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Hometown: Saskatchewan
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Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
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Journal Archives

Podemos and the ‘Democratic Revolution’ in Spain

By Raul Zelik
Source: The Bullet
May 8, 2015

(Translation by Eric Canepa)

Even if one almost always goes wrong with such prognoses, the fact is that the Spanish state is facing the biggest rupture since the end of the Franco dictatorship. In several large cities, the left radical-democratic lists of the Guanyem / Ganemos Initiatives have real chances of winning the mayoral elections in May. In recent months in Catalonia, millions were on the street calling for the democratic right to self-determination, to which Madrid could only answer with new prohibitions. But it is above all the left party Podemos (We Can) that is dominating Spain’s political landscape. According to some current polls, Podemos, though founded only in January 2014, is the strongest party today with an almost 28 per cent voter approval, one year before the parliamentary elections.

What is more remarkable about Podemos than the poll results, which can merely be volatile snapshots of the moment, is the social mobilization that the organization set in motion. 900 Podemos base groups, so called circles, have formed throughout the whole country. Almost 10,000 people took part in the party’s founding congress in October. And in municipal district assemblies hundreds of neighbours discuss the crisis, capitalism, and ‘real democracy’ – and in this case ‘neighbours’ means literally neighbours. Podemos has left the subcultural milieus behind.

The level of debate is astounding, determined as it is, on the one hand, by a pragmatism directed at the 2015 elections and, on the other, by sharp criticism of neoliberalism and bourgeois political routine.

Crisis of Representation

Podemos is the expression of a crisis of representation that has gripped many countries with a neoliberal regime since the 1990s. That is, Podemos is not the product of a gradual process of growth but appears to have emerged out of a political vacuum and is expanding in an explosive manner. No existing political structures (such as trade unions, the larger NGOs or the media) have supported the project; the party activists – most of them under 35 – belong to the generation characterized as apolitical, and its immense popularity among the population is not easily explained. In the Spanish mainstream, left positions were decidedly marginal until 2011.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/podemos-and-the-democratic-revolution-in-spain/

Israeli soldier: We bombed civilian targets in Gaza for entertainment

By Middle East Monitor
Source: Middle East Monitor
May 8, 2015

An Israeli soldier said that he and his colleagues bombed civilian targets in the Gaza Strip during last year’s war on the enclave for entertainment.

During an interview with French Le Monde newspaper in Jerusalem yesterday, the soldier who identified himself as Arieh, 20, said: “I was called to service early on July 2014 and was deployed to the Gaza Strip but until that time the operation was not announced yet. Only some soldiers speculated that there will be war, but later our commander told us to imagine a 200 metre radius and to immediately shoot anything moving inside this circle.”

“We bombed civilian targets for entertainment,” he said, adding that “one day at about 8am we went to the Al-Bureij; a highly dense residential area in central Gaza, and the commander told us to select a random target and shoot it, at the time we did not see any Hamas fighters, no one shot at us, but the commander told us jokingly: ‘We have to send Bureij a morning greeting from the Israeli army’.”

Arieh is one of about 60 Israeli soldiers who agreed to testify in a report prepared by Israeli human rights organisation Breaking the Silence.

The 237-page report concluded that the Israeli army left “unprecedented harm” among Palestinian civilians during the war through random firing and the application of loose rules of engagement

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/israeli-soldier-we-bombed-civilian-targets-in-gaza-for-entertainment/

Ukraine: Coup, Couth, and Consequences

By Ray McGovern
Source: Counterpunch
April 25, 2015

The controversy over alleged Russian “aggression” in Ukraine is already raining on the Kremlin parade with which Russia will mark the 70th anniversary of the Allies’ victory over Adolf Hitler and the Nazis on May 9. U.S. President Barack Obama set the tone by turning down the Kremlin’s invitation to take part in the celebration, and allies in Western Europe have been equally uncouth in saying No.

The fanfare on Red Square will be a “Last Hurrah” for most surviving World War II veterans, since few are likely to be able to be there for the 75th or 80th anniversaries. Though I was only five years old on V-E Day – marking the victory in Europe – I was delighted to receive an invitation to go to Russia this week for a smaller-scale celebration marking an equally important 70th anniversary – April 25, 1945, the historic day on which U.S. and Russian troops met at the Elbe River.

