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  • The Kurds are the only significant force in the whole region who deserve to be supported, and they have been continually betrayed by the US. And what they need is a steady supply of ammunition and limited, fairly low tech supplies. Their male and female fighters will never surrender to any of the fanatics that surround them. The problem for the US has always been that Kurds live in parts of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran and all of those countries will oppose a free Kurdistan.

    For those who know nothing of the Kurds, they are by and large rational and civilized people and far more committed to democratic values than any of their neighbors. They are, even with all the betrayals, pro-American. The only air strikes that could serve a democratic and humanitarian purpose would be those coordinated with the Kurdish military. Anything else is pointless murder.

  • valatius commented on the blog post A Surprisingly Weak Primary Victory for Andrew Cuomo

    2014-09-12 08:40:54View | Delete

    Zephyr Teachout got 78% of the vote here in upstate Columbia County, and carried Albany and Schenectady.

  • Yanukovich was overthrown by an armed mob the day after he agreed to a deal brokered by the EU which could have led to the kind of peaceful transition imagined by McCain. Yanukovich made major concessions, including an agreement to hold elections much earlier than scheduled. There is no one who disagrees with this, even if it may not be clear to McCain. MajorGarrett and the CNN bosses certainly know this, yet choose to allow McCain to provide his version, knowing that most Americans wont bother to check his facts.

    Another point is worth remembering: Ukraine has a right to independence and the generation growing up since 1991 certainly have no desire to see the nation again become part of Russia.And many of the older generation lost their faith in Russia long ago due to the genocidal policies of Stalin and his slightly more rational successors. In Tsarist times, Ukraine and Russia were really one country but that is no longer the psychological reality.

    Despite the often dysfunctional government, they have enjoyed greater freedom than is possible under Putin. None of this means, of course, that the Ukraine should be an FOP for NATO aggression against Russia. A neutral Ukraine , with a high degree of regional autonomy, should be the goal of anyone who genuinely wants peace in that area.

  • valatius commented on the blog post Discipline and Punish Dissidents

    2014-08-25 07:52:25View | Delete

    What I find amazing is the role of Al Sharpton as the self-appointed spokesman for the Ferguson community, as he was in the Trayvon Martin case. With MSNBC as his base, he speeds to the scene of yet another racist murder and defines the narrative not just for his own network but for its supposed rivals as well. He is,of course, a great friend of he Obama administration and serves not only to tamp down black anger but to stir up white resentment without ever once identifying the real sources of the conflict. As most people know, his first claim to fame was as spokesman for Tawana Brawley and although that issue was simply the result of a teenage girls imagination, he was not discredited. His role as an FBI informant is also documented but, if anything, this seems to have made him uniquely qualified for his present role as a kind of fake Martin Luther King. Unlike King, of course, he never criticizes corporate power or militarism.

    I think that probably his greatest qualification is that he never, ever identifies the economic causes for the crisis of the moment. The fact that St. Louis, like much of the old industrial heartland, has been thoroughly de-industrialized is something he would never mention. He huffs and puffs and in the end, white and black working class people see each other as the enemy. No wonder he is paid so well!

  • It is almost never mentioned any more that Gaza was seized from Egypt and the West Bank from Jordan during the Six Day War. Neither of these dictatorships ever demands the return of their lost territory because they, like Israel, find the populations troublesome and prefer they be kept under tight Israeli control. Right wing [...]

  • valatius commented on the diary post Ukraine, Negroponte & missiles — oh my! by Jane Stillwater.

    2014-07-24 03:58:01View | Delete

    I think you’d make a better case sticking to proven facts and avoding speculation. Neocons like Nuland and Carl Gershman did stir up opposition to the elected, if corrupt, government in Kiev. Neo-nazis have been prominent in that opposition and current government. US politicians and media figures have relentlessly demonized Putin. None of that means [...]

  • valatius commented on the diary post Commander Behind Bin Laden Killing: FBI/DHS Wasting Time Tracking Environmentalists by Steve Horn.

    2014-06-06 06:11:41View | Delete

    The focus on harmless environmental protestors is no surprise. They are surveilled for the very reason that they operate openly and are not dangerous. This means that law enforcement officers have a very easy and very safe way to justify their jobs, and those of their superiors. We saw the same phenomenon at work in [...]

  • valatius commented on the diary post New big Ukraine lie: “Russia amassing troops at the border!!” by fairleft.

    2014-04-02 13:53:51View | Delete

    Yes, it seems clear enough that Russia is not massing troops on the Ukraine border any more than Saddam Hussein was building atom bombs. But even if he was, I fail to see how that presents any threat to the EU or the US. As Prof. Stephen Cohen endlessly and fruitlessly points out , the [...]

  • valatius commented on the diary post In Memoriam: Jonathan Schell (1943-2014) by Tom Engelhardt.

