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newthinking

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Member since: Tue Feb 9, 2010, 11:51 PM
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Five Reasons No Progressive Should Support Hillary Clinton

Five Reasons No Progressive Should Support Hillary Clinton
Friday, 13 February 2015 11:28
By Joseph Mulkerin, Truthout | Op-Ed

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1. Foreign Policy

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was reportedly one of the most hawkish members of President Obama's cabinet, pushing for the 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan and US intervention in Libya. She has also been a vocal proponent of the same drone war that has led to the deaths of 2,400 civilians. In her recent memoir, Hard Choices, she bragged about having presided over the imposition of "crippling sanctions" on the Iranian economy during her tenure as secretary of state. These crippling sanctions are a form of collective punishment and have benefited the wealthy only, while making life miserable for everyone else. In an interview with Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg in August 2014, she further outlined her views on Iran, staking out a maximalist position on Iranian nuclear enrichment, which effectively opens the door to military intervention. She also suggested that the United States should have done more to intervene in Syria, by, in her words, creating a "credible fighting force," while the lack of said force led to the rise of ISIS. In addition, she vociferously defended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the assault on Gaza. Not surprisingly, her bellicose rhetoric has received praise from neocon luminary Robert Kagan. Senator Clinton's vote in favor of the Iraq war, a vote for which it took her more than a decade to express regret, was clearly not a temporary lapse in judgment.

2. Economy

Her recent foray into vague populist rhetoric notwithstanding, Clinton has long nurtured close ties to the financial sector. Over the course of her political career, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have been among her top political donors, in addition to giving heavily to the Clinton Foundation. In October 2013, Clinton received $400,000 to speak at two Goldman Sachs events and delivered what was described as a "reassuring message" to the assembled bankers. In all likelihood, a second Clinton administration would involve the appointment of industry insiders to regulatory posts in the perpetually revolving door between Wall Street and the federal government. It's understandable then that her friends on Wall Street would be quick to shrug off her halfhearted attempt to shore up her left flank as anything but substantive. Nobody who was genuinely concerned with economic inequity would be hobnobbing with some of the same economic institutions whose reckless financial schemes helped engineer the 2008 economic collapse.

Hillary Clinton has a long history of being willing to serve the interests of large corporations. In 1976, while serving as legal counsel for the Rose Law Firm, she represented several Arkansas utilities companies that sued the state after a ballot initiative (sponsored by conservative boogeyman Acorn) passed that decreased utilities rates on Little Rock residents and increased them on businesses. In defending the utilities conglomerates, she argued that the initiative amounted to an unconstitutional seizure of property. The judge ruled in these companies' favor.

3. Environment

As Grist magazine reported, during her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton took an active role in promoting hydrofracking worldwide through the Global Shale Gas Initiative. Clinton's State Department, and in some cases she personally, lobbied on behalf of companies like Chevron intent on expanding the practice, particularly in countries like Bulgaria and Romania where there was widespread public skepticism. This lobbying was met with mixed success, as Chevron eventually pulled out of Bulgaria due to a moratorium, while Romania's moratorium was repealed following US lobbying. Since stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton has continued to express support for the practice, which she outlined in a September 2014 speech to the National Clean Energy Summit. She has also remained disturbingly silent on the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Full article: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/29052-five-reasons-no-progressive-should-support-hillary-clinton

Ukraine rebels warn Kiev over truce around battleground town

Source: AFP

Ukraine rebels warn Kiev over truce around battleground town

Pro-Russian rebels on Saturday warned that any attempts by Kiev forces to move out of the battleground town Debaltseve after the start of a ceasefire would be considered an aggression.

Separatist forces have all but encircled government troops inside the strategic railway hub, roughly mid-way between insurgent capital Donetsk and Lugansk.

Fierce fighting raged around Debaltseve on Saturday in the hours before the 2200 GMT start of a truce intended to be a first step in a peace plan to end 10 months of conflict.

