United for Peace of Pierce County, WA - We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy.

COMMENTARY: Greece now 'semi-colonial appendage of EU' (Tariq Ali)

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The day after Alexis Tsipras's capitulation to the European Union was endorsed by Greece's parliament, Tariq Ali called the event a vote "to give up [Greece's] sovereignty and become a semi-colonial appendage of the E.U."[1]  --  "Greece has been betrayed by a government that when elected only six months ago offered hope," Ali wrote in the London Review of Books.  --  The chief significance of the vote, for Tariq Ali, is that "The E.U. has now succeeded in crushing the political alternative that Syriza represented" (and he included as an addendum Syriza's abandoned platform, since it has not been publicized by the mainstream media.)  --  Ali, an influential voice in British left politics, said that he's had it with the European Union.  --  "I hadn’t been thinking of voting in the E.U. referendum in Britain whenever it takes place.  --  Now I will.  --  I’ll vote ‘No.’"  --  COMMENT:  The fundamental injustice in E.U.'s dictation of terms to Greece is a refusal to acknowledge that the debt crisis was by no means due solely to Greek misdeeds.  --  The crisis could not have occurred without the connivance of the very financial élites that are profiting from it.  --  This responsibility is eloquently symbolized by the fact that Mario Draghi, the director of the European Central Bank, was managing director of Goldman Sachs International in 2002, at the time it advised Greece how to cook its books and mask its debt so as to circumvent Maastricht rules and make Greece seem to satisfy the financial requirements for joining the Eurozone.  --  You can see why Mario Draghi was named by Forbes the eighth most powerful person in the world in 2014 and by Fortune the second "greatest leader" in the world in 2015....

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ANALYSIS: The concept of Islamophobia in Europe

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Nasar Meer, who teaches sociology at Glasgow's University of Strathclyde and has written extensively on Islamic identity and modern society, co-authored with Christina Späti, an expert on anti-Semitism, a critical discussion of the matter of Islamophobia in Europe in the current number of Discover Society.  --  They review recent controversies over the aptness of the term "Islamophobia."  --  Meer and Späti conclude that while the term "Islamophobia" appears to refer to religion, in Islamophobic discourse religion is "raced" and "Muslims are racialized," so that "what is primarily and fundamentally at stake in this is not a matter of the protection of belief per se, but rather of unequal power, legal protection, and institutional clout, in the context of entrenched social inequalities."  --  Meer and Späti conclude:  --  "When talking about Islamophobia we need to be able to grasp the ways in which discrimination against Muslim minorities picks out people on the basis of supposedly discernible characteristics.  --  The latter may involve the attribution to those individuals an alleged group tendency, or it may emphasize those features that are used to stigmatize or to reflect pejorative or negative assumptions based on his or her real or perceived membership of the group.  --  We therefore maintain that instead of trying to neatly separate things that are intertwined, we should understand Islamophobia as another form of racialization or race making."  --  COMMENT:  While their piece provides many useful links, Meer and Späti choose to ignore the complex history of post-WWII Muslim immigration to Europe.  --  Unfortunately, without this background, discussion of Islamophobia in Europe cannot be very illuminating, just at discussions of racism in the United States cannot go very far without a discussion of the history of slavery.  --  This piece is another example of how the concept of "race" has evolved in contemporary discourse from a reference to membership in a group based on qualities, traits, etc., imagined to have a physical foundation, to membership in a group that is based on a cultural affiliation.  --  Is it a belief in the supremacy of the concept of Culture that in the West dooms thinkers, even, as here, scholars, to turn the "religious" into the "racial"? ...

