• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 16 juli 2016

NATO Member Turkey and Democracy

The Counter-Coup Begins: Erdogan Purges 2,745 Judges, Prosecutors; Arrests Hundreds

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When we described the aftermath of Turkey's failed, and painfully disorganized military coup attempt, we asked rhetorically, "Who wins?" To which we answered: "Why Erdogan of course. As he said during a press conference upon his arrival back in Istanbul in the early Saturday morning hours, the coup is an opportunity to "to purge the military." Erdogan also vowed to exact "the highest price" from the perpetrators. Or, to summarize, the military said Erdogan's power consolidation justifies the attempted coup; Erdogan said the coup justifies further consolidation of power."
Overnight, when analyzing the market's take of the coup, Renaissance Capital's Michael Harris said that "for markets to respond positively, we think Erdogan must go the reconciliation route, pledging not to hold elections for the coming year and committing to a consensus approach to constitutional change. More likely, though, Erdogan will seek to leverage this into a constitutional super-majority via a snap election."
Their conclusion: "A military coup has failed, but if Erdogan responds to this historic moment the wrong way, a democratic coup could be the result."
Not surprisingly, as of this morning, Erdogan is indeed responding to this historic moment the "wrong way."  But before we get to that point, there are questions whether this coup was even that. 
As a NYT analyst on the ground pointed out, confirming what we said last night, the planning, organization and implementation of the attempted military overthrow were suspect at best and outright laughable at worst:

We don't have to remind readers that when military coups take place in the middle-east, they are i) ruthless, ii) extremely well-organized and planned, and iii) succeed on virtually every occasion. But not this one. The question why is what the media (or at least its fringes) will be pondering over the next few days and weeks. 
What there is no question about, however, is Erdogan's response, which as he warned last night, would begin with a quick crackdown against the army. As of this moment, hundreds of soldiers have already been arrested.
We don't have to remind readers that when military coups take place in the middle-east, they are i) ruthless, ii) extremely well-organized and planned, and iii) succeed on virtually every occasion. But not this one. The question why is what the media (or at least its fringes) will be pondering over the next few days and weeks. 
What there is no question about, however, is Erdogan's response, which as he warned last night, would begin with a quick crackdown against the army. As of this moment, hundreds of soldiers have already been arrested.

U.S. Is Threat to European Peace

German MP: US is a threat to European peace, not Russia
Tuesday, 12 July 2016
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You're not going to see this on CNN.

A German MP has blasted the United States as the most dangerous country in the world, certainly the biggest danger to European peace - says MP Sahra Wagenknecht in a speech in German Parliament which was frequently interrupted by applause.

"Today, on the exact anniversay of the 75th year of the German attack on the Soviet Union, very close to the Russian borders we're seeing military exercises, allegedly defensive, in which German soldiers take part".

 "The Americans are placing nukes in Germany, supposedly to counter Putin's aggression in the Baltics. Do the Americans seriously expect us to believe in such stupidity?" asked Mrs. Wagenknecht to an applause from other MPs.

When few of Merkel's MPs asked Mrs. Wagenknecht why is Russia moving its borders and conducting military maneuvers, the German MP responded - Isn't this what NATO does?

"One of the great politicians Mr George Kennan described NATO's perpetual encircling of Russia as a fatal mistake, and he said this in the late 1990's. NATO has continued to expand since then. Surrounding Russia with NATO troops will not bring peace, rather, just the opposite" says Wagenknecht, adding Merkel's support to this policy has been utterly irresponsible.

NATO's large members (US, UK, France) love to speak of Article 5, yet they are ignoring Article 1 which very clearly states NATO is not an offensive alliance and should not engage anyone militarily. It's quite clear, the US is breaking Article 1 and international law daily with its countless wars of aggression. It's become quite clear the entire middle east fiasco is observed only from one angle, as the alliance sees fit - says Wagenknecht. 

