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newthinking

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Member since: Tue Feb 9, 2010, 11:51 PM
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Corporate wolves’ will exploit TTIP trade deal, MPs warned

‘Corporate wolves’ will exploit TTIP trade deal, MPs warned
Commons debate told that Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership risks
giving too much power to big US corporations


Rowena Mason, political correspondent
The Guardian, Thursday 15 January 2015 19.29 GMT

The controversial TTIP trade deal between Europe and the US could depress workers’ wages by £3,000 a year and allow “corporate wolves” to sue the government for loss of profit, MPs have heard.

The claims were made in a highly-charged House of Commons debate, with many Conservative MPs defending the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership free trade deal and opposition MPs warning that it risks giving too much power to big US corporations.

Anti-TTIP campaigners claim one million people have signed a petition against the deal, mainly because of worries that it could open the door to US health companies running parts of the NHS. This has been firmly denied by the UK government and the European commission, who have said public services are explicitly excluded.

However, Labour is still worried that the proposals not do enough to protect the public interest. Many MPs have particular concerns about the investor-state dispute settlement clauses, which would give private companies the right to sue the government in international tribunals for loss of profit arising from policy decisions.

Labour MP Geraint Davies, who called the debate, urged negotiators to drop controversial clauses, insisting the judicial system in each country was sufficient protection in mature democracies. His motion called for the UK parliament to play a role in scrutinising any eventual deal, instead of it being passed exclusively by Brussels.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/15/corporate-wolves-warning-ttip--trade-deal

Poroshenko the “Civilized”

A very good read:

Halyna Mokrushyna is currently enrolled in the PhD program in Sociology at the University of Ottawa and a part-time professor. She holds a doctorate in linguistics and MA degree in communication. Her academic interests include: transitional justice; collective memory; ethnic studies; dissent movement in Ukraine; history of Ukraine; sociological thought. Her doctoral project deals with the memory of Stalinist purges in Ukraine. In the summer of 2013 she travelled to Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Donetsk to conduct her field research. She is currently working on completing her thesis.


January 14, 2015
The Other Ukraine Must be Heard
Poroshenko the “Civilized”
by HALYNA MOKRUSHYNA

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/14/poroshenko-the-civilized/

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine stated in Paris on January 11 that the Charlie Hebdo tragedy has united all civilized countries. He marched proudly at the front line of the huge crowd of “civilized people” who were expressing their solidarity with freedom of speech against terrorism. Poroshenko’s participation in the march presumably qualifies Ukraine as one of the “civilized countries”. He is outraged by the terrible attack on Western values, in whose name the Ukrainian army is bombing and shelling its own citizens in the Donbas region in the east of the country.

Over 4,800 civilians have died since the Ukrainian government launched an “anti-terroristic operation” against Donbas in April 2014. Donbas did not want a nationalist parliament and nationalist ideology which refuse to Russian-speaking citizens the right to have their language recognized as the second official language of Ukraine. Donbas rejects the anti-Russian and anti-Soviet interpretation of history which the extremist parties making up the majority of the Parliament are imposing on Ukraine. Donbas takes pride in its Soviet past. Donbas is different from the rest of Ukraine first of all in these two features.

It is an industrial region in which 75% of the population considers Russian to be its mother tongue–even though over half of the residents of the region (57%) are ethnic Ukrainians, according to the Ukrainian census of 2001. In Donetsk city, the dominance of Russian language is even higher – 88% versus 11% of people for whom Ukrainian is a mother tongue. The ethnicity of Donetsk’s residents is split roughly evenly – 47% Ukrainian versus 48% Russian.

One of the first steps of the new, right-wing government that seized power in Kyiv in late February of last year largely thanks to nationalistic, paramilitary units of the ‘Euromaidan’ movement, was an attempt to abolish Ukraine’s law on languages. This law, adopted in 2012 in an effort to quell tensions being created by right-wing nationalists, granted the right to use Russian and other minority languages in regions where this minority constitutes at least 10% of the local population. Minority language services would be provided and used in public administration, education and cultural activities. This attempt to abolish the law on languages sent a clear signal to Donbas: the new Ukrainian regime will continue to implement their nationalist agenda. Donbas rebelled.

Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/14/poroshenko-the-civilized/

40 Years of Economic Policy in One Chart

January 15, 2015
Down the Plughole
40 Years of Economic Policy in One Chart
by MIKE WHITNEY

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/15/40-years-of-economic-policy-in-one-chart/

Growth of Real Hourly Compensation for Production/Nonsupervisory
Workers and Productivity, 1948–2011




Is America in the throes of a class war?

Look at the chart and decide for yourself. It’s all there in black and white, and you don’t need to be an economist to figure it out.

But, please, take some time to study the chart, because there’s more here than meets the eye. This isn’t just about productivity and compensation. It’s a history lesson too. It pinpoints the precise moment in time when the country lost its way and began its agonizing descent into Police State USA. That’s what it really means.

It all began in the 1970s, that’s when everything started going down the plughole. Once wages detached from productivity, the rich progressively got richer. They used their wealth to reduce taxes on capital, role back critical regulations, break up the unions, install their own lapdog politicians, push through trade agreements that pitted US workers against low-paid labor in the developing world, and induce their shady Central Bank buddies to keep interest rates locked below the rate of inflation so they could cream hefty profits off gigantic asset bubbles. Now, 40 years later, they own the whole f*cking shooting match, lock, stock and barrel. And it’s all because management decided to take the lion’s share of productivity gains which threw the whole system off-kilter undermining the basic pillars of democratic government. Here’s how FDR summed it up:

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies.,” April 29, 1938. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.


