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Dollar as World's Reserve Currency Threatened - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 03:27
Dollar As World’s Reserve Currency Threatened
by Stephen Lendman
US dollar dominance finances Washington’s reckless spending, global militarism, its empire of bases, endless wars, corporate takeovers, as well as speculative excess creating bubbles and economic crises - at the expense of democratic freedoms and beneficial social change.
China, Russia and other nations increasingly trading in their own currencies pose a significant threat to dollar dominance. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explained Washington’s currency war on China, saying:
“The Chinese are in the process of displacing the monopoly of the US dollar. They are dropping their US Treasury bonds, stockpiling gold reserves, and opening regional distribution banks for their own national currency.” 
“This will give them easier access to capital markets and insulate them from financial manipulation by Washington and Wall Street.”
China bashing by public and private US officials is part of a campaign to denigrate its government - making inflammatory accusations without proof about hacking, defying its legitimate right to do what it wishes in its own waters, and threatening sanctions - legal only by Security Council members, never by individual countries against others, Washington’s longstanding weapon against independent governments.
“As the financial architecture of the world is being altered by China and Russia, the US dollar is gradually being neutralized as one of Washington’s weapon of choice,” Nazemroaya explained.
The post-WW II US-dominated international monetary system is threatened with unraveling. Washington is fighting back with propaganda, energy, financial, economic and currency wars against China and Russia, said Nazemroaya.
Russia sold a fifth of its $125 billion in US Treasuries holdings last March. China’s US Treasuries holdings exceed $1 trillion dollars. It’s been aggressively dumping them.
It’s gone from the world’s largest buyer to its biggest seller. Will other countries follow suit? Nations are increasingly trading in their own currencies. Weakening America’s financial strength is the best way curb its imperial ambitions.
Russia drafted legislation aimed at eliminating dollars and euros in trade between Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, and other former Soviet republics.
A Kremlin statement said “(t)his would help expand the use of national currencies in foreign trade payments and financial services and thus create preconditions for greater liquidity of domestic currency markets.”
It would facilitate regional trade and help achieve economic stability. It would reduce dependency on the world’s two dominant currencies.
China’s central bank launched a Heilongjiang Province yuan/ruble program - Russia’s currency replacing the dollar.
Both countries are increasingly trading in their own currencies - bypassing dollar transactions. If enough other countries follow suit, dollar strength will weaken. Its hegemonic ambitions will be curbed - how much, how soon remains to be seen.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

More Lawless US Sanctions on Russia - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 03:02
More Lawless US Sanctions on Russia
by Stephen Lendman
Nations unilaterally or collectively may not impose sanctions on other countries, individuals, businesses or organizations. International law permits only Security Council members to impose them.
America’s odious history reflects abuse of power on an unprecedented scale. Illegally imposing sanctions is one of its many crimes - again against Russia for the fourth time since March 2014, for fabricated reasons relating to Ukraine, not legitimate ones.
Design Bureau, Rosoboronexport, Russian Aircraft Corporation and other companies were targeted. Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded sharply to Washington’s latest salvo, saying:
“The expansion of sanctions list announced by Washington on September 2 which includes Russian companies and organizations, as well as several legal entities with Russian participation outside of our country, is not just another demonstration of US administration’s inability to appropriately assess the situation in Ukraine.” 
“This is a reflection of a mindset rooted in the US ruling circles set on conscious and consistent destruction of basis for normalizing Russian-American relations.”
Obama’s war on Donbass letting Kiev junta proxy forces do its fighting and dying “is used by the US administration as a pretext for imposing on us the unacceptable ‘behavior model.’ “
“This time, in addition to incessant attempts to ‘link’ sanctions against Russian individuals and legal entities to the tragic developments in Ukraine, it was announced that illegal restrictions will be used against us in the framework of American legislation on Iran, Syria and North Korea.”
Washington rejects “easing tensions in ‘hot spots,’ but rather by irritation toward Russia’s independent position on the international arena and desire to ‘punish’ us for consistent defense of national interests, for free choice of residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, and thus to inflict damage on the Russian economy.”
New sanctions after three previous rounds reflects “another element in a whole series of hostile actions made by the US toward Russia lately in different spheres, including military, economic and visa aspects.”
“Washington’s unacceptable rhetoric is overboard. Such a reckless course arouses growing concern even among US allies. It can result in serious costs for international stability and will undoubtedly hit back at American interests.”
“Washington’s actions devalue its own signals about being interested in cooperation with us on several pressing international problems.”
“Futile attempts to exert sanctions pressure on us, as it seems, have not taught Washington strategists anything.”
“The United States should not harbor illusions about the possibility to continue this line without negative consequences for themselves. Reciprocal measures from us will definitely follow, and they will not necessarily be ‘mirrored.’ “
The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security said sanctioned Russian companies added to its Entity List act “contrary to the national security of foreign policy interests of the United States” - code language for opposing its hegemonic agenda.
Moscow should harbor no illusion about partnership with America. Lunatics in Washington want regime change - by color revolution or war. 
They’re hellbent for letting nothing stop their maniacal drive for global dominance. Eliminating key rivals Russia and China is Washington’s top goal - even at the risk of unthinkable nuclear war.
In his latest article, Paul Craig Roberts said “(o)nce a country descends into evil, it doesn’t emerge.” America is the real evil empire, an unparalleled one in human history. Its arrogance and hubris may destroy us all.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

