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Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Slap in the Face': Vermont Gov. Jumps Ship on Single-Payer Healthcare

A Slap in the Face': Vermont Gov. Jumps Ship on Single-Payer Healthcare

Proponents of state's trailblazing effort to build universal healthcare system slam governor for abandoning plan he once championed

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/12/18/slap-face-vermont-gov-jumps-ship-single-payer-healthcare

Europe Presses Israel on Palestine

Europe Presses Israel on Palestine

December 17, 2014 | https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=mm#inbox/14a5e7eac765b335

As Israel heads into a historic election, more European parliamentarians are urging recognition of Palestine and an end to the Israeli occupation. But it’s unclear if Israeli voters will heed the sentiments for peace or dig in deeper for more repression, as John V. Whitbeck explains.
By John V. Whitbeck

The US Could Build Nuclear-Armed Drones — But It Might Be A Terrible Idea


The US Could Build Nuclear-Armed Drones — But It Might Be A Terrible Idea

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-next-nuclear-delivery-system-could-be-unmanned-2014-12?utm_source=alerts&nr_email_referer=1

Russia Has Surpassed The US In The Production Of Combat Aircraft

Russia Has Surpassed The US In The Production Of Combat Aircraft


http://www.businessinsider.com/dacid-cenciotti-russia-produced-more-combat-planes-than-us-2014-12?utm_source=alerts&nr_email_referer=1

Hillel International and Simon Wiesenthal Center’s incredibly creepy new campus surveillance tool

http://muzzlewatch.com/2014/12/17/hillel-international-and-simon-wiesenthal-center-creepy-new-surveillance-tool/

Hillel International and Simon Wiesenthal Center’s incredibly creepy new campus surveillance tool

New app has a creepy logo!
The Simon Weisenthal Center and Hillel International just proudly announced a new phone app “to fight anti-Semitism” which will be deployed on 550 US campuses with Hillel centers.
In reality, however, the partnership is less Southern Poverty Law Project, and more J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn-decide-to-make-an-enemies list.
In a truly alarming marriage of Paranoid Surveillance Culture and the no-desperate-move-surprises-us-anymore Israel lobby…the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), the group known for actually building a “Museum of Tolerance” on top of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, has developed the app to encourage students to literally report their teachers and fellow students. Reminiscent of surveillance posters found in places like Singapore, and I’d imagine, North Korea, this app’s catch phrase is “See it. Report It”http://muzzlewatch.com/2014/12/17/hillel-international-and-simon-wiesenthal-center-creepy-new-surveillance-tool/

Europe Presses Israel on Palestine


Europe Presses Israel on Palestine

December 17, 2014 | (http://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/17/europe-presses-israel-on-palestine/

As Israel heads into a historic election, more European parliamentarians are urging recognition of Palestine and an end to the Israeli occupation. But it’s unclear if Israeli voters will heed the sentiments for peace or dig in deeper for more repression, as John V. Whitbeck explains.
By John V. Whitbeckhttps://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/17/europe-presses-israel-on-palestine/

When She Talks Banks Shudder

When She Talks Banks Shudder




Anat R. Admati is a professor at Stanford.  Her book on what's wrong with the banking system is described at Bankers' New Clothes http://bankersnewclothes.com/

Here's Why The F-35's Global Supplier Base Might Become A Liability


Here's Why The F-35's Global Supplier Base Might Become A Liability

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-f-35-programs-global-supplier-base-might-become-a-liability-2014-12?nr_email_referer=1&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Business%20Insider%20Select&utm_campaign=BI%20Select%20%28Tuesday%20Thursday%29%202014-12-18&utm_content=BISelect

Dick Cheney Had A Much Different Take On The US And Torture In 1992


Dick Cheney Had A Much Different Take On The US And Torture In 1992


http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-dick-cheney-thought-about-torture-in-1992-2014-12?nr_email_referer=1&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Business%20Insider%20Select&utm_campaign=BI%20Select%20%28Tuesday%20Thursday%29%202014-12-18&utm_content=BISelect

The Crazy US ‘Group Think’ on Russia

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/18/the-crazy-us-group-think-on-russia/

The Crazy US ‘Group Think’ on Russia

December 18, 2014

Exclusive: Congress has voted to up the ante in the showdown with Russia over Ukraine, embracing a new Cold War and the neocon scheme for “regime change” in Moscow. But – amid the tough-guy-ism – there was little consideration of the risks from destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parryhttps://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/18/the-crazy-us-group-think-on-russia/

How Torture Puts Americans at Risk

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/18/how-torture-puts-americans-at-risk/

How Torture Puts Americans at Risk

December 18, 2014

Exclusive: Polls show that most Americans – and an overwhelming majority of “conservatives” – view post-9/11 torture as justified, presumably because it made them feel safer. But torture may actually have made them less safe, as retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce explains.
By Todd E. Pierce

