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newthinking

Profile Information

Member since: Tue Feb 9, 2010, 11:51 PM
Number of posts: 2,888

About Me

Long time reader on DU and liberal/progressive. Up until recently I have not posted a lot. But I am very concerned about the situation in Ukraine and the people there. Liberals need to understand what is really happening, because Ukrainians are in a very dangerous situation and the geopolitical thing (US/Russia) is actually distracting from the realities that Ukrainians are facing on the ground there. So I have been posting a fair amount about that situation.

Journal Archives

US Propaganda on Crimea Misleading, But 'Understandably' So - French MP

US Propaganda on Crimea Misleading, But 'Understandably' So - French MP

According to French senator Yves Pozzo di Borgo, who visited Crimea together with a group of ten French legislators, US propaganda over Crimea is understandable even though it does not reflect the peninsula's realities.

French parliament member Jerome Lambert, who visited Crimea together with a group of ten French legislators, told Sputnik that the visit showed that US propaganda over Crimea is understandable even though it does not reflect realities on the peninsula.

"The US is trying to deploy in Europe and counteract Russia. The American point of view is understandable. And when there is an understanding of this, there are explanations to American propaganda, the propaganda of some US allies in Europe," Jerome Lambert said.


The French lawmakers, led by lower-house National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee member Thierry Mariani, said they came to Crimea to get a real sense of what is really going on in the Black Sea peninsula. During the July 23-24 trip, the parliamentarians visited Crimea, where they met with government officials.


Full story:
http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20150727/1025105309.html

The Financial Attack on Greece: Where Do We Go From Here?

The Financial Attack on Greece: Where Do We Go From Here?

by MICHAEL HUDSON
CounterPunch

The major financial problem tearing economies apart over the past century has stemmed more from official inter-governmental debt than with private-sector debt. That is why the global economy today faces a similar breakdown to the Depression years of 1929-31, when it became apparent that the volume of official inter-government debts could not be paid. The Versailles Treaty had imposed impossibly high reparations demands on Germany, and the United States imposed equally destructive requirements on the Allies to use their reparations receipts to pay back World War I arms debts to the U.S. Government.

Legal procedures are well established to cope with corporate and personal bankruptcy. Courts write down personal and business debts either under “debtor in control” procedures or foreclosure, and creditors take a loss on loans that go bad. Personal bankruptcy permits individuals to make a fresh start with a Clean Slate.

It is much harder to write down debts owed to or guaranteed by governments. U.S. student loan debt cannot be written off, but remains a lingering burden to prevent graduates from earning enough take-home pay (after debt service and FICA Social Security tax withholding is taken out of their paychecks) to get married, start families and buy homes of their own. Only the banks get bailed out, now that they have become in effect the economy’s central planners.

Most of all, there is no legal framework for writing down debts owed to the IMF, the European Central Bank (ECB), or to European and American creditor governments. Since the 1960s entire nations have been subjected to austerity and economic shrinkage that makes it less and less possible to extricate themselves from debt. Governments are unforgiving, and the IMF and ECB act on behalf of banks and bondholders – and are ideologically captured by anti-labor, anti-government financial warriors.


Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/08/71809/

We restarted the Cold War: The real story about the NATO buildup that the New York Times won’t

We restarted the Cold War: The real story about the NATO buildup that the
New York Times won’t tell you


Our leaders and media push time-worn nonsense about American innocence, while taking aggressive moves.
Look out

Patrick L. Smith

Salon Magazine

http://www.salon.com/2015/06/25/we_restarted_the_cold_war_the_real_story_about_the_nato_buildup_that_the_new_york_times_wont_tell_you/


Vladimir Putin, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (Credit: Reuters/RIA Novosti/Jonathan Ernst/Photo montage by Salon)

Have you picked up on the new trope du jour? We are all encouraged to bask in our innocence as we lament the advent of a new Cold War. The thought has been in the wind for more than a year, of course, at least among some of us. But we witness a significant turn, and I hope this same some of us are paying attention.

As of this week, leaders who know nothing about leading, thinkers who do not think and opinion-shaping poseurs such as Tom Friedman are confident enough in their case to sally forth with it: The Cold War returns, the Russians have restarted it and we must do the right thing—the right thing being to bring NATO troops and materiel up to Russia’s borders, pandering to the paranoia of the former Soviet satellites as if they alone have access to some truth not available to the rest of us.

James Stavridis, the former admiral and NATO commander, quoted in Wednesday’s New York Times: “I don’t think we’re in the Cold War again—yet. I can kind of see it from here.”

I can kind of see it, too, Admiral, and cannot be surprised: NATO has missed the Cold War since the Wall came down and the Pentagon’s creature in Europe commenced a quarter-century of wandering in search of useful enemies. At last, the very best of them is back.

The theme of new Russian aggression sounded over the past couple of months reeked of orchestration from the first, as suggested in this space when it was first sounded. It was too consistent in language, tone and implication, whether it came from the Pentagon, NATO or Times news reports—which are, naturally, based on Pentagon and NATO sources.