Kiev denies rebel claims that thousands of government troops have been trapped in the town.





Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/ukraine-rebels-warn-kiev-over-truce-around-battleground-town/article/426085



Comments from the February 13, 2015 Alexander Zakharchenko press conference
(Before the midnight deadline)

"Please note that there is not a single word about Debaltsevo in the Minsk agreements. This means that Ukraine simply betrayed the 5 thousand people in the Debaltsevo cauldron. I can say the following, we will stop fire across the entire territory of Donetsk People's Republic, except for internal areas. Internal areas means Debaltsevo.

Any attempt of UAF to break out of this cauldron or deblock it will be considered a violation of the Minsk agreements, and naturally these attempts will be foiled, and the enemy will be destroyed. "

(Debaltsevo is behind the current battle lines and the Ukrainian forces there are surrounded. Poroshenko denied that the forces were there during the Minsk conference)

The untold story of the Maidan massacre - BBC

The untold story of the Maidan massacre

By Gabriel Gatehouse BBC News

A day of bloodshed on Kiev's main square, nearly a year ago, marked the end of a winter of protest against the government of president Viktor Yanukovych, who soon afterwards fled the country. More than 50 protesters and three policemen died. But how did the shooting begin? Protest organisers have always denied any involvement - but one man told the BBC a different story.



It's early in the morning, 20 February, 2014. Kiev's Maidan square is divided - on one side the riot police, the protesters on the other.

This has been going on for more than two months now. But events are about to come to a head. By the end of the day, more than 50 people will be dead, many of them gunned down in the street by security forces.

The violence will lead to the downfall of Ukraine's pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Moscow will call 20 February an armed coup, and use it to justify the annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

The protest leaders, some of whom now hold positions of power in the new Ukraine, insist full responsibility for the shootings lies with the security forces, acting on behalf of the previous government.

But one year on, some witnesses are beginning to paint a different picture.

When the shooting started early on the morning of the 20th, Sergei says, he was escorted to the Conservatory, and spent some 20 minutes before 07:00 firing on police, alongside a second gunman.

His account is partially corroborated by other witnesses. That morning, Andriy Shevchenko, then an opposition MP and part of the Maidan movement, had received a phone call from the head of the riot police on the square.

"He calls me and says, 'Andriy, somebody is shooting at my guys.' And he said that the shooting was from the Conservatory."


Full story here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31359021

Democracy Now: Brian Williams Suspended, But Media's Real Scandal is the War Lies Spun Daily

Brian Williams Suspended for False Iraq Tale, But Media's Real Scandal is the War Lies Spun Daily

The Fallujah Option for East Ukraine

The Real Reason Washington Feels Threatened by Moscow
The Fallujah Option for East Ukraine
by MIKE WHITNEY

“I want to appeal to the Ukrainian people, to the mothers, the fathers, the sisters and the grandparents. Stop sending your sons and brothers to this pointless, merciless slaughter. The interests of the Ukrainian government are not your interests. I beg of you: Come to your senses. You do not have to water Donbass fields with Ukrainian blood. It’s not worth it.”

— Alexander Zakharchenko, Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic

Washington needs a war in Ukraine to achieve its strategic objectives. This point cannot be overstated.

The US wants to push NATO to Russia’s western border. It wants a land-bridge to Asia to spread US military bases across the continent. It wants to control the pipeline corridors from Russia to Europe to monitor Moscow’s revenues and to ensure that gas continues to be denominated in dollars. And it wants a weaker, unstable Russia that is more prone to regime change, fragmentation and, ultimately, foreign control. These objectives cannot be achieved peacefully, indeed, if the fighting stopped tomorrow, the sanctions would be lifted shortly after, and the Russian economy would begin to recover. How would that benefit Washington?

It wouldn’t. It would undermine Washington’s broader plan to integrate China and Russia into the prevailing economic system, the dollar system. Powerbrokers in the US realize that the present system must either expand or collapse. Either China and Russia are brought to heel and persuaded to accept a subordinate role in the US-led global order or Washington’s tenure as global hegemon will come to an end.

