The Cold and Hard Facts of Life: Finding Your Pony

The Cold, Hard Facts Of Life – A Reappraisal

by David Edwards - Medialens


Cogitations
 
January 24, 2017

The alarm clock rings. I set it myself but it feels like it's linked to some centralised system ordering the nation's workforce awake. I swing my feet out into an unwelcoming, cold room; put on my clothes, including grey socks, grey suit, black shoes, and the white shirt I ironed the night before.

As usual, I leave the top button undone and attempt to hide my disobedience beneath a colourful, strangling tie. I have a sense that I'm able to breathe in the space between the open top button and the loose knot of the tie, that some small freedom resides there. 

I crawl out onto an icy, pitch-black street to join a steadily growing stream of commuters flowing like rainwater down the gutters and into the London Tube.

I'm aware of an internal resistance, like a hand pressing on my chest, against which I have to push. I travel one and a quarter hours, with a single change at Tottenham Court Road, journeying from the South to the West of London.

 

 

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American Fears of Russia/EU Link-Up Driving Anti-Putin Hysteria

Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate

by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch


March 23, 2017

Russia is an inalienable and organic part of Greater Europe and European civilization. Our citizens think of themselves as Europeans…That’s why Russia proposes moving towards the creation of a common economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, a community referred to by Russian experts as ‘the Union of Europe’ which will strengthen Russia’s potential in its economic pivot toward the ‘new Asia.’”
— Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Russia and the changing world”, February 2012 
 

The relentless demonization of Vladimir Putin is just one part of Washington’s multi-pronged strategy to roll-back Russian power in Central Asia and extinguish Putin’s dream of a “Greater Europe”.

Along with the attempt to smear the Russian president as a “KGB thug” and “dictator”, the media has also alleged that Moscow intervened in the US presidential elections and that Russia is a serial aggressor that poses a growing threat to European and US national security.

The media onslaught, which has greatly intensified since the election of Donald Trump in November 2016, has been accompanied by harsh economic sanctions, asymmetrical attacks on Russia’s markets and currency, the arming and training of Russian adversaries in Ukraine and Syria, the calculated suppression of oil prices, and a heavy-handed effort to sabotage Russia’s business relations in Europe. In short, Washington is doing everything in its power to prevent Russia and Europe from merging into the world’s biggest free trade zone that will be the center of global growth and prosperity for the next century.

This is why the US State Department joined with the CIA to topple the elected government of Ukraine in 2014. Washington hoped that by annexing a vital landbridge between the EU and Asia, US powerbrokers could control critical pipeline corridors that are drawing the two continents closer together into an alliance that will exclude the United States.


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Yemen: An American-Made Famine

Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen 

by Kathy Kelly - CounterPunch

 

March 22, 2017

 

This week at the VCNV office in Chicago, my colleague Sabia Rigby prepared a presentation for a local high school. She’ll team up with a young friend of ours, himself a refugee from Iraq, to talk about refugee crises driven by war.

Sabia recently returned from Kabul where she helped document the young Afghan Peace Volunteers’ efforts to help bring warmth, food and education to internally displaced families living in makeshift camps, having fled the Afghan War when it raged near their former homes.

 

Photo by Gerry and Bonni | CC BY 2.0 

Last year Sabia had been visiting with refugees in “the Calais Jungle,” who were fleeing the Middle East and several African countries for Britain. Thwarted from crossing the English Channel, a large mass of people were stopped in this refugee camp in Calais, France, from which French authorities eventually evacuated them, defying their careful solidarity and burning their camp to the ground.

As part of her high school talk, Sabia prepared a handout to show where refugees are the most welcomed. One detail astonished her.

 

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dave Thomas, Tim Shorrock, Christina Nikolic Mar. 22, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


March 22, 2017 

Almost as famous in Canada for the billions of government dollars cycled through its operations as it is for the seminal snow vehicle, the Ski-doo, Bombardier Inc. is currently earning international recognition too; though infamy might be the more accurate descriptor of reaction to the aerospace giant's involvement in the A1 rail project promising to dissect centuries-old villages, disrupting the lives and destroying the livelihoods of people who will likely never be allowed to use the high-speed double-decker train carriages rocketing through their communities.

What's worse though is, despite the A1's probable illegality under international law, Bombardier's participation in the project chugs along with the full support of the Canadian state.

Listen. Hear.

