Politics

Canada: scientists’ right to free speech shut down – Jon Rappoport

May 21, 2015

“’Government science’ has become an oxymoron. A better label would be Manufactured Reality. Does a mega-corporation need the seal of approval for its toxic crimes? There is a government agency on tap to provide it. Need fake science? You’ve got it. Need to pay a fine instead of going to prison? No problem. Whole worlds will be invented to cover up a few devastating facts.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport) Free speech for government scientists in Canada? The ability to issue warnings about public health and safety to the press and public? Not anymore. No. The scientists work for federal agencies, and only the designated spokespeople for those agencies can make public statements. I’ll have some comments about my own experiences in this area, but first… Here are shocking quotes about a Canadian survey of federal scientists — “Most Federal Scientists Feel They Can’t Speak Out, Even If Public Health and Safety at Risk, Says New Survey.” The survey was carried out by a group called PIPSC, which states: “A major survey of federal government scientists commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) has found that 90% feel they are not allowed to speak freely to the media

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Deeply Flawed Partnership – Mel Gurtov

May 21, 2015

The American people have become used to government trickery in foreign affairs—wars and interventions based on lies and falsified evidence, “national security” used to justify the whittling away of privacy, classification of documents to hide embarrassing disclosures, massaging of budget figures to mask outrageous spending on arms, and demands for new weapons when already in possession of an unmatched conventional and nuclear arsenal.   Now comes trickery in a different domain: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has substantial bipartisan support and strong presidential endorsement.  Eleven countries1 are awaiting the outcome in Congress as President Obama seeks approval to put the TPP on a “fast track,” meaning skipping hearings, public input, and amendments and going directly to an up-or-down vote after 90 days to review.  Once passed, the TPP will do for US corporations operating in Asia what the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did for them in Canada and Mexico—provide new incentives to send jobs abroad, increase corporate earnings, and downgrade protections of the environment and workers at home as well as abroad.   Who Benefits?   The TPP is partnership alright, but not the sort that serves the human interest.  Instead of enhancing partnership with working people who need

Obama’s Ugly Show of Presidential Petulance – Jim Hightower

May 21, 2015

When the going got tough, Barack got in a huff, and then he got gruff. President Obama has worked himself into such a tizzy over the TPP that he’s lashing out at his progressive friends in Congress. He’s mad because they refuse to be stereotypical lemmings, following him over this political cliff called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It masquerades as a “free trade agreement,” but such savvy and feisty progressive senators as Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have ripped off the mask, revealing that TPP is not free, not about trade and not anything that the American people would ever agree to. It is a stealth power grab, written in top-secret negotiations by and for multinational corporations from the U.S. and 11 other nations. This raw deal effectively empowers these profiteering corporate giants to overrule actions by the governments of any of these countries — including ours — that protect consumers, workers, the environment and other interests from corporate abuse. This gift to the Trans-Pacific Titans is going to expand the rules of trade deals of the past such as NAFTA, WTO and Korea FTA. A few examples of what we have to look forward to with this turd

Fake Evidence Blaming Russia for MH-17? – Robert Parry

May 21, 2015

An Australian television show claims to have solved the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down mystery – the Russians did it! – but the program appears to have faked a key piece of evidence and there remain many of the same doubts as before, along with the dog-not-barking question of why the U.S. government has withheld its intelligence data. The basic point of the Australian “60 Minutes” program was that photographs on social media show what some believe to be a BUK anti-aircraft launcher aboard a truck traveling eastward on July 17, 2014, the day of the shoot-down, into what was generally considered rebel-controlled territory of eastern Ukraine, south and east of Donetsk, the capital of one of the ethnic Russian rebellious provinces. Citing one image, the program’s narrator says the “launcher is heading east further into rebel territory,” south and east of Donetsk. However, in mid-July, the ethnic Russian rebels were reeling under a Ukrainian military offensive to the north of Donetsk. Despite shifting their forces into the battle zone, they had lost Sloviansk, Druzhkivka, Kostyantynivka and Kramatorsk. In other words, the lines of control were fluid and chaotic in mid-July 2014 with the possibility that an unmarked Ukrainian government truck, maybe carrying a concealed anti-aircraft

Bernie Sanders Just Introduced Legislation to Fund Free Undergrad Ed with Wall Street Transaction Taxes‏ – Deirdre Fulton

May 21, 2015

A broad coalition of nurses, students, religious and civil rights groups, environmentalists, labor and housing advocates on Tuesday praised Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) plan to use a so-called Robin Hood tax on stock transactions to fund tuition at four-year public colleges and universities. Sanders introduced two bills on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.—one to eliminate undergraduate college tuition fees for students attending public colleges and universities while lowering interest rates on student loans, and the other setting a nominal tax on Wall Street stock sales and transfers in order to provide resources for jobs and healthcare for all, affordable housing, eradicating HIV/AIDS, and fighting both poverty and climate change. Sanders told the Burlington Free Press, in his home state of Vermont: “The program that we’re offering will be a grant program by which the federal government puts in $2 and the states put in $1,” Sanders said. “Now, $70 billion is a lot of money, but in a nation in which we lose $100 billion every year because corporations stash their money in tax havens around the world, that’s one way you can approach it.” “What we are going to be dealing with tomorrow is a transaction fee on large stock transfers,” Sanders continued. “So we’re going to ask

