Member since: Wed Feb 10, 2010, 12:51 AM
Number of posts: 3,816
Number of posts: 3,816
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.
Corporate fraud is not just present, but is widespread in many neoliberalised economies of both income-rich and income-poor countries. Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal is perhaps the most recent and most startling example, but the automobile industry is only one of many sectors, including banking and the arms industry, where scandals have become commonplace. Certain practices and norms that many people in the global North considered shocking only a while ago have become routine in public life.
The financial industry, whether in the US, UK, or Germany, has become characterised for years now by extensive and escalating fraud. Arguably, bankers have never been as unpopular as they are right now. It is not difficult to see why. The most vulnerable in society have suffered the most as a result of public sector cuts in western Europe. You can draw a straight line between these cuts and the post-2008 bank bailouts and market-saving interventionism of governments.
One interesting indicator of the strength of popular censure aimed at the bankers can be found on the front pages of some traditionally right-wing newspapers; newspapers that hardly have a track record of critiquing capitalism.
Full read here:
Posted by newthinking | Fri Jun 24, 2016, 04:50 PM (0 replies)
BEIRUT — Gradually, the mist of ambiguity and confusion hanging over Syria is lifting a little. The landscape is sharpening into focus. With this improved visibility, we can view a little more clearly the course of action being prepared by Iran, Russia and the Syrian government.
Russia is emerging from an internal debate over whether the U.S. is truly interested in an entente or only in bloodying Russia’s nose. And what do we see? Skepticism. Russia is skeptical that NATO’s new missile shield in Poland and Romania, plus military exercises right up near its border, are purely defensive actions.
Iran, meanwhile, is studying the entrails of the nuclear agreement. As one well-informed commentator put it to me, Iran is “coldly lethal” at the gloating in the U.S. at having “put one over” Iran. Because, while Iran has duly taken actions that preclude it from weaponizing its nuclear program, it will not now gain the financial normalization that it had expected under the agreement.
As Pat Lang, a former U.S. defense intelligence officer, wrote last week:
The Russians evidently thought they could make an honest deal with Kerry Obama. Well, they were wrong. The U.S. supported jihadis associated with ... merely ‘pocketed’ the truce as an opportunity to re-fit, re-supply and re-position forces. The U.S. must have been complicit in this ruse. Perhaps the Russians have learned from this experience.
Posted by newthinking | Wed Jun 22, 2016, 01:59 AM (0 replies)
Excellent interview with Mark Crispen Miller (Mark Crispin Miller is professor of media studies at New York University) discussing how potent, prevalent, and artful media propaganda has become since the Bush administration. Definitely a must see.
Posted by newthinking | Thu Jun 16, 2016, 01:29 PM (7 replies)
Posted by newthinking | Tue Jun 14, 2016, 12:12 AM (10 replies)
Source: New York Times
KIEV, Ukraine — In July 2014, I went to Donetsk, a separatist-controlled region in eastern Ukraine, to cover the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. It was a dangerous place at the time. The Ukrainian military and the rebels were shelling each other, and temperamental men with Kalashnikovs who had been known to kidnap journalists were everywhere.
Like many foreign reporters, I was there to relay what was happening to the remains of the downed flight’s 298 passengers and crew members. Before I went to the crash site, I obtained accreditation from the separatists. This did not guarantee that I would be safe, but it was the only way to get past the armed checkpoints.
Now Ukraine has labeled me an accomplice in terrorism.
On May 7, the website Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”), courtesy of anonymous hackers, published part of the separatists’ accreditation records. My name, email address and phone number were among those of more than 4,000 journalists, including freelancers like me, as well as correspondents from this newspaper, Reuters, the BBC and other outlets. We were collectively labeled “terrorist collaborators” for gaining accreditation from the separatists. The list’s publishers claimed not to know what the consequences would be of releasing this information, but it seemed clear that the intent was to encourage people to take action against the journalists on their own.