This is why hostilities in East Ukraine have escalated and will continue to escalate. This is why the U.S. Congress approved a bill for tougher sanctions on Russia’s energy sector and lethal aid for Ukraine’s military. This is why Washington has sent military trainers to Ukraine and is preparing to provide $3 billion in “anti-armor missiles, reconnaissance drones, armored Humvees, and radars that can determine the location of enemy rocket and artillery fire.” All of Washington’s actions are designed with one purpose in mind, to intensify the fighting and escalate the conflict. The heavy losses sustained by Ukraine’s inexperienced army and the terrible suffering of the civilians in Lugansk and Donetsk are of no interest to US war-planners. Their job is to make sure that peace is avoided at all cost because peace would derail US plans to pivot to Asia and remain the world’s only superpower.


Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/06/the-fallujah-option-for-east-ukraine/

Debt mountains spark fears of another financial crisis

Source: Financial Times

The world is awash with more debt than before the global financial crisis erupted in 2007, with China’s debt relative to its economic size now exceeding US levels, according to a report.

Global debt has increased by $57tn since 2007 to almost $200tn — far outpacing economic growth, calculates McKinsey & Co, the consultancy. As a share of gross domestic product, debt has risen from 270 per cent to 286 per cent.

McKinsey’s survey of debt across 47 countries — illustrated in an FT interactive graphic — highlights how hopes that the turmoil of the past eight years would spur widespread “deleveraging” to safer levels of indebtedness were misplaced. The report calls for “fresh approaches” to preventing future debt crises.

“Overall debt relative to gross domestic product is now higher in most nations than it was before the crisis,” McKinsey reports. “Higher levels of debt pose questions about financial stability.”

Read more: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2554931c-ac85-11e4-9d32-00144feab7de.html



Add to this the same financial instruments that buried the world economy in 2008 are BACK.

Democracy now - Is Ukraine a Proxy Western-Russia War?

Here is the video from youtube:

Is Ukraine a Proxy Western-Russia War?

The Propaganda War Over Crimea's Break From Ukraine - Truthout

*A very good read for those who want to understand the fact from fiction on Crimea (Ukraine conflict)

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27891-the-propaganda-war-over-crimea-s-break-from-ukraine

The Propaganda War Over Crimea's Break From Ukraine
By Roger Annis,
Truthout | News Analysis


Defence Ministers working session at the NATO summit in Wales. (Photo: NATO Summit Wales 2014)

In the propaganda campaign being waged by the NATO countries and the government of Ukraine against Russia and in support of Kiev's war in the east of the country, the events in Crimea of the past nine months occupy a pivotal place.

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NATO might be upsetting the entire military and political balance of Europe by continuing to push eastward today in Ukraine, but the drumbeat of Western government and media propaganda claims the heightened tensions of this past year are all Russia's fault. Russia's supposed annexation of Crimea in March is the example par excellence that a new "Russian aggression," harkening back to Soviet Union times, is afoot. It must be stopped at all costs before Ukraine falls, too.

In this made-up world, Kiev's murderous, illegal war against its own population disappears. The war is an "ongoing conflict" between "armed groups" in which the only actors with a purpose, it seems, are "pro-Russian separatists" and their purported backer in Moscow. An emerging subset of the theme of Crimea as victim of annexation is that it's also a land of disappearing human rights.

Given the very high stakes involved in all of this for the future of Europe, if not the world, it is time to step back and examine what is actually taking place in Crimea.

Fact From Fiction

Full story:
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27891-the-propaganda-war-over-crimea-s-break-from-ukraine

Howard Zinn: A Just Cause (does not equal) A Just War

(Very interesting talk by Zinn in 2009. Keep in Mind this is a Philosophical discussion, not an argument, to keep our minds open and consider options when we discuss war and it's real value). I am posting a longer excerpt as since it is a transcript of his speech it is fair use, but still the Progressive has the entire speech which is well worth reading)

A Just Cause ≠ A Just War
Howard Zinn
The Progressive

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Editor's Note: Today we remember our legendary columnist Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States and champion of pacifism, civil rights, and the voices of the marginalized. On this fifth anniversary of his death in January 27, 2010, we present a classic essay on nonviolence adapted from his speech on May 2, 2009, at The Progressive’s 100th anniversary conference.