New Israeli Police State Measure - Wed, 02/09/2015 - 20:39
New Israeli Police State Measure
by Stephen Lendman
Israel is a racist police state - run by criminal thugs. Numerous earlier measures violated the letter and spirit of fundamental international humanitarian laws.
Justice Minister Ayelet (“little snakes”) Shaked heads the Israeli Legislation Ministerial Committee. It drafted the new police state measure - solely targeting Palestinians despite claims otherwise.
It broadens the definition of terrorism, related activities and terrorist organizations - to more severely brutalize Palestinians than already, for political reasons, not criminality.
It mandates longer prison terms and stiffer conditions for releasing detainees. Israel’s definition of “terrorism” is any Palestinian protesting for international law guaranteed rights everyone deserves.
The measure is expected to pass its first reading straightaway - even though Knesset members got no time to review its provisions.
Israel’s phony pretext was the firebombing of the Dawabsha family home. Responsible extremist settlers have yet to be identified and held accountable, weeks after the July 31 attack - immolating 18-month-old Ali, later claiming his father’s life, too badly burned to be saved.
Senior opposition Zionist Union party members support Netanyahu’s coalition government bill. An unnamed one said “(h)ow could we explain to the public that we voted against a comprehensive, updated bill whose purpose is fighting terror.”
US-led NATO and Israeli war on terror are complete fabrications, justifying a war OF terror on humanity - in Israel’s case, brutally terrorizing millions of defenseless Palestinians, helpless against its killing machine.
Left-of-center Meretz party leader Zahava Gal-on strongly opposes the new measure, saying:
“Everyone wants to fight terrorism, but also when fighting terrorism it is forbidden to sacrifice basic values of state law and basic human rights.”
“It is unacceptable to anchor in legislation totalitarian powers such as administrative detentions and restraining orders, and use undemocratic means such as confidential information and confidential evidence.”
The new bill equates anyone allegedly intending terrorist acts with individuals or groups committing them. Punishment is doubled - up to 30 years imprisonment, even in cases where proof of intent is absent.
Anyone expressing support for freedom fighting groups involved in what Israel calls terrorist activity faces three years in prison for stating their views - including members of charitable organizations.
Anyone aged 12 or older can be prosecuted for anything Israel calls terrorism or terrorist related activity - including wearing a shirt or other garment bearing the name of a designated organization.
Mass surveillance and other police state practices are authorized - to monitor virtually everyone, mirroring NSA and other spy agencies in America.
Anti-terrorism legislation was introduced five years ago. The current measure is more draconian than earlier versions.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Gaza: A Socioeconomic Dead Zone - Wed, 02/09/2015 - 18:32
Gaza: A Socioeconomic Dead Zone
by Stephen Lendman
Gaza is ground zero for Israel’s longstanding ethnic cleansing policy to achieve maximum Jews and minimum Arabs - on stolen Palestinian land, acquired by mass slaughter and displacement, a ruthless, racist, rogue state agenda, violating the letter and spirit of core international laws with impunity.
The world community is complicit with its high crimes - doing nothing to stop them, ongoing for nearly seven decades with no letup, raping millions of Palestinians, defenseless against its killing machine.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) annual report says “Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current economic trends persist.”
Blockade since mid-2007 and three Israeli wars of aggression against 1.8 million defenseless people trapped in the world’s largest open-air prison “shattered (the Strip’s) ability to export and produce for the domestic market, ravaged its already debilitated infrastructure, (prevents) reconstruction and economic recovery, and accelerated the de-development of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed.”
“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020.”
Gaza already is “unlivable.” Israeli inflicted pain, suffering and deprivation is suffocating an entire population - slow-motion genocide by any standard, while the world community yawns and does nothing to stop one of history’s great crimes.
It’s just a matter of time before another Israeli war, premeditated aggression - on whatever pretext it invents to justify the unjustifiable.
Gaza’s 225 square miles is home to one of the world’s highest population densities. Wars of aggression at Israel’s discretion, intermittent ground and air attacks, as well as blockade created nightmarish conditions for its people.
Deplorable socioeconomic conditions are at their worst level since Israel’s so called war of independence - naked aggression stealing 78% of historic Palestinian, taking the rest in June 1967, committing high crimes against millions of Palestinians, Gazans suffering most of all.
UNCTAD’s report highlights the Strip’s water and electricity crisis, as well as destruction of vital infrastructure last summer.
Its population largely relies on coastal aquifers for water - 95% of it is unsafe to drink. Economic losses from three devastating wars since December 2008 almost equals three times the size of Gaza’s GDP.
“The total cost may be substantially higher once indirect economic losses are included and lost future income streams from destroyed productive capacities are added,” said UNCTAD.
Nearly 250 factories and 300 commercial centers for entirely or partly destroyed. Gaza’s sole power plant was hugely damaged. Before last summer’s war, its capacity met less than 40% of what’s needed.
The socioeconomic crisis is exacerbated by Israel’s grand theft of offshore oil and gas in Gazan waters - depriving Palestinians of the right to develop their own resources and earn desperately needed revenues for economic growth and sustainability.
Nearly half of working aged Gazans are unemployed, many others hugely underemployed earning sub-poverty wages. Food insecurity affects nearly three-fourths of the population.
Gazan exports are blocked - imports and cash transfers extremely restricted. Israel prevents “the flow of all but the most basic humanitarian goods,” said UNCTAD - and not enough of them.
Advisor to former prime minister/convicted felon Ehud Olmert, Dov Weisglass, commenting on Gaza’s siege once said “(t)he idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
In other words, bring Gazans to the point of malnutrition and starvation without crossing the line - or at least make it appear this way.
Gazans are dependent on outside aid to survive. Last month UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) staff protested the agency’s rolling back vital services it provides, including schooling and healthcare.
UNCTAD warned that donor aid remains essential - but not enough to sustain Gaza, offset Israel’s blockade, or be able to reverse de-development conditions. 
Nothing in prospect suggests constructive change. Gazans remain isolated on their own - abandoned by world leaders, save for meaningless lip service.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Why Shouldn't Copyright Be Infinite? - Wed, 02/09/2015 - 09:37