Anything counted: Russia’s military exercises within its own borders were aggressive. Russian air defense systems on its borders were aggressive. Russia’s military presence in Kaliningrad, Russian territory lying between Lithuania and Poland, was an aggressive threat.


Full story:

http://www.salon.com/2015/06/25/we_restarted_the_cold_war_the_real_story_about_the_nato_buildup_that_the_new_york_times_wont_tell_you/

Conan clip - Hillarious if not eerie reminder of the nature of modern "news"

Banned German satire "Die Anstalt".

Biting Satire about western government and media reporting from the German comedy program "Die Anstalt". The program was actually banned at one point (then brought back due to pressure of the German people).

Of course be sure that subtitles are on if you do not know German.

Round Table: Can the IMF save Ukraine?

From an excellent discussion/article at The Nation Magazine site"

http://www.thenation.com/article/209329/ukraine-crisis-heres-why-west-cant-save-it#

Salon: We are the propagandists: The real story about how The New York Times and the White House

We are the propagandists: The real story about how The New York Times and the White House has turned truth in the Ukraine on its head

A sophisticated game of manipulation is afoot over Russia: power, influence and money. U.S. hands are not clean


Vladimir Putin (Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan/Photo montage by Salon)

Excerpt:

Ever since the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, reality itself has come to seem up for grabs. Karl Rove, a diabolically competent political infighter but of no discernible intellectual weight, may have been prescient when he told us to forget our pedestrian notions of reality—real live reality. Empires create their own, he said, and we’re an empire now.

The Ukraine crisis reminds us that the pathology is not limited to the peculiar dreamers who made policy during the Bush II administration, whose idea of reality was idealist beyond all logic. It is a late-imperial phenomenon that extends across the board. “Unprecedented” is considered a dangerous word in journalism, but it may describe the Obama administration’s furious efforts to manufacture a Ukraine narrative and our media’s incessant reproduction of all its fallacies.

At this point it is only sensible to turn everything that is said or shown in our media upside down and consider it a second time. Who could want to live in a world this much like Orwell’s or Huxley’s—the one obliterating reality by destroying language, the other by making historical reference a transgression?

Language and history: As argued several times in this space, these are the weapons we are not supposed to have.

Ukraine now gives us two fearsome examples of what I mean by inverted reason.


Full Story:
http://www.salon.com/2015/06/03/we_are_the_propagandists_the_real_story_about_how_the_new_york_times_and_the_white_house_has_turned_truth_in_the_ukraine_on_its_head/

US Special Forces Are Operating in More Countries Than You Can Imagine


US Special Forces Are Operating in More Countries Than You Can Imagine
The Nation Magazine

What do you know about the special forces carrying out a secret war in more than half the nations on the planet?

Nick Turse


A US Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill in Sudan in 2013. (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

Excerpt:

Despite its massive scale and scope, this secret global war across much of the planet is unknown to most Americans. Unlike the December debacle in Yemen, the vast majority of special ops missions remain completely in the shadows, hidden from external oversight or press scrutiny. In fact, aside from modest amounts of information disclosed through highly-selective coverage by military media, official White House leaks, SEALs with something to sell and a few cherry-picked journalists reporting on cherry-picked opportunities, much of what America’s special operators do is never subjected to meaningful examination, which only increases the chances of unforeseen blowback and catastrophic consequences.

The Golden Age

“The command is at its absolute zenith. And it is indeed a golden age for special operations.” Those were the words of Army General Joseph Votel III, a West Point graduate and Army Ranger, as he assumed command of SOCOM last August.

His rhetoric may have been high-flown, but it wasn’t hyperbole. Since September 11, 2001, US Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, including their numbers, their budget, their clout in Washington and their place in the country’s popular imagination. The command has, for example, more than doubled its personnel from about 33,000 in 2001 to nearly 70,000 today, including a jump of roughly 8,000 during the three-year tenure of recently retired SOCOM chief Admiral William McRaven.

Those numbers, impressive as they are, don’t give a full sense of the nature of the expansion and growing global reach of America’s most elite forces in these years. For that, a rundown of the acronym-ridden structure of the ever-expanding Special Operations Command is in order. The list may be mind-numbing, but there is no other way to fully grasp its scope.

The lion’s share of SOCOM’s troops are Rangers, Green Berets and other soldiers from the Army, followed by Air Force air commandos, SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen and support personnel from the Navy, as well as a smaller contingent of Marines. But you only get a sense of the expansiveness of the command when you consider the full range of “sub-unified commands” that these special ops troops are divided among: the self-explanatory SOCAFRICA; SOCEUR, the European contingent; SOCKOR, which is devoted strictly to Korea; SOCPAC, which covers the rest of the Asia-Pacific region; SOCSOUTH, which conducts missions in Central America, South America and the Caribbean; SOCCENT, the sub-unified command of US Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle East; SOCNORTH, which is devoted to “homeland defense”; and the globe-trotting Joint Special Operations Command or JSOC—a clandestine sub-command (formerly headed by McRaven and then Votel) made up of personnel from each service branch, including SEALs, Air Force special tactics airmen and the Army’s Delta Force, that specializes in tracking and killing suspected terrorists.