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014
http://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42738.pdf

Neoconservatism’s Theory Gap

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/neoconservatisms-theory-gap/

The American Conservative

Neoconservatism’s Theory Gap

America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder, Bret Stephens, Sentinel, 288 pages

By Leon HadarDecember 18, 2014
A college professor teaching a course on theories of international relations would not find it hard to prepare for his or her students an anthology of articles or book chapters written by authors representing the major schools of thought in the field. That would hold true for realism or idealism (in their traditional of “neo” versions), liberalism (including “neo” and “post”), or Marxism, or the various alternative approaches such a post-structuralism and post-modernism, as well as efforts to apply feminism or green theory.
So it’s not surprising that our enterprising IR professor, recognizing the extent to which a school of thought known as neoconservatism has shaped American foreign policy in recent decades—even transforming it in a dramatic way through the Iraq War and the Freedom Agenda—would also search for a major work written by a leading neoconservative thinker that could provide the students with a serious and coherent overview of the neoconservative theory of international relations in its most updated version.http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/neoconservatisms-theory-gap/

Israel/Palestine: Shifting Sands

http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=2820afb1fbae0c99e88fb6f52&id=c15aee9887&e=672f0b89c4

  

Web Arab News Digest


Israel/Palestine: Shifting Sands

Summary: seven factors are tending to disturb the Israel/Palestine status quo, recently described by Obama as unsustainable: moves to recognise Palestine as a state, elections in Israel, delisting Hamas as a terrorist organisation, a new resolution on the Fourth Geneva Convention, draft resolutions in the Security Council, US/Israel friction, and security incidents in both Israel and the occupied territories. More on recognising Palestine as a state.

Inequality In U.S. Today Is Worse than in Apartheid South Africa or 1774 Slaveholding Colonial America … and TWICE As Bad As In Ancient Slaveholding Rome


Inequality In U.S. Today Is Worse than in Apartheid South Africa or 1774 Slaveholding Colonial America … and TWICE As Bad As In Ancient Slaveholding Rome

Inequality In U.S. Today Is Worse than in Apartheid South Africa or 1774 Slaveholding Colonial America … and TWICE As Bad As In Ancient Slaveholding Rome George Washington

Wealth Gap between America’s Rich and Middle-Class Families Widest on Record


Wealth Gap between America’s Rich and Middle-Class Families Widest on Record

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/12/17/wealth-gap-between-americas-rich-and-middle-class-families-widest-on-record/

Obama Imports and Immunizes Banksters Who Donate to the Democratic Party


Obama Imports and Immunizes Banksters Who Donate to the Democratic Party

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/12/obama-imports-immunizes-banksters-donate-democratic-party.html

Michael Pettis: Is China Really Turning Away from the Dollar?

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 12:10 AM PST
Yves here. This important post by Michael Pettis addresses whether the efforts of the Chinese to diversify their foreign investments away from the dollar will be a negative for the US. Pettis is skeptical of that thesis, and some of his reasons are intriguing. Like quite a few experts, he doubts that China's role in sponsoring an infrastructure bank will be a game changer, and he also points out, as we have regularly, that the Chinese cannot deploy their foreign exchange reserves domestically without driving the renminbi to the moon (via selling foreign currencies to buy RMB), which is the last thing they want to have happen. A more surprising, but well argued thesis is that reduced Chinese purchases of US bonds would be a net plus for the US. Get a cup of coffee. This is a meaty, important article.http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/12/michael-pettis-china-really-turning-away-dollar.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

A Timeline of US-Cuban Relations Since 1959

A Timeline of US-Cuban Relations Since 1959


http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/12/timeline-us-cuban-relations-1959/101496/?oref=defenseone_today_nl

Why the US Doesn’t Immediately Halt Hackers During an Attack


Why the US Doesn’t Immediately Halt Hackers During an Attack

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/12/why-us-doesnt-immediately-halt-hackers-during-attack/101487/?oref=defenseone_today_nl

Google Says 2015 Will Be the 'Moment' To Reform NSA Spying



Google Says 2015 Will Be the 'Moment' To Reform NSA Spying // Dustin Volz

Despite a crushing defeat this year, the search giant is already preparing to push surveillance reform in Congress next year. By Dustin Volz http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/12/google-says-2015-will-be-moment-reform-nsa-spying/101517/?oref=defenseone_today_nl

Why US Policy Toward Cuba Was ‘Self-Defeating’

Why US Policy Toward Cuba Was ‘Self-Defeating’


http://www.defenseone.com/politics/2014/12/why-us-policy-toward-cuba-was-self-defeating/101526/?oref=defenseone_today_nl

