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Gender: Female
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,688

Journal Archives

Back to the Cold War

By Serge Halimi
Source: Le Monde Diplomatique
September 1, 2014

In 1980 Ronald Reagan expressed his idea of relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in one short sentence: “We win, they lose.” Twelve years later, his immediate successor at the White House, George H W Bush, was satisfied that the task had been accomplished: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognises one, sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America.” The cold war was officially at an end.

That period too is now over. Its death knell sounded on the day Russia had had enough of “losing” and realised that its ritual humiliation would never come to an end, with one neighbouring country after another being persuaded — or bribed — into joining an economic and military alliance against it. Obama, speaking in Brussels in March, stressed that “Today, NATO planes patrol the skies over the Baltics and we’ve reinforced our presence in Poland. And we’re prepared to do more” (1). Vladimir Putin, addressing the Russian parliament, observed that this was part of the “infamous policy of containment” that the western powers had pursued against Russia since the 18th century (2).

However, the new cold war will be different from the old one. As Obama pointed out, “unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations, no global ideology.” The latest confrontation is not between an American superpower, drawing the imperial assurance of a “manifest destiny” from its religious faith, and an “evil empire” castigated by Reagan for its atheism. On the contrary, Putin is appealing with some success to Christian fundamentalism. On annexing Crimea, he suddenly remembered it was the place “where Saint Vladimir was baptised … adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilisation and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.”

In other words, Moscow will not allow Ukraine to become a rear base for its enemies. The Russian people, inflamed by nationalist propaganda that is even more extreme than western brainwashing (and that’s saying something), won’t have it. Meanwhile, in the US and Europe, the supporters of rearmament are raising the stakes, with warlike declarations and a host of assorted sanctions that only increase the determination in the enemy camp. “The new cold war may be more perilous,” warns Stephen F Cohen, one of America’s leading Russia experts, “because, unlike its predecessor, there is no effective American opposition — not in the administration, Congress, media, universities, think tanks” (3). The well-known recipe for every kind of trap…



Growing Inequality in Global Healthcare at Root of Crisis

By Paul Farmer and Amy Goodman
Source: Democracy Now
August 28, 2014

VIDEO at link.

As the death toll from the West African Ebola outbreak nears 1,400, two American missionaries who received experimental drugs and top-notch healthcare have been released from the hospital. We spend the hour with Partners in Health co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer discussing what can be done to stop the epidemic and the need to build local healthcare capacity, not just an emergency response. “The Ebola outbreak, which is the largest in history that we know about, is merely a reflection of the public health crisis in Africa, and it’s about the lack of staff, stuff and systems that could protect populations, particularly those living in poverty, from outbreaks like this or other public health threats,” says Farmer, who has devoted his life to improving the health of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. He is a professor at Harvard Medical School and currently serves as the special adviser to the United Nations on community-based medicine. He has written several books including, “Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues.”


Women were the Ambulance, the Caretakers and the Providers

By Victoria Law
Source: Waging Nonviolence
September 1, 2014

When Gloria Rubero suffered a stroke in a New York State prison, it was the women around her, not the medical staff, who cared for her. “They used to bathe me, feed me, everything,” she recalled at a recent roundtable about aging in prison.

When another woman fell and was unable to walk, staff refused to assist her in walking down the stairs to the medical clinic. Instead, eight women carried her to the medical unit so that she could receive medical attention. “The women were the ambulance, the caretakers, the providers for each other,” Rubero said.

Articles about prison health care are filled with stories about long waits, dismissive or hostile staff, accusations of faking illness or pain, refusal to prescribe medications or order needed treatments and preventable deaths. Very rarely do stories about prison health care have a happy ending.

These stories often leave out another side — the ways in which women have taken care of each other through these grueling ordeals. It’s a form of resistance to the dehumanizing and often life-threatening “care” (or lack of care) that draws little to no attention. And this care isn’t limited to one or two women’s prisons. While interviewing several formerly incarcerated women about conditions inside, I was reminded that this self-organized care seems to happen wherever women are imprisoned.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/zcommentary/women-were-the-ambulance-the-caretakers-and-the-providers/

Ukraine: the Next Christian RIght’s Anti-Gay Battleground?

By Bill Berkowitz

August 24, 2014

From the American Pastors Network

There is no contesting the fact that high-profile religious right leaders from the United States helped set the table for Uganda’s appalling anti-gay laws. Now, emboldened by “victories” in Uganda and the prospect for further discriminatory legislation in other African countries, and Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws in Russia, some elements of the religious right appear to be setting their sights on Ukraine.

