who get paid not to grow anything. Nor, for that matter, does he target plutocrats like Romney who might be lulled into not taking risks because they pay an absurdly low tax rate simply by moving money around. Dependency is all one-way.

“The whole British argument in the famine was that the poor are poor because of a character defect,” said Christine Kinealy, a professor of Irish studies and director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University. “It’s a dangerous, meanspirited and tired argument.”…


Pensiongate? Christie Campaign Donors Won Huge Contracts While trumpeting “pension reform”

This was Chris Christie's much-vaunted "pension reform" -- namely, move the money to private firms run by contributors who take big fees and make high-risk investments. I wish more voters understood these issues, because all they hear is "reform" and they assume it's good. It's not. Public money should be invested conservatively, and under the greed mentality of the 90s, it wasn't. It has cost the public big-time, as we see in the attacks on public pensions:

Pensiongate? Christie Campaign Donors Won Huge Contracts
While trumpeting “pension reform,” the New Jersey governor placed retiree assets in the hands of hedge fund managers bankrolling his political career.

Lee Fang March 17, 2014


State pension plans that rely on hedge funds and other so-called “alternative investments” perform worse overall than those with more conservative strategies such as Treasury notes or the S&P 500, according to many studies, including recent reports from the Maryland Tax Education Foundation and Yale professor Roger Ibbotson. Critics charge that hedge funds not only are far more risky investments, but also that they produce less value because they carry hefty management fees and are entitled to a portion of future profits.

Early in his administration, Christie appointees at the Division of Investment pledged to double its allocation for “alternative investments,” with a goal of moving 33.2 percent of the $74.7 billion fund into an array of hedge funds, private equity firms and real estate deals. “For large pools of capital, I think it’s prudent to have both private equity and hedge funds as part of the mix of a diversified portfolio,” said Grady in 2010, shortly after voting to substantially increase the amount of New Jersey pension funds managed by hedge funds and other alternative investments.

“This started with Corzine,” says Hetty Rosenstein, head of CWA New Jersey, part of the Communications Workers of America, a union that represents many public workers in the state. “Many years ago, these investments were very conservative. But now they’ve changed that, and we’re invested in hedge funds and much more volatile investments from outside managers with high fees.”

According to industry reports, New Jersey now has the second-largest allocation in the country of state retiree money being managed by hedge funds. In 2013, the New Jersey pension program delivered a return of 11.79 percent—lower than the pension median of 16.1 percent that year. Part of the lower return, according to analysts, related to the amount allocated to alternative funds rather than to US equities. Fees also contributed to the smaller return. For example, hedge funds typically charge a 2 percent management fee on top of a 20 percent performance fee. The fees can quickly eat into any future gains, while making losses even more painful. In contrast, index funds or other, more traditional investments carry few (if any) fees.


"There’s no moral difference between a stealth bomber & a suicide bomber. Both kill innocent people"

Here is Benn destroying John Bolton during the Iraq war.

At 4:00, he takes Bolton apart by describing his own service in World War II and then noting that Bolton refused to serve in Vietnam. The RAF veteran notes that the London blitz killed his brother, and that as he was flying home from the war, he heard the United Nations charter read.

“That was the pledge my generation gave to the younger generation, and tore it up. And it’s a war crime that’s been committed in Iraq. Because there’s no moral difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber. Both kill innocent people for political reasons…. You’re a declining empire, as we were, and you’ll learn the truth…. You were beaten in Vietnam… That’s why you didn’t want to serve there. And you’ll be beaten in Iraq.’”


The Missing White Poor

The Missing White Poor

Guess who makes up a plurality of America's poor?

The point of this chart is that even though blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately poor, the largest group of poor people in America is ... white people.

Despite that fact, when you say "the poor," what pops into most people's heads is an image of a black person, probably due in no small part to the fact that poverty in America is represented in the media as a largely black phenomenon (I'm not just saying that; there's research backing that up).

the rest:

FOX: "Still no word on how Obama is to blame"


Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others question lack of prosecutions for mortgage fraud

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three Democratic lawmakers asked to discuss with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder the Department of Justice’s allegedly uneven efforts to prosecute mortgage fraud, according to a letter dated Monday.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and representatives Elijah Cummings and Maxine Waters are seeking an audience with Holder over a new watchdog report that said the FBI ranked mortgage fraud as a low threat after the height of the financial crisis, even though the Justice Department had said investigating that crime would be a top priority.

“This report calls into question the Department’s commitment to investigate and prosecute crimes such as predatory lending, loan modification scams, and abusive mortgage servicing practices,” the three lawmakers wrote of the report released last week by the Justice Department’s inspector general.


Head Of GOP Women's PAC:-Women Are "Too Busy" For Equal Pay

Head Of GOP Women's PAC Flubs Equal Pay Question

Cari Christman, executive director of the PAC, told WFAA that Republicans oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because "women want real-world solutions to this problem, not more rhetoric." The law, signed by President Barack Obama in 2009, allows women to file a claim against pay discrimination when she discovers it, not a limited amount of time after the unequal pay began.

When asked what her proposed solution to the gender pay gap might look like, she began repeating the point that women are "busy."

"If you look at it, women are extremely busy," she said. "We lead busy lives, whether working professionally, whether working from home, and times are extremely busy. It's a busy cycle for women, and we've got a lot to juggle. So when we look at this issue we think, what's practical? And we want more access to jobs. We want to be able to get a higher education degree at the same time we're working or raising a family."

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