“So What’s Your Question, Larry?”

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

PRESS CONFERENCE WITH GOVERNOR RICKETTS

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA

 

Killing prisoners through medical neglect: Mumia Attorneys Sue in Federal Court for Prisoners’ Right to Medical Care

By Dave Lindorff


Attorneys from the Abolitionis Law Center in Pennsylvania, an organization defending prisoner rights and challenging the state's penal system, have filed suit in federal court demanding that Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections stop preventing them from even seeing their client, journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, on occasions when he has to be hospitalized for a critical diabetes condition.

German MPs from the Left Party will protest at Ramstein Air Force Base on June 15th

On Monday, June 15th 2015, a group of Left MP´s from the Deutscher Bundestag (German Parliament), supported by local peace activists, will try to gain entrance to the US Air Force Base in Ramstein in order to fulfill their parliamentary responsibilities and to make their own evaluation of the operations on the US Air Force Base.

The action will focus on the use of killer-drones. Located on Ramstein Air Force Base is the central relay station that connects US drone pilots in Nevada with drones in targetted areas such as Pakistan or Yemen.  According to Sahra Wagenknecht, Vice President of the Left Party group in the German Parliament: “The murders by US drones are contrary to international law and infringe upon right to life that is guaranteed under human rights law. The thousands of killings via drones are like the enforcement of thousands of death sentences without a court order.”

Exposing Lies, Telling the Truth

I have just read Andre Vltchek’s new book Exposing Lies of the Empire. Let me tell you something about this book of 800 pages.

Vltchek writes with passion and poetry, describing the true horror experienced by the world at large, living at the gunpoint of the imperial powers, while also describing and drawing you into a world of progress, culture and refinement that exists in some places and, so we are tantalised, might exist elsewhere too and even, perhaps, one day for us all.

Pentagon Admits that War is Illegal

The Pentagon has just published 1,204 pages on how it thinks you can behave legally during a war. Looking through this "Law of War Manual" at various hot topics, one finds some atrocities excused as acceptable (cluster bombs, nuclear bombs) and others rejected as completely disallowed (torture) even when in reality they are routinely engaged in.

Beginning to wonder what the point is of writing out such a lengthy description of laws when someone could just read the laws themselves in less time, I notice that nowhere does this document strengthen any actual law, while in many places it weakens them. It picks and chooses which laws to mention and which to leave out or marginalize in footnotes. It stresses the supposed right to ignore any international law that a nation objected to while that law was being created. It incorporates into the whole scheme the idea of launching wars not only against nations, but against any other entities, and of launching wars in nations with those nations' approval. This paper is a sort of enormous signing statement appended retroactively to all existing laws, indicating which will be adhered to and which disregarded, while attempting to advertise a pattern of legal behavior by the U.S. military as a public relations correction to people's awareness of the actual pattern of lawlessness.

But I think the place to start is with the pretense that war itself is legal. This is what permits three-quarters of this document to exist, devoted as those sections are to proper legal conduct during a war. The Pentagon says that one must fight wars legally whether or not the wars are legal. That is, whether or not you have some legal justification for attacking a country, you must nonetheless meet completely vague standards of proportionality and so forth during the course of the attack -- or of the occupation. There's a large section on the legal conduct of occupations that breezes right past any question of the illegality of maintaining the occupation at all. Here's a typical passage about legal "proportionality": "Attacks using nuclear weapons must not be conducted when the expected incidental harm to civilians is excessive compared to the military advantage expected to be gained." How much "harm" to civilians from nuclear weapons would be "excessive"? The so-called law, once you accept war and then try to regulate its conduct, is in the eye of the sociopathic beholder; there's nothing empirical or enforceable about it.

Courage: Caitlyn Jenner vs. Chelsea Manning

                There has been much talk of late about the courage of Caitlyn Jenner. A recent Vanity Fair cover showed the transformation of former 65-year-old Olympic gold medal winner Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn, an attractive woman who appears to be in her thirties.

