My FDL
 

Video: Peace Activist Medea Benjamin Syria/ISIS War “insanity”

By: jbade

She makes a great argument.  Always consistent. Code Pink is a blessing, Medea Benjamin a true leader in the peace movement, a rare commodity.

Ebola MEDEVAC and the State Department’s Emergency Aeromedical Evacuation Services Contract

By: Crane-Station Saturday September 13, 2014 3:08 pm

The two humanitarian aid workers who were transported from Africa to Emory Hospital via Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia in August flew in one of only three airplanes of its kind in the world. The air ambulance is a modified Gulfstream III, owned by Phoenix Air Group. Savannah Now explains:

In addition to previously installed extensive aeromedical equipment, this GIII is outfitted with a biological containment system specifically designed for patients with highly contagious diseases.

“We’re contracted by both the CDC and the Defense Department to provide transport and in-air medical services for people coming back into the country infected with such things as tuberculosis, SARS, Bird Flu and now Ebola,” Dent said.

To do that, the interior of the GIII has a tent-like, clear plastic structure that has negative air pressure to keep pathogens from entering the cabin.

“It’s what we call an ABC – or Aeromedical Biological Containment – system,” Dent said.

It’s essentially a room within the interior cabin with an outer, airlock chamber that allows our medical people to be in and out during the entire flight.”

Savannah News is describing a flying Level Four Hot Zone, basically, but the problems do not begin and end with the interior of a sealed plane, and approval for evacuation of a health care worker who gets sick in Africa is not automatic. In fact, today unfortunately, there is a tragic headline titled, Ebola outbreak: WHO denies request from Sierra Leone to evacuate infected doctor. On the given reason there is only this:

“WHO is unable to organize evacuation of this doctor to (Germany)

How is this possible? Please turn your attention to the video in the post titled “CDC Expects to MEDEVAC 3 Ebola Scientists per Month,” where Potrblog analyzes the US State Department’s urgent contract with Phoenix Air Group for the use of the only two planes to evacuate an expected three CDC workers per month. If you look at the analysis of the contract carefully, it is literally an unworkable hot mess in the end, giving the CDC a false sense of security when they would otherwise perhaps not deploy.

The problems do not come from the outfitting of the specialized Gulfstream III airplane. The issues arise in where the plane can fly, what countries it can fly over, how sick the patients can be, where the plane can land and refuel, whether or not the patients can receive basic water or IVs or care during any stop on the ground or not.

For example, based on the video, evacuation to Germany is impossible because no European country will allow an air ambulance to fly through European airspace and no airport will allow the jet to land and refuel.

The air ambulance was permitted to refuel at a military airport in the Azores when it transported the Americans.

Given the severe limitations on where the air ambulance can fly and land and how much it will cost, there appears to be little likelihood that any non-American afflicted with Ebola will be transported out of Africa for treatment.

Related:

Emergency Aeromedical Evacuation Services
Solicitation Number: SAQMMA14C0155
Agency: Department of State
Office: Office of Acquisitions

CDC: Three Scientists Per Month Expected To Catch Ebola As A result of US Surge Into Africa
Location: INL Support

Reeva Steenkamp: To the living we owe respect but to the dead we owe only the truth

By: Masoninblue

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Good afternoon:

A Pistorius-ügy - mi történt valójában?

Reeva Steenkamp & Oscar Pistorius

The Guardian is reporting today:

The parents of Reeva Steenkamp expressed anger and disbelief on Friday after Oscar Pistorius was formally acquitted of their daughter’s murder, insisting: “Justice was not served.”

Amid growing discontent in South Africa at the verdict, the Steenkamps criticised judge Thokozile Masipa for being too lenient on the athlete, who was instead convicted of culpable homicide, the South African equivalent of manslaughter, and granted bail.

“This verdict is not justice for Reeva,” her mother, June Steenkamp, told NBC News. “I just want the truth.”

I agree.

Yesterday, I identified the core weakness in Judge Masipa’s decision acquitting Oscar Pistorius of murder and convicting him of culpable (manslaughter) homicide.

Under South African law, however, a judge cannot base a verdict on circumstantial evidence alone unless no inference except guilt can reasonably be drawn from it.

