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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 20,582

Journal Archives

The Radical Reconfiguration of Southern European Politics

The Rise of the Non Leftist Left
by James Petras / June 21st, 2015

Over the past decade fundamental changes have taken place in Southern Europe, which have broken with previous political alignments, resulting in the virtual disappearance of traditional leftist ’parties, the decline of trade unions and the emergence of ‘middle class radicalism’.

New political movements, purportedly on the Left, no longer are based on class conscious workers nor are they embedded in the class struggle. Likewise on the right, greater attention is paid to escalating the repressive capacity of the state instead of state intervention in pursuit of economic markets.

Radicalization of the Right, including massive cutbacks in social spending, has demolished welfare programs. The dispossession of households has uprooted cohesive neighborhood-based social organizations.

In place of the class based traditional left, ‘non-leftist left’ movements have emerged. Their leaders embrace ‘participatory democracy’ but engage in vertical political practice.

On the right, politics no longer revolve around conserving national economic privileges. Right-wing leaders willingly subordinate their economies and society to imperial led crusades, which empty national sovereignty of any meaning while pillaging the national treasury.

This essay will proceed to discuss these complex changes and their meaning.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/the-radical-reconfiguration-of-southern-european-politics/

Fifty-One Days of Israeli Terror in Gaza

Through the Eyes of a Father of Five
by Vacy Vlazna / June 23rd, 2015

We prepare the suhoor. We all sit around five dishes: white cheese, hummus, orange jam, yellow cheese, and olives. Darkness eats with us. Fear and anxiety eat with us. The unknown eats with us. The F16 eats with us. The drone, and its operator somewhere out in Israel, eat with us.

I read The Drone Eats With Me: Diaries from a City Under Fire by Atef Abu Saif in almost one sitting — resenting that I had to break to cook and eat dinner. These beautifully written searing diaries recounting each of the horrific 51 days of Israel’s monstrous war on the people of Gaza sweeps the reader into Atef’s anguished experience. An experience so dreadfully encompassing of the dark depths of human sentience that it is simultaneously personal and collective.

Your personal concerns start to erode; even your gravest fears begin to seem unjustified. What does it matter if you’re afraid for your children when all the children in the Strip are in immediate danger? What does it matter if you’re worried that your house may be reduced to rubble when thousands are being destroyed up and down the Strip? Is your house any better than these countless others? Are your children any better than the hundreds who have been killed or maimed already?

indexAtef shares with us the mental and emotional torment of every Palestinian parent, child, husband, wife, sibling, friend trapped in Gaza, as Chomsky puts it in the foreword, “under remorseless, relentless assault by the most advanced technology of killing and destruction that the ingenuity of modern civilization has devised”.

The horror that to the outsider was unimaginable, becomes from the first to the last words, felt, real, and confronting. We are challenged to go way, way beyond the statistics and images of news-bites….

Everything is turned into numbers. The stories are hidden, disguised, lost behind these numbers. Human beings, souls, bodies – all are converted into numbers.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/fifty-one-days-of-israeli-terror-in-gaza/

New Social Media Platform Dubbed “The People’s Site” by Anonymous

June 23, 2015 by True Activist

(ANTIMEDIA) Facebook may have finally met its match. By directly targeting the social media behemoth’s lack of messaging encryption, infamously opaque algorithms, and government and advertiser accessibility, Minds.com has earned the attention of privacy advocates, activists, and frustrated Facebook users—and has even garnered active support from Anonymous. By employing many similar features found on Facebook and other social media giants, Minds gives its users a familiar platform without the numerous privacy concerns plaguing the long-established sites.

Users will find the typical status updates, comments, and link-sharing as other social media, but Minds takes the government’s eyes out of the equation by encrypting private messages and using open-source code that any programmer can check. The platform uses a “reward’ system based on points to earn “views” for posts, so the more active you are, the more the network will promote your posts—-without hindrance from advertisers and profit models.

“For every mobile vote, comment, remind, swipe & upload you earn points which can be exchanged for views on posts of your choice. It’s a new web paradigm that gives everyone a voice,” explains the website.

Minds.com founder Bill Ottman told Business Insider, “Our stance is the users deserve the control of social media in every sense.”

Full article: http://www.trueactivist.com/new-social-media-platform-dubbed-the-peoples-site-by-anonymous/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TrueActivist+%28True+Activist%29

I have no horse in this race,

but I've read everything on your candidates, their positions and what's been said about them here and you are exactly right!, imho.

"I think there's a hidden reason for this line of critique. Hillary's campaign are trying to FORCE him to stop talking about these economic issues that she's in effect being paid not to talk about herself, so that the campaign just goes back to being only about social issues the way the Third Way/DLC, etc. corporate wing of the Democratic Party wants!"

It's pretty obvious, looking in.

Dirty, dirty politics.

Resistance Is Needed to End Corporate Toxic Zones

Sunday, 21 June 2015 00:00
By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview

Corporations slither through lax regulations and take advantage of poor people around the world and people of color to create zones of toxicity and exploitation. Truthout recently interviewed Erik Loomis about how corporations, in the end, create catastrophe.

