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The Disaffected Lib: The Real Threat Facing Israel

No one expected Benjamin Netanyahu to win the gushing approval of the editorial board of Israel’s liberal newspaper Haaretz but they were decidedly unimpressed by their prime minister’s speech to part of the US Congress yesterday.  Their view is that Netanyahu deliberately avoided any mention of the real existential threat to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state – the ever expanding occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Israel’s insistence on ruling over millions of Palestinians in the West Bank who lack civil rights, expanding the settlements and keeping residents of the Gaza Strip under siege is the danger that threatens (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The Liberal Media and the Ideology of Black Victimhood

Fascinating article by Thomas Barker- here is the conclusion. Find the rest on Counterpunch.

[…]

Conclusions

As with so much of the racial tension in the United States, the origins of the present situation can be traced back to slavery. In his ground-breaking work on the American slave system, the historian John Blassingame has suggested that black passivity in the antebellum South existed primarily in the minds of whites—on the one hand, to justify white paternalism, and, on the other, to dispel the fear that they felt toward slaves: ‘Like a man whistling in the dark to bolster his (Read more…)

Left Over: Idle Worship….

Stephen Harper and the Beautiful Flag He Hates So Much http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2015/02/stephen-harper-and-beautiful-flag-he.html

 

As an ex-Yank who always found it profoundly disturbing that rampant, ignorant, my way or the highway stupid patriotism started with ridiculous flag-worship in the States, have to say that spending any kind of big money on the anniversary of a flag seems dumb in the extreme…It’s great to acknowledge it, and fun to read about the people involved, but I hate to see Canadians who are mostly rational and intelligently fervent about their love of country get all worked up about such trivia as (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Are We Really Willing to Go To War over Ukraine?

Would you be okay if it was your kids in uniform going off to a shooting war with the Russians over Ukraine?

The whole idea seems fantastic, ridiculous.  We tend to dismiss it as unimaginable but giving it short shrift can be lethal.

Earlier this week three words caught my attention – “une guerre totale.”  That was the prospect French president Francois Hollande foresaw if there was no quick resolution to the conflict between the warring sides in the Ukraine and between Moscow and Kiev.

Total war.  That’s something we’ve not done for quite a while.  Even (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The "Meh" Society

There’s really no better way to understand another society that to live there.  I have never known the United States better than during the years I spent studying there back in the Vietnam war era.  This is why I was drawn to the observations of Volker Stanzel, former undersecretary of political affairs at the German foreign office.  Stanzel has just wrapped up a period of teaching at an American university on the west coast.  His impressions of the country, its people and their problems is insightful and should resonate with Canadians also.

Stanzel sees Americans as a people who (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Climate deals and pipeline steals

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/podcast-141128-oil-and-climate.mp3

Today’s episode is focused on the economics and politics of climate change, both more globally and locally.

To get a global perspective on the state of climate negotiations and the recent US-China climate deal, I speak with Leigh Phillips, a science writer and journalist who has written for Nature, the EU Observer and many other publications. His article on the China-US climate deal is here and he also has a book coming out early in 2015 so be on the lookout for that.

My second guest is economist and former head of (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Forget Mount Rushmore: Richard Nixon’s last laugh

Richard Nixon laid back

Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace, after his Watergate tapes had shown the public just what kind of a man he was. Despite his claim that I am not a crook!, most believed he lied to the Congress, to the public, and probably to himself. There is no chance that Nixon would ever have his face carved into a granite mountain – like Mount Rushmore – to pay tribute to him. But to all those who scoff at Nixon and his legacy, a word of caution: there is a chance that Mother Nature has on her (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Doug Henwood on US economics and politics

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/podcast-141114-doug-henwood.mp3

 

This week, it’s my great pleasure to present a feature interview with Doug Henwood — economic analyst, author of books including Wall Street and host of the wonderful Behind the News radio show and podcast that inspired this show. Doug always introduces his show by saying his guests will be “taking a look at worlds of economics and politics.” Today, I’ve turned the tables and asked him to take up this very task for the present-day US. The result is a wide-ranging interview on everything from the sluggish economic recovery to Obamacare, the changing character of elites, why (Read more…)

Things Are Good: China and US Agree to Cut Emissions

The world’s largest polluters have agreed that they have a problem and they need to stop it. The USA and China have come to terms with the fact that they are the worst polluters and have both decided to take action using various policy tools and joint cooperation. This is important for many reasons, for one not only does this mean the largest economies will become more efficient and less damaging to the plant. Another reason is that smaller economies (looking at you Australia and Canada) copy American policy, so hopefully the climate change denying government elsewhere will wake up (Read more…)

Left Over: Keeping Remembrance Day in My Own Way….