How Pope Francis Helped Broker the US-Cuba Deal

How Pope Francis Helped Broker the US-Cuba Deal


http://www.defenseone.com/news/2014/12/how-pope-francis-helped-broker-us-cuba-deal/101490/?oref=defenseone_today_nl

The United States and Cuba Begin Restoring Relations

The United States and Cuba Begin Restoring Relations


Read more: The United States and Cuba Begin Restoring Relations | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
http://www.stratfor.com/geopolitical-diary/united-states-and-cuba-begin-restoring-relations#axzz3MAquwobP

Palestinians seek Arab backing for UN resolution


Palestinians seek Arab backing for UN resolution
United Nations, United States (AFP) Dec 17, 2014 - The Palestinians on Wednesday sought Arab backing for a draft UN resolution that would set a two-year deadline for reaching a final settlement with Israel and pave the way to statehood. Jordan showed its reluctance to endorse the text, with the ambassador suggesting that a clash should be avoided at the UN Security Council over how to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. "We ha ... morehttp://www.spacewar.com/reports/Palestinians_seek_Arab_backing_for_UN_resolution_999.html

After 53 Years, Obama to Normalise Ties with Cuba

After 53 Years, Obama to Normalise Ties with Cuba

LobeLog logo
Alan_Gross
Published on December 17th, 2014 | by Jim Lobe

After 53 Years, Obama To Normalize Ties with Cuba

by Jim Lobe
In perhaps his boldest foreign policy move during his presidency, Barack Obama Wednesday announced that he intends to establish full diplomatic relations with Cuba.
While the president noted that he lacked the authority to lift the 54-year-old trade embargo against Havana, he issued directives that will permit more American citizens to travel there and third-country subsidiaries of US companies to engage in commerce. Other measures include the launching a review of whether Havana should remain on the US list of “state sponsors of terrorism.” The president also said he looked forward to engaging Congress in “an honest and serious debate about lifting the embargo.”
“In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries,” said Obama in a nationally televised announcement.

“Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas.”
The announcement, which was preceded by a secret, 45-minute telephone conversation Tuesday morning between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, drew both praise from those who have long argued that Washington’s pursuit of Cuba’s isolation has been a total failure and bitter denunciations from right-wing Republicans. Some of them vowed, among other things, to oppose any effort to lift the embargo, open the US embassy in Havana, or confirm a US ambassador to serve there. (Washington has had an Interest Section in the Cuban capital since 1977.)
“Today’s announcement initiating a dramatic change in US policy is just the latest in a long line of failed attempts by President Obama to appease rogue regimes at all costs,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of a number of fiercely anti-Castro Cuban-American lawmakers and a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/12/after-53-years-obama-to-normalise-ties-with-cuba/

Global Health Ebola Update 12/18


EBOLA

The Next Horror
The evolving Ebola crisis is now spinning out a secondary horror: mass hunger. 500,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are going hungry and another half million people could join them if food supplies do not improve, UN agencies reported yesterday.

Ebola fear has caused labor shortages on farms, kept people away from markets and disrupted supply chains, worsening access and exacerbating the economic fallout from the crisis. Exports have dropped, leaving many without money to buy food, Thomson Reuters reports.

The Quote: "The outbreak has revealed the vulnerability of current food production systems and value chains in the worst Ebola-affected countries," Bukar Tijani, the Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) representative for Africa said in a statement.
** Thomson Reuters (http://jhsph.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=0a43ad874dbe00d8f0545cfef&id=6ebdbb19c9&e=9c1fcebfa3)

Related: Ebola total tops 18,000, with hints of slowing in Sierra Leone – ** CIDRAP (http://jhsph.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=0a43ad874dbe00d8f0545cfef&id=4234e3a74b&e=9c1fcebfa3)


Related: How Rutgers and World of Warcraft 'corrupted blood' could help Ebola response – ** NewsWorks (http://jhsph.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=0a43ad874dbe00d8f0545cfef&id=aef56ab168&e=9c1fcebfa3)


Related: Lessons From an Outbreak: How Ebola Shaped 2014 – ** The Atlantic (http://jhsph.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=0a43ad874dbe00d8f0545cfef&id=3b0e18d407&e=9c1fcebfa3)


Related: Year in review: Science faces Ebola epidemic – ** ScienceNews (http://jhsph.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=0a43ad874dbe00d8f0545cfef&id=3862996ccd&e=9c1fcebfa3)

A black hole for our best and brightest | The Washington Post

A black hole for our best and brightest | The Washington Post

A black hole for our best and brightest

A black hole for our best and brightest

Wall Street is expanding, and the economy is worse off for it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/business/2014/12/16/a-black-hole-for-our-best-and-brightest/?tid=pm_business_pop