Mark Karlin: How does subcontracting allow corporations to claim that they are not engaged in the exploitation of workers and the share of corporate responsibility for global warming?

Erik Loomis: The system of subcontracting allows corporations to shield themselves from responsibility for the labor and environmental consequences of production. Walmart, Gap, Target and other apparel corporations lead the way in protecting themselves from responsibility through contracting production out to suppliers. These companies do not own the factories that produce their clothing. They simply sign contracts with contractors, dictating the amount they will pay for the product. It is up to the contractor to then make sure the clothing is produced for the right price. This incentivizes the contractor subcontracting to sweatshops, pushing workers to the point of exhaustion, paying them low wages and spending no money on pollution controls. The western companies can then say they have no responsibility for these conditions because they don't care what happens inside those factories so long as the goods come in at the right price. This absolves them of legal responsibility even though they set the terms of contract with their suppliers. The system produces high profits on the backs of the workers as well as nearby residents who have to deal with the pollution of these factories.

It is part of a larger strategy corporations take to push responsibility off to others while in fact dictating wages and costs of production. A cousin of subcontracting is the franchising model that fast food companies use, where McDonald's can effectively ensure that wages remain low while saying that the franchisees control these matters.

What has globalization added to making the destructive action of corporations appear, per your book's title, "out of sight"?

Globalization allows corporations to move around the globe, finding people with very little power who have a limited ability to resist exploitation. When companies produced goods in the United States, American consumers could stand up and fight against the corporate exploitation of people and the land. When 146 workers died at the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City in 1911, middle-class people rallied behind reforms to fire safety, building safety and working conditions. They saw workers die making their clothing, and they fought for change. But if the factory is in Bangladesh, Honduras or Cambodia, no American consumers are seeing these horrible conditions or breathing in the air pollution or watching the rivers run red or green.

When corporations move production out of our sight to nations they can dominate and control, it protects corporations from the consumer activism that forced the reforms that created the middle class in the US during the 20th century and the relatively clean environment most Americans enjoy today.


Your last chapter is called "The Way Forward." What are some of your suggestions for resistance against corporate exploitation, toxic policies and catastrophes?

First, we need to fight to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This trade agreement between 12 nations around the Pacific basin would make the current system of global labor exploitation even worse. It would create courts called the Investor State Dispute Settlement that would allow companies to sue states that enact regulations that limit their "expected future profits." That meant that if the US created laws mandating better working conditions in factories that made products for our markets abroad, corporations could theoretically sue the nation for doing so. That's not an idle threat either. Already, early versions of these extra-judicial courts are doing awful things. Philip Morris is going after Uruguay for creating new tobacco regulations while a French company has sued Egypt for raising its national minimum wage. The TPP in this form would only make lives worse for the world's workers because it grants corporations even more power to dictate policy to governments..........

Full article: http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/31454-resistance-is-needed-to-end-corporate-toxic-zones

One Moment More


I discovered this song a little while after losing my Dad. Sending love to those who have lost their Fathers, no matter what, he will always be by your side. And also hugs to those who never knew their father or to those who didn't receive the love they deserved from theirs. Thoughts are with you.

Happy Father's Day Dad...until we meet again ❤❤❤

Innovative Organization Turns African Poachers Into Sustainable Farmers

June 20, 2015 by Amanda Froelich

This non-profit teaches alternative life choices to poachers, such as beekeeping, sustainable farming, and carpentry.

A former hunter and his family prepare rice fields for the imminent Luangwa river basin flooding.
Credit: Gael McKeon

This is the aim of the non-profit organization Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), which is in the business of providing alternative life choices for would-be poachers. When individuals grow weary of hunting the increasingly barren brush in Africa, COMACO teaches them beekeeping, vegetable gardening, and carpentry in exchange for putting their guns to rest.

For example, Edson Zimba used to illegally hunt animals in Zambia; he was a poacher. For twenty years, he combed the bush of Zambia’s Luangwa National Park, a remote reserve known by tourists as a place to experience wildlife undisturbed.

A procurer of animal products, Zimba hunted buffalo, elephant, and hedgehog. But inevitably the sport took its toll, and he decided change was in order. About that time the non-profit asked him to learn a new trade and stop illegally hunting animals, an offer he quickly accepted.

After being taught by the organization sustainable farming techniques, Zimba now yields enough to feed his family. And what is left of his yield, he sells to COMACO for its food processing facility. This, in turn, is used to manufacture It’s Wild food products sold in markets across Zambia.

One reformed poacher says that, before, he was a destroyer. Now, the farmer calls himself a human being.

Full article: http://www.trueactivist.com/innovative-organization-turns-african-poachers-into-sustainable-farmers/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TrueActivist+%28True+Activist%29

Why Traumatic Head Injuries Are an Urgent Feminist Issue

Given the already precarious circumstances of many domestic abuse survivors, early and accurate diagnosis is essential.