I want to talk about three holy wars. They aren’t religious wars, but they’re the three wars in American history that are sacrosanct, that you can’t say anything bad about: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II.

Let’s look carefully at these three idealized, three romanticized wars.

It’s important to at least be willing to raise the possibility that you could criticize something that everybody has accepted as uncriticizable.

We’re supposed to be thinking people. We’re supposed to be able to question everything.

There are things that happen in the world that are bad, and you want to do something about them. You have a just cause. But our culture is so war prone that we immediately jump from “This is a good cause” to “This deserves a war.”

You need to be very, very comfortable in making that jump.

You might say it was a good cause to get Spain out of Cuba in 1898. Spain was oppressing Cuba. But did that necessarily mean we needed to go to war against Spain? We have to see what it produced. We got Spain out of oppressing Cuba and got ourselves into oppressing Cuba.

You might say that stopping North Korea from invading South Korea was a good idea. The North Koreans shouldn’t have done that. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t right. Does that mean we should have gone to war to stop it? Especially when you consider that two or three million Koreans died in that war? And what did the war accomplish? It started off with a dictatorship in South Korea and a dictatorship in North Korea. And it ended up, after two to three million dead, with a dictatorship in South Korea and a dictatorship in North Korea.

The American Revolution—independence from England—was a just cause. Why should the colonists here be oppressed by England? But therefore, did we have to go to the Revolutionary War?

I’d be very careful about rushing from one thing to another, from just cause to just war.

How many people died in the Revolutionary War?

Nobody ever knows exactly how many people die in wars, but it’s likely that 25,000 to 50,000 people died in this one. So let’s take the lower figure—25,000 people died out of a population of three million. That would be equivalent today to two and a half million people dying to get England off our backs.

You might consider that worth it, or you might not.

Canada is independent of England, isn’t it? Not a bad society. Canadians have good health care. They have a lot of things we don’t have. They didn’t fight a bloody revolutionary war. Why do we assume that we had to fight a bloody revolutionary war to get rid of England?


Full text at the Progressive
http://www.progressive.org/zinnjuly09.html

The Meme of “Russian Aggression”

The BBC's Drums of War
The Meme of “Russian Aggression”
by OLIVER TICKELL

“Russian aggression” is the BBC’s meme of the day. I lost count of how many times the phrase popped up in the first 15 minutes of Radio 4’s World at One programme, devoted entirely to the ‘Russian problem – but the theme was drummed in relentlessly.

The idea is that Russia presents a huge a growing threat to world peace and stability. Russian bombers are threatening the ‘English’ Channel (albeit strictly from international airspace). Russia is an expansionist power attacking sovereign nations, Ukraine in particular. And watch it – we’re next!

Commentators wheeled into the studio were unanimous in their views. NATO must stand up to the threat. Presient Vladimir Putin is a dangerous monster who refuses to abide by the rules of the international order. NATO countries must increase their defence spending to counter the Russian menace.

Not a single moderating voice was included in the discussion. No one to ask Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, if alliance aircraft ever fly close to Russia’s borders (they do). No one to point out that the real Ukrainian narrative in is not that of Russia’s ‘annexation’ of Crimea – but of NATO’s US-led annexation of Ukraine itself.

No one to argue that Russia’s assimilation of Crimea was effected with hardly a shot being fired, backed by overwhelming support in a referendum which reflected the popular will – and if you’re in any doubt, just compare it to Israel’s ongoing and endlessly justified annexation of Palestine.

The lies are in what the media don’t tell us


Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/30/the-meme-of-russian-aggression/
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