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newthinking

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PBS-TV’s Frontline’s Misrepresents Russia’s Vladimir Putin

PBS-TV’s Frontline’s Misrepresents Russia’s Vladimir Putin
January 19th, 2015

Eric Zuesse
thepeoplesvoice.org



On January 13th, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) telecast the FRONTLINE documentary, “Putin’s Way,” which purported to be a biography of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin.

The press release about this film states: "Drawing on firsthand accounts from exiled Russian business tycoons, writers and politicians, as well as the exhaustive research of scholar and best-selling Putin’s Kleptocracy author Karen Dawisha, the film examines troubling episodes in Putin’s past, from alleged money-laundering activities and ties to organized crime, to a secret personal fortune said to be in the billions. … These accounts portray a Russian leader who began by professing hope and democracy but now is stoking nationalism, conflict and authoritarianism.”

This documentary opens by describing the corruption that pervaded post-Soviet Russia and the Presidential Administration of Putin’s sponsor Boris Yeltsin during the transitional period of ending communism and starting capitalism, which was the period of privatization of the former Soviet Government’s assets. This film ignores the role that the U.S. and especially the then-World-Bank President Lawrence Summers and his protege Andrei Shleifer and other members of Harvard’s Economics Department played in planning and largely overseeing that entire process. Yeltsin brought that team in, to plan and oversee the process, because he figured that Harvard would know how to set up capitalism. On 10 February 2006, the Harvard Crimson headlined about the result, “Tawdry Shleifer Affair’ Stokes Faculty Anger Toward Summers‘,” and noted that the affair was such an embarrassment to the University that, “Shleifer, the Jones professor of economics, was found liable by a federal court in 2004 for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government while leading a Harvard economic reform program in Russia as it transitioned to capitalism in the 1990s. Shleifer settled the case for $2 million.” An extensive article by David McClintick in Institutional Investor magazine described the sleazy details of this affair, under the banner of “How Harvard Lost Russia.” However, this FRONTLINE documentary ignores all of that history, and pretends that Yeltsin established Russia’s crony-capitalism with no help or guidance from the U.S., the World Bank, and Harvard’s economists. Putin is instead portrayed as having been, and as now being, just a continuation of Soviet-era corruption, not at all as functioning in what was, to a significant extent, actually a U.S.-headed transition into capitalism.


Continued:

http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2015/01/19/pbs-tv-s-frontline-s-misrepresents-russi

Project Censored: Top 25 Most Censored Stories of 2013-2014

[font size=2]Top 25 Most Censored Stories of 2013-2014

The presentation of the 2013-2014 Top 25 stories extends the tradition originated by Professor Carl Jensen and his Sonoma State University students in 1976, while reflecting how the expansion of the Project to include affiliate faculty and students from campuses across the country has made the Project even more diverse and robust. During this year’s cycle, Project Censored reviewed 237 Validated Independent News stories (VINs) representing the collective efforts of 260 college students and 49 professors from 18 college and university campuses that participate in our affiliate program.

Link to all 25 subjects on the Project Censored website:

http://www.projectcensored.org/category/top-25-censored-stories-of-2014/page/2/
[/font]


25. “Chaptered Out”: US Military Seeks to Balance Budget on Backs of Disabled Veterans