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dan Simpson: Torture is un-American


Dan Simpson: Torture is un-American

And it encourages enemies to torture our people

December 17, 2014 | http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2014/12/17/Dan-Simpson-Torture-is-un-American/stories/201412170024

Facing Death Without Spreading Disease

Facing Death Without Spreading Disease

Sierra Leone’s traditional burial practices spread Ebola, and officials struggle to count the toll.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/11/facing-death-without-spreading-disease-ebola-sierra-leone/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Flashpoints&utm_campaign=2014_FlashPoints%20[Manual]16%2F12RS

Sierra Leone’s crisis deepens as doctors die of Ebola

Sierra Leone’s crisis deepens as doctors die of Ebola


http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/sierra-leones-crisis-deepens-as-doctors-die-of-ebola/2014/12/16/8e9735b2-8540-11e4-b9b7-b8632ae73d25_story.html

How "Citibank Budget" Push Foreshadows "Fast Track" For Trade Deals

How "Citibank Budget" Push Foreshadows "Fast Track" For Trade Deals


http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/12/17/how-citibank-budget-push-foreshadows-fast-track-trade-deals

Despite Warnings of Future War, Obama to Impose New Russian Sanctions

Despite Warnings of Future War, Obama to Impose New Russian Sanctions

Instead of negotiations designed to end crisis over status of Ukraine, White House says president will sign quietly passed bill that critics says will solidify new Cold War


http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/12/17/despite-warnings-future-war-obama-impose-new-russian-sanctions

US and Cuba to Restore Diplomatic Relations in Historic Overhaul

US and Cuba to Restore Diplomatic Relations in Historic Overhaul

Following release of prisoners from both countries, U.S. will establish embassy in Havana

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/12/17/us-and-cuba-restore-diplomatic-relations-historic-overhaul

Rula Jebreal: Torture defenders are driving America to moral suicide

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/17/rula_jebreal_torture_defenders_are_driving_america_to_moral_suicide_partner/?source=newsletter
WEDNESDAY, DEC 17, 2014 04:45 AM EST

Rula Jebreal: Torture defenders are driving America to moral suicide 

The journalist and MSNBC contributor on the Senate's CIA report -- and how we close this nightmarish chapter 

, ALTERNEThttp://www.salon.com/2014/12/17/rula_jebreal_torture_defenders_are_driving_america_to_moral_suicide_partner/?source=newsletter

How the Stupidest Bank—Citibank—Controls Our Economic Policies

How the Stupidest Bank—Citibank—Controls Our Economic Policies

Elizabeth Warren laid it out with stunning clarity in last week's speech.

http://www.feedspot.com/?dadi=1#feed/f_65475/article/1736773496?dd=39618785

Inside Wall Street’s new heist: How big banks exploited a broken Democratic caucus


Inside Wall Street’s new heist: How big banks exploited a broken Democratic caucus

Want to really know how that provision watering down bank reform got in the CRomnibus? Here's the ugly truth

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/16/inside_wall_streets_new_heist_how_big_banks_exploited_a_broken_democratic_caucus/

Antibiotic Resistance Will Kill 300 Million People by 2050

Antibiotic Resistance Will Kill 300 Million People by 2050

New report says pharma companies make more money from other drugs, so shy away from new antibiotic development

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/antibiotic-resistance-will-kill-300-million-people-by-2050/

Joseph Stiglitz: Economics Must Address Wealth and Income Inequality


Joseph Stiglitz: Economics Must Address Wealth and Income Inequality

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/12/joseph-stiglitz-economics-must-address-wealth-income-inequality.html

Pepe Escobar: How China’s Eurasia Maneuvers Beat Obama’s Pivot to Asia


Pepe Escobar: How China’s Eurasia Maneuvers Beat Obama’s Pivot to Asia

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/12/how-chinas-eurasia-maneuvers-beat-obamas-pivot-to-asia.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

Blowback from Oil Price War: Sovereign Wealth Funds Selling Investments

Blowback from Oil Price War: Sovereign Wealth Funds Selling Investments


http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/12/blowback-oil-price-war-sovereign-wealth-funds-selling-investments.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

CFR Update: Ruble Slide Raises Fears of Russian Economic Crisis

Top of the Agenda

Ruble Slide Raises Fears of Russian Economic Crisis
The ruble remained volatile (WSJ) Wednesday morning, and Russia's finance ministry said it would start selling foreign currency (Bloomberg) after a hike in interest rates on Tuesday failed to stabilize the currency. The ruble has lost about half of its value amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions for Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine. A White House spokesperson said on Tuesday that U.S. President Obama is set to sign (NYT) legislation later this week to approve new sanctions against Russia, and EU officials announced the expansion of a ban (Reuters) on investment in Crimea to target Russian oil and gas exploration in the Black Sea.

