VOICES FOR CHANGE

The Global Banking Game is Rigged and the FDIC is Suing
Ellen Brown
"

Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:

Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now ...

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Russian Sanctions-Busting? Putin’s Bruited 500k B/D Oil Deal With Iran Draws US Threats
Juan Cole
"

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

Russia has rejected US criticism of a plan that has been floated to import 500,000 barrels a day of petroleum from Iran on a barter basis. 

The US Treasury Department has been instructed by Congress to place a financial blockade on Iran.  The US has had that country kicked off major international bank exchanges, making it very difficult for Iran to pay for imports or get paid for exporting ...

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The Widening Lens
Tom Engelhardt
"

“Up to a few months ago, Ben Suc was a prosperous village of some thirty-five hundred people.”  That is the initial line of The Village of Ben Suc, his first book, a copy of which I recently reread on a plane trip, knowing that he was soon to die. That book, that specific copy, had a history of its own.  It was a Knopf first edition, published in 1967 in the midst of the Vietnam War, after the then-shocking text had appeared in the New ...

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Europe Doesn’t Need America’s Fracked Natural Gas
Dean Baker
"

In the wake of the Russian takeover of Crimea, there have been a number of calls for weaning Europe from dependence on Russian natural gas. Some have suggested that Europe would abandon environmental restrictions on drilling for oil and gas to increase domestic production. To help, the U.S. would continue to massively increase production of oil and gas as well as its capacity to liquefy natural gas and transport it to Europe.

The weaners seem to ...

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Five Signs Solar Power is Taking Over the World
Juan Cole
"

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

Burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) is putting 32 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually into the atmosphere. Since CO2 is a greenhouse gas that traps heat from the sun on earth and prevents it radiating back out to space, this unprecedented human output is causing climate disruption, a process that will accelerate over the next few decades and will prove extremely costly to human society (if the ...

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Framed for Crimea: Obama’s Critics Issue Hollow Indictments
Joe Conason
"

To hear the Republicans shrieking about Crimea — from those howling simpletons on Fox News to the churlish statesmen of the United States Senate — all blame rests with President Barack Obama. In the midst of a real and potentially dangerous crisis, every opportunistic politician and pundit on the right excoriates him as a president so "weak" that he practically invited Vladimir Putin's aggression.

Aggression is an apt description of ...

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Welcome to Satan’s Ball
Chris Hedges
"

Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita,” a bitter satire of Soviet life at the height of Stalin’s purges, captured the surrealist experience of living in a brutal totalitarianism. In the novel’s world, lies are considered true and truth is considered seditious. Existence is a dark carnival of opportunism, unchecked state power, ...

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Missing in Action
Tom Engelhardt
"

There is, it seems, something new under the sun.

Geopolitically speaking, when it comes to war and the imperial principle, we may be in uncharted territory.  Take a look around and you’ll see a world at the boiling point.  From Ukraine to Syria, South Sudan to Thailand, Libya to Bosnia, Turkey to Venezuela, citizen protest (left and right) is sparking not just disorganization, but what looks like, to coin a word, de-organization at a global ...

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Obama Plans for Complete US Withdrawal from Afghanistan in December
Juan Cole
"

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

America’s longest war may be over by the end of this year, and it is making Afghans and neighbors like Pakistan nervous.

On Tuesday President Obama called Afghan president Hamid Karzai for the first time since last summer, saying that since Karzai had declined to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement, he had no choice but to begin a complete US military withdrawal.  Getting 33,000 American troops and ...

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We Don’t Say ‘Slav’ Democracy Troubled in Ukraine, Why Talk of ‘Arab’ Failures
Juan Cole
"

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

The troubles that Ukraine is having (and that Russia and the former Yugoslavia also had) in its post-Soviet politics, with a struggle between authoritarianism and democracy and between a Moscow orientation versus a Brussels one, are very similar to the difficulties that have beset many countries of the Arab world in the past few years. 

It is striking to me that we typically don’t speak of these ...

" ::
Putinism in Cairo? The Rise of the Russian Model
Juan Cole
"

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

Vladimir Putin on Thursday hailed the possibility of a run for the presidency of Egypt by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the architect of the July 3 coup against the elected Muslim Brotherhood government. Al-Sisi flew to Moscow this week in search of such support and of arms sales. The implicit message is that he is unhappy with the criticism of his coup by American politicians and threats on Capitol Hill to delay further US ...

" ::
Losing Our Third Places
Froma Harrop
"

A story that captivated New York City: A group of elderly Korean-Americans had been gathering at a McDonald's in Queens for conversation and fellowship. They'd sit there all day long, sometimes sharing a $1.39 package of fries. The hangout was so popular that friends from other neighborhoods would travel to join ...

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Another Non-Terrorist Non-Muslim Plane Hijacker: The Sochi Plot
Juan Cole
"

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

The Associated Press article on the Ukrainian hijacker who tried to divert a plane to Sochi on Friday is interesting for the words it does not use. (I’m not picking on AP– all the other articles on this subject are like this one in this regard.)

This Ukrainian man had political discontents about his own country of Ukraine, which appears to be one of his motivations in trying to grab the ...