The following is a guest post from Eric Crampton, Head of Research at the New Zealand Initiative, who previously served as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Department of Economics & Finance at the University of Canterbury.

Australia National University’s Dr. George Barker suggested that New Zealand could do well by strengthening its copyright legislation. He warned against the fair dealing exceptions that have crept into the law and asked, “Why not have copyright law like property law—i.e. it lasts forever?” 

That is a good question. And it is an important one as New Zealand and other countries consider extending the term of copyright under the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Current New Zealand law maintains copyright in written and artistic works for 50 years after the death of the writer. Copyright in film and sound recordings is shorter, lasting 50 years from the works being first made available. While the text of the TPP is not yet public, it appears that the agreement would extend copyright’s duration to 70 years from the death of the creator.

So why shouldn’t copyright be infinite?

Five years ago, Larrikin Music, who bought the rights to an old Australian folk song, sued Men At Work for including an 11-note flute sequence from it in their 80s-hit, “Down Under”. Where Men At Work had intended homage in its celebration of all things Australian, Larrikin, and the law, saw copyright infringement. 

But does that really go far enough? If an 11-note sequence counts as infringement, how much do modern artists owe Pachelbel’s descendants? The four-chord sequence making up the core of his Canon in D has been repeated in dozens, if not hundreds, of subsequent songs. Should evidence produced by Australia’s Axis of Awesome be used in copyright lawsuits by anyone who can document that, ten generations back, Johann Pachelbel was a great-great-grandfather? It seems absurd.

Even from the perspective of a profit-seeking artist, copyright is a double-edged sword. Stronger copyright both increases the rewards from having produced a piece of work and increases the cost of creating new works.

Too weak of copyright can mean that too few works are created, although artists have gotten far better at working out alternative ways of earning a living when, regardless of the letter of copyright law, enforcement has become difficult. Further, at standard time discounting rates, a 20-year extension to copyright’s term might provide only about a two percent increase in the value of any earned royalties. It is not particularly plausible that many new works would come into existence because of that slight increase.

On the other side, too strong of copyright can surely kill new creation. Artistic works feed off each other. New works build on older traditions, reinterpreting old folk tales and old folk tunes for new generations. The Brothers Grimm collected and published older folk tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in the 1800s. In the 1900s, Walt Disney brought those stories to life in a new form. In the 2000s, well, it is hard for new innovation to occur because copyright law, at least in the United States, has frozen the usage of most important works produced since 1923. An extension of copyright’s duration does far more to reward those who own the rights to existing works than it does to encourage new creation.

But, ultimately, why should copyright be limited? Because current creators draw on a global commons in their artistic creations, and future generations of artists deserve a commons too.


If you're Kiwi, ask your trade negotiator to stand firm and oppose the U.S. copyright term extension proposal in the TPP:

On our TPP's Copyright Trap page we link to more articles about how the threat of copyright term extension under the TPP impacts users around the world.

Related Issues: InternationalTPP's Copyright Trap
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Categories: Aggregated News

Amendments to CISA "Cybersecurity" Bill Fail in All Regards - Wed, 02/09/2015 - 07:27

Although grassroots activism has dealt it a blow, the Senate Intelligence Committee's Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) keeps shambling along like the zombie it is. In July, Senator McConnell vowed to hold a final vote on the bill before Congress left for its six-week long summer vacation. In response, EFF and over 20 other privacy groups ran a successful Week of Action, including over 6 million faxes opposing CISA, causing the Senate to postpone the vote until late September.  

Senators submitted many amendments to the bill before going on vacation. The amendments, like the original language of the bill, fail to address key issues like the deep link between these government "cybersecurity" authorities and surveillance, as well as the new spying powers the bill would grant to companies.

But “cybersecurity” is already intimately tied to surveillance—a problem CISA would only worsen. Documents released by the New York Times reveal the government used the Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative (CNCI) to pay telecommunications companies to spy on consumers using their networks. The CNCI includes initiatives for information gathering, but it’s always been presented to the public as fostering research and encouraging public awareness of cybersecurity problems—not spying on Americans' Internet traffic.

The revelations are stunning. The NSA paid telecommunications companies nearly $300 million dollars in the 2010 fiscal year to invest in surveillance equipment as part of the CNCI. In fact, STORMBREW’s Breckenridge site was “100% subsidized with CNCI funding.”


 In contrast, the DHS only requested $37.2 million during the same time period to support research and development in cybersecurity science and technology. Even if DHS received what it requested, does the American public really want surveillance to outweigh research and education 10 to 1?

The news is compounded by other recently-released Snowden documents that show how the NSA uses foreign intelligence laws to run an intrusion defense system (IDS) on US soil. The documents show that a Justice Department memo gave the agency permission to monitor Internet cables, “without a warrant and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad — including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware.”  

CISA—and its amendments—do not even begin to address these serious problems. Instead, they mandate information sharing with the intelligence community, creating even more cyberspying.

EFF will continue to oppose CISA—even if some of these amendments pass—because CISA's vague definitions, broad legal immunity, and new spying powers allow for a tremendous amount of unnecessary damage to users' privacy, and it’s highly unlikely that the public will learn about it. Even an amendment (#2612) offered by by Senator Al Franken, which narrows some of the definitions in CISA, does little to clarify its most troubling provisions.

What's worse is that information-sharing bills like CISA are being painted as silver bullets to data breaches. They aren't. The bills don't address problems like unencrypted filespoor computer architecture, un-updated servers, and employees (or contractors) clicking malware links.