On V-E Day, which came a couple of weeks later on May 9, 1945, I recall the thundering celebration as one of my most vivid early memories. So I find it a particular shame that for this year’s 70th anniversary the usual thunderclaps of applause will be muted.

Tragically divided once again by hate, greed, and power-lust, Europe lies in the shadow of war, as the violence percolating in Ukraine threatens to result in wider, more open military intervention from outside. Equally sad, responsibility for the turmoil in Ukraine lies mostly at the doorstep of Washington. Worse still for one who normally pretends to understand what drives foreign policy, how shall I explain to my hosts what lies behind U.S. actions in central Europe, when – try as I may to come up with cogent explanations that make some sense – the reasons elude me.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/ukraine-coup-couth-and-consequences/

Do Something, Anything: Naming and Shaming in Yarmouk

By Ramzy Baroud

April 15, 2015
Change text size: /

The population of Syria’s Palestinian Refugee Camp, Yarmouk – whose population once exceeded 250,000, dwindling throughout the Syrian civil war to 18,000 – are a microcosm of the story of a whole nation, whose perpetual pain shames us all, none excluded.

Refugees who escaped the Syrian war or are displaced in Syria itself, are experiencing the cruel reality under the harsh and inhospitable terrains of war and Arab regimes. Many of those who remained in Yarmouk were torn to shreds by the barrel bombs of the Syrian army, or victimized by the malicious, violent groupings that control the camp, including the al-Nusra Front, and as of late, IS.

Those who have somehow managed to escape bodily injury are starving. The starvation in Yarmouk is also the responsibility of all parties involved, and the “inhumane conditions” under which they subsist – especially since December 2012 – is a badge of shame on the forehead of the international community in general, and the Arab League in particular.

These are some of the culprits in the suffering of Yarmouk:

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/do-something-anything-naming-and-shaming-in-yarmouk/

Howling in Donetsk

By Pepe Escobar
Source: Asia Times
April 2, 2015

I’ve just been to the struggling Donetsk People’s Republic. Now I’m back in the splendid arrogance and insolence of NATOstan.

Quite a few people – in Donbass, in Moscow, and now in Europe – have asked me what struck me most about this visit.

I could start by paraphrasing Allen Ginsberg in Howl – “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.”

I did not see, as Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe international observers also didn’t, the rows and rows of Russian tanks and soldiers that the current Dr. Strangelove in charge of NATO, General Breedhate, sees everyday in his exalted dreams invading Ukraine over and over again.

And I did not see the arrogance, the ignorance, the shamelessness and the lies distorting those manicured faces in Kiev, Washington and Brussels while they insist, over and over again, that the entire population of Donbass, traumatized babushkas and children of all ages included, are nothing but “terra-rists”.

After all, they are Western “civilization”-enabled cowards who would never dare to show their manicured faces to the people of Donbass.

So this is my gift to them.

Just a howl of anger and unbounded contempt.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/howling-in-donetsk/

Life under Isis

By Patrick Cockburn
Source: The Independent
March 17, 2015

Hamza is a 33-year-old from Fallujah, a city ruled by Islamic State 40 miles west of Baghdad, who became an Isis fighter last year after being attracted by its appeal to his religious feelings. Two months ago, however, he defected, after being asked to help execute people he knew – and being appalled by invitations to join in what amounted to rape of captured Yazidi women.

Hamza told his family that he would follow them to Baghdad within a few days, but had decided at this moment, July 2014, to join Isis. His motive was primarily religious and idealistic. He says that he “decided to join them willingly because I was convinced that the Islamic State is the ideal state to serve, and to work for, Allah and the after life, which is the surest part of life”.

Hamza says he is now entirely disillusioned with Isis. “At the beginning I thought they were fighting for Allah, but later I discovered they are far from the principles of Islam. I know that some fighters were taking hallucinatory drugs; others were obsessed with sex. As for the raping, and the way different men marry by turn the same woman over a period of time, this is not humane.

“I left them because I was afraid and deeply troubled by this horrible situation. The justice they were calling for when they first arrived in Fallujah turned out to be only words.”