Last summer, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a report titled “Dangerous Liaisons: The American Religious Right & the Criminalization of Homosexuality in Belize.” Although the report focused on a dangerous situation for the LGBT community in Belize, Heidi Beirich, the author of the report and director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, offered an overview: “Many…American religious-right groups know they have lost the battle against LGBT rights in the United States…they’re now aiding and abetting anti-LGBT forces in countries where anti-gay violence is prevalent. These groups are pouring fuel on an exceedingly volatile fire.”A recent report-back from a group calling itself the American Pastor’s Network (APN), told of attending an International Leadership Summit in Ukraine and “working with and encouraging pastors and elected leaders there who are making a concerted effort to embrace American ideas to restore the country.”

An APN News Release pointed out that members of the group were “invited to the summit by Presiding Bishop Valery Reshe- tinsky, who also serves as the Chair of the Ukrainian Inter-church Council that represents 20 different evangelical denominations. Reshetinsky wrote that pastors and officials attending the summit were ‘excited about what the American Pastors Network can do to help our government and pastoral leaders at this time of great need in our nation. It is our hope…that Almighty God hears the prayers of His people in Ukraine and around the world and permits us to govern ourselves not in corruption but through biblical principles.’”

The release went on to note that, “APN President Sam Rohrer said that the initial communication with Ukraine leaders was encouraging, given their commitment to strengthening the country through biblical and constitutional principles. It also proved ironic, as leaders within the American government are walking away from our Constitution while leaders in Ukraine, by contrast, are hungry to establish a government based on biblical principles.” “Our time in Ukraine gave us a glimpse into the struggles within a country that does not currently embrace God and biblical principles,” Rohrer said. “The people of Ukraine recognize that these are the principles that create and will sustain liberty, and as they move forward, they want to build a government based on them. Sadly, here in America, every day our leaders are turning away from the fundamental principles and ideals on which our country was built. The crisis in Ukraine is a wake-up call for our country.” Rohrer added: “The pastors we met with in Ukraine desperately want biblically based freedom. Here in America, we have it but are throwing it away. We must work to keep these freedoms—through our daily activities, our involvement in our churches and communities and through our voices at the ballot box.”

Full article: http://zcomm.org/zmagazine/ukraine-the-next-christian-rights-anti-gay-battleground/

The USA’s Haitian Puppet Targets Jean Bertrand Aristide yet again

By Joe Emersberger
Source: telesur English
September 1, 2014

Former Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide is once again being hounded with bogus corruption allegations by the government of Michel Martelly – a government that owes its existence to US bullying. I don’t dismiss corruption allegations against any politician lightly – even one the USA despises. Reasonable, but uniformed, readers may ask why we can be sure the allegations against Aristide are baseless.

If the facts were widely known about what the US has done in Haiti in recent years, nobody would ask that question. They’d be too busy working for the prosecution of US officials for crimes perpetrated in Haiti. In fact, Canadian, French and United Nations officials would also be struggling to stay out of jail for aiding and abetting those crimes as I’ve mentioned before.

On February 29, 2004 USA perpetrated a coup against Haiti’s democratically elected government which was headed by Aristide. That’s worth repeating. The USA directly perpetrated the coup. It did not simply provide decisive support for a coup carried out by local allies as it has done so many times in Latin America. In this case, US troops physically removed Aristide from Haiti in the middle of the night and flew him off to the Central African Republic. Canadian troops assisted the US by securing the airport in Port-Au-Prince. The US government claims that Aristide begged rescue from a small group of “rebels” even though his own security team could have led him to safety, if that was his priority, in various countries within the Caribbean. The US and its allies, after its alleged “rescue” of Aristide, took over Haiti and promptly set up a dictatorship under Gerard Latortue. The rebels – essentially led by the death squad leader Jodel Chamblain – were immediately made completely subordinate to the US and its allies. Rebels who objected too strongly to their subordinate role were simply told to get lost and, in a few very isolated cases, hunted down. Hundreds of the more obedient “rebels” were incorporated into a revamped Haitian police force under the close direction of US and UN officials. Yes, criminals were made police under the direction of even bigger criminals in Washington. That’s how our upside down world functions.

It should be stressed that even those who insist that US troops “rescued” (as opposed to “kidnapped”) Aristide have absolutely no basis for denying that the USA perpetrated a coup. The US and its allies used the “rebels” as a pretext to forcibly restore its traditional far right allies to dominance in Haiti. Aside from the widely ignored murder of thousands of Aristde’s supporters that took place under Gerard Latortue’s dictatorship, Aristide’s political party (Fanmi Lavalas) has also been banned from participating in elections held since the coup. Latortue stacked the judiciary with people keen to facilitate the persecution of Aristide’s supporters – people with the same mentality as the disbarred judge who recently issued the arrest warrant against Aristide for allegedly ignoring a summons. Yes, a disbarred judge issued the arrest warrant. That’s perfectly consistent with what the USA has established in Haiti.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-usas-haitian-puppet-targets-jean-bertrand-aristide-yet-again/

(Canadian bolded by me, because despite the titles of these articles, I fully realize Canada has also hurt Haitians and so many others in LA very badly)

Seeds of Truth – A Response To New Yorker

By Dr Vandana Shiva
Food Democracy Now
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

(A response to the article ‘Seeds of Doubt’ by Michael Specter in The New Yorker)

I am glad that the future of food is being discussed, and thought about, on farms, in homes, on TV, online and in magazines, especially of The New Yorker’s caliber. The New Yorker has held its content and readership in high regard for so long. The challenge of feeding a growing population with the added obstacle of climate change is an important issue. Specter’s piece, however, is poor journalism.