Analysis

"Since the root cause is the western financial sanctions, the only realistic cure is to have these sanctions lifted. The Kremlin can accomplish that by fully and credibly evacuating its troops and armaments from eastern Ukraine. No other action is likely to have a significant economic effect. The big policy lesson that might arise from this drama is that financial sanctions are far more effective in the modern globalised world than many thought possible," writes Anders Aslund in the Financial Times.
"Even if the demand calms (or if bans on using dollars are imposed) Russian banks face huge problems. The shrinking economy, falling inflation-adjusted incomes and massive interest-rate hikes mean that defaults are bound to rise," writes the Economist.
"To be sure, Western sanctions alone aren’t imploding Russia’s economy. Scads of pre-existing conditions, from corruption and cronyism to overreliance on the oil and gas sectors, and the 50 percent plunge in crude oil prices since this summer, have poleaxed an economy reliant on sales of black gold for revenue," write Keith Johnson and Tamila Trindle in Foreign Policy.

The Implications of the Torture Report

The Implications of the Torture Report

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 00:00 By Mike Lofgren, Truthout | http://truth-out.org/news/item/28020-the-implications-of-the-torture-report The reaction to the Senate Intelligence Committee's "Study of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program" is as significant as what the study uncovered about the psychology and methods of those who run the Deep State that rules us.
After years of the Obama administration's foot-dragging, obfuscation and threats, the senate Intelligence Committee's "Study of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program" has finally flopped onto the senate presiding officer's desk like a landed carp.
The present writer will take as a given the veracity of its three main findings: that the United States engaged in practices both legally and commonly definable as torture; that the actionable intelligence these practices produced was negligible; and that the practices tainted the moral prestige of the United States government in a manner that damaged its foreign policy. These assertions may be taken as true both because of the abundant evidence presented in the report itself and because of the flailing and hysterical reaction by our country's national security elites.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/28020-the-implications-of-the-torture-report

America Didn’t Just Prosecute Torturers, We Executed Them

America Didn’t Just Prosecute Torturers, We Executed Them

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/america_didnt_just_prosecute_torturers_we_executed_them_20141216/

Posted on Dec 16, 2014

By William Pfaff

The wartime Western allies, their judges sitting in judgment on war crimes in the city of Nuremberg, ordered hanged until dead eleven major World War II criminals at Spandau Prison in Germany on October 6, 1946. Those judged were not hanged because their crime was that they were themselves torturers; they were too highly placed for that. They were people who had ordered that the gloves be taken off. It was the people under their orders who took the gloves off and tortured and murdered.
For many years preceding the Second World War torture of a human being was widely accepted as being a heinous crime. It was not formalized in international law as such, because it was taken as part of the General Law of Humanity, which is to say law that was taken to be obvious to humans in Western Civilization.
Since World War II and the Nuremberg Trials, and other war crimes trials held in the months and years that followed, torture has been formally identified as an international crime in a number of conventions and treaties, and by such bodies as the International Red Cross, and of course the United Nations.
It has widely become adopted into national as well as international legal codes. It is part of the Laws of War as recognized by the United States Armed Forces. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/america_didnt_just_prosecute_torturers_we_executed_them_20141216/

Report Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking

Report

Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking

Posted on Dec 16, 2014 | http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/three_congressmen_just_reignited_the_cold_war_while_no_one_was_looking_2014
By Dennis Kucinich
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/three_congressmen_just_reignited_the_cold_war_while_no_one_was_looking_2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

They Said ‘No’ to Torture: The Real Heroes of the Bush Years

Doctors Without Scruples

Doctors Without Scruples

Why did the medical professionals of the CIA torture program betray their oath to heal, and concoct a brutal, methodical project to break men’s bodies and spirits?


http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/16/doctors-without-scruples-torture-cia-senate-report/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=*Editors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2014_EditorsPicks_Promo%20NYURS16%2F12

Doing Harm: Health Professionals’ Central Role in the CIA Torture Program

Doing Harm: Health Professionals’ Central Role in the CIA Torture Program

Health Professionals at Guantanamo

Medical and Psychological Analysis of the 2014 U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report’s Executive Summary

- See more at: http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/doing-harm-health-professionals-central-role-in-the-cia-torture-program.html#sthash.F5CIwfOg.dpuf

Doing Harm: Health Professionals’ Central Role in the CIA Torture Program

Health Professionals at Guantanamo

Medical and Psychological Analysis of the 2014 U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report’s Executive Summary

- See more at: http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/doing-harm-health-professionals-central-role-in-the-cia-torture-program.html#sthash.F5CIwfOg.dpuf

http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/doing-harm-health-professionals-central-role-in-the-cia-torture-program.html