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BACKGROUND: Front-page NY Times indictment of 'Berlin consensus'

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In a front-page analysis censorious of German policy in the Greek debt crisis, Thursday's New York Times said that "Greece’s economic crisis not only has done nothing to soften Germany’s insistence on adherence to rules, fiscal austerity, and dire consequences for countries that fail to live up to their obligations, but it has also actually reinforced the willingness of Germany’s allies in Europe to impose even harsher conditions on Athens."[1]  --  Germany has imposed on the European Union "austere, market-based policies that are a break with Europe’s past" and that are marked by "a deep aversion to government spending as a tool to fight economic slumps and faith in deregulated labor markets," Neil Irwin wrote.  --  Germany is only pretending to help the Greek economy, Irwin indicated, which "is stuck in a depression-like slump" and is unlikely to emerge from it with assistance like the aid Germany is organizing  --  "The latest package tightens austerity rather than relieving it."  --  Neil Irwin's piece notes that Germany's approach to an economic crisis has created a social crisis that is rapidly becoming a political crisis, one of ever-increasing gravity as anti-E.U. nationalist parties rise in popularity.  --  COMMENT:  All things considered, the Times is surprisingly explicit in its acknowledgment that Germany has made an example of Greece chiefly to discourage the populist revolt brewing in a number of E.U. countries.  --  Perhaps the outspokenness of columnist Paul Krugman has emboldened the newspaper's reporters and editors.  --  But the aggressiveness of the Times has limits.  --  This piece fails to recognize how undemocratic European governance has become.  --  It also neglects to point out that the maintenance of return on capital to fund the pensions of Germany's aging population is a principal motivation of its insistence on E.U. austerity....

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ANALYSIS: Awed by ISIS, New York Review of Books embraces 'clash of civilizations'

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In what way can one explain "how something so improbable" as the Islamic State "became possible"?  --  This is the question asked by an anonymous contributor to the New York Review of Books, identified only as a person who "has wide experience in the Middle East and was formerly an official of a NATO country."[1]  --  No one, the anonymous contributor says, has presented "a convincing theory of the movement’s success."  --  Nothing apparent in what is known of ISIS's origins, ideology, leadership, or tactics can explain its success.  --  In fact, what is known of these would seem to guarantee ISIS's failure, yet this group is becoming a veritable territorial state that rules over much of what used to be Syria's and Iraq's territory.  --  Also, attempts to blame the number of foreign fighters flocking to its cause on the characteristics of the societies in which they live fail:  "new foreign fighters seemed to sprout from every conceivable political or economic system."  --  They have come from Britain, where communitarianism is embraced, and they have come from France, where communitarianism is opposed.  --  "They came from very poor countries (Yemen and Afghanistan) and from the wealthiest countries in the world (Norway and Qatar).  --  Analysts who have argued that foreign fighters are created by social exclusion, poverty, or inequality should acknowledge that they emerge as much from the social democracies of Scandinavia as from monarchies (a thousand from Morocco), military states (Egypt), authoritarian democracies (Turkey), and liberal democracies (Canada).  --  It didn’t seem to matter whether a government had freed thousands of Islamists (Iraq), or locked them up (Egypt), whether it refused to allow an Islamist party to win an election (Algeria) or allowed an Islamist party to be elected.  --  Tunisia, which had the most successful transition from the Arab Spring to an elected Islamist government, nevertheless produced more foreign fighters than any other country."  --  Most mystifying of all is the fact that "Much of what ISIS has done clearly contradicts the moral intuitions and principles of many of its supporters."  --  So how can ISIS maintain their support?  --  No one has offered a convincing explanation.  --  Another sign of incomprehension is the utter failure of observers to be able to predict future developments.  --  To the anonymous author of this article, "Nothing since the triumph of the Vandals in Roman North Africa has seemed so sudden, incomprehensible, and difficult to reverse as the rise of ISIS."  --  COMMENT:  A close reading of this essay reveals that buried in this apparently dispassionate analysis is a quasi-theological endorsement of civilizational conflict.  --  The invocation of "the triumph of the Vandals in Roman North Africa" is an oblique way of referring to the Fall of Rome.  --  In effect, the New York Review of Books is declaring that the barbarians are at the gate.  --  It will be recalled that the death in 430 of Saint Augustine, a figure canonical both in the history of Christian theology and the history of Western civilization as the author of the influential De Civitate Dei ('The City of God') (410), took place three months into the Vandal siege of Hippo Regius in North Africa, the city the Vandals made their initial capital when their campaign triumphed over Rome in 435.  --  The Vandals went on to sack Rome in 455.  --  Thus our anonymous author's allusion is to the fall of the Roman Empire itself, a.k.a. the Fall of Rome, the event upon which Western historians have placed so much significance.  --  What is more, the publication of this article under the cloak of anonymity is doubtless an allusion to the famous article George Kennan published as "X" in Foreign Affairs in July 1947, advocating containment of Soviet Communism as the policy the West should follow.  --  The liberal New York Review of Books, then, can be said with the publication of this article to be obliquely endorsing the neoconservative Huntingtonian doctrine of the clash of civilizations, to which it has hitherto been hostile.  --  (In 1997, the New York Review gave Huntington's book to William McNeill, author of the influential world history The Rise of the West (1963), to review and dismiss;  McNeill declared that "I disagree with the conclusions [Huntington] draws; for it seems to me that increasing connections among civilizations simultaneously sustain a contrary trend toward global cosmopolitanism.")  --  Robert Silvers, the venerable editor of the New York Review, has, it appears, changed his mind and enlisted in the Huntingtonian camp.  --  What has been called "the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language" can be considered on board for an all-out campaign against the Islamic State....

