HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » marmar » Journal
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 835 Next »

marmar

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 65,085

Journal Archives

Tracy Morgan May Never Perform Again, Doctors Reportedly Say


Tracy Morgan's professional fate is in limbo, with new reports indicating that he suffered a crippling brain injury following the crash he survived this summer.

Benedict Morelli, Morgan's lawyer, told Page Six that the "jury is out" on whether the comedian will be able to perform again. He is currently in rehab for speech, cognitive, vocational and physical functionalities. Morelli said doctors don't yet know whether the wheelchair-bound Morgan, 45, will return to his previous self.

“These people are despicable,” Morelli said of Walmart executives, who on Monday said Morgan and the three friends with him were partly to blame in the crash for not wearing seat belts. “They knew that they changed these people’s lives forever and killed somebody. They’re good blame shifters. I guess that’s how they make $783 billion a year, shifting the blame.” ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/01/tracy-morgan-may-never-perform-again_n_5912942.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000024



Confronting Barbarism: ISIS, the United States and the Consequences of Torture


Confronting Barbarism: ISIS, the United States and the Consequences of Torture

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 10:42
By Michael Meurer, Truthout | Op-Ed


In a televised address on August 7, President Obama announced that he had ordered "targeted" US airstrikes in northern Iraq against the self-described Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on the pretext of a humanitarian intervention to help stranded Kurds and US diplomatic staff in Erbil. In his address, Obama said, "I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq." Just 47 days later, on September 23, a new phase in the war on terror had been declared, and US bombing was expanded into Syria.

There is ample reason to believe that Obama's August "humanitarian bombing" of ISIS targets in northern Iraq was equally about the protection of ExxonMobil and Chevron oil and gas production facilities in Erbil. It was a costly action. On August 19, US journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS in retaliation. On September 2, Steve Sotoloff, another US journalist, was beheaded by ISIS in a further act of retaliation. Both murders were accompanied by highly publicized beheading videos, with Foley and Sotoloff forced by ISIS to wear symbolic orange jumpsuits. A beheading video of British aid worker David Haines followed on September 13, with Haines also mockingly clad by his ISIS captors in an orange jumpsuit. President Obama's new war in Syria began 10 days later with full Congressional backing. British Prime Minister David Cameron quickly endorsed US bombing and received parliamentary approval for Britain to join the US campaign in Iraq.

The New Yorker's John Cassidy has labeled this Obama's "YouTube war." The carefully choreographed ISIS beheading videos, with their mocking use of orange jumpsuits, were a major factor driving both public opinion and Obama's decision-making. The actions of ISIS jihadists are barbaric, but they represent something worse than publicized incidents of terrorist inhumanity. Yasser Munif, co-founder of the Global Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution, believes the moral taunting on the beheading videos was designed to lure the United States into wider war in the Islamic world, thereby elevating ISIS as the primary anti-American force in the region. It is as if the moral compass of the universe has gone tilt as the world descends into barbarism. The vertiginous sense of suspended morality is heightened by tens of millions of TV viewers and YouTube site visitors worldwide witnessing ISIS's open and brutal mockery of the United States and United Kingdom on supposedly moral grounds as they commit murder for the camera.

During September, with the ISIS beheadings and United States drive to war as background, the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Obama administration have also been forced into a debate over how to respond to an August 27, District Court decision in New York ordering the release of 2,000 previously unpublished photos of US torture, brutality and death at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison and five other US detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been seeking release of the photos since 2004 in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Obama and the DOD were opposed to the release of these photos, years before ISIS emerged, on the grounds that the images are so grisly, they would inflame anti-US sentiment in the Islamic world. However, with the ACLU's litigation on the verge of success, the photos and the war against ISIS have clearly become interrelated.