There is a great deal of disturbance among the German public as the US continues to pile on soldiers and weapons not just in Germany, but across the European continent. Germans are fed up with both Angela Merkel (CIA agent) and the US. While the Russians left Germany over 30 years ago being told the Americans would do the same, the United States never did. Germany continues  to be occupied by over 75,000 US soldiers spread out in dozens of bases around the country.

The German MP has also warned that Washington is turning the European continent into their own playground from which they will launch attacks on Russia. Wagenknecht's entire speech is below:





U.S. Breakup

Ron Paul: US Experiencing Something Similar To Breakup Of USSR

The two-time Republican presidential candidate told Fox Business that both major parties want to prop up the stock market and the Federal Reserve in a futile attempt to ‘preserve a system that can’t be preserved.’
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    Former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul speaking with attendees at the 2016 Young Americans for Liberty California State Convention at the University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California.
    Former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul speaking with attendees at the 2016 Young Americans for Liberty California State Convention at the University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California.
    MINNEAPOLIS — In a recent appearance on Fox Business, Dr. Ron Paul criticized both major political parties for failing to address the faltering U.S. economy. 
    During the July 12 interview, Paul responded to Jeb Bush’s recent criticism of Donald Trump’s platform as unrealistic.


    “It’s all politics, and Bush is not going to be helpful in any way because I think the country is in such dire problems that the solution is not going to be found in either the Republicans or the Democrats talking with each other … because they won’t admit where the real problem is — the country’s bankrupt,” Paul said. 
    The former Republican congressman, two-time presidential candidate, and long-time critic of U.S. economic policy said the United States is witnessing the “end of an era of Keynesian economics and Republicans and Democrats are struggling to survive.”
    “Both sides want to spend more money — one for the military, the other for the welfare state,” he continued.
    Inflation is increasing, he said, suggesting that the stock market is being artificially propped up by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, popularly known as the “Plunge Protection Team,” which has contributed to record highs on Wall Street.
    “This is a desperate attempt for the Federal Reserve to preserve a system that can’t be preserved,” Paul explained. “Everything is directed toward the stock market.”
    “The liberals argue with me, and they say there’s no inflation … but there’s tremendous inflation. The money supply continues to increase and it has to go somewhere,” Paul said. “And right now it’s designed by the Plunge Protection Team … to save the stock market. “
    But he warned that an overvalued stock market doesn’t reflect economic strength in the U.S., where business and manufacturing remain weak. Paul explained:
    “[Politicians] say we’re going to force these people to bring these jobs back to this country, but you have to create the conditions where a businessman will borrow money. They don’t even want the money. They money’s not worth anything to them because it’s not worth it to build new plants in this country.”
    Paul, who ran for president as a Republican in 2008 and 2012, told the Fox Business panel that he hadn’t yet decided who would get his vote in November. 
    “Overall, the policies of the country and the trends in the country, economically and in foreign policy, won’t change one bit” after the next election, Paul predicted. 
    He was particularly critical of Trump, accusing the presumptive GOP nominee of being belligerent and inconsistent in his policies and proposals: 
    “There was a killing by an American Muslim, and therefore, he says the solution is go over there and really bomb the living daylights out of somebody. That is not a policy.”
    Paul compared the current American political landscape to the final days of the USSR:
    “But this is a desperate attempt to try to save the system from falling apart. We’re witnessing something similar to the breakup of the Soviet system. That system didn’t work, this system doesn’t work, but nobody wants to admit there’s something wrong with the system. So they’re struggling to hang on to power and to patch it together.”
    Rather than focusing on either major party or its candidate, Paul said it makes more sense to focus on traditional Libertarian values such as nonaggression
    “All we have now is government aggression to do and get their will, thousands of policemen carrying guns, and we have a militarized police force. So it transfers into our society” and fosters hate, he said.
    “The productivity of this country is down and we’re in a mess,” Paul concluded.

    Canada is not Democratic

    Proef op de som. Canada is een achterlijk land, Nederland niet. Hier kan een journalist als ik zonder juridisch te worden vervolgd verklaren dat de Palestijnen het recht hebben zich, zelfs met wapens, tegen de Israëlische bezetting te verzetten. Logisch, want anders hadden de nazi's nog steeds Nederland bezet.