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BOOKS: In WWII, Europe was 'on trial' and 'did badly'

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In the Aug. 13 New York Review of Books, Christopher Browning [aet. 71], formerly of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma and now at UNC Chapel Hill, reviews Europe on Trial, a recent indictment of European fecklessness before, during, and immediately after World War II by István Deák [aet. 79].  --  Deák is a frequent contributor to the NYR and anything but an objective observer of the events he writes about: born in Hungary in 1928, his life was thoroughly disrupted by World War II and its aftermath.  --  Europeans, Deák argues (and Browning agrees), do not see World War II as the "last 'good war.'"  --  It was, rather, a "morass" in which it is hard to say that principles of justice triumphed very often.  --  "World War II provided the opportunity for virtually every state to increase ethnic homogeneity by ridding itself of unwanted minorities."[1]  --  Despite a few minor criticisms, Browning praises Deák's 250-page book as "a sweeping survey of some of the bleakest aspects of a bleak period in European history," one that "dispenses with comforting national myths and unexamined assumptions of national virtue.  World War II was, [Deák] writes, 'one of the greatest tragedies that humans ever brought upon themselves,' in which 'compassion and good will were two qualities in short supply.'"  --  COMMENT:  That seems a fair assessment, but doubt is permitted whether Browning is right, in the final sentence of his review, to endorse Deák's celebration of "the remarkable transformation that has subsequently led to 'a new, unified, and better Europe,'" since a rising populism in virtually every European country criticizes today's Europe as under the thumb of a dictatorial bureaucracy that lacks democratic legitimacy.  --  To many, it appears that Europe is failing again, devoted chiefly to the Euro and globalization-fueled corporate profits that promote social inequality while distorting the social fabrics of European nations beyond recognition, often rending them irreparably....

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 04:13 Read more...
 

UFPPC STATEMENT: The Iran accord: Will sanity prevail?

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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

THE IRAN ACCORD:  WILL SANITY PREVAIL?

July 23, 2015

Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, a sixty-day review period began on Monday, July 20. During this period, Congress will review the historic P5+1 accord with Iran on its nuclear program that was announced on July 14.