By Sophie Ghitman / AlterNet June 20, 2015

But a recent article in the Huffington Post posits that a different group may make up the majority of those living with TBI. Melissa Jeltsen writes that survivors of domestic violence are now thought to experience these injuries in numbers that eclipse previous estimates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's haveestimated that 1.7 million people experience TBI every year, and 2 percent of the population, or 5.3 million Americans, are living with a disability caused by it. But experts speculate that as many as 20 million women each year - up to 6% of the population - could have TBI caused by domestic violence.

Walker is now a coordinator for Sojourner Center, one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the U.S. On June first, Sojourner Center launched the BRAIN (Brain Recovery And Inter-professional Neuroscience,) Program. Together with TBI experts at local hospitals and medical institutions, BRAIN will seek to determine the percentage of domestic violence survivors suffering from TBI caused by domestic violence. They hope to develop an accurate estimate by screening the roughly 9,000 women and children who are seen at Sojourner every year.

The program will investigate the occurrence of domestic violence-related TBI, its short-term and long-term effects, and how best to provide individualized treatment plans. BRAIN also aims to develop tools that can be used by non-medical staff, such as social workers and shelter employees, to screen for head trauma.

For Kerri Walker, It’s taken enormous time and effort to adjust to life after TBI. "It’s changed me for the rest of my life," Walker said. "My short-term memory is shot. I’ll be writing and I’ll mix up letters. All of a sudden, I’ll write an E backwards. I had to find a new normal for myself.” Walker had a brain aneurysm rupture just four months after leaving her abusive partner. It’s taken her years to accept the effects of her cumulative brain injuries.

Full article: http://www.alternet.org/why-traumatic-head-injuries-are-urgent-feminist-issue?akid=13232.44541.7sKtqB&rd=1&src=newsletter1038135&t=9

I sometimes wonder if I should go get checked. I have pictures that look like I went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson over many years, one with my nose under my left eye. I do some things sometimes like the women in this article ... like forgetting how to write a letter, or not being able to concentrate at all for brief periods of time. I'm probably fine, but it would be interesting to get tested although I imagine it's way too late to do anything.

Saudi Arabia warns citizens about 'fake' information after Wikileaks release 60,000 secret documents

The Independent

Sunday 21 June 2015


It mentioned ways to publicise the concerns of Iranian citizens through the internet and social media.

The memo also suggests "hosting opposition figures overseas, coordinating with them and encouraging them to use galleries to show pictures of torture carried by the Iranian regime against the people."

Other memos are even more inflammatory. One, which shows the Saudi emblem of a palm tree and two crossed swords above the words 'Top Secret', claims that Gulf states were willing to pay $10 billion to secure the release of deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Another page marked as top secret alleges that Iranian fighter jets bombed South Sudanese forces during a 2012 standoff over the oil-rich area of Heglig, during a confrontation between Sudan and the newly independent nation of South Sudan.


In a press release that accompanied the first batch of documents, Wikileaks co-founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange said: "The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself."


The Saudi government is not known for its tolerance of dissent, and issued a warning to citizens yesterday telling them not to distribute "documents that might be faked". The statement was made via Twitter from the Foreign Ministry, and did not directly deny the documents' authenticity.

Full article: http://world.einnews.com/article/271954741/nBJVM5el1T5sZJyd

Cast out and abandoned

Helen Jarvis reports on the persecution of the Rohingya and the inadequate response of the international community, in an article for the Australian newspaper Red Flag.

June 17, 2015

Rohingya refugees wait for medical care in Bangladesh (Pierre Prakash)

Rohingyas in exile and their supporters have for years been documenting the increasing abuse. Their status and rights as one of Burma's formally recognized ethnic groups have been stripped away--to the point that they are labeled "Bengali immigrants" and forced into squalid and overcrowded refugee camps.

The majority of the country's Rohingyas are not in camps, but in neighborhoods that have been described as "vast open prisons." Their movement is severely restricted by armed guards. The government says that this is "for their own protection." George Soros, who escaped from Nazi-occupied Budapest in 1944, visited one of these neighborhoods. He described it as "a ghetto."

Rejected and oppressed by the Burmese government, about half of the Rohingya population, more than 1 million people, have fled to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some have made it to Canada, the UK and Australia.

Successive military governments since the 1970s have demonized the Rohingyas--the only Muslim community with its own ancestral geographic pocket along Burma's colonial borders--as "a threat to national security."

While earlier generations often found acceptance in other countries, such possibilities are becoming ever more remote, as countries in the region adopt the barbaric anti-refugee policies, instituted in Australia by both Liberal and Labor governments.

Tutu's appeal was amplified by six other fellow Nobel Peace laureates: Mairead Maguire from Ireland, Jody Williams from the U.S., Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, Shirin Ibadi from Iran, Leymah Gbowee from Liberia and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel from Argentina. They said: "What Rohingyas are facing is a textbook case of genocide in which an entire indigenous community is being systematically wiped out by the Burmese government."

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