Dave Thomas is an associate professor in the department of politics and international relations at Mount Allison University on Mi’kmaq territory, whose teaching and research interests focus on the role Canadian actors abroad play in international political economy, and the study of critical pedagogy.

His recent article in Briarpatch Magazine, 'Bombardier and Israel: A corporation’s complicity in Palestinian dispossession' examines this country's part in the contentious AI High-Speed rail project, cutting through Palestine's West Bank.

Dave Thomas in the first half.

And; in what may prove a preview of things to come on this side of the Pacific, last week South Korea's president was removed from office in a political influence corruption scandal, the investigation of which this week reached into the boardrooms of some the country's biggest companies.

Park Geun-hye, daughter of South Korea's assassinated former military dictator, Park Chung-hee was impeached in December, but until last week enjoyed presidential immunity. The case has ignited a furore in the South, even as tensions escalate between North Korea and the Combined Forces Command, currently holding the biggest ever of its annual Foal Eagle "war games" exercises.

Tim Shorrock is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, musician, and author of the book, 'Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing.' His articles appear at his website, TimShorrock.com, and in the Washington Post. Tim grew up in Asia, and spent much of the 1980's in Japan, reporting on the financial intrigues of the then-biggest of the Asian Tiger economies.

Tim Shorrock in the second half.

And; passionate educator, horticultural innovator, and intrepid green business entrepreneur, Christina Nikolic will be here with the Left Coast News and Events update at the bottom of the hour. But first, Dave Thomas and "a [Canadian] corporation’s complicity in Palestinian dispossession."

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: https://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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Tinfoil Times Goes Off On Trump/Putin Conspiracy Theory

NYT’s ‘Tinfoil Hat’ Conspiracy Theory

by Robert Parry - Consortium News


March 19, 2017 

There are real reasons to worry about President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, including his casual belligerence toward Iran and North Korea and his failure to rethink U.S. alliances with Saudi Arabia and Israel, but The New York Times obsesses on Trump’s willingness to work with Russia.

On Saturday, the Times devoted most of its op-ed page to the Times’ favorite conspiracy theory, that Trump is Vladimir Putin’s “Manchurian candidate” though evidence continues to be lacking.

The op-ed package combined a “What to Ask About Russian Hacking” article by Louise Mensch, a former Conservative member of the British Parliament who now works for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, and a connect-the-dots graphic that when filled out shows the Kremlin sitting atop the White House.

But the featured article actually revealed how flimsy and wacky the Times’ conspiracy theory is.

 

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A Dangerous Reality of War: Is America Seeking a "Tonkin" Resolution in the Persian Gulf?

The Dangerous Reality of an Iran War

by Sharmine Narwani  - The American Conservative


March 15, 2017

A new war in the Persian Gulf could start accidentally—and would take a toll on U.S. forces.

 

BEIRUTAfter weeks of saber-rattling over Iran as the “number one terrorist state” in the world, the Trump administration appears to have quietly dialed down the rhetoric a notch. Here in the Middle East, however, where every peep and creak out of Washington is scrutinized to death, interested parties haven’t stopped speculating about a confrontation with Iran.

Fifty days into his term, Trump’s foreign-policy course remains an enigma. He swears “all options” remain on the table with Iran—but do they?



USS McCampbell and aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in

Persian Gulf. (Wikimedia Commons) 

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dave Lindorff, Patrick Henningsen, Janine Bandcroft, Christina Nikolic FundingDrive March 15, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

 

che kokoWelcome to the GR FunDriving Show! We'll be leaving the usual format today to enjoin the ballyhoo barking, as on the midways of old, all to excite and delight your ears and mind. A census of listener sensibilities, and ultimately a question we seek you to answer; to wit: Do we make you happy? If the answer is "Yes," or better yet, "Hell, yeah!" then we're providing today the opportunity for you to prove your love in the only way our focus group could figure...with MONEY!

I'll touch base with a couple old Gorilla pals to get their take on independent journalism and the state of it, play some show clips of the year past, and feature some favoured musical clips. 

Listen. Hear.

I'll be ably joined in this conspiracy of finance by CFUV broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft and local horticultural guru, Christina Nikolic. But first, here's a musical act I've played quite a bit as of late...Canada's own, Hawksley Workman.

 

 

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True Disinformation: A Lefter McCarthyism

When ‘Disinformation’ Is Truth

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News


March 13, 2017

The anti-Russian McCarthyism that has spread out from the United States to encompass the European Union, Canada and Australia has at its core an implicit recognition that neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy have failed.