Full story:
http://www.thenation.com/article/195409/us-special-forces-are-operating-more-countries-you-can-imagine

The Future of a Failed State

The Future of a Failed State

Nations like Haiti don’t “fail” because of their people, 
but because they’ve been relentlessly exploited by 
the more “developed” world.


(Bettmann / Corbis / AP)

How does a state fail?

It’s a question you can’t help asking yourself as you make your way in Haiti, through the chaos left by four severe tropical storms in 2008 and the destruction wrought by the 2010 earthquake—some of which is still evident on the streets of Port-au-Prince today, five years later. It’s not just the unrebuilt infrastructure that raises this question, but also the human and political waste caused by so many years of corrupting collaboration with the United States, the United Nations and outside nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

A state doesn’t fail because of some innate inferiority in its people. I make this obvious point only because people who don’t know Haiti often try, as subtly as they know how, to claim this is the case. They’re wrong: a state fails because of its history.

Haiti from its inception has been a peculiarly globalized entity. The slavery with which the French colony enriched itself was a global labor and agricultural phenomenon, bringing people from Africa to the Americas in order to serve as free labor on plantations owned by Europeans. Haiti’s revolution, too, was a global phenomenon, linking those same three continents. Haiti’s early debt was global; its economics under slavery and, later, the US occupation were global as well—and still are.

Many readers of The Nation may know something of the remarkable history of this country, since the magazine has been following it for more than a century. But for those of you coming to it cold: Haiti had unbelievably promising beginnings. Though tarnished by centuries of slavery, the country was the creation of some of the great geniuses of the 1700s. But the enormous potential of these singular men was destroyed by France, which kidnapped and killed some of Haiti’s ablest leaders, most notably Toussaint Louverture. In 1825, a scant two decades after Haitian independence was declared, France demanded an indemnity of 150 million francs (roughly estimated at $20 billion in today’s dollars) for the property lost by French plantation owners during the quite bloody, quite fiery revolution—one that Haiti had won.

Full story:
http://www.thenation.com/article/198905/future-failed-state

Josh Cohen - Vladimir Putin calls Ukraine fascist and country’s new law helps make his case

(Note: This has now been passed and is no longer in draft)

Vladimir Putin calls Ukraine fascist and country’s new law helps make his case
Josh Cohen


A member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) waits to depart to the frontline
in eastern Ukraine, in central Kiev, March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich


As Ukraine continues its battle against separatists, corruption and a collapsing economy, it has taken a dangerous step that could further tear the country apart: Ukraine’s parliament, the Supreme Rada, passed a draft law last month honoring organizations involved in mass ethnic cleansing during World War Two.

The draft law — which is now on President Petro Poroshenko’s desk awaiting his signature — recognizes a series of Ukrainian political and military organizations as “fighters for Ukrainian independence in the 20th century” and bans the criticism of these groups and their members. (The bill doesn’t state the penalty for doing so.) Two of the groups honored — the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) — helped the Nazis carry out the Holocaust while also killing close to 100,000 Polish civilians during World War Two.

The law is part of a recent trend of contemporary Ukrainian nationalism promoted by those on the extreme right to break with the country’s Communist past and emphasize Ukraine’s suffering under the Soviet regime. In addition to the moral problem of forbidding the criticism of Holocaust perpetrators, the law hinders Ukraine’s European ambitions — and validates Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims that the country is overrun by neo-Nazis.

The OUN was founded in 1929 as a revolutionary organization designed to liberate Ukraine from Soviet rule and create an independent Ukrainian state. Many OUN leaders were trained in Nazi Germany, and the group’s philosophy was influenced by Nazi racial theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg. OUN literature, for example, declared the need to “combat Jews as supporters of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime… Death to the Muscovite-Jewish commune! Beat the commune, save Ukraine!”

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/05/14/putin-ties-ukraines-government-to-neo-nazis-a-new-law-seems-to-back-him-up/

____________________________________________________________________________________

Ukraine bans Soviet symbols and criminalizes sympathy for communism

New laws also honor controversial nationalist groups that committed ethnic cleansing or allied with the Nazis for part of second world war


Two new laws that ban communist symbols while honoring nationalist groups that collaborated with the Nazis have come into effect in Ukraine, raising concerns that Kiev could be stifling free speech and further fragmenting the war-torn country in the rush to break ties with its Soviet past.

The first law “on the condemnation of the communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes” forbids both Soviet and Nazi symbols, making something as trivial as selling a USSR souvenir, or singing the Soviet national hymn or the Internationale, punishable by up to five years in prison for an individual and up to 10 years in prison for members of an organization.

It also makes it a criminal offense to deny the “criminal character of the communist totalitarian regime of 1917-1991 in Ukraine” in the media or elsewhere.

The second law recognizes controversial nationalist groups – including the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) – as “independence fighters” and makes it a criminal offense to question the legitimacy of their actions. While these two groups at different times fought both Soviet and German forces, they also collaborated with the Nazis and took part in ethnic cleansing. One of the authors of the law is the son of UPA leader Roman Shukhevych.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/21/ukraine-bans-soviet-symbols-criminalises-sympathy-for-communism
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