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Posts by nicemessages
Source: www.weeklystandard.com – Tuesday, June 18, 2013
On Tuesday, National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden moderated a conference call with two unnamed senior administration officials to provide background for reporters on today's transition in Afghanistan handing over the lead on security in the country to the Afghan National Security Forces.
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Source: www.mediaite.com – Monday, June 17, 2013
Sean Hannity was fired up tonight by the Obama administration spending millions of taxpayer dollars on vacations and unnecessary federal programs, including a State Department program protecting transgendered people that costs $ 450,000. He contrasted this and Obama’s reportedly costly trip to Africa with the cuts to things like White House tours the administration made in the wake of sequestration. Democratic strategist Joe Trippi disputed the numbers Hannity was throwing out, though he did admit that perhaps the optics of Obama’s trip were not ideal. RELATED: Schieffer Grills Obama’s Chief Of Staff About $ 60 Million Africa Trip: ‘Worth It In Time Of Sequestration?’ Trippi shot down the outrage over Obama’s Africa trip by reminding Hannity that the last time conservatives were outraged over the costs of a presidential trip, they were dead wrong . He did add, “I wouldn’t have scheduled the trip right now.” Hannity noted that the costs of Obama’s Africa trip were published in The Washington Post , not exactly a conservative publication. Trippi did defend Obama’s trip by citing African economic growth and noting how George W. Bush made trips to Texas and Africa. “They went on safari!” Jenny Beth Martin , a tea party leader, said that the president should have security, but “we can’t afford this!” Hannity brought up the State Department transgender program, to which Trippi said everyone’s rights should be protected. Hannity went down
Source: www.extratv.com – Monday, May 13, 2013
Katy Perry’s got the moves like Jagger! The singer surprised fans in Las Vegas Saturday night when she joined Mick and the Rolling Stones onstage for “Beast of Burden.” Check out the video! She excitedly tweeted, "Yes, I just did gyrated on Mick Jagger. WHAT?! #Stones50” — and quickly corrected herself when a tweeter slammed her "gyrated" typo. “I guess I was too excited,” she said. “Sorry mom."
Source: www.gq.com – Tuesday, June 18, 2013
When he was just 23, the rapper Drake set a goal for himself: He'd make $ 25 million by the time he was 25 years old. Now 26 and readying his most inspired album yet, the Canadian sensation has set a new goal for himself. The approach is the same, but the endgame is exponentially more ambitious
Drake on Money, Rap, and his Musical Legacy
by Jerome Roos
Originally published at roarmag.org
Once again, it’s kicking off everywhere: from Turkey to Bosnia, Bulgaria and Brazil, the endless struggle for real democracy resonates around the globe.
What do a park in Istanbul, a baby in Sarajevo, a security chief in Sofia, a TV station in Athens and bus tickets in Sao Paulo have in common? However random the sequence may seem at first, a common theme runs through and connects all of them. Each reveals, in its own particular way, the deepening crisis of representative democracy at the heart of the modern nation state. And each has, as a result, given rise to popular protests that have in turn sparked nationwide demonstrations, occupations and confrontations between the people and the state.
In Turkey, protesters have been taking to the streets and clashing with riot police for over two weeks in response to government attempts to tear down the trees and resurrect an old Ottoman-era barracks at the location of Istanbul’s beloved Gezi Park. But, as I indicated in a lengthy analysis of the protests, the violent police crackdown on #OccupyGezi was just the spark that lit the prairie, allowing a wide range of grievances to tumble in, ultimately exposing the crisis of representation at the heart of Erdogan’s authoritarian neoliberal government.
Now, protests over similar seemingly “trivial” local grievances are sparking mass demonstrations elsewhere. In Brazil, small-scale protests against a hike in transportation fees in Sao Paulo revealed the extreme brutality of the police force, which violently assaulted protesters — even pepper spraying a camera man, shooting a photographer in the eye with a rubber bullet, and arresting those carrying vinegar to protect themselves from the tear gas. After four nights of violent repression this week, the protests now appear to be gaining momentum.
Fed up with increasing inflation, crumbling infrastructure and stubbornly high inequality and crime rates, many Brazilians are simply outraged that the government is willing to invest billions into pharaonic projects that do not only ignore the people’s plight but actively undermine it. The militarization and bulldozing of the poor favelas and indigenous villages ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics are a case in point. As usual, the ruling Workers’ Party seems more concerned about pleasing capital than helping workers.