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BACKGROUND: On high seas, 'anonymity is the rule,' life is cheap & piracy is on the increase

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Monday's New York Times posted a gruesome videoclip of the murder of several men shot while floating in the ocean, explaining that the images, with sound, were found on a cellphone left in a taxi last year on the island of Fiji.  --  (Viewing of the video is not recommended for the faint-hearted.)  --  The Times, to its credit, undertook an investigation and reviewed the worsening problem of violence and summary justice on the high seas.  --  The Times created a database containing the reports of thousands of incidents of violence and piracy (defined in international law as crime that takes place at least twelve miles offshore), since, surprisingly, "No international agency comprehensively tracks maritime violence," Ian Urbina said.[1]  --  "The oceans, plied by more ships than ever before, are also more armed and dangerous than any time since World War II, naval historians say.  --  Thousands of seamen every year are victims of violence, with hundreds killed, according to maritime security officials, insurers, and naval researchers."  --  "Violence among fishing boats is widespread and getting worse" as "[h]eavily subsidized Chinese and Taiwanese vessels are aggressively expanding their reach."  --  Many complicated dramas unfold.  --  "Typical culprits included:  rubber-skiff pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades, night-stalking fuel thieves, hit-and-run bandits wielding machetes.  --  But a variety of other actors appear too, and many of them are not as they initially seem:  hijackers masquerading as marine police officers, human traffickers posing as fishermen, security guards moonlighting as arms dealers." ...

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NEWS: Historic pact signed on Iran nuclear program

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The official name of the agreement signed in Vienna on Jul. 14, 2015, by Iran and the P5+1 powers (U.S., France, Russia, U.K., China, Germany) is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  --  Based on a 2013 interim framework agreement, the accord is a huge step toward resolving an international dispute dating from 2002, when an Iranian dissident group revealed that Iran was building a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and a heavy water facility in Arak.  --  See here for more on the background of Iran's nuclear program.  --  USA Today provided a succinct summary of the concessions made by each side to reach agreement on the contentious issues of lifting sanctions, the right to enrich uranium, the ability to conduct inspections, openness about weapons research, and the duration of the agreement.[1]  --  This deal is a major achievement, resolving through diplomacy a dispute that for many years seemed to threaten war.  --  CNN collected responses from leaders around the world, most of them positive, except those from Israel and the Israel lobby.[2]  --  These forces have focused their efforts on the U.S. Congress, but according to *USA Today* they will probably not be able to block the agreement.[3]  --  The Washington Post devoted a piece to Israel's apocalyptic rhetorical response to the signing of the accord, but also noted, implicitly, that it is the Jewish State, not Iran, that is the nuclear renegade, since Israel "has an undeclared, but widely suspected, nuclear program that is not under international monitoring.  --  Israel is not a signer of the Non-Proliferation Treaty."[4]  --  William Booth and Ruth Eglash noted widespread criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding that "On the evening news in Israel, a rough consensus among political commentators concluded that Netanyahu has been rendered irrelevant, dismissed by the U.S. administration." ...

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ALERT: Pacific NW at risk of 'worst natural disaster in history of N. America'

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An article in the July 20, 2015, New Yorker alerted readers to the likelihood that the Pacific Northwest will, sometime relatively soon, be the site of "the worst natural disaster in the history of North America."[1]  --  Should the Cascadia subduction zone undergo a full-margin rupture, the magnitude of the resulting earthquake will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2, and will be accompanied by a massive tsunami, staff writer Kathryn Schulz reported.  --  Some 7 million people live in the area that will be affected, including all the residents of Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem, and Olympia.  --  "Thanks to work done by [seismologist Chris Goldfinger] and his colleagues, we now know that the odds of the big Cascadia earthquake happening in the next fifty years are roughly one in three."  --  The odds of it being an 8.7-9.2 earthquake are one in ten.  --  The last big earthquake, geologists have determined, took place on Jan. 26, 1700.  --  The study of seafloor cores shows that the average span of time between subduction zone quakes is 243 years.  --  "Counting from the earthquake of 1700, we are now 315 years into a 243-year cycle."  --  Those who are at home have the best chance of surviving, and much can be done to make buildings safer.  --  The 71,000 people who live in the inundation zone of a tsunami (many more during the summer beach season) have the poorest chance.  --  A 20-to-100 foot wall of water traveling about 13 mph and carrying "pickup trucks and doorframes and cinder blocks and fishing boats and utility poles and everything else that once constituted the coastal towns of the Pacific Northwest" will overwhelm those on the coast....