Gap’s ‘Remembrance Day deal’ not appropriate, Toronto veteran says ‘The point is not to exploit and profit from this day,’ says Cpl. Chuck Krangle

CBC News Posted: Nov 10, 2014 11:10 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 11, 2014 10:57 AM ET

Have to agree with Cpl. Krangle, it is beyond inappropriate to exploit Memorial Day with yet another phony holiday ‘sale’ and shows no respect for our veterans, living and dead..

Then again, no ‘sale’ on any public holiday advertised as such is truly appropriate..but you hear little if any criticism of it..Still the media is happy (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Kshama Sawant

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/podcast-141001-kshama-sawant.mp3

 

Last year, Kshama Sawant shocked the continent by winning a seat on Seattle’s City Council. She defeated an incumbent Democrat to become the first openly socialist city councillor in Seattle in a century. Sawant, an immigrant from India with a background as a software engineer and an economics professor, is a militant socialist activist who played a major role in the 2011 Occupy protests. Not your typical politician to say the least.

Sawant’s surprise electoral win in Seattle has sparked discussion across North America. Last week, she made her first speaking appearance in (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Vermont Stops Their War on Drugs, Will Help People Instead

The war on drugs is a backwards, destructive, and anti-human campaign that has destroyed lives. It was launched by Nixon and since then it the ‘war’ has negatively impacted everything it touches from people’s lives to the global economy.

The USA tries to enforce it’s inflexible approach around the world, yet at home many states are realizing that it’s a foolish approach. Vermont has now openly backed out of the ignorant ‘battle’ against drugs and is taking a more educated approach: helping people who are addicted rather than punishing them.

Vermont has passed a battery of reforms that have turned (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: UN Under Attack

I’ve avoided making many blog posts on Middle East politics because they tend to descend into dogmatic shouting matches on the Internet. I also don’t know every historic, geographic, religious, and political detail so don’t count myself among the experts. One doesn’t have to be an expert to comment on the ghastly situation right now. It’s plain as day.

One of the more outrageous points of Israel and Hamas shooting at each other has been Israel’s shelling of UN sites housing thousands of civilians.

#Israel is the only country who is allowed to attack #UN shelters with the support of (Read more…)

Things Are Good: USA to Stop Landmine Procurement and Production

Unfortunately not every country has signed the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personal land mines. Recently the largest producer of armaments, the USA, has opted to stop production of landmines. The army has also committed to not purchasing new landmines.

“Our delegation in Maputo made clear that we are diligently pursuing solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow the United States to accede to the Ottawa Convention – the treaty banning the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of APL,” Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council spokeswoman, said in the statement.

Now mines are rarely used in conflicts, and even countries (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: USA: Elizabeth Warren takes the fight to Wall Street

The Real USA

The highly intelligent, courageous and scrappy new senator is not stopping in her fight for the middle class. She is pounding the streets, raising money for long-shot Democrat candidates, and focusing on the rigged stock market that favours the wealthy and has a lock on many elected senators and House representatives:

Yet Warren’s 2014 road show is important in its own right. By stumping for long-shot Democrats in red states, raising and spreading around campaign cash, devising innovative legislation for candidates to borrow and, most importantly, sharpening the left’s rhetorical attack on Wall Street, Warren could (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: USA: Elizabeth Warren takes the fight to Wall Street

Dead Wild Roses: Four Minutes, One Hundred and Fifty Four Bullets.

I get email:

From the Sandyhook Promise -

Dear Friend,

“The person who killed my precious son Dylan carried 10, 30-round, large-capacity gun ammunition magazines into Sandy Hook Elementary. 300 rounds. He deliberately left the smaller-capacity magazines at home.

In approximately four minutes, he shot 154 bullets, killing 20 children and 6 educators. Five of those bullets hit my son, and in an instant, Dylan was gone.

But in the time it took the shooter to reload, 11 children were able to escape. If magazines were reduced to one-third the number of rounds available that day, just think how many (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Four Minutes, One Hundred and Fifty Four Bullets.

I get email:

From the Sandyhook Promise -

Dear Friend,

“The person who killed my precious son Dylan carried 10, 30-round, large-capacity gun ammunition magazines into Sandy Hook Elementary. 300 rounds. He deliberately left the smaller-capacity magazines at home.