                But let us look for a moment at the definition of courage. Merriam-Webster defines it thusly: “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”

Saudis lambasted for lashing Badawi, Alkhalifa condemned in Geneva

A wave of protests has emerged against the Saudi authorities following the confirmation of an earlier sentence to flog Ra’if Badawi 1000 lashes for criticizing the regime. The Swedish foreign minister has said she stands by her denunciation of a Saudi blogger’s flogging as medieval, three months after her criticism of the Gulf kingdom’s human rights record ignited a diplomatic crisis and infuriated business leaders fearful for trade losses. Speaking on Monday, a day after it emerged that Saudi Arabia’s highest court had upheld Badawi’s punishment, Margot Wallström said she was unrepentant and said again that the flogging amounted to medieval methods. “I would not have done things differently,” Wallström told the Guardian “No, I do not regret the medieval remark; we have not excused ourselves. But we have explained that this was not an attack on Islam.” Campaigners have called for a radical shift in Britain’s relati onship with Saudi Arabia. Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is dire. The fact that it is also the world’s largest buyer of UK weapons is a sign of the real hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy.” A Foreign Office spokeswoman said on Monday: “We are extremely concerned that Raif Badawi’s sentence has been upheld … We have raised his case at the most senior levels in the government of Saudi Arabia and will continue to do so.”

The Last Jeb Killed for Slavery, The Last Bush Killed for Oil

Presidential elections should be limited to as short a time period as possible and are generally the biggest drain and distraction going. I have two excuses for looking into Jeb Bush. One is that I've been collecting the evidence that Hillary cannot be a lesser evil than any living human, and campaigning for No More Bushes or Clintons. The other is that I only read Jeb Bush: Outed because I've long liked the author, Stephen Goldstein.

People such as Molly Ivins and James Moore gave the U.S. lots of warning, from the wisdom of Texans, before the Supreme Court falsified the 2000 election results in what will always be falsely remembered as the American public electing George W. Bush president. Here comes Goldstein from Florida to warn us about Jeb. I don't see any reason why knowing about Jeb should make us take any interest in the election, as Hillary is just as bad. But I still see a problem with not knowing -- when it's all so easily known.

The Financialization of Fiction, and Vice Versa

The Utopia of Rules by David Graeber is an engaging riff on the theme of bureaucracy and the BS people think about it.

"De-regulation," of finances, Graeber points out, creates more rules, paperwork, and bureaucrats, apparently because what happens is not the equivalent of firing a bunch of factory safety inspectors, but rather the employment of enough bureaucrats to redirect control of wealth from mid-sized companies to giant conglomerates. Yet, just as people imagine criminals to be mostly black or violent, or war to be philanthropic or necessary, or estate taxes to be about family farms, or voter fraud to be impacting elections, or elections to have any value that could possibly be hurt by voter fraud, or a minimum wage to eliminate jobs, or corporate trade agreements to not eliminate jobs, or guns to make us safer, or prisons to "correct" something, or wealth to trickle down, or small-time foreign thugs to constitute a graver threat than a McDonald's diet, what matters is a fiction well told, not any facts.

Career advancement in a bureaucracy, Graeber writes, is based not so much on merit as on the loyalty exhibited by a willingness to pretend that it's based on merit. If you play along with the collective delusion, you're rewarded.

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership - June 12, 2015


Will Dems rescue Obama's trade pact? Backers and foes have no clue if it has enough support to pass on Friday - POLITICO


Anti-Climate Provision Gives Democrats Fresh Reason To Oppose Obama On Trade - huffingtonpost.com


Breitbart News: Republican Opposition To Obamatrade Grows In Face Of Ryan Mistakes - Breitbart


Breitbart News: 34 Courageous Conservatives Wound Obamatrade On Way To Final House Vote - Breitbart


Republicans clash over Obamatrade immigration - WND


Washinton State Rep. Adam Smith Joins Reps. Heck And McDermott In Opposing Fast-Track Trade Bill - KPLU News


Alabama congressmen blast Obama's secret trade agreement - Yellowhammer News


California Rep Garamendi Expresses Strong Opposition to Fast-Track Trade Bill and the Trans-Pacific Partnership “Free Trade Agreement” - California RealEstateRama


Obama's Trade Deals Show He's Out Of Touch With The Real World, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) Says - huffingtonpost.com


Trade debate splits Obama, Chicago Dems - The Washington Post


What Chicago Democrats tell us about President Obama’s problems on trade - The Washington Post