24. Restorative Justice Turns Violent Schools Around

23. Number of US Prison Inmates Serving Life Sentences Hits New Record

22. Corporate News Media Understate Rape, Sexual Violence

21. Questioning the Charter School Hype

20. Estonia a Global Example of E-Government, Digital Freedom, Privacy, and Security

19. Agribusiness Giants Attempt to Silence and Discredit Scientists Whose Research Reveals Herbicides’ Health Threats

18. National Database of Police Killings Aims for Accountability

17. 2016 Will Find Gaza out of Drinking Water

16. The Beef Industry’s “Feedlot Feedback Loop”

15. Reporting Miscarriages, Criminalizing Pregnant Women’s Bodies

14. Accumulating Evidence of Ongoing Wireless Technology Health Hazards

13. Lawsuit Challenges Nuclear Power Industry Immunity from Liability in Nuclear Accidents

12. Pentagon Awash in Money Despite Serious Audit Problems

11. Wealthy Donors and Corporations Set Think Tanks’ Agendas

10. World Health Organization Suppresses Report on Iraqi Cancers and Birth Defects

9. US Media Hypocrisy in Covering Ukraine Crisis

8. Corporate News Ignores Connections Between Extreme Weather and Global Warming

7. FBI Dismisses Murder Plot against Occupy Leaders as NSA and Big Business Cracks Down on Dissent

6. The Deep State: Government “without Reference to the Consent of the Governed”

5. Bankers Back on Wall Street Despite Major Crimes

4. Corporate Internet Providers Threaten Net Neutrality

3. WikiLeaks Revelations on Trans-Pacific Partnership Ignored by Corporate Media

2. Top Ten US Aid Recipients All Practice Torture

1. Ocean Acidification Increasing at Unprecedented Rate


All 25 subjects on the Project Censored site:
http://www.projectcensored.org/category/top-25-censored-stories-of-2014/

In Just 60 Years, Neoliberal Capitalism Has Nearly Broken Planet Earth

Published on
Friday, January 16, 2015
by Common Dreams

That Was Easy: In Just 60 Years, Neoliberal Capitalism Has Nearly Broken Planet Earth

Pair of new studies show how various forms of human activity, driven by a flawed economic system and vast consumption, is laying waste to Earth's natural systems

by Jon Queally, staff writer


The conclusion that the world's dominant economic model—a globalized form of neoliberal capitalism, largely based on international trade and fueled by extracting and consuming natural resources—is the driving force behind planetary destruction will not come as a shock, but the model's detailed description of how this has worked since the middle of the 20th century makes a more substantial case than many previous attempts. (Photo: NASA)


Humanity's rapacious growth and accelerated energy needs over the last generation—particularly fed by an economic system that demands increasing levels of consumption and inputs of natural resources—are fast driving planetary systems towards their breaking point, according to a new pair of related studies.

"It is difficult to overestimate the scale and speed of change. In a single lifetime humanity has become a geological force at the planetary-scale." —Prof. Will Steffen


Prepared by researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the first study looks specifically at how "four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity." Published in the journal Nature on Thursday, the 18 researchers involved with compiling evidence for the report—titled 'Planetary Boundaries 2.0'—found that when it comes to climate change, species extinction and biodiversity loss, deforestation and other land-system changes, and altered biogeochemical cycles (such as changes to how key organic compounds like phosphorus and nitrogen are operating in the environment), the degradation that has already take place is driving the Earth System, as a whole, into a new state of imbalance.

"Transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state, damaging efforts to reduce poverty and leading to a deterioration of human well-being in many parts of the world, including wealthy countries," said Professor Will Steffen, a researcher at the Centre and the Australian National University, Canberra, who was lead author for both studies.

Full story:
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/01/16/was-easy-just-60-years-neoliberal-capitalism-has-nearly-broken-planet-earth

Forget Lobbyists: Big Business Wants To Control American Minds, Not Just Their Lawmakers

Published on
Thursday, January 15, 2015
by Center for Public Integrity
Forget Lobbyists: Big Business Wants To Control American Minds, Not Just Their Lawmakers

Who needs lobbyists? See what big business spends to win American minds. List of top contractors for trade associations dominated by message mavens.
by
Erin Quinn, Center for Public Integrity

?itok=C1ICEpwg
Screenshot from an ad, paid for by the American Petroleum Institute, which was part of a
"Vote 4 Energy" campaign from 2012. (Image: via Youtube)


Forget lobbying. When Washington, D.C.’s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Take, for example, the American Petroleum Institute. The oil and gas industry trade group spent more than $7 million lobbying federal officials in 2012. But that sum was dwarfed by the $85.5 million it paid to four public relations and advertising firms to, in effect, lobby the American public — including $51.9 million just to global PR giant Edelman.

From 2008 through 2012, annual tax filings show, the API paid Edelman a staggering $327.4 million for advertising and public relations services, more than any other contractor.

It’s been well-publicized how much industry spends on lobbying the government, but little is known about how much money goes toward influencing the public. In an effort to find out more, Center for Public Integrity reporters examined the tax returns for trade associations that spent more than $1 million on lobbying in 2012. The IRS requires the groups to report their top five contractors.

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/01/15/forget-lobbyists-big-business-wants-control-american-minds-not-just-their-lawmakers

CrossTalk: Battling Narratives

Another excellent roundtable debate with a variety of viewpoints expressed (including a former British diplomat).
Levelle gets a little overexcited, but overall an excellent watch.


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.

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