    Canadian Teacher Under Police Investigation For Saying Palestinians Had Right To Resist Occupation

    Pro-Israel group claims Shoufani called for 'violence against Israelis' when she said Palestinians had right to resist occupation.
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      Teacher Nadia Shoufani speaks at Toronto rally marking al-Quds Day.
      Teacher Nadia Shoufani speaks at Toronto rally marking al-Quds Day.
      TORONTO, Canada – A Toronto-area school board and Toronto city police are investigating an elementary school teacher after pro-Israel lobby groups complained about comments she made during a rally in solidarity with Palestinians.
      The teacher, Nadia Shoufani, addressed a downtown Toronto rally on 2 July, marking al-Quds Day, an annual event held around the world to support Palestinian rights and to protest Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
      “Silence in situations of oppression and injustices is a crime against humanity,” Shoufani said in her speech at the rally, in which she condemned the Israeli occupation and Israel’s policies of home demolitions, land confiscation and arrests of Palestinians.
      Shoufani also quoted Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, an important figure in the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), who was assassinated by Israeli Mossad agents in a car bombing in Beirut in 1972.
      “We say no, no, no to the occupation. We are here to tell the world that Palestinians are not alone,” Shoufani said:

      Pro-Israel lobby involvement

      On its website, pro-Israel group Bnai Brith Canada accused Shoufani of “glorifying terrorists” in her speech.
      “We are greatly concerned that an individual who espouses open support for terror and praises terrorist groups is teaching Canadian youth,” the group’s CEO, Michael Mostyn, said ina statement.
      The group also accused her of “calling for violence against Israelis” by saying that Palestinians had a right to resist the Israeli occupation and its policies.
      The Dufferin-Peel District Catholic School Board told Middle East Eye it is investigating Shoufani after the speech was brought to its attention by various sources, including Bnai Brith Canada and another pro-Israel group, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
      Shoufani teaches at an elementary school in Mississauga, a large suburb of Toronto, school board spokesperson Bruce Campbell said in an email. “We are actively investigating the issue brought to our attention,” Campbell said.
      “In order to conduct a comprehensive investigation we are unable to place a definitive timeline on determining the results of an investigation at this point. However, given the serious nature of the issue, we would look to reach a resolution as quickly as possible,” he said.

      Police launch investigation

      Tyler Levitan, campaigns coordinator at Independent Jewish Voices-Canada, a group that supports Palestinian rights, said organisations like Bnai Brith Canada and Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal “are shills for Israel”.
      “Ms Shoufani was speaking passionately in support of the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves against an occupying power,” Levitan told MEE in an email.
      “Under international law, those living under military occupation and a system of colonialism have the absolute right to resist. Ms Shoufani spoke as a defender of the rights of an occupied and besieged people to resist an obscenely violent and criminal military occupation over their lands.”
      Meanwhile, Caroline de Kloet, a spokeswoman for the Toronto Police Service, told MEE on Thursday that a complaint was filed with police on 6 July about “comments made at a rally”.
      De Kloet would not disclose which specific comments were subject to the complaint, or which and how many individuals were under investigation. She also would not disclose who filed the complaint.
      “I can’t tell you who filed the report or what’s being looked into, or any of the specifics,” she said, “But right now there is a report on file and it’s being looked at.”
      Shoufani could not immediately be reached for comment.