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The Sochi Olympics, From Putin and the Plutocrats to Pussy Riot
Amy Goodman
"

The Sochi Olympic Games are rightly highlighting the constellation of abuses that have become standard in Russia under Vladimir Putin. Most notably is intense, often violent homophobia, tacitly endorsed by the government with the recent passage of the law against “gay propaganda.” While Sochi shines a light on Russian human-rights violations, it affords an opportunity to expose the rampant corruption and abuse that accompanies the International Olympic Committee ...

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Ending the World the Human Way
Tom Engelhardt
"

Here’s the scoop: When it comes to climate change, there is no “story,” not in the normal news sense anyway.

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What Obama Really Meant Was...
Chris Hedges
"

Remarks by the President on Review of Signals Intelligence (if he had told the truth)

Department of Injustice, Washington, D.C., 11:15 a.m. EST

 

THE PRESIDENT: A small, secret surveillance committee of goons and ...

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Fukushima: An Ongoing Warning to the World
Amy Goodman
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TOKYO—“I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world,” wrote the journalist Wilfred Burchett from Hiroshima. His story, headlined, “The Atomic Plague” appeared in the London Daily Express on Sept. 5, 1945. Burchett violated the U.S. military blockade of Hiroshima, and was the first Western ...

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Breeding Superbugs
Jim Hightower
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Can antibiotic medicines, long hailed as miracle drugs, be too much of a good thing? Yes.

Two factors are at work here. First, bacteria (one of the ...

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Medical Travel: If Bill Gates Wanted to Do Something Good for the World
Dean Baker
"

Everyone knows Bill Gates, the man who got incredibly rich by gaining a near monopoly in the computer operating system market. In the last decade Gates has devoted much of his money to the foundation he created for the ostensible purpose of helping humanity.

Whatever the merits of his ...

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What is the Common Good?
Noam Chomsky
"

Humans are social beings, and the kind of creature that a person becomes depends crucially on the social, cultural and institutional circumstances of his life.

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They are Watching You
Todd Miller
Op-Ed

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Science

The Latest “Cosmos” Explains How Corporations Fund Science Denial

Neil Tyson explores the surprising connection between the age of the Earth and the dangers of lead.

Ukraine News

Kiev asks Russia troops to leave east Ukraine

Interim PM says Russian special forces are operating in eastern Ukraine - and calls on Moscow to pull them out.

Ukraine News

Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

Pope Francis pleads for peace in Ukraine and Syria this Easter.

Politics

Beloved Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez was also Important Politically

The Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novelist, Gabriel García Márquez, passed away this week in his home in Mexico City.

Ukraine News

Ukraine Port Base Attacked

At least three assailants killed during attack on Mariupol base as top-level talks begin in Geneva over ongoing crisis.

Ukraine News

NATO’s Military Presence Increased in Response to Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine

The alliance’s chief said that more air policing aircraft will fly above the Baltic region and warships will be deployed to the Baltic Sea.

Climate Change

Massive Hole in the Atmosphere Recently Discovered

A naturally occurring hole over the Pacific Ocean could have implications for global climate change.

Climate Change

IPPC Report Claims Action Against Climate Change Needs to be Taken Now

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows what must be done to slow down global warming.

Climate Change

UN Expert Panel Finishes Scientific Guide to Take Action Against Global Warming

After an all-night session had experts working on a scientific guide to stop global warming from reaching dangerous levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change created high-profile reports.

Human Species

A Fish Transitioned into a Land Animal

Some three hundred and seventy five million years ago, Tiktaalik emerged onto land. Today, explains paleontologist Neil Shubin, we’re all walking around in modified fish bodies.

Cell Phones

The Dangers of Your Cellphone

The industry doesn’t want to admit it, but the science is becoming clearer: Sustained EMF exposure is dangerous.

North and South Korea

North Korea Accuses US Hypocrisy in Pyongyang’s Recent Launches

The North’s National Defense Commission was referring to South Korea’s missile test carried out last month, which is capable of exploding a ton of power to areas of North Korea.

Media

Study Reveals Fox News’ Climate Segments Misleading

A new study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists said that the public is misinformed about climate science on cable news channels.

Internet Hackers

Should You Stay Off of the Internet?

News recently broke out that a safeguard many websites are using to protect sensitive information had a major security flaw for about two years.

Responsibility of NATO

US Troops Pressured to Deploy to Eastern Europe by NATO

Move suggested to back member states that feel threatened by Russian military build-up near Ukraine.

Libya

Libya’s Prime Minister to Form a New Cabinet

Libya parliament urges acting Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to form a new government within a week.

Human Rights

Government Data Reveals President Obama Continues to Deport Immigrants at Rapid Rate

Despite claiming to want to make the system more “humane,” Obama’s deportation record is devastating families.

Airplane Missing

Chinese Officials Report ‘Pulse Signal’ in Indian Ocean

Ship picks up pulse signal in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Chinese state media reports.

Economy

High-Speed Trading Being Scrutinized by Attorney General

The U.S. Justice Department’s Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that it was investigating high-speed trading looking for potential wrongdoing.

Airplane Missing

Malaysian Credibility Being Challenged

The Malaysian government announced that technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia would brief the families.

FROM THE BLOGS

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Part I - Indifference   Elie Wiesel is a worldwide personality. Through his powerful ...
“This is only the first phase. It is going to take time. I think people should not be into the ...
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Part I - Setting Up Iran   The investigative reporter and author Gareth Porter [1] has ...
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Part I - Disturbing Democracy       In the past couple of years a disturbing political ...