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LETTER: The Montreal Protocol, 'the world's most effective treaty'

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On Sunday a letter to the Financial Times of London from the president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development praised the 1987 Montreal Protocol and the potential for an upcoming amendment to it to stand as "a strong push and a big down payment" on the U.N. Climate Change Conference, to be held during the first two weeks of December in Paris.[1] ...

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BACKGROUND: How climatologists are coping with prospects of planetary disaster

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The news about the pace of climate change is so dire that dealing with it is becoming a mental health issue for climate scientists, a piece in the August 2015 Esquire reports.[1]  --  John Richardson's article focuses on Jason Box, an expert in glaciology who left his position at Ohio State to work for the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.  --  Box's willingness to evoke publicly the likelihood of worst-case climate scenarios has made him a minor celebrity.  --  Richardson also portrays Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist with NASA's Godard Institute who thinks that Box's approach is a rhetorical mistake, Camille Parmesan of the University of Texas, and Michael Mann, a Penn State climatologist who has responded bravely to a concerted campaign of intimidation....

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 03:54 Read more...
 

BACKGROUND: Where are they now?

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On the Fourth of July, Philip Giraldi was wondering where the men and women who precipitated the global conflict in which we now find ourselves embroiled are at present.  --  Not only has none of them been held accountable for their crimes, almost all are prospering.  --  "The over-rewarding of former officials who have in reality done great harm to the United States and its interests might well seem inexplicable, but it is all part of a style of bureaucracy that cannot admit failure and truly believes that all its actions are ipso facto legitimate because the executive and its minions can do no wrong."[1]  --  Even the hapless Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz's former deputy, who "left the Defense Department to take up a visiting professorship at the school of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, which was subsequently not renewed," is doing O.K.  --  "He is reported to be again practicing law and thinking deep thoughts about his hero Edmund Burke, who no doubt would have been appalled to make Feith’s acquaintance.  --  Feith is a senior fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute and the Director of the Center for National Security Strategies."  --  It's fortunate for Feith that the neocon establishment does not forget its own, since his memoir, War and Decision, "did not make the best seller list and is now available used on Amazon for $.01 plus shipping." ...

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 July 2015 07:00 Read more...
 

TRANSLATION: Jean-Luc Mélenchon denounces US spying on France's presidents

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Parti de Gauche co-founder Jean-Luc Mélenchon commented on the WikiLeaks revelation that the NSA spied on the last three French presidents in a news conference on Jun. 24, 2015.  --  "The United States is not our friend," he said.  --  "It's an imperial power that has no friends, that has only interests, and in the service of those interests it is willing to do anything."  --  A translation of Mélenchon's remarks is posted below.[1]  --  COMMENT: Mélenchon's world view is a bracing counterpoint to that of Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who has decided to tell Americans that they are "clowns" whose lunch is being eaten by foreigners who disrespect and mock them....

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 06:33 Read more...
 

TRANSLATION: WikiLeaks reveals massive US economic espionage against France

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In the U.S., only a few news agency reports are mentioning the latest revelations by WikiLeaks:  documents published in partnership with Libération and Mediapart that demonstrate American spying on French public and private commercial activity that is so massive and systematic that it amounts to a form of warfare.  --  Below is a translation of Libération's introduction to the documents.[1]...

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 July 2015 05:01 Read more...
 