Anton Gerashchenko, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament and an adviser to the Ministry of Interior, praised the publication of the list and called for journalists to assist Ukraine in its “information war” with Russia. Condemnation of the list followed from organizations including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Ukraine’s ombudsman called for the website to be blocked. As criticism built, the people running Mirotvorets said they would take their website offline and the Kiev prosecutor’s office began an investigation into whether or not those running the site had committed a crime.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/01/opinion/ukraine-declares-war-on-journalism.html
Ukraine: journalists blacklisted
After the publication of a preliminary list of journalists who had been in Donbass,
two new lists have appeared online
On May 10, Mirotvorets, an Ukrainian website, published a list of all journalists who had worked in the separatist territories of the East during the last two years of war. A group of hackers, linked to an organization founded by Georgiy Tuka, former governor of the Luhansk region and current Deputy Minister for the "temporarily occupied territories," has stolen the journalists' names from the separatist authority’s database. New lists have been added in the past few days.
Posted by newthinking | Wed Jun 1, 2016, 12:19 PM (2 replies)
The proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used – accidentally or by decision – defies credibility”.
This unanimous statement was published by the Canberra Commission in 1996. Among the commission members were internationally known former ministers of defense and of foreign affairs and generals.
Posted by newthinking | Fri May 27, 2016, 04:46 PM (5 replies)
Nevada's Democratic convention devolved into mayhem on Saturday as party pushed controversial new rules and disqualified Sanders delegates
Nika Knight, staff writer
Party officials eventually called in armed security guards and the chair unilaterally declared the convention finished after nearly 17 hours, bringing the chaotic proceedings to a bitter conclusion. (Screenshot: YouTube/anie h.)
The Nevada Democratic convention was overwhelmed by utter turmoil on Saturday after the chair adopted a controversial set of new rules and disqualified 56 Bernie Sanders delegates from participating, handing rival Hillary Clinton a majority of the state's delegates.
This occurred after the Democratic frontrunner lost the state's county level caucuses in April.
The chaotic convention, organized and run largely by Clinton supporters, was yet another instance of what many observers have decried as the party's rigging of the primary process in favor of the establishment candidate.
The party's blatant bolstering of Clinton's candidacy, critics say, has been obvious from the outset—and only grows more transparent as the election continues. They point to the following prior instances as evidence of a rigged process:
The primary debates were scheduled at inopportune times, a move that many interpreted as protecting Clinton from scrutiny and attempting to prevent Sanders from gaining attention.
For many, Nevada's tumultuous state convention over the weekend was yet another demonstration of the party's efforts to preserve the establishment.
Posted by newthinking | Mon May 16, 2016, 07:35 PM (18 replies)
The military is a flawed tool that rarely produces real results—but try telling that to Washington.
By Tom Engelhardt
President Barack Obama at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)
There are the news stories that genuinely surprise you, and then there are the ones that you could write in your sleep before they happen. Let me concoct an example for you:
Top American and European military leaders are weighing options to step up the fight against the Islamic State in the Mideast, including possibly sending more US forces into Iraq, Syria, and Libya, just as Washington confirmed the second American combat casualty in Iraq in as many months.
Oh wait, that was actually the lead sentence in a May 3 Washington Times piece by Carlo Muñoz. Honestly, though, it could have been written anytime in the last few months by just about anyone paying any attention whatsoever, and it surely will prove reusable in the months to come (with casualty figures altered, of course). The sad truth is that across the Greater Middle East and expanding parts of Africa, a similar set of lines could be written ahead of time about the use of Special Operations forces, drones, advisers, whatever, as could the sorry results of making such moves in .
Put another way, in a Washington that seems incapable of doing anything but worshiping at the temple of the US military, global policy-making has become a remarkably mindless military-first process of repetition. It’s as if, as problems built up in your life, you looked in the closet marked “solutions” and the only thing you could ever see was one hulking, over-armed soldier, whom you obsessively let loose, causing yet more damage.
