Showing posts from September 1, 2016

When Intervention Works: The Instructive Case of Sierra Leone

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[Speaking of articles that glorify swift military wins in Sierra Leone, Ucko says that "Missing in these accounts is the delicate process of consolidating military gains, transitioning control to local actors, enabling their advances, and creating sustainable peace out of war. In other words, the garbled historiography of this successful case omits exactly that which has doomed more recent campaigns." *RON*]
David H. Ucko, War on the Rocks, 31 August 2016

Editor’s Note: This is adapted from a longer article published in the Journal for Strategic Studies. It is available to read for free for a limited time.

Lately whenever Western militaries intervene, they seem to leave behind bigger messes than they found. Whether the intervention is large (Iraq and Afghanistan), medium (Libya), or small (Syria), the record is dismally consistent. Such assessments can breed despondence, but while there is good reason for humility, some interventions do…

Why the TPP and TTIP Trade Deals May Now Be Dead in the Water

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[Sink, sank, sunk? See also: Trade wars: Why the central pillar of global order is in danger of collapse as TTIP disintegrates. *RON*]
By Kate Aronoff, In These Times / Truthout, 31 August 2016
The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is dead, at least according to Angela Merkel's second-in-command. And the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may not be far behind.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Sunday that "negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it." According to Gabriel, who also serves as his country's economy minister, negotiators from the European Union and United States have failed -- despite 14 rounds of talks -- to align on any item out of 27 chapters being discussed. Gabriel and his ministry are not directly involved in the negotiations.

EU officials were quick to downplay Sigmar's statement, saying they hoped to "close this de…

Complete Reversal of Democracy: Glenn Greenwald on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's Impeachment

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[No one's saying she's the greatest Brazilian President ever, but: "the opposition, which is composed of oligarchs and business interests and media barons and conservatives and uber-nationalists—this opposition faction has concluded that they are incapable of defeating this party in the ballot box, meaning within the democratic process, and so they are opportunistically using her unpopularity and the serious mistakes she’s made to remove her undemocratically." See also: As Bernie Sanders Condemns "Coup" in Brazil, Why Have Obama & Clinton Been So Silent?, and Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, explained in 3 numbers, and 3 men in line for Brazilian presidency accused of corruption. *RON*]

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, 29 August 2016. Guest Glen Greenwald

Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is slated to testify today at her impeachment trial—a trial that many are calling a coup by her right-wing political rivals…

Study Shows That Luxury Shoppers Are the Worst

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[The Repulsive Rich, Part Three, or, Peasants on the Guillotine Watch. A version of this article appears in the September 1, 2016 issue of Fortune with the headline "The 1% Are 55% Less Helpful." *RON*]

By Robert Hackett, Fortune, 28 August 2016

A real reason to be suspicious of the 1%.

Good Samaritanism has apparently fallen out of fashion.

A recent study found that shoppers outside high-end retail stores are less likely to stop to help a stranger in need compared to people in places devoid of haute couture. Researchers at Paris Descartes University and University of Southern Brittany report that the mere presence of luxury goods seems to make passersby uncharitable.

Sean Parker is Reportedly Creating a Massive, Three-House Mansion in Manhattan

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[The Repulsive Rich, Part Two, or, Peasants on the Guillotine Watch. The tech billionaire has reportedly shelled out $58 million to create a palace on 10th Street. Also, check out the original article if you'd like to see photos of his multi-bazillion dollar wedding. *RON*]

By Emily Jane Fox, Vanity Fair 30 August 2016
Sean Parker, the Napster founder and first Facebook president, Lord of the Rings enthusiast, and wild wedding-thrower, has picked up another New York real-estate gem to put in his crown. His latest acquisition, according to The New York Post, will allow him to create an elaborate palace in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Parker picked up a 21-foot-wide town house built in 1856 on 10th Street, the Post reports. The home, which sold for $14 million to an investor about a year ago, would be an impressive real-estate holding in and of itself. That Parker already owns the two mansions next door, however, suggests even more imperial…

EpiPen maker gave CEO more than $5 million to cover personal U.S. tax bill

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[The Repulsive Rich, Part One, or, Peasants On the Guillotine Watch. *RON*]

By Renae Merle August 30

Years before it attracted nationwide criticism for drastically hiking the price of the EpiPen, pharmaceutical giant Mylan faced a quandary.

The company had merged with another in 2014 that allowed it to move its headquarters from Pennsylvania to the Netherlands through a so-called inversion that would significantly lower its tax rate. But as part of the deal, Mylan's executives would be hit with a hefty tax bill for company stock they had received as part of their compensation packages.

To avoid the tax headaches for its top executives, Mylan accelerated $32.5 million in executive compensation for its leadership team and then reimbursed them for $20.5 million in taxes, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.