Continued
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/15/40-years-of-economic-policy-in-one-chart/

UN disarmament expert - U.S. MD systems plans push the world closer to another arms race

Please do not censor this: It is an interview with the head UN Disarmament chief.

Mikhail Gorbachev: America needs a Perestroika

Extremely interesting interview.

Russia and China Mock Divide-and-Rule



Darkness at the Brink of Chaos
Russia and China Mock Divide-and-Rule

by PEPE ESCOBAR



The Roman Empire did it. The British Empire copied it in style. The Empire of Chaos has always done it. They all do it. Divide et impera. Divide and rule – or divide and conquer. It’s nasty, brutish and effective. Not forever though, like diamonds, because empires do crumble.

A room with a view to the Pantheon may be a celebration of Venus – but also a glimpse on the works of Mars. I had been in Rome essentially for a symposium – Global WARning – organized by a very committed, talented group led by a former member of European Parliament, Giulietto Chiesa. Three days later, as the run on the rouble was unleashed, Chiesa was arrested and expelled from Estonia as persona non grata, yet another graphic illustration of the anti-Russia hysteria gripping the Baltic nations and the Orwellian grip NATO has on Europe’s weak links. [1] Dissent is simply not allowed.

At the symposium, held in a divinely frescoed former 15th century Dominican refectory now part of the Italian parliament’s library, Sergey Glazyev, on the phone from Moscow, gave a stark reading of Cold War 2.0. There’s no real “government” in Kiev; the US ambassador is in charge. An anti-Russia doctrine has been hatched in Washington to foment war in Europe – and European politicians are its collaborators. Washington wants a war in Europe because it is losing the competition with China.




http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/02/russia-and-china-mock-divide-and-rule/

Endless Wars Have Cost Americans $1.6 Trillion, Report Finds

[Font size=3]Endless Wars Have Cost Americans $1.6 Trillion, Report Finds

Post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost—and 'the costs go on.'
by
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Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/12/23/endless-wars-have-cost-americans-16-trillion-report-finds


[font size=1]The Human Cost of War Exhibition at a downtown mall in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo: Bob Mical/flickr/cc)[/font]

The United States has spent $1.6 trillion on post-9/11 military operations, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, weapons procurement and maintenance, and base support, according to a report (pdf) issued earlier this month by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

As some analysts point out, that's more money than the U.S. spent on the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991 all rolled into one.

According to International Business Times, "the $1.6 trillion estimate, which comes to $14 million per hour since 9/11...is up roughly half a trillion dollars from its 2010 estimate, which found that the post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost."

Of the $1.6 trillion total, CRS specialist Amy Belasco estimates that the funding breaks down as such:

$686 billion (43%) for Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan);
$815 billion (51%) for Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn (Iraq);
$27 billion (2%) for Operation Noble Eagle (providing enhanced security at military bases and military operations related to homeland security);
$81 billion (5%) for war-designated funding not considered directly related to the Afghanistan or Iraq wars.

Continued: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/12/23/endless-wars-have-cost-americans-16-trillion-report-finds

Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian Disaster Looms as Food Aid Blocked

[font size=2]Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian Disaster Looms as Food Aid Blocked[/font]
Amnesty International
LONDON -

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2014/12/24/eastern-ukraine-humanitarian-disaster-looms-food-aid-blocked

Pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions are increasingly blocking humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine in a move which will exacerbate a pending humanitarian crisis in the run up to Christmas and New Year, said Amnesty International.

“As winter sets in, the already desperate situation in eastern Ukraine is being made even worse by the volunteer battalions preventing food aid and medicine from reaching those in need. It is no secret that the region is facing a humanitarian disaster with many already at risk of starvation,” said Denis Krivosheev, acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International.

“These battalions often act like renegade gangs and urgently need to be brought under control. Denying food to people caught up in a conflict is against international law and the perpetrators must be held to account.”

Amnesty International has received information that the pro-Kyiv battalions, which include Dnipro-1 and Aidar, have blocked aid entering territories controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR).

More:
http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2014/12/24/eastern-ukraine-humanitarian-disaster-looms-food-aid-blocked

The US is still the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave

The US is still the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave

The US supreme court is hearing a pregnancy discrimination case that could have far-reaching effects for American women who work through their pregnancies

Jessica Valenti: Why doesn’t the US do more to help pregnant women?


Link to interactive: http://interactive.guim.co.uk/embed/2014/12/2014-12-maternity-leave/

The US supreme court on Wednesday is hearing the case of 42-year-old Peggy Young, who sued her employer, UPS, for pregnancy discrimination. Young claims the shipping company refused to accommodate her pregnancy by giving her a temporary assignment to avoid lifting heavy packages.

But as the case unfolds, the US continues to shirk an even more basic pregnancy accommodation: maternity leave.

The US is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity or parental leave to workers. It’s an often-cited statistic, but one which should continue to shock us.



http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/03/-sp-america-only-developed-country-paid-maternity-leave


War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda

Secrecy, Surveillance and Censorship
War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda
by JOHN PILGER

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.

Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/05/war-by-media-and-the-triumph-of-propaganda/


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