Trans-Pacific Partnership-Related Bill Contains A Medicare Poison Pill – Diane Archer

May 21, 2015

New disturbing information has surfaced that the House Republicans’ trade adjustment assistance bill, which supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, contains a Medicare poison pill. The bill includes $700 million in Medicare cuts at the end of a 10-year budget period to cover the cost of trade adjustment assistance for displaced workers, Americans who will lose their jobs because of lower cost imports. Please let members of Congress know that they should not support the bill in its current form. Covering the cost of assistance for displaced workers is important. But, in the words of several groups representing older Americans, including the Medicare Rights Center and The Alliance for Retired Americans, “Medicare should not be used as a piggy bank every time the government needs funding for other purposes.” Older adults with Medicare are already experiencing an insecure retirement. And, as currently written, if the bill is passed, it is the people with Medicare and their health care providers who are on the line. The bill is up for a vote this week, and there’s a huge effort underway to halt passage of the bill. We need to fight the Medicare cuts in the trade adjustment assistance bill, just as

US press blacks out Israeli defense minister’s citation of ‘Nagasaki and Hiroshima’ as model for dealing with – Iran Philip Weiss

May 21, 2015

This is a story about the media blackout of important information about Israel: that their leaders are seriously misguided. Two weeks ago, Electronic Intifada reported public comments by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in which he cited Hiroshima and Nagasaki as role models in responding to Iran. Ya’alon suggested that Israel might have to nuke Iran in order to prevent a long war: “at the end, we might take certain steps.” Last week Ali Gharib picked up the EI report at Lobelog and linked to the video of Ya’alon, speaking in English on May 5 to the Israel Law Center (and posted by that rightwing group, which supplied a transcript). A man asked if democracies are “at a strategic disadvantage” in dealing with a threat like Iran. Ya’alon disagreed, and without prompting, brought up the possibility of Israel nuking Iran: Now those who claim that this battle is not fair because democracy can’t fight back tyrannical regime — not talking about terror organizations–  I don’t agree with it. In certain cases, we might take certain steps that we believe that these steps should be taken in order to defend ourselves. I mentioned the discussion about the interception of the rockets’ positions on civilian houses. We decided to do

The Crisis of the Left and the Decline of Europe and the United States – Roberto Savio

May 21, 2015

The victory of the Conservative Party and the debacle of the Labour Party in the recent British general elections is yet another sign of the crisis facing left-wing forces today, leaving aside the question of how, under the British electoral system, the Labour Party actually increased the number of votes it won but saw a reduction in the number of seats it now holds in Parliament (24 seats less than the previous 256). If the proportional rather than uninominal system had been used, the Conservative Party with its 11 million votes would have won 256 and not 331 seats in Parliament (far short of the absolute majority of 326 needed to govern), while at the other extreme the United Kingdom Independence Party with nearly four million votes would have landed 83 and not just the one seat it ended up with – results that would be hard to imagine anywhere else and a good example of insularity. To an extent, the recent British general elections mirrored the U.S. presidential elections in 2000 when Democratic candidate Al Gore won around half a million more popular votes than Republican candidate George W. Bush but failed to win the majority of electoral college

The Dysfunctionality of Slavery and Neoliberalism – Michael Perelman

May 21, 2015

We are all patriotic.  Let’s start with the Star Spangled Banner. You all are familiar with some of it, but perhaps some of you may not know this particular stanza: Don’t worry, I won’t sing it: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.”  Keep in mind that the militias referred to in the Second Amendment seem to have been the groups that hunt down escaped slaves. The elevation of slave owners’ property rights easily morphed into the expansive property rights of those who hired wage labor.  This power allowed capitalists to call upon the state rather than militias of slave captors to keep workers’ rights and wages in check. This arrangement supposedly served the public interest because low wages mean high profits, which, in turn meant increased investment, which translates into shared prosperity, presumably even including otherwise downtrodden labor — a bourgeois version of the unity of opposites.?php the_content(' Read More Despite the neoliberal obsession with wage suppression, history suggests that such a policy is self-destructive.   Periods of high wages are associated with rapid technological change.   For example, after the scourge of the Black Death, which eliminated about

Stop Rwanda and Uganda in DR Congo; implement Obama’s Congo bill – Eric Kamba

May 21, 2015

On April 22, Reuters reported that the Congolese government is accusing Rwandan troops of crossing into the Democratic Republic of the Congo and wounding a local soldier. Congo spokesman Lambert Mende said, “Congolese troops fired warning shots at Rwandan troops who entered Rutshuru territory in Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu,” and that Rwandan troops responded by firing and wounding a Congolese soldier. North Kivu Gov. Julien Paluku told Vice News that the Rwandan troops had crossed the border and headed into the Virunga National Park, an oil rich world heritage site protected by park rangers and the Congolese army. Paluku speculated that the Rwandan troops might have intended to distract attention from infiltration by a new incarnation of the Rwandan- and Ugandan-backed militia most recently known as M23. The Voice of America reportedthat armed men in Ugandan uniforms have also crossed the Ugandan border into DR Congo. In themselves, these news reports seem low on the scale of violence in the world today. However, they rise to the top if understood as a continuation of Rwanda and Uganda’s cross border wars of aggression that have left millions of my countrymen dead over nearly 20 years. In 1996, Rwandan and Ugandan troops invaded
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