Michael Lewis: "8 Things I Wish For Wall Street"


Michael Lewis: "8 Things I Wish For Wall Street"


http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-16/michael-lewis-8-things-i-wish-wall-street

Yes, It's Possible For A Gold-Backed Renminbi To Dethrone The US Dollar


Yes, It's Possible For A Gold-Backed Renminbi To Dethrone The US Dollar


http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-15/yes-its-possible-gold-backed-renminbi-dethrone-us-dollar

Torture Architect Tries to Justify Program … Fails Miserably

Torture Architect Tries to Justify Program … Fails Miserably


http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/torture-911-evil-last-13-years.html

A Christian Priest Speaks Truth on Israel


A Christian Priest Speaks Truth on Israel


http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/12/a_christian_priest_speaks_truth_on_israel.html

Enter the Dragon: China Offers Iraq Aerial Strikes on Islamic State

 

Enter the Dragon: China Offers Iraq Aerial Strikes on Islamic State

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/enter_the_dragon_china_offers_iraq_aerial_strikes_on_islamic_state_20141216

Beware the Anti-Advent of the Anti-Christ


Beware the Anti-Advent of the Anti-Christ


http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/beware-the-anti-advent-of-the-anti-christ

The Obscene Federal Money Gravy Train for Ex-Presidents


The Obscene Federal Money Gravy Train for Ex-Presidents

Our former presidents already made millions from paid speeches.
http://www.alternet.org/obscene-federal-money-gravy-train-ex-presidents

Obama To Sign Off On Lethal US Aid To Ukraine By End Of Week, Russian Response To Follow


Obama To Sign Off On Lethal US Aid To Ukraine By End Of Week, Russian Response To Follow


http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-16/obama-sign-lethal-us-aid-ukraine-end-week-russian-response-follow

Russia: We Have The Right To Put Nuclear Weapons In Crimea Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-we-can-put-nuclear-weapons-in-crimea-2014-12#ixzz3M60Yg9wj

Russia: We Have The Right To Put Nuclear Weapons In Crimea


http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-we-can-put-nuclear-weapons-in-crimea-2014-12?utm_source=alerts&nr_email_referer=1

The Washington Post: The Most Reckless Editorial Page in America

The Washington Post: The Most Reckless Editorial Page in America


http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-washington-post-the-most-reckless-editorial-page-america-11857?page=4

No NSA Reform, No CIA Reform

No NSA Reform, No CIA Reform

Reflections on U.S. politics as an eternal talk show.
By , December 14, 2014 } http://www.theglobalist.com/no-nsa-reform-no-cia-reform/

Takeaways

  • Senators’ #TortureReport statements of “Never Again!” are a highly ritualized form of appearing apologetic.
  • In a real democracy, post crisis-reform would happen in no time. America is not a serious country.
  • It used to be said reform in America happens when a monumental crisis occurs. Not so.
  • After barely reacting to the 2008 crisis, the US will dull the very few teeth put into Dodd-Frank.
The Democrats serving on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Diane Feinstein of California, have released their summary report on CIA torture. What is ahead now that the report is out?
Expect a merry season of verbose handwringing, with endless protestations of (momentary) embarrassment and mellifluous promise of immediate betterment. Even emphatic claims of “Never Again!” http://www.theglobalist.com/no-nsa-reform-no-cia-reform/

Sinai Campaign a Boon to the Islamic State

Sinai Campaign a Boon to the Islamic State


After a long wait, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM)—a group active in northern Sinai—has moved from the stage of sympathizing with the Islamic State (IS) to being a part of the international organization. It has sworn allegiance to IS and changed its name to Wilayat Sinai. This is but one reflection of the growing radicalization among Egyptians, particularly Islamist youth.
The formal announcement of the pledge of allegiance was delayed—after ABM’s preacher prayed for IS during this year’s Eid al-Fitr prayers—because the group held a consultation between all jihadi factions in Sinai. While some of them objected to the pledge, given that they had already sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the end they agreed to support IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to sources close to the group.* http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/2014/12/05/sinai-campaign-boon-to-isis/hw1t?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoks6TNZKXonjHpfsX57uQsW6Sg38431UFwdcjKPmjr1YEIScd0aPyQAgobGp5I5FEIQ7XYTLB2t60MWA%3D%3D

The Assad Regime’s Political “Achilles’ Heel”


The Assad Regime’s Political “Achilles’ Heel”



http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/12/11/assad-regime-s-political-achilles-heel/hwdy

The U.S. just refuses to take the blame

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2014/Dec-10/280488-the-us-just-refuses-to-take-the-blame.ashx