I wonder why a journalist who has been Bureau Chief in Moscow for The New York Times and Bureau Chief in New York for the Washington Post, and clearly is an experienced reporter, would submit such a misleading piece. Or why The New Yorker would allow it to be published as honest reporting, with so many fraudulent assertions and deliberate attempts to skew reality. ‘Seeds of Doubt’ contains many lies and inaccuracies that range from the mundane (we never met in a café but in the lobby of my hotel where I had just arrived from India to attend a High Level Round Table for the post 2015 SDGs of the UN) to grave fallacies that affect people’s lives. The piece has now become fodder for the social media supporting the Biotech Industry. Could it be that rather than serious journalism, the article was intended as a means to strengthen the biotechnology industry’s push to ‘engage consumers’? Although creative license is part of the art of writing, Michael Specter cleverly takes it to another level, by assuming a very clear position without spelling it out.

Specter’s piece starts with inaccurate information, by design.
“Early this spring, the Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva led an unusual pilgrimage across southern Europe. Beginning in Greece, with the international Pan-Hellenic Exchange of Local Seed Varieties Festival, which celebrated the virtues of traditional agriculture, Shiva and an entourage of followers crossed the Adriatic and travelled by bus up the boot of Italy, to Florence, where she spoke at the Seed, Food and Earth Democracy Festival. After a short planning meeting in Genoa, the caravan rolled on to the South of France, ending in Le Mas d’Azil, just in time to celebrate International Days of the Seed.”

“Shiva also says that Monsanto’s patents prevent poor people from saving seeds. That is not the case in India. The Farmers’ Rights Act of 2001 guarantees every person the right to “save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share, or sell” his seeds. Most farmers, though, even those with tiny fields, choose to buy newly bred seeds each year, whether genetically engineered or not, because they insure better yields and bigger profits.”

I do say Monsanto’s patents prevent poor people from saving seeds. They prevent anyone who is not ‘Monsanto’ from saving or having seeds including researchers and breeders. This is true in most parts of the world. Specter makes it appear as though Indian farmers are protected and have always been, merely by mentioning “The Farmers’ Rights Act of 2001”. I happen to have been a member of the expert group appointed by our Agriculture Ministry to draft that very act. We have worked very hard to make this happen and I am very proud of the fact that India has built Farmers Rights into its laws. But the farmers are not completely protected since Monsanto has found clever ways around the laws, including collecting Royalties renamed as ‘Technology Fees’. This issue has many pending cases in Indian courts.

Full article: http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_67425.shtml

Whoa ... that picture turned out big! Oh well.

‘No more blank check for Israel’s crimes’

By Stephen R. Shalom
Source: Mondoweiss
August 30, 2014

On Tuesday August 26, 2014, more than 50 demonstrators protested outside the Newark, New Jersey, offices of U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker demanding that the legislators stop providing a blank check for Israel’s crimes. Thirteen demonstrators were arrested inside the building as they read out the names of some of the nearly 500 Palestinian children killed in Gaza.

(When B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, had tried to run a radio ad merely listing the names of five of the hundreds of children killed, the Israeli Broadcast Authority banned them from doing so.)

The U.S. Senate has played a shameful role during the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, twice voting 100-0 to give its full support to Israel, saying nothing about its violations of international humanitarian law (indeed, condemning the United Nations’ Human Rights Council for deigning to investigate war crimes), nothing about the blockade of Gaza, and nothing about the occupation, while promising Israel still more weapons.

All this, while more than 2,100 Gazans have been killed, with civilians constituting 85 percent of those whose status has been determined thus far. Families were blown to smithereens in their homes. More than 100,000 people lost their homes. UN refugee shelters were repeatedly struck. Artillery was used in densely populated areas, leveling entire neighborhoods. High-rise buildings were demolished. Water and power facilities were struck.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/thirteen-arrested-as-protesters-tell-senators-menendez-and-booker-no-more-blank-check-for-israels-crimes/

Global Community Must Face Deeper Roots of Growing Ebola Crisis

By Sarah Lazare
Source: Common Dreams
August 31, 2014

As the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history continues to accelerate in West Africa, with the World Health Organization announcing Thursday that up to 20,000 people could be infected throughout its course, experts and aid workers urge the rest of the world to take action and responsibility for the growing crisis.