Her conclusion makes sense when viewed through the prism of the legal rules that she applied. However, it makes no sense to be forced into accepting a liar’s statement about his knowledge and intent when it is contrary to common experience and he has a powerful motive to lie.

I did not believe Oscar Pistorius because he lied during much of his testimony and I do not believe his story about shooting into the cubicle without making certain she was not there. He should not benefit because he killed the only witness who could contradict him.

1. The door to the cubicle was locked;

2. She had her phone with her;

3. Her bladder was empty;

4. There was no urine in the toilet bowl; and

5. Pistorius never mentioned hearing the toilet flush.

That’s all the circumstantial evidence that I need to confirm my belief that he lied.

“To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.”

Voltaire

Ukraine – Truce or Trojan Horse: Retreat, Re-Armament and Relaunch

By: GREYDOG Tuesday November 18, 2008 6:10 pm

Posted by James Petras99GetSmart

Introduction

            The NATO proxy war in the Ukraine started with the violent US-EU-sponsored overthrow of the elected government via a mob putsch in February 2014.  This was well financed at $5 billion, according to President Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland.

Ukraine!The result was a junta, composed of neo-liberal puppets, rightist nationalists and fascists, which immediately proceeded to purge the Ukrainian legislature of any politicians opposed to the coup and Kiev’s submission to the European Union and NATO.  The NATO-sponsored client regime then moved swiftly to extend its control by centralizing power and overturning the official policy of bilingualism (Russian and Ukrainian) in the southeastern regions.   It was preparing to break its long-standing agreement over the huge Russian naval base in Crimea and renege on its massive debts to Russia for gas and oil imports.

These extremist measures by a violent coup regime amounted to a radical break with existing economic, cultural and political institutions and, naturally, provoked a robust response from large sectors of the population.  The overwhelmingly Russian speaking majority in Crimea convoked a referendum with 90% voter participation:  89% voted to secede and rejoin Russia.  The ethnic Russian and bilingual, industrialized southeast regions of Ukraine organized their own referenda, formed popular militias and prepared for an armed response from what they viewed as an illegal junta in Kiev. Threatened by the new measures against their language and traditional and economic ties with Russia, the resistance drew its fighters from the vast reservoir of skilled industrial workers, miners and local business people who understood that they would lose thousands of jobs and access to the Russian markets as well as cultural and family links under the boot of the EU-NATO puppet in Kiev.

For critical sections of Ukraine, the Kiev junta was illegitimate, so the NATO overseers, cooked up an election with a pre-selected candidate, Petro Poroshenko, a millionaire oligarch, willing to serve as a ‘reliable’ proxy, despite his history of dubious ‘business’ deals, who would implement the Euro-US agenda.  Despite large sectors boycotting the sham elections, the ‘victorious President’ Poroshenko immediately joined the EU, shredding the heavily subsidized and generous gas and oil agreements with Russia as well as cutting Ukraine off from its main export markets.  He proposed to join NATO and convert Ukraine into a launching pad aimed at Russia.  He eagerly signed an IMF agreement ending critical subsidies for low income Ukrainians, privatizing public enterprises and raising the cost of basic public services and food.  He launched an all-out military campaign against the Donbass region, using missiles, air strikes, artillery and ground forces while assuring his masters in Washington and Brussels that he could easily smash all resistance to his dictatorial fiats and impose their radical retrograde agenda.

The scope and depth of the changes and the unilateral manner in which they were formulated and implemented provoked a widespread popular uprising in the southeast that cut across the entire social spectrum.  The popular democratic nature of the opposition in the east attracted support throughout the region, reaching beyond the borders of Ukraine.  The resistance easily captured Ukrainian military outposts while conscripted soldiers, ex-soldiers and local police units joined the resistance, bringing their arms with them.

The Kiev regime and its increasingly fascist shock troops responded with terror tactics, bombing civilian infrastructure and neighborhoods. In the ethnically-mixed city of Odessa, with its substantial Russian-speaking population, Kiev-based fascists torched the city’s main trade union building where civilian protesters had sought refuge, burning alive or later slaughtering over 40 trapped citizen demonstrators.