There is already a huge element of the absurd in the Obama administration's new war scenario that should provoke further debate about overall US policy in Central Asia. There are questions about the role that US and European actions played in incubating and arming ISIS in Syria, as well as clear evidence that Sunni distrust of the US-backed Shiite government in Baghdad has driven Iraqi Sunnis reluctantly into the hands of ISIS jihadists. There are open divisions and disagreements among national security experts in both parties and within Obama's military team about threat assessment, tactics, timing and the need for ground troops. Many activists on the ground in Syria question the motivation and potential efficacy of US bombing in their country. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/26540-confronting-barbarism-isis-the-united-states-and-the-consequences-of-torture



Can Civilization Survive "Really Existing Capitalism"? An Interview With Noam Chomsky


from truthout:



.......(snip).......

Since the late 1970s, most advanced economies have returned to predatory capitalism. As a result, income and wealth inequality have reached spectacular heights, poverty is becoming entrenched, unemployment is skyrocketing and standards of living are declining. In addition, "really existing capitalism" is causing mass environmental damage and destruction which, along with the population explosion, is leading us to an unmitigated global disaster. Can civilization survive really existing capitalism?

First, let me say that what I have in mind by the term "really existing capitalism" is what really exists and what is called "capitalism." The United States is the most important case, for obvious reasons. The term "capitalism" is vague enough to cover many possibilities. It is commonly used to refer to the US economic system, which receives substantial state intervention, ranging from creative innovation to the "too-big-to-fail" government insurance policy for banks, and which is highly monopolized, further limiting market reliance.

It's worth bearing in mind the scale of the departures of "really existing capitalism" from official "free-market capitalism." To mention only a few examples, in the past 20 years, the share of profits of the 200 largest enterprises has risen sharply, carrying forward the oligopolistic character of the US economy. This directly undermines markets, avoiding price wars through efforts at often-meaningless product differentiation through massive advertising, which is itself dedicated to undermining markets in the official sense, based on informed consumers making rational choices. Computers and the internet, along with other basic components of the IT revolution, were largely in the state sector (R&D, subsidy, procurement, and other devices) for decades before they were handed over to private enterprise for adaptation to commercial markets and profit. The government insurance policy, which provides big banks with enormous advantages, has been roughly estimated by economists and the business press to be perhaps on the order of as much as $80 billion a year. However, a recent study by the International Monetary Fund indicates - to quote the business press - that perhaps "the largest US banks aren't really profitable at all," adding that "the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from US taxpayers." This is more evidence to support the judgment of Martin Wolf of the London Financial Times, that "an out-of-control financial sector is eating out the modern market economy from inside, just as the larva of the spider wasp eats out the host in which it has been laid."

In a way, all of this explains the economic devastation produced by contemporary capitalism that you underscore in your question above. Really existing capitalism - RECD for short (pronounced "wrecked") - is radically incompatible with democracy. It seems to me unlikely that civilization can survive really existing capitalism and the sharply attenuated democracy that goes along with it. Could functioning democracy make a difference? Consideration of nonexistent systems can only be speculative, but I think there's some reason to think so. Really existing capitalism is a human creation, and can be changed or replaced. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/26538-can-civilization-survive-really-existing-capitalism-an-interview-with-noam-chomsky



Chris Hedges Explains Why Bombing and Shooting Everyone Isn’t Working (audio link)


from truthdig:


Listen: http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_explains_why_bombing_and_shooting_everyone_isnt_working_201409


This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: The columnist says, “People don’t want to be occupied and they’re not going to stop until we leave.” Also: The best banned books, The Intercept’s digital bodyguard and why the war in Syria is probably not legal.



Chris Hedges Explains Why Bombing and Shooting Everyone Isn’t Working (audio link)

from truthdig:


Listen: http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_explains_why_bombing_and_shooting_everyone_isnt_working_201409


This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: The columnist says, “People don’t want to be occupied and they’re not going to stop until we leave.” Also: The best banned books, The Intercept’s digital bodyguard and why the war in Syria is probably not legal.