      ‘Put a chill’ on organizing

      Recently, pro-Israel lobby groups in Canada have launched several campaigns targeting groups and individuals supporting Palestinian rights.
      Bnai Brith Canada lauded a parliamentary motion passed earlier this year condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to hold Israel accountable under international law.
      In March, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs accused Canadian law professor Michael Lynk of demonstrating a pro-Palestinian bias and of being involved in “anti-Israel advocacy”. Theaccusations came after Lynk was appointed as the new Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.
      Pro-Israel groups have also urged Canada to maintain funding cuts on the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
      They are also pressuring the Green Party of Canada to dismiss two motions, set to be debated at a party convention in August, that would strip the Jewish National Fund of its charitable status and endorse BDS.
      “I know from past experience that Bnai Brith would be using every means possible to try to shut down the al-Quds rally,” said Ken Stone, treasurer of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War and another speaker at the al-Quds Day rally in Toronto this year.
      Stone told MEE that Bnai Brith Canada has taken the comments made at the rally out of context and distorted them in an effort to shut down the annual event and silence Canadian supporters of Palestinian rights.
      “What they’re trying to do is … put a chill on people like Nadia Shoufani,” he said.
      “[And] put a chill on people who might be tempted to get up at an al-Quds rally and declare their support for the Palestinian cause.”
      This article was originally appeared on Mid East Eye.