The U.S. just refuses to take the blame

Rami G. Khouri| The Daily Star
It is exasperating to listen to American officials pontificate about events in the Middle East and offer what sounds like reasonable proposals to resolve the area’s problems, when those same officials and the entire political power structure they represent refuse to acknowledge that they have played a major role in creating or expanding those problems. This is why it is astounding to watch the United States now lead the military assault against ISIS by using the same techniques that contributed in a major way to the birth and growth of the militant Islamist ideology at the core of ISIS and its criminal deeds.
The latest example of this is a statement the U.S. State Department put out Monday quoting Secretary of State John Kerry.
He stated that “[t]he fight against violent extremism in the Middle East can only truly be won if there are clear and appealing alternatives.”http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2014/Dec-10/280488-the-us-just-refuses-to-take-the-blame.ashx

Stuck in the Middle Eastern Sand: The United States, Asia, and Post-Cold War Threat Inflation

http://www.mepc.org/articles-commentary/commentary/stuck-middle-eastern-sand-united-states-asia-and-post-cold-war-threat-inflation

Commentary

Stuck in the Middle Eastern Sand: The United States, Asia, and Post-Cold War Threat Inflation

James A. Russell
Associate Professor, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School
December 15, 2014
In late 2011, the Obama administration with great fanfare announced its intention to “pivot” (subsequently characterized as a “rebalance”) to Asia as a foreign-policy and national-security priority. Citing the rising economic, political and military power of China, the administration sensibly sought to refocus America’s strategic priorities to reflect the growing importance of Asia in global affairs. As noted by the National Intelligence Council in various reports, the transfer of wealth from West to East on an unprecedented scale suggests a fundamental change in the global strategic environment that should be met by a corresponding shift in America’s strategy and policy.1 While the United States has long been involved in Asia’s political and military affairs, the pivot metaphor served to enable a reinvigoration of existing alliances and the establishment of a more robust political and military framework to serve, protect and further American interests in Asia.2http://www.mepc.org/articles-commentary/commentary/stuck-middle-eastern-sand-united-states-asia-and-post-cold-war-threat-inflation

EU Looks to Iran, Russia to Help End Syria War

 

EU Looks to Iran, Russia to Help End Syria War

Fissures Emerge Over Fears U.N. Initiative Could Play into Hands of Assad Regime

http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-ministers-back-syrian-military-freeze-1418658105

Private Equity “Money for Nothing” Tax Game as An Example of Elite Lawlessness

Private Equity “Money for Nothing” Tax Game as An Example of Elite Lawlessness

Posted on by
Most members of the great unwashed public, when they hear about unfair results of the tax code, like Warren Buffet’s secretary facing a higher tax rate than he does, or private equity and hedge fund barons paying capital gains tax rates on labor income, assume that those outcomes are the result of a combination of the rich getting the tax code changed over time or succeeding in preserving the exploitation of loopholes that should have been closed ages ago.
But there is another category of tax games that are not discussed much in polite company, that of outright abuses. What is disturbing about that behavior is that it has not only become increasingly common, but members of the bar, including those at white shoe firms, are enablers.
A new paper by Gregg Polksy, A Compendium of Private Equity Tax Games, focuses on two private equity tax dodges involving monitoring fees and management fee waivers. It’s important to recognize that Polsky is no ordinary critic. Not only is he a professor of law at University of North Carolina, but he was Professor in Residence in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/12/private-equity-tax-games-another-example-elite-lawlessness.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

Share Viewing Russia From the Inside

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Viewing Russia From the Inside

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By George Friedman
Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn't rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year — the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the equator, this is unsettling. It is the first sign that you are not only in a foreign country, which I am used to, but also in a foreign environment. Yet as we drove toward downtown Moscow, well over an hour away, the traffic, the road work, were all commonplace. Moscow has three airports, and we flew into the farthest one from downtown, Domodedovo — the primary international airport. There is endless renovation going on in Moscow, and while it holds up traffic, it indicates that prosperity continues, at least in the capital.

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/viewing-russia-inside#axzz3M4FuZvlA

Thank God For Noam Chomsky Language Is Distorted In Order To Hide US State Wrongdoing By Robert Fisk

Thank God For Noam Chomsky
Language Is Distorted In Order To Hide US State Wrongdoing

By Robert Fisk

The whole filthy business is wrapped up in a three-letter abbreviation.

American Torture -- Past, Present, and... Future? By Rebecca Gordon


American Torture -- Past, Present, and... Future?

By Rebecca Gordon

Maybe torture "worked" on occasion. Probably it didn't. But it doesn't matter because torture is illegal under U.S. and international law, and it's a moral abomination.