Crucial House vote on trade bill nears with 3 of 6 Louisiana members still undecided - NOLA.com


Oklahoma Vet In Congress Battles Paul Ryan’s Obamatrade In The Trenches - Breitbart


Mo Brooks To Paul Ryan: With China’s Ploy To Join Deal, Make White House Release Obamatrade Text Before Vote - Breitbart


ObamaTrade Secrecy: Log of Which Members of Congress Actually Read Bill in Secret Room Also Private - Breitbart

 

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Left and right line up against fast-track legislation, Tea Party and labor unions say Obama’s trade agenda is undemocratic and secretive - WSJ


Elizabeth Warren Launches Last-Minute Blitz to Stop Trade Bill, Full Text of Her E-mail to Liberal Supporters - Bloomberg Politics


Warren in a conference call organized by Democracy For America and Move On: supporting fast-track would be ‘irresponsible’ - TheHill


Labor chief rebukes Obama on trade in open letter - TheHill


Text of open letter of labor chief to Obama on trade - POLITICO


In a Report AFL-CIO Says Labor Has Been Blocked from Trans-Pacific Partnership Debate (Text of the Report) - Working In These Times


Democrats Call on Administration to Release Confidential Labor Advisory Committee Report - Congressman Mark Pocan


Report: One in Four Jobs in San Diego at Risk with Trade Deal - sandiegofreepress.org


VIDEO: Baltimore Steelworker Invites President Obama to Witness Results of Past Failed Trade Policies - AFL-CIO


Greens slam 'fast track' package over climate concerns - WashingtonExaminer.com


Environmental Groups Unite to Denounce Fast Track Trade Bill - Sierra Club National


Revealed: The Secret Immigration Chapter in Obama's Trade Agreement - Breitbart


Key Provision Of Trade Deal Puts Core Elements Of U.S. Legal System At Risk - huffingtonpost.com

 

Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach: Obama's trade deal is a Trojan horse - MSNBC


Obamatrade! Right-Wing Talk Radio Slams Trans Pacific Partnership - firstlook.org


Bernie Sanders Demands Hillary Clinton Take Trade Stance 'Right Now' - NYTimes.com


Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary and NY Mayor Bill de Blasio Urge Hillary Clinton to Oppose TPP - Observer

 

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U.S. Shifts Stance on Drug Pricing in Pacific Trade Pact Talks, Wikileaks Document Reveals - NYTimes.com


Leaked Text of the TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - WikiLeaks


Trade Deal Targets Medicare, New Leak Reveals - huffingtonpost.com


Secret trade negotiations will undermine Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and push up the cost of medicines - smh.com


New Zealanders' access to affordable medicines could be limited under trade deal secretly negotiated, opposition parties say - NZ Herald News


Analysis by Dr Deborah Gleeson (Australia) on TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - WikiLeaks


Analysis by Jane Kelsey (New. Zealand) on TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - Wikileaks


GayNZ.com Leaked TPPA docs back HIV med concerns - gaynz.com


Rep. Jan Schakowsky: This is a warning for senior citizens: Ongoing trade negotiations could be harmful to your health - huffingtonpost.com


Latest TPP Leak Raises Burning Questions About Implications for U.S. Health Care System - Public Citizen


Memo: Three Burning Questions about the Leaked TPP Transparency Annex and Its Implications for U.S. Health Care - Public Citizen


VIDEO: Backlash Against TPP Grows as Leaked Text Reveals Corporate Control of Public Health, Interview with Maybarduk of Public Citizen and Sifton of Human Rights Watch - Democracy Now!

 

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Dangerous Military Buildup in Asia and Pacific

South Korea constructs new Naval Base on Jeju Island, U.S. Plans to Expand Military Base on Okinawa and China Builds on South China Sea Atolls

By Ann Wright

The international community is extraordinarily concerned about the Chinese construction on small islands and atolls in disputed waters off China, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan.  Over the past 18 months, the Chinese government has created islands out of atolls and larger islands out of small ones.

With the Obama administration’s “pivot” of the United States military and economic strategy to Asia and the Pacific, the Chinese have seen military construction in their front yard. 

Senator Pushes Edge of Skin-Tight Envelope

Democratic-Party-based activist groups are urging each other to praise and support Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat, Connecticut) for laying out a better-than-average foreign policy and setting up a website at http://chanceforpeace.org.