      Turkey Failed Coup



      vrijdag 15 juli 2016

      Military Coup in Turkey



      U.S. As Wasteland


      America is a wasteland: The U.S. produces a shocking amount of garbage 

      The average American produces more than four pounds of trash every day 


      America is a wasteland: The U.S. produces a shocking amount of garbageA woman sits in front of a pile of discarded carnival costumes after carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The costumes on display at the all-night parade that ended early Tuesday have made Rioís Carnival celebration the most famous in the world. But the handmade confections often have a short shelf life. As the tens of thousands of revelers stream out of the Sambadrome, a surprising number of them immediately abandon their costumes. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
      This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
      AlterNet
      If you’re an average American, you produce 4.4. pounds of trash every single day, significantly more than the global average of 2.6 pounds. In a nation of nearly 324 million people, that amounts to more than 700,000 tons of garbage produced daily — enough to fill around 60,000 garbage trucks.
      The EPA estimates that Americans generated about 254 million tons of garbage in 2013. That is a shocking amount of waste. Among developed nations, only New Zealand, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland produce more municipal solid waste per capita.
      The good news is that the average American also recycles and composts 1.5 poundsof daily garbage. Last year, the U.S. recycling rate hit 34.3 percent, an all-time high. The bad news is that the rest either was incinerated or ended up in a landfill.
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      But though the U.S. recycling rate has been steadily rising — it was just 6.2 percent50 years ago — America still lags behind several other developed (and nearly developed) nations, including Italy (36 percent), the United Kingdom (39 percent), South Korea (49 percent), Taiwan (60 percent), Austria (63 percent) and Germany (62 percent).
      It’s hard to overestimate the importance of recycling and composting our garbage, and not letting it end up in a landfill. According to the EPA:
      Recycling and composting prevented 87.2 million tons of material from being disposed in 2013, up from 15 million tons in 1980. Diverting these materials from landfills prevented the release of approximately 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the air in 2013 — equivalent to taking over 39 million cars off the road for a year.
      However, while recycling has become an environmental mantra, it remains somewhat of a contentious issue. The New York Times writer John Tierney has been a fierce critic of the practice, writing in 1996 that recycling may be “the most wasteful activity in modern America: a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources.” Nearly two decades later, he revisited the topic and came to a similar conclusion: “Despite decades of exhortations and mandates, it’s still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill.”
      Tierney’s critics are quick to point out that the issue is more complex than that. David Biello, an associate editor at Scientific American who has long covered environmental issues, argues that “the value of recycling depends on the material in question.”
      Glass, for example, is costly to recycle and is made from a readily available material: sand. “What makes recyclables valuable is their rarity,” says Steve Shannon, an ecologist and municipal services manager at Balcones Resources, a recycling firm based in Austin, Texas. “Trees are scarcer than sand.”
      Beyond the financial question is a more complex psychological dimension — those of us who recycle may have the false belief that overconsumption is acceptable. Kenneth Worthy, author of “Invisible Nature: Healing the Destructive Divide between People and the Environment,” explored the self-deception that may accompany recycling in Psychology Today:
      When consumers see the recycling symbol, they may think that the product is without environmental costs … or that purchasing is actually an environmentally positive act. So the recycling symbol on the bottle or just the idea that we can recycle stuff when we’re done with it may actually lead us to buy more stuff than we need in the first place.
      That’s the rebound effect — the idea that a product is more efficient or recyclable may make people buy more and thus cancel out the purported efficiency, perhaps resulting in more overall environmental damage.
      But the ongoing debate over the relative merits of recycling misses a much more critical issue: We consume too much to begin with. And with a steadily growing population, that means steadily growing trash.
      So it’s no surprise that over the past century, the United States has had to increase the number of landfills across the country. The graphic below shows the growth in both number and size of landfills over the past 100 years.
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      However, the EPA reports that the number of active municipal solid waste landfills in the country has decreased from approximately 7,900 in 1988 to 1,900 in 2009 — though the number may be slightly deceptive, as there has been some consolidation of multiple landfills, and landfills are able to accept more trash due to advancements in technology.
      While the amount of garbage Americans produce is high, there are big differences when you look at the numbers for each state. The three states that produced the fewest tons of garbage per person are Idaho (4.1), North Dakota (5.2) and Connecticut (7.3). Those states stand in stark contrast to the three states that produced the most tons per capita: Colorado (35.2), Pennsylvania (35.4) and Nevada (38.4).
      Again, the numbers may be a bit deceiving. The interstate trade in garbage is a $4 billion industry, so many state landfills will accept the trash of other states. In 2005, more than 42 million tons of municipal solid waste — about 17 percent of that year’s trash — crossed at least one state line before it was placed in a landfill.
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      While carbon dioxide emissions are a main concern about landfills, another is their production of methane, a greenhouse gas that is more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.
      According to the EPA, methane causes 21 times as much warming as an equivalent mass of carbon dioxide over a 100-year time period. In the first 20 years after its release, the intensity is much more severe. During that time period, methane is 84 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. California and Texas, with their high populations, have the greatest landfill-related methane emissions.
      asset5
      All that methane is produced by organic trash like food waste and yard trimmings. While it can be argued that some bushes need to be trimmed, it’s hard to make the case for throwing away food, which makes up more than a fifth of the nation’s waste stream — more than any other material that ends up in an incinerator or landfill.
      Danielle Nierenberg, president of the nonprofit organization Food Tank, writes in a recent email:
      At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year — in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in markets in industrialized and developed countries alike. In rich countries alone, some 222 million tons of food [are] wasted, which is almost as much as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. And according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), wasted food costs some $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries.
      But things could be changing on the food waste front, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA setting the first-ever national food waste reduction goal, aimed at cutting national food waste in half by 2030.
      asset6
      There are many ways each of us can cut down on our personal waste. The Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board, which has worked since 1990 to improve the efficiency and environmentalism of the solid waste management of the Twin Cities metro region, offers the following ways to reduce waste.
      1. Bring reusable bags and containers when shopping, traveling or packing lunches or leftovers.
      2. Choose products that are returnable, reusable or refillable over single-use items.
      3. Avoid individually wrapped items, snack packs and single-serve containers. Buy large containers of items or from bulk bins whenever practical.
      4. Be aware of double-packaging — some “bulk packages” are just individually wrapped items packaged yet again and sold as a bulk item.
      5. Purchase items such as dish soap and laundry detergents in concentrate forms.
      6. Compost food scraps and yard waste. Food and yard waste accounts for about 11 percent of the garbage thrown away in the Twin Cities metro area. Many types of food scraps, along with leaves and yard trimmings, can be combined in your backyard compost bin.
      7. Reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive. The average resident in America receives over 30 pounds of junk mail per year.
      8. Shop at second-hand stores. You can find great used and unused clothes at low cost to you and the environment. Buy quality clothing that won’t wear out and can be handed down to people you know or to a thrift store.
      9. Buy items made of recycled content and reuse them as much as you can. Use both sides of every page of a notebook and use printed-on printer paper for a scratch pad.
      10. Also, remember that buying in bulk rather than individual packages will save you lots of money and reduce waste. Packaging makes up 30 percent of the weight and 50 percent of trash by volume. Buy juice, snacks and other lunch items in bulk and use the reusable containers each day.