Awful Amendments

Plenty of the amendments would make the bill even worse. We've already discussed the horrible CFAA amendment, #2626, proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. The amendment not only increases the scope of the already expansive Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) but also authorizes injunctions against botnets (amending 18 U.S.C. § 1345) in a way that creates serious constitutional issues.  After all, much of what DOJ and FBI want to do in shutting down botnets is, arguably, a search or a seizure under the Fourth Amendment; moreover, such injunctions may prevent users from communicating, thus raising First Amendment issues.  The amendment is a great example of how not to amend the draconian CFAA. If the Senate wants to improve the CFAA, it should take a page out of our book.

Senator Carper has proposed another dubious change to CISA, amendment #2627. The bill attempts to codify the Department of Homeland Security's EINSTEIN program without any public debate. EINSTEIN is an intrusion detection system—the parent of which was created by the NSA—to scan incoming Internet traffic to the federal government like emails and other connections. DHS has not told the public what agencies are using EINSTEIN. It’s possible that when you email your representative, DHS may also receive a copy. Before codifying EINSTEIN, DHS must be more transparent about the program. The most recent update from DHS about the program is from 2013, and many concerns have been raised about EINSTEIN’s legality and privacy implications. Unlike CISA, Senator Carper's amendment mandates federal agencies create a plan to identify sensitive information and encrypt it; however, the clause exempts the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.  Nor does the amendment authorize additional funding for federal agencies to improve security.

Senator Carper's attempt to make a horrible bill marginally better is admirable, but he—along with other Senators—should oppose the bill. Even the best amendments fail to fix CISA's serious flaws.  

Not Awful Amendments

Some of the amendments try to narrow the scope of the bill. Senator Chris Coons' amendment #2552 would limit information sharing to that necessary to describe or identify a cybersecurity threat, while Senator Wyden's amendment (#2621) would require companies and the government to remove personal information unrelated to the threat.

But these well-meaning changes don't address the root problems in the bill: the outrageously broad and vague definition of "cybersecurity threat" and the granting of new authorities to spy on users. Senator Franken's amendment #2612 attempts to address that definition, but even his amendment isn’t enough. Again, no amendment scales back the two new authorities to spy on users and launch countermeasures in the bill. 

Other amendments are better, including Senator Patrick Leahy's #2587, which would remove the current CISA provision exempting all “cyber threat indicators and defensive measures” received by the government from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act and may help ensure the public can obtain information about how, if CISA is enacted into law, the information “sharing” system actually operates; Senator Jeff Flake's 6-year sunset (#2582); and, Senator Mike Lee's email privacy amendment (#2556), which would codify US v. Warshak by amending the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to require warrants for email and other stored content.

While some advocates will paint these amendments as "steps forward,” the amendments merely shuffle deck chairs on the Titanic—even with the better amendments, the bill is still a bad idea. The Senators are going about the wrong strategy. Democrats and libertarian Republicans should be opposing CISA outright. That's why we're asking users to continue emailing their Senators to stop this bill. While CISA is the very definition of a zombie bill, the public outcry against it has made a difference. But we can’t stop now. Join us by tweeting, faxing, or emailing your Senator.