How Much, How Many, How Often, and How Destructively
In Iraq and Syria, it’s been mission creep all the way. The B-52s barely made it to the battle zone for the first time and were almost instantaneously in the air, attacking Islamic State militants. US firebases are built ever closer to the front lines. The number of special ops forces continues to edge up. American weapons flow in (ending up in god knows whose hands). American trainers and advisers follow in ever increasing numbers, and those numbers are repeatedly fiddled with to deemphasize how many of them are actually there. The private contractors begin to arrive in numbers never to be counted. The local forces being trained or retrained have their usual problems in battle. American troops and advisers who were never, never going to be “in combat” or “boots on the ground” themselves now have their boots distinctly on the ground in combat situations. The first American casualties are dribbling in. Meanwhile, conditions in tottering Iraq and the former nation of Syria grow ever murkier, more chaotic, and less amenable by the week to any solution American officials might care for.
Full Read at:
Posted by newthinking | Fri May 13, 2016, 11:03 AM (2 replies)
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
by Brian Cloughley
Because the United States administration, at the urging of the Pentagon and its sub-office in Brussels, the HQ of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, had already embarked on a policy of confrontation with Russia, encouraging and subsidizing expansion of that expressly anti-Russia military alliance from 16 to its present 28 countries.
There were corporate benefits for the US along the way, of course. Eight NATO countries bought hundreds of F-16s and all the add-ons, for example, and “NATO Standardization” was military code for “Buy American.” The State Department is barefaced about this. Its head of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Andrew J Shapiro, proudly declared that “We view the American defense industry as an integral part of our efforts to advance US national security and foreign policy.” You can’t be more open than that.
Mr Shapiro made it clear that the policy of the United States of America is:
“When a country buys an advanced US defense system through our . . . programs, they aren’t simply buying a product, they are also buying into a relationship. These programs both reinforce our diplomatic relations and establish a long-term security relationship. What is generally underappreciated is that the complex and technical nature of advanced defense systems frequently requires constant collaboration and interaction between countries over the life of that system – decades in many cases.”
Two years after President Bush welcomed President Putin to Texas, NATO welcomed eight more nations as members, increasing its military presence ever-closer to Russia’s border. Moscow was presumably meant to ignore this menacing development, while NATO’s aircraft flew intelligence-gathering missions along its borders, and US combat ships of its massive nuclear-armed Sixth Fleet made coat-trailing forays into the Black Sea. (One of them ran aground, which might show that Russia doesn’t have too much to worry about ; but it’s the thought that counts.)
The United States encouraged a coup in Ukraine in 2014, and although the Ukrainian news agency Interfax reported in June 2015 that President Poroshenko stated that the overthrow of his predecessor was “unconstitutional” there was no change to the ceaseless western propaganda line that the coup was entirely democratic. Similarly the allegations that Crimea was “annexed” by Russia have been successful to the point that very few in the west believe that, as the UK’s Independent newspaper reported, “Fireworks exploded and Russian flags fluttered above jubilant crowds after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.” The referendum was a perfectly fair expression of opinion in Crimea. Indeed it would have been very surprising if the vote hadn’t gone in favor of rejoining Russia, because it is undeniable that the vast majority of Crimea’s citizens are Russian-cultured and Russian-speaking, and regard western Ukrainians as foreigners.
The main point, however, is the allegation that Russia was in some way seeking to invade Ukraine itself. There is no doubt that Russia was and continues to be supportive of the separatists of eastern Ukraine, but the notion that Russia wanted or wants to attack and occupy Ukraine is ludicrous.
Full story at:
Posted by newthinking | Sat Apr 30, 2016, 01:35 PM (7 replies)
Did anyone else catch that a senior official in the campaign said that Bernie intends to remain a Democrat regardless win or lose?
In the mean time, in states that Bernie is sweeping progressives are gaining footholds in State Organizations.
UPDATED: Bernie Sanders supporters won Colorado’s three seats on the Democratic National Committee, ousting longtime party leaders and Hillary Clinton loyalists.
Bernie is planning on shaking the graft tree further loose of it's moors at the convention.
Folks always talked about President Obama being a "4 Dimensional Chess player".
Well guess what?! Bernie is also a multi-dimensional thinker.
This movement is building the progressive power base in the party not just to take the Presidency.
It ain't anywhere near over. It is just beginning!
Posted by newthinking | Wed Apr 20, 2016, 11:44 PM (8 replies)