“The international community has played a very detrimental role in de-funding and de-prioritizing the public health infrastructure in affected countries,” Emira Woods, expert on U.S. foreign policy in Africa and social impact director at ThoughtWorks, a technology firm committed to social and economic justice, told Common Dreams.

According to WHO figures released Thursday, the deadly virus has already killed 1,552 people, with 3,069 infections reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. However, the actual number of cases might be between two and four times greater than currently known, the organization reports. Nearly 40 percent of the total number of reported cases have occurred within the past three weeks alone, indicating the outbreak continues to grow exponentially since it first emerged in March.

The disease was first reported in Guinea and has since spread, hitting Liberia the hardest. Nigerian authorities announced on Wednesday the country’s first Ebola death outside the city limits of Lagos. An unrelated Ebola outbreak has hit the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Meanwhile, treatment centers are overwhelmed with patients, leaving the infected and dying without adequate care. Humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported Wednesday that in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, which lies at the center of the outbreak, “uch of the city’s medical system has shut down over fears of the virus among staff members and patients, leaving many people with no health care at all, generating an emergency within the emergency.”

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/global-community-must-face-deeper-roots-of-growing-ebola-crisis/

Understanding the Civil War in Ukraine

By David Mandel
Source: The Bullet
August 31, 2014

The Ukrainian conflict, like most political phenomena, is multi-dimensional and highly complex. As such, it calls for a holistic – dialectical, if you wish – approach. But to judge by American and NATO spokespersons and by their mass media, there is only one really decisive factor that explains everything: Russia’s imperialism, Vladimir Putin’s determination to dominate and further dismember the Ukraine as part of his plan to restore the Soviet empire. In this simplistic view, Ukraine, with benevolent support from the West, would be quite capable of dealing with its problems and would soon be on its way to becoming a prosperous, Western-style democracy.

My view is quite the opposite: the roots of the Ukrainian conflict are domestic and profound; outside intervention, while significant, is a secondary factor. Given limitations of space, I will, therefore, focus on the internal situation. But I will necessarily, if more briefly, also address the international dimensions of the conflict. This is also the more necessary since the Canadian government has been particularly zealous in its support for the Ukrainian government and in condemning Russia as solely responsible.

My goal is to offer a framework that can help in understanding and evaluating the mass of information about the conflict coming from governments and the media.

A Deeply Divided Society

Ukraine is a deeply divided society – along lines of language, culture, historical identity, ethnicity, religious affiliation, attitudes to Russia, as well as real and perceived economic interests. Since Ukraine became independent in 1991, these divisions have been manipulated and fostered by corrupt economic and political élites with the aim of distracting popular attention for their criminal activities and to gain advantage in intra-élite competition. This manipulation, on the background of widespread poverty and economic insecurity, has prevented popular forces from mobilizing to oppose this oppressive ruling class, the so-called ‘oligarchs’, who have run the economy into the ground while fantastically enriching themselves. Since independence, Ukraine has lost over 13 per cent of its population, down to 45 million. Of those, several million are working abroad as cheap labour in Russia and the EU.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/understanding-the-civil-war-in-ukraine/

Read the Emails in the Hilarious Monsanto/Mo Rocca/Condé Nast Meltdown (UPDATED)

—By Tom Philpott| Thu Aug. 7, 2014 8:55 PM EDT

Image: Sunny Forest /Shutterstock, plus Monsanto and Condé Nast logos

Last week, Gawker uncovered a hapless tie-up between genetically modified seed/pesticide giant Monsanto and Condé Nast Media—publisher of The New Yorker, Bon Appetit, GQ, Self, Details, and other magazines—to produce "an exciting video series" on the "topics of food, food chains and sustainability."

Marion Nestle was offered $5,000 to participate for a single afternoon.

Since then, I've learned that Condé Nast's Strategic Partnerships division dangled cash before several high-profile food politics writers, in an unsuccessful attempt to convince them to participate.

Marion Nestle, author of the classic book Food Politics and a professor at New York University, told me she was offered $5,000 to participate for a single afternoon. Nestle almost accepted, because at first she didn't know Monsanto was involved—the initial email she received only referred to the company in attachments that she didn't open, she said.

"It wasn't until we were at the end of the discussion about how much time I would allow (they wanted a full day) that they mentioned the honorarium," she wrote in an email. "I was so shocked at the amount that I had sense enough to ask who was paying for it. Monsanto. End of discussion."

Full article: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/08/monsanto-and-conde-nast-offered-big-bucks-writers-pr-project

(Check out the emails)

Not in article, but I love it.
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