Related Issues: PrivacyCyber Security Legislation
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Discrimination Against Russian Jews in Israel - Wed, 02/09/2015 - 04:28
Discrimination Against Russian Jews in Israel
by Stephen Lendman
America is the developed world’s most unequal country economically. Israel is close behind - a chasm in both nations exists between rich and most others, growing exponentially. Social injustice is rife.
US Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1956 - 1941) once said nations have a choice - democracy or concentrated wealth in few hands, never both. America and Israel were never democracies, for sure not now.
Beginning in the late 1980s under Mikhail Gorbachev, hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews emigrated to Israel - for large numbers, failing to find what they came for, driving many to leave.
On August 29, the Jerusalem Post headlined 26 years of Russian aliya: Segregation, poverty and police brutality,” saying:
Since the late 1980s, “(o)ver a million repatriates from the former Soviet Union came to Israel, where they became ‘Russians.’ “
New arrivals included doctors, engineers, scientists and other professionals. Despite contributing to Israel’s economy and culture, “their problems aren’t addressed but rather keep piling up, while being completely overlooked.”
Russians face discrimination. “(R)acist slurs and stereotypes” taunt them…The glass ceiling is more impenetrable than ever.”
“(T)he percentage of ‘Russians’ in senior positions and public office is much lower in proportion to their percentage within the Israeli society. There are no ‘Russian’ CEO’s in the ministries, which means that they are being ignored and not considered for promotions.”
They’re harassed, beaten by police and wrongfully detained - children treated as abusively as adults. Authorities admit harsh treatment, even though they’re good, law-abiding citizens.
Around 200,000 elderly Russians will “get peanuts for pensions” at retirement - even though they spent up to a generation in Israel’s workforce. 
They’ll get the equivalent of around $750 dollars a month maximum - sub-poverty in Israel’s high cost of living economy if they have no other sources of income or enough savings.
Otherwise, they’ll have to rely on children for support. A newly created Forum of Russian-speaking Israelis includes “journalists, researchers, sociologists and PR professionals,” said the JP.
They “united to work on solving all the problems mentioned above before” - raising awareness, organizing protests and seeking ways to “ease the burden” of elderly Russian nationals approaching retirement.
They intend pressuring Netanyahu for help. Various MKs support them. Media coverage helps their cause. They got results. A government commission will look for ways to solve their problem - including stopping police brutality discussed above.
Forum members want Russian Jews treated as equal citizens. About 720,000 Russians now live in Israel. Their numbers are shrinking as many vote with their feet and leave.
At one time, 20 Russian nationals held Knesset seats. Today it’s 13 out a 120-seat body. The Russian immigrant tide left for a better life in Israel. Most were hugely disappointed.
They’re frustrated and angry for good reason. They were sold a bill of goods to come - empty promises they discovered. For many, the cost of living is overwhelming. Low pay and dwindling benefits make it hard to make ends meet. They pay high taxes and get little back in return.
Widespread emigration is an ongoing process getting little media attention. It’s a politically charged topic. Departing Russians either go home or head to Western countries willing to accept them.
Ex-pats leaving way outnumber new arrivals. Life in Israel rewards its privileged few. Russian immigrants get short shrift.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