Murphy's position would be considered militarist in the extreme outside of the United States, but advocates point out how much worse most other U.S. senators' are. 

Tomgram: Jen Marlowe, "They Demolish and We Rebuild"

 There’s an ugliness to war beyond the ugly things war does. There are scars beyond the rough, imperfectly mended flesh of the gunshot wound, beyond the flashback, the startle reflex, the nightmare. War finds peculiar and heinous ways to distort lives, and when children are involved, it can mean a lifetime spent trying to recapture what was, to rebuild what never can be.

Do People in the Philippines Appreciate What the U.S. Does for (to) Them?

Do people in the U.S. realize what their government is doing? Do they care? Read this:

Women's Organizing for Peace in the Philippines

(Speech delivered as a part of Women Cross the DMZ events at the Women's Peace Symposium on May 26, 2015, in Seoul, Korea)

By Liza L. Maza

Inline image 1

Photo by Niana Liu of Lisa Maza speaking at Women Cross the DMZ walk in Pyongyang, North Korea with 7,000 North Korean women

Greetings of peace to all especially to the  courageous and joyous women who are gathered here today calling for Peace and Reunification of Korea! Let me also convey to you the warm wishes of solidarity from GABRIELA Philippines and the International Women's Alliance (IWA), a global alliance of grassroots women's organizations.       
 
I am honored to speak before you today to share the experiences of Filipino women in organizing for peace in my country. I have been with the parliament of the state as representative of the Gabriela Women’s Party to the Philippine Congress for nine years and in the parliament of the streets as a feminist activist of the GABRIELA Women’s Coalition for half my lifetime. I will talk about the work of peace building of my organization, GABRIELA.

A New Story of Us

Had He Not Been Murdered!

Barack Obama: No Jack Kennedy

Editor Note: A half century ago – at the peak of the Cold War – President Kennedy appealed to humankind’s better nature in a daring overture to Soviet leaders, a gamble that brought bans on nuclear testing and a safer world, a bravery that President Obama can’t seem to muster.

By Ray McGovern

Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s “you’re no Jack Kennedy” put-down of Republican Sen. Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate springs to mind on a day on which I cannot help but compare the character of President Barack Obama to that of John Kennedy, the first President under whom I served in the Army and CIA.

The Bravery of Vince Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi, generally noted as the prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of Helter Skelter, is dead.

Vince had a remarkable skill as a prosecutor and a public speaker. He could be very persuasive. He could set aside everything but the most critical piece of information and then hammer at that piece like a sculptor. In doing so he could reach a wide audience in a persuasive manner without unnecessarily putting anyone off.

Bugliosi fit the profile of a whistleblower. He had long been part of the establishment. He prosecuted criminals. He wrote best-selling books defending insider opinion, claiming Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, O.J. Simpson was guilty, etc. He believed that before George W. Bush no president had ever lied about a war. He believed the U.S. government generally meant well. He considered agnosticism wiser than atheism, because who knows, there could be a god, how can you prove there isn't? He considered revenge an enlightened emotion. In other words, Bugliosi was a reluctant radical.

He had written a condemnation of the Supreme Court's selection of George W. Bush for the White House. How was he to know that speaking further truth about that same individual would meet a brick wall of bipartisan contempt? He didn't know. He was used to being on television when he published a new book. He was used to glowing reviews, or at least reviews, in major newspapers. But most major newspapers didn't mention Bugliosi's book on prosecuting Bush for the war on Iraq until Bugliosi died this week. The New York Times had run an article on the lack of coverage, but not provided any coverage.

Bugliosi was shut out by corporate power when he suggested prosecuting a president for launching a war (and laid out a powerful legal argument for doing so). It was, in his view, a very mainstream American argument against a brand new horror never seen on the face of the earth before. He said not a word about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who had been murdered; it wasn't part of his legal case on which he focused like a laser. He argued for the prosecution of Bush for the murder of U.S. troops sent to Iraq and killed there. Bugliosi explained:

"A robber, for instance, was convicted of first degree murder under the felony-murder rule where, as he was leaving the store in which he had robbed the owner, he told the owner not to say a word or he'd be harmed, and fired into the ceiling to scare the owner. The shot, after two or three ricochets, pierced the head of the owner, killing him. In fact, the felony-murder rule applies even where the defendant is not the killer! There have been cases where the proprietor of the store fired at a robber, missed him and hit and killed a customer. And the robber was convicted of first degree murder of the customer."