NEWS: EU & Tsipras disagree on what referendum signifies

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is telling Greeks that Sunday's referendum is only about the terms the E.U. is offering for debt relief.  --  E.U. leaders, though, are declaring that the vote is on the euro itself.  --  But the referendum question itself does not even mention the euro.  --  Tsipras's strategy is based on a conviction that the E.U. is faking, that it cannot afford for Greece to leave the eurozone, and that therefore the E.U. will have to blink and accept writing off a large part of the Greek debt.  --  But this approach is angering Germany, which holds the whip hand, and E.U. leaders warned on Monday "that Sunday’s vote on the country’s international bailout was a referendum on its membership of the eurozone, insisting rejection would bring no better offer and could have disastrous economic consequences," the Financial Times of London reported.[1]   --  WSWS characterized the Jul. 5 referendum as "a cynical attempt to shift the onus for the catastrophe engulfing the Greek working class from Syriza to the population itself, and provide a fig leaf for Syriza’s capitulation."[2]  --  Robert Stevens said that the E.U. has "deliberately collapsed the economy of an E.U. member state, with incalculable financial and political implications, in order to underscore their insistence that there is no alternative to austerity."  --  He noted that on Saturday evening, IMF Director Christine Lagarde told the BBC that the referendum was meaningless, because the proposal is no longer on the table:  “legally speaking, the referendum will relate to proposals and arrangements that are no longer valid," and if Greece did not make its payment on June 30, it “no longer has access to funding.” ...

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ANALYSIS: Uncharted waters ahead as Greek debt crisis has 'no modern parallel'

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While "[p]olls show that the Greek people favor staying in the euro, and Greece’s leaders have said they do not want to leave the common currency," Greece's abandonment of the euro seems increasingly likely, the New York Times reported Sunday.[1]  --  Greece's banking system has shut down.  --  Banks are closed and caps on cash withdrawals have been imposed.  --  Anxiety is high, as there is "no modern parallel" for the present situation, in the words of economist Michael Dooley.  --  It is still possible that Greece will, "at the last minute, forge a deal with its creditors," but E.U. leaders have refused to extend talks until the July 5 referendum the Greek government announced.  --  Jean-Luc Mélenchon characterized the decision as a "financial coup d'état."  --  WSWS noted that Syriza did not expect to find itself in this situation:  "Syriza and its supporters convinced themselves that they could reach a negotiated settlement on the issue of E.U. austerity.  --  As they came to power, they publicly repudiated essential measures to defend against the E.U.:  repudiating the debt, imposing capital controls, and nationalizing the banks, and major industries."[2]  --  The outcome of the crisis is likely to be as political as it is financial.  --   "There are powerful sections of the Greek bourgeoisie who are not prepared to accept the withdrawal of Greece from the Eurozone," Alex Lantier said.  --  "Maneuvers are . . . afoot in the Greek ruling elite to bring down the current government and install a new one that would focus only on imposing a deal with the E.U.," and "an intervention by the Greek military" and a "Syriza-N.D. regime . . . relying on the security forces and the army to impose E.U. austerity on a hostile population that voted against it in January" are possibilities.  --  "As for plans of a return to the drachma, the Greek press has already indicated that they include the mobilization of the army to close Greece’s borders and suppress protests against the collapse of the currency."  --  A piece on Friday posted by Spiegel Online was entitled "Greece Peers Fearfully over the Brink" and depicted the confusion of the debt negotiations and helped explain the widespread sense that even now, anything may happen.[3] ...

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UFPPC statement: TPP -- another nail in democracy's coffin

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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

TPP—ANOTHER NAIL IN DEMOCRACY'S COFFIN

June 25, 2015

Don't let the phrase "trade deal" make your eyes glaze over!  Check out instead what Global Trade Watch has to say about the struggle over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Then call your representatives in Congress and let them know what you think.  Although the fast-track battle has just been lost, the struggle over TPP is not over yet, and the stakes are high.

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ANALYSIS: 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' R.I.P. -- US signals acceptance of break-up of Iraq

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Remember when "Operation Iraqi Freedom," was announced on Mar. 19, 2003, as the nation's commitment to "helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable, and free country"?  --   On Jun. 17, 2015, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, appearing before the House Armed Services Committee, signaled that the U.S. accepts that Iraq is breaking up.  --  Unlike Operation Iraqi Freedom, this development was completely ignored by U.S. mainstream media.  --  Only organs of the radical press, WSWS among them, noted Carter's remark that while the U.S. will remain involved in the region, "there will not be a single state of Iraq."[1]  --  So what if the Obama administration's public justification for the movement of U.S. forces back into Iraq is the preservation of Iraq's sovereignty as the "United States' prime interest" (President Barack Obama, April 14, 2015)?  --  American policymakers' interest in defending Iraq's sovereignty is evaporating as the existing Iraqi régime's reliance on Iranian support grows.  --  COMMENT:  The discreet silence is another illustration of Nobel Prize-winner Harold Pinter's observations about the disasters that accompany U.S. foreign policy ("yes . . . they are attributable to American foreign policy.  --  But you wouldn't know it.  --  It never happened.  --  Nothing ever happened.  --  Even while it was happening, it didn't happen.  --  It didn't matter")....