Eric Holder's Complex Legacy: Voting Rights Advocate, Enemy of Press Freedom, Friend of Wall Street


&list=UUzuqE7-t13O4NIDYJfakrhw


Corporations Are Not Going to Save Us From Climate Disruption


(Truthout) This past week in New York saw some remarkable actions around climate change. The massive People's Climate March was perhaps the main media spectacle, but it was not the only, or necessarily the most important event. Another important one: the Climate Justice Summit, which featured the voices and testimonials of people all around the country and the globe who are on the frontlines, bearing the brunt of both ruthless extraction and destruction of their lands and livelihoods, and also experiencing most directly the impacts of climate change itself. Many were tearful as they described lives and lands laid to ruin by tar sands, fracking, coal, uranium mining and more. The brutal, relentless and rapacious greed of corporate profiteers in the fossil fuel industries, big agribusiness and forestry and financial sectors seems almost unfathomable.

Clearly, the United Nations is not going to do what is necessary to change the path we are on, but rather is mired in blame and conflict, relegated to endlessly reenacting and rehashing the history of colonialism, apparently utterly incapable of taking any steps that could be construed as challenging to the economic status quo much less calling out capitalism. Why? Because the UN itself is beholden to corporate puppet masters.

With apparent naïveté, the UN insists on taking its cue from the very corporations who are responsible for degrading the planet, destroying lives and creating the crisis in the first place. This is pervasive throughout institutions and governments across the globe, not only the UN. The reason is money. With a handful of corporations owning and controlling most of the world's wealth, little can be funded and executed on a large scale without the funding, involvement and decision making of the handful of ultra wealthy. Which means ceding control to those corporate interests and doing their bidding. Money is power - but not the only kind!

The proliferation of "public-private partnerships" is one of the manifestations of this political and economic reality. These are presented in diplomatic terms as attempts to "bring together" the public and private sectors with civil society, to ensure all "stakeholders" are represented in working toward various goals. Many are either initiated by, or granted a platform in, the UN. One such partnership in particular that was in the limelight at this climate summit was the "Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture." .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26501-corporations-are-not-going-to-save-us-from-climate-disruption



Amy Goodman: Global Warming and Global Warring


from truthdig:


Global Warming and Global Warring
Posted on Sep 24, 2014

By Amy Goodman


NEW YORK, N.Y.—Hours after 400,000 people joined in the largest climate march in history, the United States began bombing Syria, starting yet another war. The Pentagon claims that the targets were military installations of the Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq, as well a newly revealed terrorist outfit, the Khorasan Group. President Barack Obama is again leading the way to war, while simultaneously failing to address our rapidly worsening climate. The world is beset with twin crises, inextricably linked: global warming and global warring. Solutions to both exist, but won’t be achieved by bombing.

“In today’s wars, many more civilians are killed than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict are sown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, children scarred.” These words were spoken on Dec. 10, 2009, by that year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Barack Obama. Five years later, his pronouncement reads like a daily headline. The peace group Code Pink is calling on President Obama to return his Nobel medal.

“The world must come together to confront climate change,” Obama said in that same Nobel acceptance speech. “There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, more famine, more mass displacement—all of which will fuel more conflict for decades.” Obama even made the key point that “it is not merely scientists and environmental activists who call for swift and forceful action—it’s military leaders in my own country and others who understand our common security hangs in the balance.”

Indeed, the Pentagon has long considered climate change to be a major threat to the national security of the United States. In its 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon noted that the many impacts of climate change “will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions—conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/global_warming_and_global_warring_20140924



Robert Parry: Obama’s Novel Lawyering to Bomb Syria


from Consortium News:


Obama’s Novel Lawyering to Bomb Syria
September 23, 2014

Exclusive: The U.S. government likes international law when it serves Washington’s purposes, but not when it constrains U.S. desires to use military force. Then, the rules are bent, ignored or subjected to novel lawyering, as President Obama is doing with airstrikes into Syria, reports Robert Parry.