When I recently asked a European journalist why this anti-Russian hysteria had taken root among mainstream European political parties, he answered with a question:

“Do you think they can run on their success in handling the recession and the refugees?”

A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot 
(played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its 
target in the Soviet Union. 


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the Deconstruction of America: Can Trump Triumph?

Doubling Down on Dystopia: Preventing the Triumph of Trump’s Will
by John Feffer - TomDispatch
 

March 12, 2017   

 

Dystopias have recently achieved full-spectrum dominance. Kids are drawn to such stories -- The Giver, Hunger Games -- like Goths to piercings. TV shows about zombie apocalypses, pandemics, and technology run amok inspire binge watching. We’ve seen the world-gone-truly-bad a thousand times over on the big screen.

This apocalyptic outpouring has been so intense that talk of “peak dystopia” started to circulate several years ago. Yet the stock of the doomsday cartel has shown no signs of falling, even as production continues at full blast. (A confession: with my recent novel Splinterlands I’ve contributed my own bit to flooding the dystopia market.) As novelist Junot Diaz argued last October, dystopia has become “the default narrative of the generation.”

Shortly after Diaz made that comment, dystopia became the default narrative for American politics as well when Donald Trump stepped off the set of The Celebrity Apprentice and into the Oval Office.

With the election of an uber-narcissist incapable of distinguishing between fact and fantasy, all the dystopian nightmares that had gathered like storm clouds on the horizon -- nuclear war, climate change, a clash of civilizations -- suddenly moved overhead. Cue the rumble of thunder and the flash of lightning.

 

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Scream of the Screen Similitudes

Screenlandia and the Mass Man

by Christopher Ketcham - CounterPunch


March 10, 2017

 

Every human in my immediate view is hunched over a screen. It is something out of a horror movie.

You who have wandered in the backcountry and for even a few days have been free of the digital tyranny will know that feeling, when you come back to your fellow man and are confronted with what look like machined abortions of men – and when you too become one of them, chained in the unreality of the zeitgeist.

You who’ve been among trees and grasses and flowers, who have ears for the ululating soil in the green light that filters the sun and fixes its energy, and have felt your animal self, naked, alive to the five senses, who have seen colors that seem hallucinated, impossible to reproduce by the technical hand; you ecologists, botanists, biologists who have heard the calls, watched the ways, witnessed in surprise and wonder the distinctions, the differences, the oddness of the countless species, and floated on the surf in your mind’s eye, looked in upon the waters, and seen teeming there in the bosom of the real, in the tumult of the water, the raw complexity of the will to life, the agency of the world that birthed us – the only world-reality worth caring about.

 

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Afghanistan: A Scarred and Beautiful Land

“Afghanistan: As Only Love Could Hurt”

by Andre Vltchek - Dissident Voice


March 10th, 2017

Winter 

 

It is now winter in Kabul, end of February 2017. At night the temperature gets near zero. The mountains surrounding the city are covered by snow. It feels much chillier than it really is.

Soon it will be 16 years since the US/UK invasion of the country, and 16 years since the Bonn Conference, during which Hamid Karzai was “selected” to head the Afghan Interim Administration.

Almost everyone I spoke to in Afghanistan agrees that things are rapidly moving from bad to rock bottom.

Bagram at Sunset - Andre Vltchek

Afghans, at home and abroad, are deeply pessimistic. With hefty allowances and privileges, at least some foreigners based in Kabul are much more upbeat, but ‘positive thinking’ is what they are paid to demonstrate.


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The Ugly America: Trump's Assault on Beauty

Trump's Attack on America the Beautiful

by Robert Hunziker - CounterPunch


March 9, 2017

Trump is the first president to take on America the Beautiful. He’s at war with America. This is not new news. Yet, it is worthy of further discussion. Trump’s anti-establishmentarian credentials flaunted during the campaign to woo voters fed up with America’s decline, except for filthy rich, has lost its shine. He’s an establishment creature, not anti-establishment, in the neoliberal sense of supply-side economics, force-feeding the upper class so they’ll drop crumbs down below to the vast Middle/Poor Class, a new socio-economic class in America, the newest, largest class, supplanting the vast middle class of the 1950s-60s-70s.

Now that Trump has hoodwinked America’s Middle/Poor Class voters, he has turned his attention to a much larger issue, the destruction of America the Beautiful. With the exception of perfectly groomed golf courses, Trump hates environmental protectionism.

He’s out to get it.

 

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