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 June 2015 00:18 Read more...
 

BACKGROUND: Soros recommends US-China strategic partnership

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In the July 9 New York Review of Books, George Soros warns that the world is in a phase of declining political and financial international cooperation.[1]  --  To prevent increasing international instability from evolving into "military conflict," he calls for a "strategic partnership between the U.S. and China."  --  Soros argues that since China wants the renminbi to be included in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket whose composition will be revised the end of 2015, the occasion offers the U.S. a strategic opportunity "worth trying," because "the alternative is so unpalatable."  --  "If a bona fide attempt fails, the U.S. would then be fully justified in developing a strong enough partnership with China’s neighbors that a Chinese-Russian alliance would not dare to challenge it by military force," he concludes.  --  BACKGROUND:  Soros's analysis of recent history is as follows.  --  The Cold War's division of the world into opposing blocs created a stable system in which the threat of nuclear Armageddon encouraged the two superpowers to control allies and prevent conflicts from escalating.  --  The collapse of the Soviet Union offered the United States a chance to be the impresario of a new global order, but U.S. elites failed to rise to the occasion.  --  Politically, American foreign policy was hijacked by neoconservatives who "persuaded President George W. Bush to attack Iraq on dubious grounds that turned out to be false, and the U.S. lost its supremacy."  --  Financially, the Washington Consensus disintegrated and let to "a process of financial and political disintegration that first manifested itself in the microcosm of the European Union, but then spread to the world at large."  --  Only China was relatively immune from this twin catastrophe:  "The Chinese banking system was relatively isolated from the rest of the world and largely government-owned.  --  As a consequence, the Chinese banks could, at the government’s behest, offset the collapse of external demand by flooding the economy with credit.  --  The Chinese economy replaced the American consumer as the motor of the global economy, largely by selling to the American consumer on credit."  --  But Russia under Vladimir Putin is pursuing destabilizing policies and the E.U. is proving to be incapable of responding to multiple crises:  "Russia, Ukraine, Greece, immigration, and the coming British referendum on E.U. membership . . . The very survival of the E.U. is at risk."  --  Containing Russia (again) is a principal motivation of Soros's policy recommendation.  --  COMMENT:  The weakest point in Soros's analysis is its portrayal of Putin as purely "aggressive."  --  Soros's political, personal, and ideological commitments blind him to the fact that from its point of view, Russian policy is a defensive response to Western aggression....

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FILM: New documentary on James Lawson to be screened in Tacoma -- Sun., Jun. 14 @ 4pm

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A new film on the life and work of James Lawson will be shown at 4:00 p.m. on Sun., Jun. 14, 2015, at the Friends Meeting House in Tacoma.  --  Adam Nolan, who was the research and project director for the film, will be on hand to present and discuss the film.  --  All are welcome.  --  There will be a potluck following the film, at 5:30 p.m.  --  See below for details.[1] ...

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NEWS: US 'training' base in Anbar hasn't seen an Iraqi recruit in weeks

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Barack Obama is rushing hundreds more of "advisers" to Anbar province to train Iraqi troops, but for the last month and a half no Iraqi recruits have shown up at the Anbar base that already exists to be trained by the "advisers" who are already there, Marine Times reported Thursday.[1]  --  The news was first reported by The Hill on  Monday.[2] ...

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UFPPC SUMMER PICNIC!

C'mon and join us at UFPPC's annual summer picnic in Point Defiance Park (Gig Harbor overlook)! Sunday, August 9, 2015, from 2:00 p.m. till dark.

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