Legally, it's unusual. Morally, it's grotesque. Effectively, it would have ended U.S. wars, prevented the creation of ISIS, left Honduras and Ukraine with their elected governments, kept new bases out of the Philippines, Japan, Guam, Australia, and two dozen African Nations, allowed Libya to live, allowed recovery to begin in Afghanistan, prevented the drone wars that President Obama created in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, and the subsequent Saudi destruction of Yemen, halted shipments of U.S. weapons to Israel, Egypt, and countless Clinton-donor nations, quite possibly spared Gaza two serious attacks, and conceivably have created the momentum to prosecute torture and other lesser crimes rather than continuing the charade of re-banning it over and over.

But none of that was to be. Bugliosi was abandoned by the Democrats who didn't want Bush prosecuted. Bugliosi was forsaken by the corporate media that didn't want war questioned. Bugliosi was ostracized by his own people: prosecutors. He asked for one prosecutor in any place in the U.S. from which a U.S. troop had been sent to Iraq to die. He volunteered to assist that prosecutor for free. Not a single one could be found willing to even try.

The case for ‘courageous restraint’: The Killer Elite, at Home and Abroad

By John Grant


We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

                                                      - George Orwell


Vincent Bugliosi and The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

bugliositextIf we want to deter future presidents from taking this nation to another war under false pretenses, some president in the future that gets a funny thought, I think that deterrence would increase immeasurably if he knew what America did to George Bush, put him on trial for murder, and if he was convicted, of course, the punishment would either be life imprisonment or the imposition of the death penalty.”

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership -June 10, 2015

 

GOP aiming for Friday trade vote, but snag remains - POLITICO


Breitbart News: More Republican Opposition To Obamatrade Builds In House, Boehner Losing Momentum - Breitbart


Breitbart News: Obamatrade Support Falling Apart In House Despite Leadership Push - Breitbart


Franken-trade: Opponents are concerned about a governing commission that’s to oversee the Pacific trade deal - Washington Times


Kevin McCarthy Pressured By Republican Conference: What's The Rush On Obamatrade Plans With Its 'Global Governance’ Hidden Inside? - Breitbart


Bipartisan bill would require trade deals to be publicly available before fast-track vote - TheHill


TPP in Focus: TPA Doesn’t Put Congress in the Driver’s Seat - Committee on Ways and Means, Democrats


Rep. Levin on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: House Democrats want a role now  - usatoday.com


Given the huge size of the state’s delegation, California House members could provide the margin of victory or defeat of the fast-track trade bill - POLITICO


On trade, Obama's most loyal allies in the Congressional Black Caucus are abandoning him (VIDEO) - CSMonitor.com


U.S. trade policy and workers of color, fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership will disproportionately affect people of color - AFLCIO


Top 10 undecided House members to watch on trade - TheHill


Mass. congressmen against international trade agreement - WWLP.com


Arizona Rep. Grijalva: Trade deal bad for seniors, workers alike - tucson.com


For Dems who vote yes on trade, Obama offers help in 2016 - Associated Press


John Kerry & Ash Carter: Congress needs to help American trade grow - usatoday.com


Trade Bill Will Help Negotiators With Farm Issues, Vilsack Says - Bloomberg Business


Motion Picture Association of America Makes Economic Case(s) for TPA - Broadcasting & Cable


Interview with US Trade Representative Michael Froman. What’s actually in Obama’s secret trade deal? - POLITICO


Fast Track to the Corporate Wish List, How the U.S. Trade Representative became Washington's one-stop shop for the corporate trade agenda - prospect.org

 

Revealed Emails Show How Industry Lobbyists Basically Wrote The TPP - Techdirt


Huckabee blasts Obamatrade - WND


Ralph Nader: 10 Reasons the TPP Is Not a 'Progressive' Trade Agreement - huffingtonpost.com


Peru’s story haunts the TPP - TheHill


With trade on Congress’ agenda, just what does the U.S. import and export? - Pew Research Center