In approximately four minutes, he shot 154 bullets, killing 20 children and 6 educators. Five of those bullets hit my son, and in an instant, Dylan was gone.

But in the time it took the shooter to reload, 11 children were able to escape. If magazines were reduced to one-third the number of rounds available that day, just think how many (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Obama Takes On Coal Power Plants

Coal is one of the worst sources for energy given that its contribution to destruction of our planet is unmatched. There have been attempts to make coal branded as “clean coal” but even then, the radiation emitted from coal power plants is too high and the pollutants released into the air is still too much.

President Obama has decided to transition America’s power supply system away from coal and to better, cleaner alternatives. This is a good step in stemming the amount of pollution the country dumps into the air. Let’s hope that there is more money into sustainable power (Read more…)

Trashy's World: I. Trashy. Am depleting the atmosphere. Kill me now.

Solar panels are draining the sun. Crap. Double crap. This week, a scientific research facility in Wyoming made a startling discovery that is certain to change the way millions of Americans look at the environmentalism movement, after they found conclusive evidence that solar panels not only convert the sun’s energy into usable energy, but that […]

Things Are Good: High Speed Rail Coming to……Texas?

Texas is an American state best known for its gun-loving, big truck driving, cowboy, remember the Alamo culture. It is the last place I’d expect high speed rail infrastructure to actually get support in the USA. The good news here is that not only are Texans in favour of high speed rail – the private sector is going to fund.

This is a great contrast to other states where governments are even apprehensive to do feasibility studies. The private company will use Japanese technology and pay for building the infrastructure. With luck, this Texas push for rail will spread further (Read more…)

drive-by planet: In-depth interview with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov [video - English]: ‘If we’re attacked, we’ll certainly respond’

Given the American MSM angle on Ukraine that paints more or less the same picture with minor variations, I thought it would be interesting to get the Russian perspective courtesy of foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in this recent interview on RT’s Sophie and Co. 

Lavrov comes across as a no-nonsense straight shooter. He is candid and to-the-point in his assessment of the situation in Ukraine. He speaks of the extensive US influence with Kiev, the limits of American empire building, the Geneva agreement, the ways in which the Kiev regime has failed to deliver.

When asked by the host (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: President Elizabeth Warren in 2016?

President Elizabeth Warren 2016?

Right now, the person I would like to see take over from Obama in the White House in 2016 is freshman senator Elizabeth Warren. Here’s one take on her:

Her takeaway from defeating Republican Sen. Scott Brown in 2012 has a similar tone.

“What is the lesson of that day? When we fight, we can win. And when we get really fired up and fight shoulder to shoulder, we can do some pretty amazing things,” she writes.

“Some say the rich and powerful now control Washington and always will. I say this battle isn’t over (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: What’s the risk? Climate activism aiming at supply and demand

One way to think about climate activism is to see if it focuses on the supply of or demand for fossil fuels – pipelines or cars, hydrocarbons or carbon emissions. This distinction is not a new one, is doubtless very simplistic and has often been used to chastise activists. Here, I hope it will draw out some potentially useful thoughts that centre on the aims of activism and the idea of risk.

In an article published yesterday in The Nation, Chris Hayes makes an interesting analogy between the struggle for climate justice and abolitionism: despite numerous differences, both assume (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Working class disarmed, Canadian redux

Looking at the prevalence of strikes in the US over the past six decades, Doug Henwood writes,

Second Amendment fetishism aside, there’s an old saying that the working class’s ultimate weapon is withholding labor through slowdowns and strikes. By that measure, the U.S. working class has been effectively disarmed since the 1980s.

Doug then produces a graph showing a precipitous decline in the number of strikes in the US involving more than 1000 workers starting about three decades ago. Intrigued, two thoughts quickly crossed my mind. First, as is often the case, I wanted to see whether the same (Read more…)

Too Much Geography: Nate Silver, the Senate, and Hypocrisy

For the last midterm elections, I had the very good fortune of being in Washington DC, for the Rally to Restore Sanity. After looking at the American thoughtscape over the intervening years, I can pretty decisively say that the Rally’s objective has not been realized, and sanity is all too rare a commodity in America. We now approach another midterm election, with the projected results looking rather bleak for Democrats.

In one of his first looks at the Senate races ahead, Nate Silver says that there is a reasonable chance that the Republicans could pick up six seats (plus or (Read more…)