Member since: Tue Feb 9, 2010, 11:51 PM
Number of posts: 2,682
Number of posts: 2,682
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.
The New World Disorder
by TARIQ ALI
Three decades ago, with the end of the Cold War and the dismantling of the South American dictatorships, many hoped that the much talked about ‘peace dividend’ promised by Bush senior and Thatcher would actually materialise. No such luck. Instead, we have experienced continuous wars, upheavals, intolerance and fundamentalisms of every sort – religious, ethnic and imperial. The exposure of the Western world’s surveillance networks has heightened the feeling that democratic institutions aren’t functioning as they should, that, like it or not, we are living in the twilight period of democracy itself.
Posted by newthinking | Sat Apr 18, 2015, 03:56 PM (1 replies)
Why We Must Return to the US-Russian Parity Principle
The choice is either a New Détente or a more perilous Cold War.
Stephen F. Cohen
April 14, 2015
The Nation Magazine
A pro-Russian separatist stands in front of damaged buildings following a shelling by
Ukrainian forces in Donetsk, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)
(The text below is a somewhat expanded version of remarks I delivered at the annual US-Russia Forum in Washington, DC, held in the Hart Senate Office Building, on March 26.)
When I spoke at this forum nine months ago, in June 2014, I warned that the Ukrainian crisis was the worst US-Russian confrontation in many decades. It had already plunged us into a new (or renewed) Cold War potentially even more perilous than its forty-year US-Soviet predecessor because the epicenter of this one was on Russia’s borders; because it lacked the stabilizing rules developed during the preceding Cold War; and because, unlike before, there was no significant opposition to it in the American political-media establishment. I also warned that we might soon be closer to actual war with Russia than we had been since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Posted by newthinking | Wed Apr 15, 2015, 03:40 AM (8 replies)
Source: The Local
'Sub' outside Stockholm was civilian boat
Published: 13 Apr 2015 07:43 GMT+02:00
Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad at a press conference after Sweden's October submarine hunt. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
A suspected submarine spotted in the Stockholm archipelago a week after Sweden's extensive hunt for Russian underwater vessels outside the capital last autumn was only a civilian boat, Sweden's Armed Forces have now said.
On October 31st, 2015, retired naval officer Sven Olof Kviman snapped a picture of what looked like a 20-30 metre long, black submarine in waters just outside Lidingö in Stockholm. The incident has remained unconfirmed, but has been classed by the military as a “potential” submarine.
But Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad has now told Swedish newspapers that the Armed Forces reported to the Swedish government last Wednesday that the suspected underwater vessel was in fact only a civilian “working boat”.
Read more: http://www.thelocal.se/20150413/suspected-sub-in-swedish-waters-was-working-boat
Sweden confirms mystery ‘Russian sub’…was in fact a workboat
Published time: April 13, 2015
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Swedish corvette HMS Visby patrols the Stockholm Archipelago October 19 2014, searching for what the military says is a foreign threat in the waters (Reuters / Marko Savala)
The unknown foreign vessel the Swedish Navy searched for near Stockholm last autumn was actually a “workboat,” a senior navy official says. Local media had alleged a hunt was on to try and find a Russian submarine, which was believed to be in the area.
Swedish Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad told the Swedish TT news agency on Saturday that what was thought to be a vessel or a foreign submarine was actually just a “workboat.”
READ MORE: Swedish military wants $700mn to hunt subs after autumn ‘chase’
The Swedish Navy changed the wording from “probable submarine” to “non-submarine” when referring to the reconnaissance mission connected to the unidentified vessel spotted in the Stockholm archipelago.
The massive hunt was used by the Swedish Defense Ministry to justify a six billion kronor ($696 million) hike in defense spending between 2016 and 2020.
Posted by newthinking | Mon Apr 13, 2015, 04:29 AM (11 replies)
The Least Among Us: The War in the Donbas Is Terrorizing Ukraine’s Most Vulnerable Citizens
The Western media have forgotten those who have suffered the most in the Ukrainian civil war—the eastern Ukrainians.