 

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POLL: NBC survey: Two-thirds of Americans say protecting U.S. industries and jobs by limiting imports is more important than free trade - NBC


POLL: Pew survey: Far more say free trade agreements lead to lower wages and job losses in U.S. - Pew Research Center


Labor makes last-ditch effort to stop fast-track trade bill - POLITICO


Unions’ members are using a variety of tactics to pressure Congress to defeat the fast-track trade bill - WSJ


The AFL-CIO Blitzes Important States In Fast-Track Opposition - The Daily Caller


VIDEO: AFLCIO TV ad: American Ingenuity - Stop Fast Track - DC - YouTube


Labor runs ads slamming Rep. Kathleen Rice for backing trade bill - POLITICO


VIDEO: AFL-CIO: Which Kathleen Rice? (Stop Fast Track) - YouTube


Labor and progressive groups to rally against Rice - Newsday


After California Rep. Ami Bera announced he backs fast track bill, activists and labor groups are attacking the Democrat - NationalJournal.com


Labor vows political fallout from Rep. Jim Himes trade stance - The CT Mirror


Unions, Seniors Groups Urge Congress Not To Cut Medicare To Fund Trade Assistance - huffingtonpost.com


The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) demands to stop negotiations and release the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - IndustriALL


Twelve groups to watch in trade fight - TheHill


Doctors Want a Second Opinion on TPP - huffingtonpost.com


Ms. Magazine Editor: Obama's Fast Track Attack on Women - huffingtonpost.com


Tell Congress: Oppose Fast Track for the TPP - EFF Action Center


FFTC Behind Don't "Rubber Stamp" TPA Campaign - Broadcasting & Cable

 

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Fear and Learning in Kabul

By Kathy Kelly

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world… Shall we say the odds are too great? … the struggle is too hard? … and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message -- of longing, of hope, of solidarity… The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, “Beyond Vietnam”

15-standing-in-the-rain-300x200
Kabul—I’ve spent a wonderfully calm morning here in Kabul, listening to bird songs and to the call and response between mothers and their children in neighboring homes as families awaken and prepare their children for school. Maya Evans and I arrived here yesterday, and  are just settling into the community quarters of our young hosts, The Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs).  Last night, they told us about the jarring and frightening events that marked the past few months of their lives in Kabul. 

They described how they felt when bomb explosions, nearby, awakened them on several mornings.  Some said they'd felt almost shell-shocked themselves discovering one recent day that thieves had ransacked their home.   They shared their intense feelings of alarm at a notorious warlord's statement condemning a human rights demonstration in which several community members had participated. And their horror when a few weeks later, in Kabul, a young woman, an Islamic scholar named  Farkhunda, was falsely accused in a street argument of desecrating the Koran, after which, to the roared approval of a frenzied mob of perhaps two thousand men, members of the crowd, with apparent police collusion, beat her to death.   Our young friends quietly sort through their emotions in the face of inescapable and often overwhelming violence.

A View From the Other 96%

Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get to work.

The 4% of us humans who have grown up in the United States are taught that our government means well and does good. As we begin to grasp that this isn't always so, we're duly admonished that all governments do evil -- as if we were being simplistic and self-centered to blame Washington for too much.

But take this tour of the world with out nationless friend Andre. We see U.S. medical troops operating on Haitian civilians in the most unsafe conditions, while proper facilities nearby sit unused; these troops are practicing for battlefield surgeries. We see millions slaughtered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at U.S. instigation and with U.S. support. We see U.S. militarism inflicting immeasurable suffering in Somalia. We witness the U.S. training and arming in Turkey of troops from around the Middle East to be sent into Syria to attempt to overthrow another government. We follow the horrors that U.S.-driven militarism, capitalism, and racism have brought to Indonesia, as well as Colombia, the Philippines, and locations around the globe. We investigate the ongoing state of disaster in Iraq and Libya, even the everlasting crisis created by the long-forgotten U.S. war on Panama, and for that matter the ongoing injustice of the century-old German genocide in today's Namibia. We meet the people of occupied Okinawa, and the people of the rest of Asia who view theirs as an evil island hosting threatening U.S. troops. We examine the crushing of popular movements in Egypt, the corruption of four "anchor nations" in four U.S.-created regions of Africa, and the imposition of violent coups in Central America and Ukraine.