The terrorist tactics of the Kiev government spurred thousands more to join the resistance. Horrified and demoralized Ukrainian conscripts, who had been told they were fighting ‘Russian invaders’ defected or surrendered in large numbers.  The spectacle of surrender and demoralization among its armed forces and police undermined this phase of Kiev’s offensive and led to a ‘legitimacy’ crisis.

The US-EU propaganda campaign intensified denying civilian resistance in the southeast any authenticity as an independent, democratic, national force by labeling them as ‘Russian separatists’ and ‘invaders’.  Together with their puppet-‘President’ Petro Poroshenko, the US-EU tried to discredit the popular resistance via a major provocation:  Ukrainian government air controllers in Kiev re-directed a civilian air liner, Malaysian Airlines Flt. 17, to fly directly over the war zone, shot it down killing almost 300 passengers and crew.  The puppet in Kiev and their masters in Brussels and Washington then blamed the resistance, as well as Russia, for the crime!

The NATO-backed proxy regime’s tactic of terror boomeranged and caused even more outrage!  More Ukrainian troops refused to fire on the own compatriots .The puppet regime in Kiev had to rely on the special fascist battalions eager to kill ‘Russians’.  Many ordinary soldiers deserted rather than obey orders to fire heavy artillery shells into densely populated urban neighborhoods full of trapped civilians.  Other troops crossed over into the safety of neighboring Russia where they surrendered and turned their arms over to the resistance.

The incredible strength of the southeast regional resistance came from several sources: First and foremost, they were defending home turf:  their families, relatives, friends, neighbors, homes, workplaces, transport systems, hospitals and schools and they increasingly saw themselves as a nation confronting the ravages of a foreign-imposed dictatorship arbitrarily selling their principle economic enterprises and means of livelihood while submitting to the dictates of the US-EU controlled International Monetary Fund.  This popular resistance was bolstered morally and materially by pro-democracy activists and militants from Euro-Asia, who understood that a NATO victory in Ukraine would lead to more coups in sovereign countries, more civil wars and brutal conquests throughout the region – a formula for economic and social disaster affecting tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people.

NATO’s heavy-handed presence behind the putsch in Kiev spurred a national liberation struggle in Ukraine and the growth of anti-NATO internationalism regionally.  The battle was joined.  The Kiev blitzkrieg halted in confusion.  The battles for Donetsk and Lugansk turned the tide.  The Resistance went on the offensive.  Over 800 Kiev soldiers were killed.  Thousands more were wounded, captured or deserted.

The Resistance was advancing westward and to the south threatening to create a land bridge to the Crimea and encircle an entire regiment.  The puppet regime in Kiev panicked and pleaded for its EU and US patrons to intervene directly.  Divisions within the junta deepened: the fascists demanded an all-out war against the Russian-speaking population and total mobilization.  The neo-liberals, for their part, begged for direct NATO intervention.

Meanwhile, the EU and US imposed wide economic sanctions against Russia, unwilling to believe that the citizens in the Donbass region of southeast Ukraine would successfully resist their puppet in Kiev.  They drank their own propaganda swill and blamed ‘Putin’, the Russian President, for the debacle.   The increasing economic sanctions against Russia had no effect on the popular resistance in Ukraine as it took on the character of a national liberation struggle.  However, the sanctions did provoke painful counter-measures from Russia, which slapped major embargos on EU and US agricultural products, deepening Europe’s economic recession.  And there was a build up of NATO troops and joint military exercises on Russia’s borders in Poland, the Baltic States and over the Black Sea.

Finally the NATO powers realized that their puppet’s military conquest of the East was not going to be another ‘cake walk’, indeed it was turning into a brutal farce.  From top to bottom, the junta’s armed forces were in shambles.  The continued advance of the popular resistance and the onset of winter without Russian oil and gas could topple the regime in Kiev and force new elections free from NATO, the CIA and the machinations of US Assistant Secretary ‘F… the EU’ Victoria Nuland, Obama’s key strategist for Eastern Europe.

With NATO’s and Washington’s fears in mind, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a ‘compromise’ for Poroshenko, an immediate ceasefire and negotiations leading to a political settlement between Kiev and the rebels.  In the face of a military debacle in the East and growing internal fissures, the puppet in Kiev agreed to the ceasefire.