    2014-03-31 11:55:07View | Delete

    A wonderful tribute. Sadly, few Americans know of Jonathan Schell’s vitally important work. My first knowledge of him came in the 1980s with his “Fate of the Earth” which did so much to inspire the Nuclear Freeze movement. He would certainly understand how critically important it is for the US to back away from antagonizing [...]

  • valatius commented on the diary post The War Activists by David Swanson.

    2014-03-27 17:11:09View | Delete

    Thanks to you and Sarah B for info on the NED. I remember way back when Bayard Rustin headed the same Social Democrats USA splinter party which Carl Gershman then took over. The SD was a pet project of right wing teacher unionist Al Shanker and given an office by him in the old UFT [...]

  • valatius commented on the diary post The War Activists by David Swanson.

    2014-03-22 08:18:32View | Delete

    David, you might also want to do some research on The National Endowment for Democracy, headed for years by a little known activist named Carl Gershman. The NED is a private foundation funded almost entirely by the US congress, set up under Reagan, with the goal of “spreading democracy.” The NED is said to have [...]

  • valatius commented on the diary post The new Ukraine’s first law revokes Russian language rights by fairleft.

    2014-02-25 17:33:52View | Delete

    I admit that my understanding of Russian is limited but I had the idea that Russian and Ukrainian are very similar, more like two different accents of the same language than anything else. My impression was that the they were as close as,say, the English spoken in New York vs. the English spoken in Alabama. [...]

  • This is not a surprise, although the corroboration of what already seemed pretty evident is welcome. The crowd in Washington – both NSA and its political enablers- barely pretend that their mass collection of data has anything to do with terrorism. Given the shortage of linguists in such languages and Arabic and Farsi, as the NY Times reported a few weeks ago, NSA staff cannot even understand what supposed terrorists are saying unless they happen to speak English. And of course, any serious terrorists will not be using their own laptops or phones listed under their own names. They can always pick up a variety of anonymous prepaid throwaway devices so that even if their conversations are picked up, they will remain invisible. A half-hearted attempt by Senators Schumer and Cornyn in 2010 to require IDs and a database for such prepaids went nowhere, probably because of opposition from Verizon, AT&T and other prepaid providers. (See A Huge Gap in Our Security)

  • valatius commented on the diary post Over Easy: Capitalist Withdrawal and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) by yellowsnapdragon.

    2013-11-06 08:54:02View | Delete

    George Monbiot is writing about the other free trade deal between Europe and the US- a mirror image of the Trans Pacific deal. The Europeans have been stalling on the deal since discovering that the NSA has been spying on them and Kerry is busy trying to get them to cave in. German and other [...]

  • It is possible that Obama can be forced to accept peace. Of course, Kerry was not serious in proposing that Syria place his chemical arms under international control, as the NY Times reports today: Mr. Kerry’s own spokeswoman described as a rhetorical exercise rather than a proposal.

    But the fact that Russia and the Ban Ki Moon are taking it seriously could box Obama into a corner. This makes it all the more imperative that his war authorization proposal be defeated.

  • You can move republican Chris Gibson (NY-20) from undecided to a firm no on the war authorization vote, based on a statement on his website.

  • I would not overestimate Obamas desire to go to war. In the case of Syria, he talked himself into a corner with that red line comment and then did not want to appear weak when poison gas was detected. In fairness, any US president will be intent on maintaining the authority and powers of the [...]

  • valatius commented on the diary post War With Syria: Where Do Your Congressional Representatives Stand? by Jane Hamsher.

    2013-08-31 12:14:42View | Delete

    Chris Gibson, Republican from NY-20, says he is opposed to war. He has also supported the Amash amendment to rein in the NSA.

  • valatius commented on the diary post Lying About Syria, and the Lying Liars Who Lie About the Lying by David Swanson.

    2013-08-25 13:01:49View | Delete

    When the Western powers went to war with Ottoman Turkey in 1914, Syria did not exist as a distinct nation or as a people. If anything, Syria, Palestine and Jordan were considered as more or less one big Arabic-speaking area that was up for grabs. Churchills original plan was to install a member of the [...]

  • I also thought that Martin Luther Kings response reflected the uneasiness of so many in the movement with the openly socialist and gay Bayard Rustin. The estrangement increased in succeeding years the only welcome he found was from the UFT where I used to see him from time to time. In 1968 that teachers union, led by one time socialist Al Shanker, fought a bitter battle against community control of the New York City schools. Rustin sided with Shanker and since the communities in question were largely black, he was further estranged from the civil rights activists. For those interested in this sad period of Rustins life, this essay by Daniel Pearlstein may be of interest.

    Shanker and his successor Sandy Feldman were consciously socialist (she had a portrait of Eugene V. Debs in her office) but after the racial conflicts of 1968, their socialism assumed a distinctly rightwing form. They sponsored a quasi-party, Social Democrats USA, to reflect their ideology and installed Rustin as its leader in an office in their building on lower Park Avenue. This odd little party drew in such rightwing Democrats as Reagans UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and other early neocon types.

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