California School District Serves Organic Meals - Wed, 02/09/2015 - 04:13
California School District Serves Organic Meals
by Stephen Lendman
The scientific and world community know GMOs harm human health. So why does Washington and other governments permit their use - and in America, ban labeling, suppressing vital consumer information?
Ecowatch asked: “What if we could feed our students the nutritious, delicious and sustainably sourced food they truly deserve?”
Sausalito, California Marin City School District is the nation’s first one offering “100 percent organic and non-GMO” foods to children. Why aren’t all US school districts doing the same thing?
Why aren’t only foods and ingredients safe to eat allowed to be sold in America? The Conscious Kitchen says it’s dedicated to a systematic transformation of school dining, to the health and well being of our children, and to a thriving future for our planet.”
It’s contracted to supply meals for Marin County’s Bayside MLK Jr Academy and Willow Creek Academy. 
The student-led Turning Green global movement for “conscious living” and a healthy planet launched the project in August 2013 - together with Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito Marin City School District, Whole Foods Market and Good Earth Natural Foods.
Ecowatch said since initiated, “the program saw a steep decrease in disciplinary cases, increased attendance and a greater sense of community.”
Turning Green founder Judi Shils said “(s)tudents everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins. Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards, but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet. It’s the first program to say that fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.”
Offering children safe, nutritious, toxin-free foods, is the best way to develop their young bodies and promote health.
Conscious Kitchen-supplied schools accompany their meals with nutrition and gardening education. It explains the dangers of GMO consumption.
It uses the acronym FLOSN to explain foods it supplies - Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal and Non-GMO. What if every food supplier in America operated by the same standard? 
Imagine a food supply fit to eat. Imagine the way it was long ago before agribusiness became dominant - mass marketing toxins masquerading as wholesome, nutritious foods.
Cavallo Point Lodge’s consulting chef for The Conscious Kitchen. Justin Everett, says “(b)y embracing fresh, local, organic, non-GMO food, this program successfully disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, heat and serve meals that dominate school kitchens” - junk foods unfit to eat by anyone.
The Conscious Kitchen says foods are safest, best and of highest nutritional value when come “straight from farm to fork.” It uses no processed, preserved or frozen ingredients. Above all, no GMO or chemically contaminated foods and ingredients.
It calls its policy “a no-exceptions rule.” Imagine if governments operated by the same standard. Imagine a healthy America - not one plagued by epidemic levels of illness, obesity, depression and other public health issues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Venezuela Reveals New Evidence Against Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez - Tue, 01/09/2015 - 21:09
Venezuela Reveals New Evidence Against Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez
by Stephen Lendman
Lopez is a US-funded anti-Bolivarian fascist politician. In January 2014, he and defrocked former National Assembly member Maria Corina Machado launched a La Salida (the Exit) campaign, openly calling for replacing Venezuela’s government.
Street violence followed for months. Dozens died, many others injured and arrested. February 2014, Lopez was detained. 
