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Member since: Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:51 AM
Number of posts: 2,208

Journal Archives

Egyptian court releases two of Mubarak's sons

Source: DW (Deutsche Welle)

An Egyptian court has ordered the release of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's two sons who had been sentenced to three years in jail for corruption. They had been convicted for embezzling millions.

Read more: http://www.dw.com/en/egyptian-court-releases-two-of-mubaraks-sons/a-18776672

I wonder how much of those millions they had to kickback for their release. /cynicism

Cecil the lion killing: Walter Palmer, U.S. dentist, won't be charged

Source: CBC

'All the papers were in order" for American to hunt, Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri says

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/cecil-lion-dentist-zimbabwe-no-charges-1.3267301

I understand that hunting fees are used often for conservation, but the particulars of this "hunt" still make me sick.

Living in constant fear as a Nation

As a very new poster here on DU, one of the first forums that caught my attention has been the Latest Breaking News section. Its eye-catching placement and topical discussions made it the "go to" place for me to read, reply to posts and even start a few new threads of my own. It's a lot of fun and I have been enjoying participating there greatly.

The thing is I started to notice how many posts were war and conflict oriented. Yes, of course I realize that IS what much of our media dishes out as breaking news and its natural and right that people will want to comment on these issues. But, man, it started to seem to me that a disproportionate amount of the news in the general media is just designed to stoke fear, war monger and drive, well, what seems to be an over-the-top level of militaristic propaganda.

We hear it all the time, we need to beef up our military, enlarge the army, build more ships. Global terrorists, a militarily resurgent Russia and Chinese air bases on man-made islands are all coming to get us. So we must prepare, take more money away from social programs, buy more weapons.

I started to spend more and more of my posting time saying no, things aren't that bad, no, the world isn't really going up in flames, no, the Russkies are not out to destroy NATO despite what Marco Rubio said. lol Sorry, Marco Rubio makes me laugh, back to my point...

And how unprepared are we in actuality to warrant this barrage of fear mongering by our media outlets?

Well, we only spend as much money on defense as the next NINE nations in the world combined. This is why I personally don't buy into all the fear mongering and constant war hype:

"The U.S. outpaces all other nations in military expenditures. World military spending totaled more than $1.7 trillion in 2013. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total.

U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next nine largest military budgets around the world, combined.

U.S. military spending dwarfs the budget of the #2 country – China. For every dollar China spends on its military, the U.S. pends $3.60."


Well, I don't expect that this post will stop the media from fanning fears. lol Or even that people here on DU will pay into the media hype a little less. But maybe the level of advocacy for more arms, more military actions will lessen just slightly while we discuss the news of the day here.

Thanks for reading this, it was cathartic for me to post it. lol

In Debate, Hillary Clinton Will Display Skills Honed Over a Lifetime

Source: New York Times

When Hillary Rodham’s high school government teacher in Park Ridge, Ill., insisted she play the role of Lyndon B. Johnson in a mock debate of the 1964 presidential election, she protested.

Ms. Rodham, one of the school’s standout debaters, was a proud Barry Goldwater supporter (she wore a hat with an “AuH2O” logo) and an active member of the Young Republicans. But the teacher, Jerry Baker, was intent on challenging her to argue the other side.

Always a dutiful student, she agreed, settling into the library to pore for hours over Mr. Johnson’s positions on civil rights, foreign policy and health care. She prepared with such ardor and delivered such a compelling case that she even convinced herself. By the time Ms. Rodham graduated from high school a year later, she was a Democrat.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/us/politics/in-debate-hillary-clinton-will-display-skills-honed-over-a-lifetime.html

I am looking forward to a vigorous discussion of the issues in the upcoming debate, if the format allows it!

And as a Bernie supporter, let me say I do respect Hill for being able to take in new information, digest it, and modify her positions accordingly as she did, apparently, even in high school.

The less she copies Bill's "triangulation" tactics and just be her true self, the better a candidate and possible future president she would be, imho.

The Kevin McCarthy plot thickens

Source: Salon.com

The bizarre rumors and conspiracy theories surrounding his sudden exit
Secret meetings, emails and threats about an alleged improper affair dogged McCarthy before he dropped out

Read more: http://www.salon.com/2015/10/09/the_kevin_mccarthy_plot_thickens_the_bizarre_rumors_and_conspiracies_surrounding_his_sudden_exit/

I know 99% of this stuff is crazy-town, but it really did seem like Kevin McCarthy high-tailed it out of the race for Speaker suspiciously fast.

Yemen conflict: 'Deadly attack' on wedding party

Source: The BBC

Residents of Sanban, about 80km (50 miles) south of the capital Sanaa, said a missile had struck a house where three brothers were getting married. They said the missile was fired by an aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition that has conducted air strikes against the rebel Houthi movement since March.