[OccupyWallSt.org Editor's note: Here in Chicago, USA, we feel a particular affinity for those tens of thousands who fight to #ChangeBrazil and have courageously taken to the streets in cities across their country because we, too, are being hit with similar austerity measures. Here, our authoritarian "Mayor 1%" Rahm Emmanuel is forcing through imminent closures of 50 public schools in spite of spirited community resistance (including mass demonstrations, strikes, occupations, lawsuits, and more) from unions, public school teachers, students, and families, Occupiers, and community members. These school closures are almost entirely located in people of color-majority neighborhoods that are already dealing with disinvestment, widespread poverty, lack of opportunity, and violence. We are told the schools must be closed because we supposedly "cannot afford" to keep them open. At the very same time, the city has pledged $ 100 million to build a new, and unnecessary, basketball stadium for a private university. Here, as in Brazil and across the world, these struggles reveal the true nature of austerity: It is not a question of lack of funding, but of priorities. The 1% is more interested in expensive entertainment for the ruling classes than education for poor and working peoples. Our struggles are connected, and our movements are united!]
Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, the inability of a family to obtain travel ID for their sick baby — who needs urgent medical attention that she cannot receive in Bosnia-Herzegovina — exposed the fundamental flaws at the heart of the nominally democratic post-Yugoslavian state. On June 5, while the government was busy negotiating with foreign bankers to attract new investment, thousands of people occupied parliament square, temporarily locking the nation’s politicians up inside and forcing the prime minister to escape through a window.
While competing ethnic fractions vie for political power, the Bosnian people continue to suffer. By playing the race and religion cards, Bosnian politicians hope to keep the people divided while retaining the financial spoils of foreign investment and World Bank and EU development loans for themselves. But in a sign that most ethnic divisions are politically rather than socially constructed, the Occupy Sarajevo protesters now have a simple message for their politicians: “you are all disgusting, no matter what ethnicity you belong to.”
On Friday, Bulgaria joined the budding wave of struggles that began in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 and that was recently revived through the Turkish uprising. After the appointment of media (and mafia) mogul Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security, tens of thousands took to the streets of Sofia and other cities throughout the country to protest his appointment, which was approved by parliament without any debate and with a mere 15 minutes between his nomination and his (pre-guaranteed) election.
Chanting “Mafia” and calling upon Peevski to resign, the Bulgarians are warning their politicians that a limit has been reached. Ever since the transition from state communism to democratic capitalism empowered a tiny minority of oligarchs to enrich themselves by feeding off the state’s public possessions, Bulgaria has been effectively ruled by a Mafia kleptocracy. As in any capitalist state, political and business elites have become one, undermining the promise of democracy the Bulgarians were made at the so-called End of History.
Greece, in the meantime, finally appears to have been waken up from its austerity-induced slumber. Following the decision of the Troika’s neoliberal handmaiden, Antonis Samaras, to shut down the state’s public broadcaster ERT overnight and to fire its 2,700 workers without any warning whatsoever, the workers of ERT simply occupied the TV and radio stations and continued to emit their programs through livestreaming, making ERT the first worker-run public broadcaster in Europe. ERT workers have since been joined by tens of thousands of protesters and workers, who on Thursday held a nationwide general strike to protest the ERT’s closure.
At first sight, it may seem like these protests are all simply responses to local grievances and should be read as such. But while each context has its own specificities that must be taken into account, it would be naive to discard the common themes uniting them. As my friend, colleague and fellow ROAR contributor Leonidas Oikonomakis just pointed out in a new opinion piece, the Turkish uprising may have started over a couple of trees, but we shouldn’t let that blind us to the forest: the obvious structural dimension at play in this new wave of struggles.
If we take a closer look at each of the protests, we find that they are not so local after all. In fact, each of them in one way or another deals with the increasing encroachment of financial interests and business power on traditional democratic processes, and the profound crisis of representation that this has wrought. Furthermore, the protests show a dawning awareness that the divide-and-rule practices of the ruling class everywhere — pitching the religious against the secular, Bosnians against Serbs, blacks against indigenous against whites, poor against slightly-less-poor, and ‘natives’ against immigrants — are just part of a strategy to keep us from realizing our own power.
In a word, what we are witnessing is what Leonidas Oikonomakis and I have called the resonance of resistance: social struggles in one place in the world transcending their local boundaries and inspiring protesters elsewhere to take matters into their own hands and defy their governments in order to bring about genuine freedom, social justice and real democracy. The resonance of these struggles across national, ethnic and religious boundaries tells us that three decades of neoliberal peace since the End of History were not really “peace” at all; they were merely the temporary victory of other side in a hidden global class war.
