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newthinking

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Feb 10, 2010, 12:51 AM
Number of posts: 3,526

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

Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?

Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
by Brian Cloughley

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/29/is-washington-preparing-for-war-against-russia/

Excerpt:

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.)

.......................................................................

(Ukraine Coup)

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:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/29/is-washington-preparing-for-war-against-russia/

Bernie has PLANS!

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.



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!

Paul Krugman, Bernie Sanders and the truth about the free trade scam

Paul Krugman, Bernie Sanders and the truth about the free trade scam
Trade has been a disaster for Democratic voters, but a boon for Democratic politicians
-- especially the Clintons

Paul Rosenberg
SALON


Bernie Sanders, Paul Krugman, Hillary Clinton (Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong/Brian Snyder/Photo montage by Salon)

In the wake of Bernie Sanders stunning upset victory in the Michigan primary, there’s a renewed recognition that the negative impacts of global trade matter—a lot. There’s still a broad assumption Clinton will easily win the nomination, but there’s been some talk that she might consider Sherrod Brown, Ohio’s staunchly anti-”free trade” senator as her running mate. And of course, as the New York Times dwells on, Clinton is “sharpening” her “message on jobs and trade.”

But Michigan matters not just for Clinton, but for the Democratic Party as a whole. And it’s going to take much more than sharper messaging to actually make a difference in people’s lives. It’s not just a matter of changing policies around the edges—as Clinton now says that she wants to do—the entire corporate-dominated policymaking process that produces such deals needs to be done away with, and replaced with something far more open, democratic and informed by long-term realism. And that can only happen through a mobilization of political will—or as Sanders would call it, “a political revolution.”

Clinton’s messaging shift is a good indication of how far the establishment is from grasping what’s actually needed. As the Times notes, she’s always been upbeat in the past, stressing “inclusiveness,” as the neoliberal lexicon would have it:

“I want to be the president for the struggling, the striving and the successful,” she often said.

But now, she’s signaled a change:

Stung by the bad showing, Mrs. Clinton was already recalibrating her message, even altering her standard line before the Michigan race had been called. “I don’t want to be the president for those who are already successful — they don’t need me,” she said at a rally Tuesday night in Cleveland. “I want to be the president for the struggling and the striving.”


It’s a characteristically breathtaking move on Clinton’s part. It sounds great, of course. But how can she be a president for the struggling and striving when she’s so out of touch with them that she’s been blindsided by the brokenness of their dreams? There’s so much more than messaging that needs to be adjusted here. As Paul Krugman now admits, “much of the elite defense of globalization is basically dishonest…. So the elite case for ever-freer trade is largely a scam.”

Continued:
http://www.salon.com/2016/03/18/hillary_clinton_doesnt_get_it_paul_krugman_bernie_sanders_and_the_truth_about_the_free_trade_scam/

Primary results: Bernie Sanders upsets Hillary Clinton in Michigan

Source: CNN

Washington (CNN)Bernie Sanders won the Michigan Democratic primary, CNN projects, in an upset that delivers a sharp blow to Hillary Clinton's hopes of quickly securing her party's nomination.

Sanders' victory, on the eve of the next Democratic debate clash that will be simulcast on CNN, raises fresh questions about the former secretary of state's appeal to blue-collar Democrats who have embraced the Vermont's senator's populist anti-Wall Street message.

Although Sanders did little to cut into Clinton's overall lead of about 200 delegates, thanks to her win Tuesday in Mississippi, his performance in Michigan suggests Sanders could mount a stronger-than-expected challenge in looming primaries in a string of Rust Belt states, including Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump will win the Republican primaries in Michigan and Mississippi, according to CNN projections, important victories that propel him closer to the GOP presidential nomination, despite a week of fearsome barrage of attacks from his rivals and the Republican establishment.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, won Idaho, CNN projects, further validating his claims that he is now in a two-man race with the billionaire.

But the big surprise of the night was in the Democratic race.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/08/politics/primary-results-highlights/index.html



On the main page (CNN.COM under Breaking News):


"Sanders upsets Clinton in Michigan for Night's Biggest Prize"

War, Peace, and Bernie Sanders

War, Peace, and Bernie Sanders
by
Robert C. Koehler
CommonDreams.org


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaking in 2013 at the Civil Rights Luncheon during AFGE's annual Legislative Conference. (Photo: AFGE/flickr/cc)

It’s the day after the big vote and I’m doing my best to dig Tulsi Gabbard’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders out from beneath the pile of Super Tuesday numbers and media declarations of winners and losers.

As a Boston Globe headline put it: “Clinton and Trump are now the presumptive nominees. Get used to it.”