April 6, 2015
The Nation Magazine
An apartment that sustained damage from shelling; an 80-year-old woman lives there alone. Oktyabrskaya district, Donetsk (All photos by James Carden)
On a bluff overlooking the Sea of Azov in the southwest corner of Russia—tucked between the city of Rostov-on-Don and the town of Taganrog—sits a series of six unprepossessing buildings on dirt lot roughly the size of an acre. Living in these plain cinderblock dwellings are over fifty school-age children and their mothers, refugees from the war that has been raging in the cities, villages and towns of East Ukraine’s Donbas region for nearly a year. These mothers and children probably do not have very good chances for happy futures; they lack means and they lack opportunity. Their separatist husbands and fathers are still in Donbas fighting against Keiv’s regular army and ultra-nationalist battalions or else have been killed. For many, the homes they once knew have been destroyed and the country they were born into is now very far along the process of disintegrating. Yet. for all that. these refugees in Russia, by the sea, are the lucky ones. They got out.
Posted by newthinking | Tue Apr 7, 2015, 03:09 AM (0 replies)
OP commentary: Our media is fairly quiet at the moment and not reporting much on the region. But there is a general concern building that while things are quiet, there are indications more war is on it's way.
Kiev Wants War
Donbass: ‘The War Has Not Started Yet’
by PEPE ESCOBAR
Two top Cossack commanders in the People’s Republic of Donetsk and a seasoned Serbian volunteer fighter are adamant: the real war in Donbass has not even started.
Posted by newthinking | Mon Apr 6, 2015, 05:09 AM (1 replies)
Some Disturbingly Relevant Legacies of Anticommunism
The impact of Cold War anticommunism on our national life has been so profound that we no longer recognize how much we’ve lost.
March 23, 2015 , The Nation Magazine
In 1956, Jack O’Dell was subpoenaed to appear before Senator James Eastland’s Internal Security Subcommittee, the intersection of the red scare and white supremacy. (AP Images)
More than once, when i’ve been introduced to someone as the former longtime editor of The Nation, that person has asked me: “Did you found the magazine?”
Posted by newthinking | Wed Mar 25, 2015, 06:05 AM (5 replies)
Free Trade Isn’t about Trade. It’s About Bureaucrats—and Guns.
Free trade agreements like the TPP have provisions that are designed less for trade, and more about replacing public bureaucrats with private, corporate ones.
Free trade isn’t about trade. Free trade is about bureaucrats. And guns. Simple stories about how one country is good at making wine, and should trade with another country that is good at making cloth, explain very little about today’s trade agreements. Instead, agreements are about which bureaucrats make decisions about markets that operate between countries. Who has the power to settle international disputes between massive multinational corporations and the states they do business with? This issue, otherwise known as investor-state dispute settlement, is at the heart of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) President Obama is seeking to sign with twelve Asia-Pacific region countries.
Posted by newthinking | Wed Mar 25, 2015, 03:01 AM (2 replies)
And the Crushing of the Political Opposition
The Victory of National "Democracy" in Ukraine
by HALYNA MOKRUSHYNA
What is democracy? It is a political, economic and social arrangement of a territorial unity of people in which the majority rules but minority rights are protected and there is a robust political opposition. How does Ukraine measure up to this standard? Very badly. A failure, I would say. And here is why.
Is there any real political opposition in Ukraine? No. The official opposition party, the Opposition Bloc, which includes deputies from the former Party of Regions, has forty seats in the current Ukrainian parliament out of 422 . In the last election to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament) on October 26, 2014, this party won the majority of votes in five oblasts (regions) of Eastern Ukraine – Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, Donetsk, and Zaporizzhia. It obtained the second largest number of votes in Mykolaiv and Odessa oblasts, and the third largest number in Kherson. The participation in the election in the whole of Southeastern Ukraine reached an all-time low – less than 50 per cent in all of the oblasts. This is a clear indicator of the population’s apathy and mistrust of the current Ukrainian parliament.
In the Verkhovna Rada, the ruling coalition for the first time in the history of independent (post-1991) Ukraine has the largest majority in the Parliament – 303 deputies. The breakdown of the majority is 150 deputies from the Poroshenko Bloc, 82 deputies from the Narodnyi (Peoples) Front of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, 31 deputies of the Samopomich party of Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi, 21 deputies of the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko, and 19 deputies of the Batkivshchyna Party of former Ukraine’s prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
The Opposition Bloc is the only official opposition party in the Verkhovna Rada. Deputies of the Bloc have stated on several occasions that they are ignored in the Parliament and their work is blocked. For instance, Vadym Rabynovych said that he has registered 19 bills but none of them has been proposed for examination by the Rada.
