Showing posts from June 21, 2016

We Buried the Disgraceful Truth

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[On the cynical and shabby response of the US military to the social and medical crisis of veterans with PTSD. Things are no better in Canada, even under Trudeau, who feels no urgent drive to address the problems, similar to those described here, created by Harper. *RON*]

Steve Coll, New York Review of Books, 23 June 2016 ISSUE
Consequence: A Memoir by Eric Fair, Henry Holt, 240 pp., $26.00
The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan by J. Kael Weston, Knopf, 585 pp., $28.95
Since 2001, at least 2.5 million members of the American armed services have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Among returnees, between 11 and 20 percent are estimated to suffer in any given year from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. The PTSD label is loosely used, but under the clinical definition of the National Institute of Mental Health, an afflicted person may experience for at least one month a combination o…

America’s Many Mideast Blunders

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[A good piece. Freeman argues that we need to harness our military capabilities to diplomacy rather than the other way around. The information here is, perhaps, not new, but the interesting thing is that the case is put forward by a former ambassador and published in Veteran News Now (with Hillary Clinton's face front and centre, under a banner reading 'Neo-Conned'. *RON*]

By Chas W Freeman, Jr., Veteran News Now, 17 June 2016

Official Washington’s neocon foreign policy establishment looks forward to more “regime change” wars in the Mideast and more “blank checks” for Israel, but ex-Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr. sees such actions as a continued march of folly.

(A June 9 speech to the Center for the National Interest, Washington)

I have been asked to speak about the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East, the realignments occurring among states there, and the prospects for the achievement of renewed stability in the region. I’m te…

Basic Income: A Sellout of the American Dream

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[Part of the argument here is pure baloney. "We have an economy that right now is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, says Gordon. It may be that many job seekers aren’t located where most of the jobs are, or lack the training to hold them. But, he argues, those are problems that may be solvable without making tens of millions of people dependent on government paychecks." Hundreds of thousands of jobs are needed each month simply to not lose ground. Unemployment is high and rising. Jobs are not being created by corporations, who are holding on to their cash and profits. It's not simply a matter of moving people around or retooling them - the jobs aren't there. *RON*]
by David H. Freedman, MIT Technology Review, 13 June 2016

Matt Krisiloff is in a small, glass-walled conference room off the lobby of Y Combinator’s office in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, shouting distance from some of the country’s we…

Despite collective profits of $34.8B, the big banks need you to pay more in account fees

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["We need our politicians to support postal banking, better regulation and more taxation... Postal banking could help drive down costs by offering Canadians access to cheaper banking services. It could provide Canadians with a way to send money to loved ones overseas and avoid the fees levied by Western Union or other corporations. It could also provide an important revenue stream for the federal government." *RON*]
By Nora Loreto,, 15 June 2016

There is a kind of comfort that one can find in a familiar story, retold.

When you know the story arc, and you can anticipate what happens next, you can glean the most important lessons, unbothered by details flying at you that you didn't expect.

Indeed, even Jesus taught his religion in this way. He told stories over and over to hammer home the moral code that forms the foundations of the Christian faith.

Jesus also scorned bankers. We can imagine him flipping tables in the temple as …

Venezuelans ransack stores as hunger grips the nation

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[At least 5 people have been killed while looting. Venezuela has collapsed to the point where it is neither able to produce nor purchase food for its people. "Ask people in this city when the last time they ate a meal, and many will respond that it was not today." *RON*]
Nicholas Casey, The New York Times / Alaska Dispatch News, 20 June 2016
CUMANÁ, Venezuela — With delivery trucks under constant attack, the nation's food is now transported under armed guard. Soldiers stand watch over bakeries. The police fire rubber bullets at desperate mobs storming grocery stores, pharmacies and butcher shops. A 4-year-old girl was shot to death as street gangs fought over food.

Venezuela is convulsing from hunger.

Hundreds of people here in the city of Cumaná, home to one of the region's independence heroes, marched on a supermarket in recent days, screaming for food. They forced open a large metal gate and poured inside. They snatched water, …

With 1 human in every 113 affected, forced displacement hits record high

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[There were 65.3 million displaced people as of the end of 2015, the largest number ever recorded and larger than the population of the United Kingdom. They are mainly from the global south and 51% of them are children. See also: Record 65.3 million people displaced, often face barriers: UNHCR. *RON*]

UN High Commission for Refugees, 20 June 2016

Conflict and persecution caused global forced displacement to escalate sharply in 2015, reaching the highest level ever recorded and representing immense human suffering, according to a report released today by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, which tracks forced displacement worldwide based on data from governments, partners including the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, and the organization’s own reporting, said 65.3 million people were displaced as of the end of 2015, compared to 59.5 million just 12 months earlier. This is the first time that the threshold o…