But something besides winning and losing still matters, more than ever, in the 2016 presidential race. War and peace and a fundamental questioning of who we are as a nation are actually on the line in this race, or could be — for the first time since 1972, when George McGovern was the Democratic presidential nominee.

Embrace what matters deeply and there’s no such thing as losing.

Gabbard, an Iraq war vet, congresswoman from Hawaii and “rising star” in the Democratic establishment, stepped down as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee in order to endorse Sanders — because he’s the only candidate who is not financially and psychologically tied to the military-industrial complex.

“As a veteran of two Middle East deployments, I know firsthand the cost of war,” she said, cracking the mainstream silence on U.S. militarism. “As a vice chair of the DNC, I am required to stay neutral in democratic primaries, but I cannot remain neutral any longer. The stakes are just too high.”

Because of Gabbard — only because of Gabbard — the multi-trillion-dollar monstrosity of U.S. militarism is getting a little mainstream media attention amid the reality-TV histrionics of this year’s presidential race, the Donald Trump phenomenon and the spectacle of Republican insult-flinging.

Continued:
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/03/03/war-peace-and-bernie-sanders

Larry Fink and His BlackRock Team Poised to Take Over Hillary Clinton’s Treasury Department

Larry Fink and His BlackRock Team Poised to Take Over Hillary Clinton’s Treasury Department
David Dayen


Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $675,000 for three speeches, but an even bigger Wall Street player stands ready to mold and enact her economic and financial policy if she becomes president.

BlackRock is far from a household name, but it is the largest asset management firm in the world, controlling $4.6 trillion in investor funds — about a trillion dollars more than the annual federal budget, and five times the assets of Goldman Sachs. And Larry Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, has assembled a veritable shadow government full of former Treasury Department officials at his company.

Fink has made clear his desire to become Treasury Secretary someday. The Obama administration had him on the short list to replace Timothy Geithner. When that didn’t materialize, he pulled several members of prior Treasury Departments into high-level positions at the firm, which may improve the prospects of realizing his dream in a future Clinton administration.

And his priorities appear to be so in sync with Clinton’s that it’s not entirely clear who shares whose agenda.

Clinton, for her part, has refused to rule out a Treasury Secretary drawn from Wall Street.

Continued:
https://theintercept.com/2016/03/02/larry-fink-and-his-blackrock-team-poised-to-take-over-hillary-clintons-treasury-department/

Clinton Promises 'Absolutely, Absolutely' Nothing to Worry About in Wall Street Speeches

Clinton Promises 'Absolutely, Absolutely' Nothing to Worry About in Wall Street Speeches

New York Times editorial joins those urging Democratic presidential candidate to release transcripts of controversial speeches
by Jon Queally, staff writer

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/02/26/clinton-promises-absolutely-absolutely-nothing-worry-about-wall-street-speeches


Hillary Clinton has now said voters have no reason to worry about what's in the paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms. (Photo: AP)

From the New York Times editorial board to a Republican-friendly super PAC, it appears unease is widespread over Hillary Clinton's continued refusal to release transcripts of recent paid speeches she gave to some of Wall Street's most powerful firms.

In a sharply-worded editorial in Friday's print edition, the Times described Clinton's excuses for not releasing the transcripts as those of a "mischievous child, not a presidential candidate"—arguing that "public interest in these speeches is legitimate" and that by "stonewalling" their release "Mrs. Clinton plays into the hands of those who say she’s not trustworthy and makes her own rules."

However, in an interview with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough that aired Friday morning, Clinton again defended her relationship with Wall Street and said the voting public has no need to worry about what she may have said in the speeches that earned her millions of dollars.


Full story:
From the New York Times editorial board to a Republican-friendly super PAC, it appears unease is widespread over Hillary Clinton's continued refusal to release transcripts of recent paid speeches she gave to some of Wall Street's most powerful firms.

In a sharply-worded editorial in Friday's print edition, the Times described Clinton's excuses for not releasing the transcripts as those of a "mischievous child, not a presidential candidate"—arguing that "public interest in these speeches is legitimate" and that by "stonewalling" their release "Mrs. Clinton plays into the hands of those who say she’s not trustworthy and makes her own rules."

However, in an interview with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough that aired Friday morning, Clinton again defended her relationship with Wall Street and said the voting public has no need to worry about what she may have said in the speeches that earned her millions of dollars.

Sanders Should Challenge the Foreign-Policy Status Quo

Sanders Should Challenge the Foreign-Policy Status Quo

We desperately need to overturn a foreign policy that grows ever more divorced from the interests and security concerns of the vast majority of Americans.

By Katrina vanden Heuvel

Global economic troubles threaten our economy, a cold war heats up with Russia, the Middle East is aflame, and 2015 was the hottest year on record, as climate change accelerates. Despite this, the presidential campaigns have offered little more than foreign policy by bumper sticker.