Tatiana Bakhteeva has been a Rada deputy since 2002 and has experience working in the opposition as well in the ruling coalition in the Rada. She stated recently that for the first time in the history of the Ukrainian Parliament, there is not a single deputy from the opposition in the executive of the Rada – for instance, the positions of speaker or vice-speaker. Not a single member of the opposition chairs a parliamentary committee, whereas in the previous Parliament under President Victor Yanukovych, 12 out of 26 parliamentary committees were chaired by the opposition. Bakhteeva also says that the first 100 days of work of the Euromaidan parliament have shown it to be the most unprofessional Parliament in the history of independent Ukraine.
Posted by newthinking | Fri Mar 20, 2015, 12:03 AM (1 replies)
The full article is well worth the read:
The New (Deplorable) American Order
1% Elections, The Privatization of the State, a Fourth Branch of Government, and the Demobilization of "We the People"
by Tom Engelhardt
'Don’t for a second think,' writes Engelhardt, 'that the American political system isn’t being rewritten on the run by interested parties in Congress, our present crop of billionaires, corporate interests, lobbyists, the Pentagon, and the officials of the national security state.'
Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.
And here’s what I find strange: the evidence of this, however inchoate, is all around us and yet it’s as if we can’t bear to take it in or make sense of it or even say that it might be so.
Let me make my case, however minimally, based on five areas in which at least the faint outlines of that new system seem to be emerging: political campaigns and elections; the privatization of Washington through the marriage of the corporation and the state; the de-legitimization of our traditional system of governance; the empowerment of the national security state as an untouchable fourth branch of government; and the demobilization of "we the people."
Whatever this may add up to, it seems to be based, at least in part, on the increasing concentration of wealth and power in a new plutocratic class and in that ever-expanding national security state. Certainly, something out of the ordinary is underway, and yet its birth pangs, while widely reported, are generally categorized as aspects of an exceedingly familiar American system somewhat in disarray.
Posted by newthinking | Thu Mar 19, 2015, 06:10 PM (7 replies)
Very interesting story from a family deeply committed to "nonviolent resistance to war and nuclear culture".
Uncle Pentagon: Growing Up in the Shadow of the American War State
For the daughter of two radical pacifists, antiwar advocacy runs in the family.
March 10, 2015
Frida Berrigan speaks at an antiwar seminar in Sweden in 2011. (Credit: YouTube)
The Pentagon loomed so large in my childhood that it could have been another member of my family. Maybe a menacing uncle who doled out put-downs and whacks to teach us lessons or a rich, dismissive great-aunt intent on propriety and good manners.
Whatever the case, our holidays were built around visits to the Pentagon’s massive grounds. That’s where we went for Easter, Christmas, even summer vacation (to commemorate the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). When we were little, my brother and sister and I would cry with terror and dread as we first glimpsed the building from the bridge across the Potomac River. To us, it pulsated with malice as if it came with an ominous, beat-driven soundtrack out of Star Wars.
I grew up in Baltimore at Jonah House, a radical Christian community of people committed to nonviolent resistance to war and nuclear culture. It was founded by my parents, Phil Berrigan and Liz McAlister. They gained international renown as pacifist peace activists not afraid to damage property or face long prison terms. The Baltimore Four, the Catonsville Nine, the Plowshares Eight, the Griffiss Seven: these were anti–Vietnam War or antinuclear actions they helped plan, took part in and often enough went to jail for. These were also creative conspiracies meant to raise large questions about our personal responsibility for, and the role of conscience in, our world. In addition, they were explorations of how to be effective and nonviolent in opposition to the war state. These actions drew plenty of media attention and crowds of supporters, but in between we always went back to the Pentagon.
As kids, horrific images of war were seared into our brains from old documentaries about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and newer dispatches from Vietnam, and later El Salvador and Guatemala. And all of them seemed traceable to that one place, that imposing five-sided building overlooking the Potomac and surrounded by parking lots and sylvan acres of lawns and paths.
Posted by newthinking | Mon Mar 16, 2015, 05:10 AM (0 replies)