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy. Washington's Great Game and Why It's Failing

 It might have been the most influential single sentence of that era: “In these circumstances it is clear that the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” And it originated in an 8,000 word telegram — yes, in those days, unbelievably enough, there was no email, no Internet, no Snapchat, no Facebook — sent back to Washington in February 1946 by 

Drone victim sues US government over family deaths in Yemen

From REPRIEVE
 
A Yemeni man, whose innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in an August 2012 U.S. drone strike, has today filed a lawsuit in his ongoing quest for an official apology over his relatives’ deaths.  

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who filed suit today in Washington D.C., lost his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in the strike. Salem was an anti-al Qaeda imam who is survived by a widow and seven young children. Waleed was a 26 year old police officer with a wife and infant child of his own. Salem had given a sermon preaching against extremism just days before he and Waleed were killed. 
 
The lawsuit requests that the D.C. District Court issue a declaration that the strike that killed Salem and Waleed was unlawful, but does not ask for monetary compensation. Faisal is jointly represented by Reprieve and pro bono counsel at law firm McKool Smith.

Leaked intelligence - reported in The Intercept - indicates that U.S. officials knew they had killed civilians shortly after the strike. In July 2014 Faisal’s family were offered a bag containing $100,000 in sequentially-marked US dollar bills at a meeting with the Yemeni National Security Bureau (NSB). The NSB official who had requested the meeting told a family representative that the money came from the US and that he had been asked to pass it along.

Obituary: Tariq Aziz, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

Tariq Aziz, former Prime Minister of Iraq has passed away. Twelve years of suffering in Iraqi jails have ended and he can finally rest in peace. Unwell, deprived of adequate medical help and abandoned by the outside world, he was held hostage by Iraqi governments following the illegal invasion of Iraq by the US and the UK governments in 2003. Tariq Aziz was needed by a struggling authority as a symbol of victory after having inherited a destroyed nation following years of sanctions and a failed occupation.

It does not matter to us that our words of sadness and respect for Tariq Aziz – a leader during many dark days of his country – will be used by some to discredit us for alleged support of a dictatorial regime.

Tariq Aziz impressed us again and again by his commitment with which he cooperated with the United Nations when we served at different times as UN humanitarian coordinators in Baghdad. His relentless efforts to prevent the 2003 war will not be forgotten. He was a hard but highly principled task master without whom the inadequate UN Security Council response to human suffering in Iraq would have had an even worse impact.  

We have a good idea how the scales of justice would react were it possible to quantify the weight of wrong-doing against the people of Iraq contributed from within Iraq and from the outside.

During the past years, we had hoped that influential leaders would see it as their moral responsibility to see that Tariq Aziz, a sick and elderly statesman, would be allowed to live his last days in the comfort of his family. We were wrong. We had appealed to former US Secretary of State, James Baker, who co-chaired with Tariq Aziz the 1991 Geneva negotiations on Iraq, to support calls for humane treatment of his former counterpart. Baker refused to act as a statesman. We also had hoped to hear the Pope’s voice for fellow Christian Tariq Aziz following our contact with the Holy See’s foreign minister. The Vatican remained mute. Other leaders in Europe  and elsewhere  preferred  silence to compassion.

Not even our own organization, the United Nations, could muster the courage to demand fair treatment for the man whom the organization had known over decades as a convincing and credible defender of Iraq’s rights.  

As time passes, we are certain that Tariq Aziz will increasingly be remembered as a strong leader who tried his best to protect the integrity of Iraq against all odds within his country and against outside interference by self-serving political forces.