In the Republican race, particularly now that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has ended his campaign, the debate has descended into bellicose posturing, xenophobia, fervid denunciations of all things Obama and, of course, climate change denial. The candidates vie to rip up the Iran deal, rev up a new cold war with Russia, fan the flames in the Middle East and walk away from the progress made in Paris on climate.

Democrats have a genuine opportunity to offer a sorely needed new, real security agenda. Yet we’ve seen little evidence of it. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has made a stirring argument about our rigged economy and our corrupted politics, electrifying young voters and unsettling the party establishment’s favorite, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. But Sanders has said little about foreign policy, apparently viewing it as a distraction from his core economic message.

Continued: http://www.thenation.com/article/sanders-should-challenge-the-foreign-policy-status-quo/

Hillary Clinton and the Syrian Bloodbath





TASOS KATOPODIS via Getty Images

In the Milwaukee debate, Hillary Clinton took pride in her role in a recent UN Security Council resolution on a Syrian ceasefire:

But I would add this. You know, the Security Council finally got around to adopting a resolution. At the core of that resolution is an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012 in Geneva, which set forth a cease-fire and moving toward a political resolution, trying to bring the parties at stake in Syria together.


This is the kind of compulsive misrepresentation that makes Clinton unfit to be President. Clinton's role in Syria has been to help instigate and prolong the Syrian bloodbath, not to bring it to a close.

In 2012, Clinton was the obstacle, not the solution, to a ceasefire being negotiated by UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan. It was US intransigence - Clinton's intransigence - that led to the failure of Annan's peace efforts in the spring of 2012, a point well known among diplomats. Despite Clinton's insinuation in the Milwaukee debate, there was (of course) no 2012 ceasefire, only escalating carnage. Clinton bears heavy responsibility for that carnage, which has by now displaced more than 10 million Syrians and left more than 250,000 dead.

As every knowledgeable observer understands, the Syrian War is not mostly about Bashar al-Assad, or even about Syria itself. It is mostly a proxy war, about Iran. And the bloodbath is doubly tragic and misguided for that reason.

Continued: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-clinton-and-the-s_b_9231190.html

Hillary Clinton and the Syrian Bloodbath

Hillary Clinton and the Syrian Bloodbath
Huffington Post
Jeffrey Sachs
Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-clinton-and-the-s_b_9231190.html

In the Milwaukee debate, Hillary Clinton took pride in her role in a recent UN Security Council resolution on a Syrian ceasefire:

But I would add this. You know, the Security Council finally got around to adopting a resolution. At the core of that resolution is an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012 in Geneva, which set forth a cease-fire and moving toward a political resolution, trying to bring the parties at stake in Syria together.


This is the kind of compulsive misrepresentation that makes Clinton unfit to be President. Clinton's role in Syria has been to help instigate and prolong the Syrian bloodbath, not to bring it to a close.

In 2012, Clinton was the obstacle, not the solution, to a ceasefire being negotiated by UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan. It was US intransigence - Clinton's intransigence - that led to the failure of Annan's peace efforts in the spring of 2012, a point well known among diplomats. Despite Clinton's insinuation in the Milwaukee debate, there was (of course) no 2012 ceasefire, only escalating carnage. Clinton bears heavy responsibility for that carnage, which has by now displaced more than 10 million Syrians and left more than 250,000 dead.

As every knowledgeable observer understands, the Syrian War is not mostly about Bashar al-Assad, or even about Syria itself. It is mostly a proxy war, about Iran. And the bloodbath is doubly tragic and misguided for that reason.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the leading Sunni powers in the Middle East, view Iran, the leading Shia power, as a regional rival for power and influence. Right-wing Israelis view Iran as an implacable foe that controls Hezbollah, a Shi'a militant group operating in Lebanon, a border state of Israel. Thus, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel have all clamored to remove Iran's influence in Syria.

This idea is incredibly naïve. Iran has been around as a regional power for a long time--in fact, for about 2,700 years. And Shia Islam is not going away. There is no way, and no reason, to "defeat" Iran. The regional powers need to forge a geopolitical equilibrium that recognizes the mutual and balancing roles of the Gulf Arabs, Turkey, and Iran. And Israeli right-wingers are naïve, and deeply ignorant of history, to regard Iran as their implacable foe, especially when that mistaken view pushes Israel to side with Sunni jihadists.

Yet Clinton did not pursue that route. Instead she joined Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and right-wing Israelis to try to isolate, even defeat, Iran. In 2010, she supported secret negotiations between Israel and Syria to attempt to wrest Syria from Iran's influence. Those talks failed. Then the CIA and Clinton pressed successfully for Plan B: to overthrow Assad.

Continued: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-clinton-and-the-s_b_9231190.html
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