Prospects for Peace with Justice

Private Equity at Work: When Wall Street Manages Main Street – Book Salon Preview

By: dakine01 Friday September 23, 2011 8:01 am

Private equity firms have long been at the center of public debates on the impact of the financial sector on Main Street companies. Are these firms financial innovators that save failing businesses or financial predators that bankrupt otherwise healthy companies and destroy jobs? The first comprehensive examination of this topic, Private Equity at Work provides a detailed yet accessible guide to this controversial business model. Economist Eileen Appelbaum and Professor Rosemary Batt carefully evaluate the evidence—including original case studies and interviews, legal documents, bankruptcy proceedings, media coverage, and existing academic scholarship—to demonstrate the effects of private equity on American businesses and workers. They document that while private equity firms have had positive effects on the operations and growth of small and mid-sized companies and in turning around failing companies, the interventions of private equity more often than not lead to significant negative consequences for many businesses and workers.

Prior research on private equity has focused almost exclusively on the financial performance of private equity funds and the returns to their investors. Private Equity at Work provides a new roadmap to the largely hidden internal operations of these firms, showing how their business strategies disproportionately benefit the partners in private equity firms at the expense of other stakeholders and taxpayers. In the 1980s, leveraged buyouts by private equity firms saw high returns and were widely considered the solution to corporate wastefulness and mismanagement. And since 2000, nearly 11,500 companies—representing almost 8 million employees—have been purchased by private equity firms. As their role in the economy has increased, they have come under fire from labor unions and community advocates who argue that the proliferation of leveraged buyouts destroys jobs, causes wages to stagnate, saddles otherwise healthy companies with debt, and leads to subsidies from taxpayers.

Appelbaum and Batt show that private equity firms’ financial strategies are designed to extract maximum value from the companies they buy and sell, often to the detriment of those companies and their employees and suppliers. Their risky decisions include buying companies and extracting dividends by loading them with high levels of debt and selling assets. These actions often lead to financial distress and a disproportionate focus on cost-cutting, outsourcing, and wage and benefit losses for workers, especially if they are unionized.

Because the law views private equity firms as investors rather than employers, private equity owners are not held accountable for their actions in ways that public corporations are. And their actions are not transparent because private equity owned companies are not regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Thus, any debts or costs of bankruptcy incurred fall on businesses owned by private equity and their workers, not the private equity firms that govern them. For employees this often means loss of jobs, health and pension benefits, and retirement income. Appelbaum and Batt conclude with a set of policy recommendations intended to curb the negative effects of private equity while preserving its constructive role in the economy. These include policies to improve transparency and accountability, as well as changes that would reduce the excessive use of financial engineering strategies by firms.

A groundbreaking analysis of a hotly contested business model, Private Equity at Work provides an unprecedented analysis of the little-understood inner workings of private equity and of the effects of leveraged buyouts on American companies and workers. This important new work will be a valuable resource for scholars, policymakers, and the informed public alike.

Join us at 5 PM EDT (2 PM PDT) for the discussion of this book. Hosted by David Dayen.

EILEEN APPELBAUM is senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, D.C. and Visiting Professor in the Management Department, University of Leicester, UK. ROSEMARY BATT is the Alice Hanson Cook Professor of Women and Work at the Industrial and Labor Relations School, Cornell University. (Russell Sage Foundation)

Why Are The Tricks Used To Sell War in 2003 Working in 2014? Have We Learned Nothing?

By: spocko Sunday January 2, 2011 7:24 pm

“You can’t change the world with words Bill, unless you write those words in the evening news with blood.” – Tom Bowen, In the movie Non-Stop

Glenn Beck tried to cash in on the feeling of unity many had after 9/11. His 9/12 project in 2009 was BS. But he did understand there was unity after 9/11/2001. I came from anger, blood-lust and the feeling, “Let’s all get the bastards who did this.” 

He wasn’t the only one using the bodies of the dead to get what he wanted. The desire for vengeance was stoked and consciously used by the Bush/Cheney White House to get us into Iraq.  They used the raw emotion from 2001, but it wasn’t enough. The sale of war in Iraq needed mind-changing visuals, serious authority figures, big money support and clever catch phrases.  Remember:

  • Photos of mobile labs with anthrax vials?
  • Ex-Pentagon generals vs. anti-war actresses and actors on TV?
  • The media ignoring who was paying the retired generals?
  • Slick word play the WH used to link 9/11 anger to Saddam? (BTW, that was linguistic evil genius.)