By Robert Parry


The Obama administration has devised an extraordinary legal justification for carrying out bombing attacks inside Syria – that the United States and its Persian Gulf allies have the right to defend Iraq against the Islamic State because the Syrian government is unable to stop the cross-border terror group.

“The Syrian regime has shown that it cannot and will not confront these safe havens effectively itself,” said the U.S. letter delivered by Ambassador Samantha Power to United Nations officials. “Accordingly, the United States has initiated necessary and proportionate military actions in Syria in order to eliminate the ongoing ISIL threat to Iraq, including by protecting Iraqi citizens from further attacks and by enabling Iraqi forces to regain control of Iraq’s borders.”

Yet, beyond the danger to world order if such an expansive theory is embraced by the international community (does anyone remember how World War One got started?), there is the hypocrisy of the U.S. government and many of those same Gulf allies arming, training and funding Syrian rebels for the purpose of preventing the Syrian military from controlling its territory and then citing that lack of control as the rationale to ignore Syria’s sovereignty.

In other words, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and other enemies of Syria covertly backed the rebels inside Syria and watched as many of them – including thousands of the U.S.-preferred “moderates” – took their newly acquired military skills to al-Qaeda affiliates and other terrorist organizations. Then, the U.S. and its allies have the audacity to point to the existence of those terror groups inside Syria as a rationale for flying bombing raids into Syria. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/23/obamas-novel-lawyering-to-bomb-syria/



Naomi Klein on Cause of Climate Crisis: "Capitalism Is Stupid"


from Truthout:



......(snip)......

In this book, you say what people just aren't supposed to say: that fixing the climate is incompatible with capitalism. In particular, you point out the ways that the profit motive has proved corrupting, in some cases to green groups themselves, in other cases to the supposedly beneficent pledges made by the superrich. Can you talk a little bit about how profit hasn't been able to, and won't be able to, solve the crisis?

Naomi Klein: There's a chapter in the book on why the billionaires won't save us, and the point of that chapter is not to play gotcha with Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson. It's actually to say OK, let's say that these are the most enlightened billionaires on the planet. And let's say that they at various points have had the shit scared out of them about climate change. But locked within the imperatives of their model, it's possible for Michael Bloomberg to simultaneously understand the medium-term risk of fossil fuels and to back reports like "Risky Business" that are all about warnings about the billions of dollars in costs that come with a destabilized climate, and Michael Bloomberg, as an investor, to choose, in a very short-term way, to put his billions in oil and gas, which is what he does.

There was this idea that it was just a process of convincing very wealthy people that this really was a problem and that there really were costs down the road and that in the long term it would be better to prevent it from happening.

The problem is, capitalism is stupid. You know that cover of Bloomberg Businessweek, "It's Global Warming, Stupid," well, it is global warming, but capitalism is stupid in that it doesn't actually think. It seeks the maximum short-term profit. I think people are mistaking the fact that there are billionaires out there that do get the extent of the problem and really do talk a good game about carbon bubbles and the economic risk, for the idea that that's going to translate into action. Where that becomes really dangerous is that the UN believes this too. I keep getting press releases from the UN about how the best part of the summit is that it has unprecedented participation from multinationals and CEOs from Bank of America and Walmart and McDonald's and Amoco. It's still this same idea that getting people around the table with the right information and the right incentives in place will solve this from the top, and there won't need to be any friction.

I think the real difference is that now there's a movement on the outside that says no, that understands that the imperatives for the fossil fuel industry are fundamentally incompatible with a livable climate. That's the point of the carbon tracker research that kicked off the fossil fuel divestment movement because students look at those numbers and go OK, my university is investing in companies that have made a bet against my future. You can debate fossil fuel divestment as a tactic, but I think that it's important to understand what you're up against, and I think there's much more clarity in the movement now than there has been in decades. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/26369-naomi-klein-on-cause-of-climate-crisis-capitalism-is-stupid



Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 835 Next »