Now that has come to an end. A new Left has risen, inspired by a fresh autonomous spirit that has long since cleansed itself of the stale ideological legacies and collective self-delusions that animated the political conflicts of the Cold War and beyond. One chant of the protesters in Sao Paulo revealed it all: “Peace is over, Turkey is here!” And so are Bulgaria, Bosnia and Greece — as well as Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Québec and every other place in the world where the people have risen up in the global struggle for real democracy.
The ominous bottom-line for those in power is simple: we are everywhere. And this global occupation thing? It’s only just getting started.
Source: www.washingtonpost.com – Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I have written so many columns about the Syrian civil war they are like rings on a tree stump — a way of gauging Barack Obama’s steadfast inaction and what the cost has been. In one of my first columns about that war, I called on the administration to arm the rebels and impose a no-fly zone, grounding Bashar al-Assad’s attack helicopters and his airplanes. At that point — March 27, 2012 — the war had taken the lives of 10,000 Syrians. Read full article >>
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Source: www.zerohedge.com – Tuesday, June 18, 2013
President Barack Obama stated yesterday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has stayed in his position “longer than he [Bernanke] wanted”. Some will be probably agreeing with Bernanke (and Obama) more than he might have expected after having said that. Although he should have stopped short of adding (for fear of hurting Helicopter Ben’s feelings?) that he has done an “outstanding job”. If it were that outstanding, he wouldn’t want to go, would he? Love you and leave you? I’ve had a party with you guys and now I have to go? But where? But Bernanke is a man of resourcefulness. This is the guy that was hailed personality of the year back in 2009 byTime magazine. The article even mentioned that he had ‘saved the US’ from the disaster of the financial crisis. That’s an accolade, isn’t it just! Saved the US! Bernanke was appointed by George W. Bush to the head of the Federal Reserve in 2006. But, people should have seen it coming all this quantitative easing and the print presses rolling off shiny bright new greenbacks as they fluttered down from the sky like manna from heaven when Bernanke gave his famous speech on November 21st 2002 referring to Milton Friedman and throwing money at the people like pieces of meat to lions in a cage. Bernanke should have known too then that he was going to be ripped to pieces by the gladiators in the ring if he even tried to stop feeding the lions. His statement came true when the financial
Source: blogs.smithsonianmag.com – Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The deadly, deadly tomato. Photo Credit: *Kicki* via Compfight cc In the late 1700s, a large percentage of Europeans feared the tomato. A nickname for the fruit was the “ poison apple ” because it was thought that aristocrats got sick and died after eating them, but the truth of the matter was that wealthy Europeans used pewter plates, which were high in lead content. Because tomatoes are so high in acidity, when placed on this particular tableware, the fruit would leach lead from the plate, resulting in many deaths from lead poisoning. No one made this connection between plate and poison at the time; the tomato was picked as the culprit. Around 1880, with the invention of the pizza in Naples , the tomato grew widespread in popularity in Europe. But there’s a little more to the story behind the misunderstood fruit’s stint of unpopularity in England and America, as Andrew F. Smith details in his The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cooker y. The tomato didn’t get blamed just for what was really lead poisoning. Before the fruit made its way to the table in North America, it was classified as a deadly nightshade , a poisonous family of Solanaceae plants that contain toxins called tropane alkaloids. One of the earliest-known European references to the food was made by the Italian herbalist, Pietro Andrae Matthioli , who first classified the “golden apple” as a nightshade and a mandrake— a category of food known as an ap
Source: oglobo.globo.com – Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Protestos mobilizaram pelo menos 240 mil pessoas em 11 capitais
Mass Anti-Government Protests Swell In Brazil
Source: newsbusters.org – Tuesday, June 18, 2013
On Monday's NBC Nightly News , reporting on President Obama's trip to Europe, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd fretted over the commander-in-chief's declining popularity overseas: "Obama comes to this [G-8] summit…to a much more muted reception than in the past. Once heralded as the anti-George Bush… now he's on the defensive over U.S. policies, including some he's kept in place from the Bush era." [ Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump ] Todd listed some of the ways in which Obama hasn't been liberal enough for European sensibilities: "The NSA surveillance programs, widely panned on this privacy-conscious continent. The failure to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, his hesitancy to engage in Syria, and a perceived lack of focus on climate change." read more