And who can forget this deadly visual word poem.

“Smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud.”

They won’t be able to do it again, right? We are smarter now. Many of us even spotted it all at the time. But it didn’t stop the total war train. How do we use our knowledge this time?

Can they use our emotion like last time? After 13 years the confusion, sadness, anger and desire to act has diminished.  And now we have been lied to. And bilked. And emotionally manipulated by professionals.

If someone wants to evoke that 9/12 feeling again they need a fresh jolt to the system. Like beheadings.

Following 9/12/2001 the rage and anger was scaled up to include entire regions. The right wing wanted an entire religious faith to be punished. Any suggestion of trying to understand who did it and why it happened was mocked. Anything less than “glass parking lots” was “letting the terrorists win.” 

But in 2014 you can start asking questions.  Is there another way to deal with this current atrocity? Can we scale down? Focus?

During the run up a lot of people spotted the tricks and lies, but our protests were ignored. What will we do differently this time? New anti-war chants? (I swear to Surak if I hear one more “Hey Hey Ho Ho something something has got to go!” at a protest I will indulge in human emotion. )

People are already talking like it’s too late. Can’t we use the tools and leverage we have now we didn’t have before? 

 

The Fall War Launch Needs New Words, Images, People and Emotion

We know how they sold the 2003 Iraq War to us. Spot the tricks this time! Look for:

Parenting Without God

By: Dennis Trainor Jr Saturday September 13, 2014 12:03 pm

Originally posted at AcronymTV

When asked if the world would be better off without God, Dan Arel, the author of Parenting Without God does not pull punches. “The world would be better off without the idea of God,’ Arel clarifies “the world is already without God.”

Even at a time when the popularity of shows like Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos, Arel’s aggressive brand of atheism will not win many friends. In fact, a recent Pew Research survey showed that people of all religious faith have one thing in common: their utter disdain for atheists.

“Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public. When asked to rate each group on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100 – where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating – all three groups receive an average rating of 60 or higher (63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics and 61 for evangelical Christians). And 44% of the public rates all three groups in the warmest part of the scale (67 or higher).

 

Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons receive neutral ratings on average, ranging from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. The public views atheists and Muslims more coldly; atheists receive an average rating of 41, and Muslims an average rating of 40. Fully 41% of the public rates Muslims in the coldest part of the thermometer (33 or below), and 40% rate atheists in the coldest part.” (Emphasis added)

 

The scary part about that data (aside from rampant Islamophobia in America) is that survey shows an improved opinion of atheists from only 3 years ago.

2011 poll found that US citizens trusted atheists on par with rapists.

 

With this kind of fervent hatred and distrust, Arel asks, what does the future hold for a group (Atheists) so hated in their own country?

Watch the full show here.

About the guest |
Dan Arel is freelance journalist for Alternet and Salon as well as a blogger for The Huffington Post. He writes a column called Danthropology for American Atheists Magazine and is the author of the book Parenting Without God, How to Raise Moral, Ethical and Intelligent Children, Free from Religious Dogmapublished byDangerous Little Books

About Acronym TV with Dennis Trainor, Jr. |
ABOUT ACRONYM TV with Dennis Trainor, Jr. 
Dennis Trainor, Jr. hosts Acronym TV, a weekly series of dialogue, conversation and debate with the goal of helping viewers sort through these transformative times through the insight of leading activists, artists, journalists, philosophers, scholars, and thinkers.

Acronym TV’s growing YouTube subscriber base of 33 thousand has generated over 30 million views, and is part of The Young Turks Network, the largest online news source in the world.
Acronym TV, what do you stand for?

Acronym TV airs on Free Speech TV, currently available in 37 million homes nationwide, airing on DISH Network (9415), DIRECTV (348), and Burlington Telecom (122) and streams all programs live at www.freespeech.org

Dennis Trainor, Jr. is a writer, host and producer. His documentary on the Occupy movement, American Autumn: an Occudoc, garnered critical praise from The New York Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and more.  He also wrote and directed Legalize Democracy, a documentary short about the Movement To Amend the Constitution.

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