Hans-C. von Sponeck and Denis J. Halliday,

UN Assistant Secretaries-General & UN Humanitarian Coordinators for Iraq (ret.)  (1997-2000) Müllheim (Germany) and Dublin (Ireland)

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership -June 8, 2015


Rand Paul Demands White House Release Trade Deal Text Immediately, ‘We Should Read Legislation Before We Vote on It’ - TheHill


Carly Fiorina To Obama: ‘Devil Is In The Details,’ Release Obamatrade Text Now - Breitbart


Senator Jeff Sessions's Letter to Obama: Why Are You Keeping Obamatrade’s New Global Governance Secret? - Breitbart


AFL-CIO Protesters Demand To See The Text Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Rebuffed By Obama Administration, Police - IBTimes


VIDEO: Working Families Ask to Read Text of TPP; Trade Rep. Locks the Door - AFL-CIO


Huckabee: Most Members Of Congress Who Support Obamatrade Haven’t Read It - Breitbart


Two Members of Boehner's Leadership Team Openly Refuse to Admit if They've Read Obamatrade - Breitbart


Rubio, Graham Refuse to Answer Whether They Read Obamatrade Before Voting on It - Breitbart


Dem: Tech knows more about trade deal than Congress does - TheHill


Food, Water, Health, Life: UN Experts Warn of Threats Posed by Secret Trade Deals - sandiegofreepress.org


MoveOn Petitions: Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), urge Congress to vote no on fast track legislation. TPP should be negotiated in the full light of day - MoveOn


WikiLeaks offers $100,000 bounty for the secret chapters of Obama's landmark Pacific trade deal - Business Insider


Statement: WikiLeaks issues call for $100,000 bounty on monster trade treaty (VIDEO) - wikileaks.org


VIDEO (and transcript): Interview with Julian Assange on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Secretive Deal Isn’t About Trade, But Corporate Control - democracynow.org


Wikileaks Drops Another Damning Trove Of Secret Trade Deal Documents, 17 Documents From Negotiations on TISA (Trade In Services Agreement) - huffingtonpost.com


A review of the the e-commerce annex of TISA (Trade In Services Agreement) - The Register

 

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Uncertainty Persists on Trade Vote in US House of Representatives - VOA


Left raises pressure on Pelosi to oppose Obama's fast-track - TheHill


Pelosi: 'Not my responsibility' to find votes for Obama trade bill - TheHill


Connecticut liberal battles Obama on trade, In the House Rosa DeLauro has become the de facto leader of Democratic opposition - POLITICO


POLL: Majority of Americans oppose Obama fast-track to negotiate trade deals that Congress can approve or reject but not amend - Breitbart


We The People: 2 Million Petitions Delivered To Congress to Stop TPP - Breitbart


Groups Hold National Day of Action to Oppose "Fast Tracking" of TPP - Feminist Wire Daily


Group with Boehner Ties Launches $900K Campaign for ObamaTrade - Breitbart


The Terms of Trade: Questions and Answers on the President's Trade Deal - The White House


Obama: China 'Put Out Feelers' on Joining TPP - VOA


Elizabeth Warren's report details Obama's broken promises: "The United States does not enforce the labor protections in its trade agreements" - huffingtonpost.com


REPORT (Full): Broken Promises: Decades of Failure to Enforce Labor Standards in Free Trade Agreements - huffingtonpost.com


Malaysian graves in people-smuggling camps add to Obama's trade pact headache in Congress - The Star Online


Unraveling the Export Argument for Pacific Trade Deal - WSJ


How Could the Trans-Pacific Partnership Impact Manufacturing? - cerasis.com


This Small Town Shows Why The Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Be A Disaster For American Workers - Working In These Times


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Ocean - Peter Neill


Leader Pelosi Should Stand for Internet Users and Come Out Against the TPP Fast Track Bill - Electronic Frontier Foundation

 

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Harrowing Account of Attempting to Get Into Gaza from Egypt

Crossing Rafah

by JOHNNY BARBER

The Rafah Crossing from Egypt to Gaza was opened on May 26th for 2 days after being closed for the past 75 days. The opening allowed Palestinian residents of Gaza who were stranded in Egypt or third countries to return home to Gaza. The crossing remained closed for those trying to leave Gaza. The waiting list for people trying to leave has reached 15,000 people. The waiting list includes thousands of medical patients, students, and people traveling to their work or their families abroad. Many of these people have been trapped in Gaza since the Israeli attack last July.

The last time the crossing was opened was in March when just 2,443 people in total were permitted to travel in both directions. While Morsi was in power in Egypt, nearly 41,000 people were traveling through the crossing each month.

My friend Hanaa* had spent 2 years in the U.S. earning a masters degree.

Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

The recent announcement by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed “democratic socialist,” that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President raises the question of whether Americans will vote for a candidate with that political orientation.

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