But the coalition denied responsibility and blamed rebel propaganda. It also again rejected claims that it bombed a wedding reception on Yemen's Red Sea Coast on 28 September, killing as many as 130 people.

The UN says almost 4,900 people, including 2,355 civilians, have been killed in air strikes and fighting between pro-government and rebel forces in the last six months.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34471968

The Sunni versus Shiite war continues in Yemen. Painting these confrontations as fighting terrorism masks the true depth of the conflict. The undemocratic theocracy of Saudi Arabia engages the proxy forces of the undemocratic theocracy of Iran. Arm sellers rejoice.

This Court Case Could Unshackle Americans From Student Debt

Source: BloombergBusiness

When Robert Murphy said he wanted to try to get his student loan debt erased, the person overseeing his bankruptcy case told him he had a better shot of getting hit by a bus. Now he’s closer than ever to victory.

The unemployed 65-year-old, acting as his own attorney, spent three years appealing his way to the Boston federal court that is now considering his case. A win for Murphy would relieve him of hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt—and could fundamentally change the way U.S. bankruptcy courts handle borrowers who can't repay college loans.

At the center of Murphy’s battle are federal rules that make it nearly impossible for borrowers to get rid of student loans. Most consumer debt goes away in bankruptcy, which was designed to give Americans and companies a fresh start. But in the 1970s, Congress added new rules to the law that excluded most student debt from that relief.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-08/this-court-case-could-unshackle-americans-from-student-debt

"Student loans", with no risk to the lenders, have become a new debt peonage scam. As well intentioned the idea might have been in the 1970's to encourage more lending for education, the current economic climate makes paying back theses loans extremely difficult for today's students. Being $90,000.00 in debt with a college degree and only having a minimum wage job has become common place.
The loans have become predatory since the lenders know the recipients can't seek relief thru normal personal bankruptcy.

How Bernie Sanders’ New Bill Would Help More Workers Unionize

Source: Thinkprogress

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled a new bill this week that would make it easier for workers to form a union and negotiate a contract free from employer retaliation or foot-dragging. As he actively courts union endorsements of his presidential candidacy, Sanders’ latest move also draws a strong contrast with his Republican opponents in the presidential race, who have almost unanimously backed “right-to-work” laws that would weaken labor unions.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/10/07/3710080/sanders/

I am so grateful that Sanders has championed issues like this, it helps our Democratic Party fend off the right wing fascistic "populism" of Donald Trump. Make no mistake about it, without Bernie, Trumps message that workers are being screwed by bad trade deals would lure more people to vote republican.

The Iranian Project: Why Assad Has Turned to Moscow for Help

Source: Der Spiegel

Iran has long been sending troops and material to help Syrian autocrat Bashar Assad wage war against his own people. But now Tehran is busy establishing a state within a state -- which is why Assad now wants help from Russia.
Fear of his enemies was the primary reason for Bashar Assad's call for help to Moscow. "But right after that came the fear of his friends," says a Russian official who long worked in his country's embassy in Damascus. The friend he refers to is Iran, the Syrian regime's most important protector.

"Assad and those around him are afraid of the Iranians," the Russian says. Anger over the arrogance of the Iranians, who treat Syria like a colony, is also part of it, the Russian continues. Most of all, though, the Syrians "mistrust Tehran's goals, for which Assad's position of power may no longer be decisive. That is why the Syrians absolutely want us in the country."
What the Russian diplomat, who wants to remain anonymous, has to say is a bit jarring at first. Without the Shiite auxiliaries from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon -- whose recruitment and transfer is organized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard -- Assad's rule would long since have come to an end. Yet his comments are complemented by a number of additional details that add up to an image of a behind-the-scenes power struggle -- one which casts a new, scary light on the condition of the Syrian regime and on the country's prospects as a whole.

Read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/syria-leader-assad-seeks-russian-protection-from-ally-iran-a-1056263.html

The disaster in Syria is not simple at all. Simplistic jingoism and wishful thinking will not untangle this Gordian Knot of regional antagonisms. Dreams of a "moderate opposition" coming to power in Syria is sadly counterproductive. Its a Shiite versus Sunni proxy war, not just a civil war.

TPP: 'She's a beauty, mate!' Really?

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Rarely has there been such a triumph of image over substance; rarely such an outpouring of admiration for a deal, whose details yet remain a secret, as there has been this week in the wake of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade announcement.

"A gigantic foundation stone for our future prosperity," gushed the PM as business groups pumped out their press releases with zeal. On the TV news, the networks ran their panegyrics to the TPP even higher in the bulletin than the nightly Prince Harry segment.
If this is such a great deal, why are they hiding it? There is, among other things, a four-letter answer to this question: ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement). ISDS is a mechanism for corporations to sue governments.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/tpp-the-devils-in-the-unknown-details-20151007-gk326i.html

So, the ISDS is a mechanism for global corporations to intimidate the signatory nations? nice....
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