Monday, December 15, 2014

CIA ‘Torture’ Practices Started Long Before 9/11 Attacks

http://www.newsweek.com/cia-torture-practices-started-long-911-attacks-senate-report-notes-290746

CIA ‘Torture’ Practices Started Long Before 9/11 Attacks


“The CIA,” according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, had “historical experience using coercive forms of interrogation.” Indeed, it had plenty, said the committee’s report released Tuesday: about 50 years’ worth. Deep in the committee’s 500-page summary of a still-classified 6,700-page report on the agency’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” after 9/11 there is a brief reference to KUBARK, the code name for a 1963 instruction manual on interrogation, which was used on subjects ranging from suspected Soviet double agents to Latin American dissidents and guerrillas.

The techniques will sound familiar to anybody who has followed the raging debate over interrogation techniques adopted by the CIA to break Al-Qaeda suspects in secret prisons around the world. When the going got tough, the CIA got rough.

The 1963 KUBARK manual included the “principal coercive techniques of interrogation: arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement or similar methods, threats and fear, debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis and induced regression,” the committee wrote.http://www.newsweek.com/cia-torture-practices-started-long-911-attacks-senate-report-notes-290746

Advent: Come, O Lord, Do Not Delay... Or, Maybe It’s Good I Wait for You

Come, O Lord, Do Not Delay... Or, Maybe It’s Good I Wait for You

Come, O Lord, Do Not Delay... Or, Maybe It’s Good I Wait for You
The Christmas season is filled with anticipation for some, loneliness for others, and for still others, stress generated by impossible deadlines on their "To Do” and “To Buy” lists. For all of us, however, the four weeks of Advent can help us reflect on our relationship with the sacred reality of TIME.
As we wait for the celebration of Christmas, the Advent Liturgy and hymns often remind us: “The Lord does not delay his promise as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pt. 3:9). By making us wait God is actually giving us a gift, the gift of time. And we all know how precious time is. We come face to face with this reality when we lose a loved one and can no longer spend time with them, or when we have a health crisis, or every year when our birthday rolls around again.
But waiting is the gift of time. The grace of Advent is to have this special time of year to wait for the Lord, to prepare our hearts and to increase our yearnings and anxious expectation for his coming. If Advent was only one day what could we get done? We need time to get ready, externally with all the preparations, but even more internally so that we will be ready to receive Jesus when He comes.
Even in our modern, fast-paced lives, there are many times we have to wait. We wait for the light to change and the traffic to start moving. We wait in lines at the bank or grocery store. We wait in doctors’ offices for appointments or for friends to show up. We wait for apps to load on our cell phones and for music or ebooks to download from websites. We wait for our computers to start up, log off or reboot. Is waiting a waste of time, sheer frustration or something else?
In one city where I was stationed, drivers were constantly honking on the road. If the light turned green and you didn’t start moving in three seconds, they would start honking behind you. Did you ever count how many traffic lights you encounter on the way to work? What would happen if we looked at the stop and go traffic signals in a new “light” the next time we’re on the road. If the light turns red, consider we’re not really waiting for the light to change, we’re waiting for the Savior to come. It’s a moment to pray, to ask, to seek him. If the light turns green, the Lord is coming. Let’s go out to meet him.
If we could see waiting as the gift of time, our perspective would change. Waiting could be a moment to take a deep breath and reflect on the blessings we have received and thank God for the gift of life we enjoy. Whether it’s Advent or not, time is given to so that we can change our lives and turn to God if we have taken the wrong road..
Sometimes you hear the expression “killing time,” as if time was something to get rid of or throw away. So what could we or should we be doing with our time anyway? St. Peter goes on to say:  “What sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” (2 Pt. 3:11-12). If we have time on our hands, just look around. There is always someone who needs a helping hand. We can visit a sick relative or volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Maybe it’s just a matter of picking up the phone and speaking to someone we haven’t talked to in a long time. The other day I got a phone call from my Aunt Kay. She is 92 years old and such an amazing woman. She keeps herself busy and is always talking about her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. She’s not wasting time. what about going to Mass or making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, reading the Bible or praying a rosary
The gift of oneself, of one’s time, is the best gift we give ourselves and others. So what are we waiting for?
by Sr. Elizabeth Marie DeDomenico

The New Republic: A public trust or a business? How Chris Hughes turned a 100-year-old publication into a “product” By John B. Judis

The New Republic: A public trust or a business?

How Chris Hughes turned a 100-year-old publication into a “product”
- See more at: http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/the_new_republic_chris_hughes.php#sthash.7rrNw51g.dpuf

The New Republic: A public trust or a business?

How Chris Hughes turned a 100-year-old publication into a “product”
- See more at: http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/the_new_republic_chris_hughes.php#sthash.7rrNw51g.dpuf
The New Republic: A public trust or a business?  How Chris Hughes turned a 100-year-old publication into a “product”  By John B. Judis 
http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/the_new_republic_chris_hughes.php