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/life-under-isis/

No Child Under 5 Should Expect To Die

68 World Vision offices are joining in a Global Week of Action around child health. Be a part of this global movement by watching and sharing a child's Last Will and Testament.

Poverty is the number 1 barrier to mothers and children getting the health care they need.

There are over 1 billion people surviving on less than $1 a day and the simple reality is that health care is often both financially and logistically out of reach for millions of mothers and children.

Even with all the advances that have been made in child health and safe birthing practices, the most vulnerable continue to die unknown and uncounted, just because they can't access life-saving health services.


World bank, IMF & Federal Reserve cause extreme poverty

You Will Want To Recycle Everything After Seeing These Photos!

Warning - (Some photos are very GRAPHIC and show extreme animal and child suffering).

May 2, 2015 by Amanda Froelich

From oil spills to overflowing landfills, man’s unsustainable quest to live a better life with little regard for the environment has caused a staggering amount of environmental disasters to be formed. At present, pollution is labeled to be the #1 killer, affecting more than 100 million worldwide.

And the extent of unsustainable consumerism, of course, does not just affect the human species. More than 1 million seabirds and 100 million mammals are killed by pollution every year.

Obviously change is needed – but what can inspire people to live more sustainably and limit their carbon footprint than startling statistics? Possibly the photos shown below, which in their heartbreaking real-ness, expose the truth of what is happening across the globe.

Following are 20+ shocking photos which capture man-made disasters and their effect on the environment. If these photos don’t inspire you to collect trash when you see it, it’s time to wake up.


Whales have been showing up dead on multiple beaches, bringing us a message with stomachs full of plastic. This has happened multiple times. In the summer of July 2013, a sperm whale was stranded on Tershelling, a Northern island in the Netherlands. The whale swallowed 56 different plastic items that totalled over 37 pounds. In April 2010, a gray whale died after stranding itself on a West Seattle beach, it was found to have over 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, plastic pieces, duct tape, and more in its system. In March of 2013 a dead sperm whale washed up on Spain’s South coast which swallowed 17kg of plastic waste.

The list goes on and on. Keep in mind, these are whales who choose to beach themselves or have washed up on shore, think about all the whales and other marine beings that don’t.

Fishing NetThese are not uncommon events, in 1989 a stranded sperm whale in the Lavezzi Islands died of a stomach obstruction after accidentally ingesting plastic bags and 100 feet of plastic sheeting. A paper published in 1990 reports that a sperm whale in Iceland died due to a complete obstruction of the gut with plastic marine debris. In August 2008, a sperm whale washed up dead on the beach near Point Reyes, California, with 450 Pounds of fishing net, plastic bags and rope found in its stomach (see picture to the left) In 2008, the California Marine Mammal Stranding Database recorded another sperm whale with enormous amounts of plastic and fish netting in its stomach.

I’ll stop there as there are countless examples.


God ... we suck.

Union Of 30,000 Doctors In Latin America Wants Monsanto Banned!

May 1, 2015 by John Vibes

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It was announced this week that over 30,000 doctors and health experts throughout Latin America are demanding that Monsanto’s products be banned. One of the primary cases that these doctors are bringing against Monsanto is the recent confirmation that their main herbicide RoundUp is actually responsible for causing cancer.

“In our country glyphosate is applied on more than 28 million hectares. Each year, the soil is sprayed with more than 320 million liters, which means that 13 million people are at risk of being affected, according to the Physicians Network of Sprayed Peoples (RMPF),” Argentina’s union of medical professionals, Fesprosa said in a statement.

The Fesprosa union is comprised of over 30,000 medical health professionals, most of whom wish to enact the ban on Monsanto products, and specifically the chemical glyphosate, the active chemical in RoundUp.

We believe the precautionary principle should be applied, and that we should stop accumulating studies and take decisions that could come too late. We advocate a ban on glyphosate which should take effect in the short term with restrictions on purchasing, spraying and packaging,” Javier Souza, coordinator of Latin American pesticide action network said.

We cannot allow the business interests of a North American multinational to be more important than the health of the people of our region. Governments should promote the technology and practices of organic farming to protect growers, consumers and the environment,” Franco Segesso, coordinator of the campaign at Greenpeace Andino said.

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