At the time, prosecutors held him responsible for murder, terrorism, conspiracy, incitement to crime, setting fire to a public building, damaging public property, public intimidation, and inflicting serious injuries. 
President Nicholas Maduro compared him to 2002 coup plotters. “There you have the face of fascism,” he said. “They should go behind bars. For us, what's important is to govern and to make sure that groups like these don't do any more damage to the country.”
Last December, Venezuela's state prosecutor's office indicted Machado - charging her with conspiracy in a plot to assassinate Maduro. 
Email evidence was damning - Machado saying "I believe the time has come to join forces, make the necessary calls, and obtain the financing to annihilate Maduro…and the rest will come falling down." 
Venezuela's public prosecutor's office said: 
“Whoever, from inside or outside the national territory, conspires to destroy the nation's republican political style will be punished by eight to 16 years in prison.”
In July 2014, Lopez’s trial began, punctuated by delays. It remains ongoing. On August 31, Telesur said Venezuela’s Public Prosecutor’s office issued a statement saying exhaustive investigation proved Lopez’s guilt.
“After 70 hearings in the case and 108 examined evidence, the Prosecutor's Office concluded that Lopez publicly called upon his supporters to attack the government building, an event in which six government vehicles and the building's library were set on fire, in February 2014,” Telesur explained.
He posted over 700 Twitter messages - promoting protests and opposition to Venezuelan authorities.
The Public Prosecutor said evidence showed his aim “was to alter the peaceful coexistence between Venezuelans, defy the authority of the country’s institutions and disregard the law.”
His trial may be nearing an end. Sentencing could come in weeks. He was involved in the aborted 2002 two-day coup against Chavez - saved from prosecution by a presidential general amnesty. He’s gotten National Endowment of Democracy (NED) funding since the Bush administration.
He, likeminded Venezuelan fascists and Washington want Bolivarian fairness ended - replaced by governance for privileged interests exclusively, returning the nation to US client state status.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Violence and Instability on Russia's Border - Tue, 01/09/2015 - 19:36
Violence and Instability on Russia’s Border
by Stephen Lendman
Events in Ukraine (and Eastern Europe) target Russia - part of Washington’s longstanding regime change agenda, wanting US-controlled puppet governance replacing Russian sovereignty, eliminating a key rival power, giving America access to a huge new source of vital resources.
Perhaps Victoria Nuland’s dirty hands were involved in Monday Kiev riots, previous unrest this year and likely more to come. Washington is displeased with Poroshenko. Former Ukrainian MP Vadim Kolesnichenko said US officials are considering two replacements:
Valentin Nalivaichenko, former Ukrainian security service head, or Sergei Levochkin, former Yanukovych chief of staff. A previous article explained Ukrainians overwhelmingly despise Poroshenko. Calls persist for him to step down. Replacing him won’t surprise anyone.
Meanwhile, war on Donbass rages. Western media largely ignore daily shelling by junta forces - including attacks on residential areas, hospitals, schools and other nonmilitary targets.
An unverified late August report from an unnamed source said the following:
“(C)ylinders of toxic gases and containers of poisonous substances were delivered to the technological facilities of high-voltage insulators plant in Kramatorsk street, town of Slavyansk.”
“There's chlorine in cylinders, not less than five covered wagons, also other containers with contents I know nothing about labeled with words and signs “poison,” “danger,” “do not touch without protection.” 
“All of it was brought in under the guise of varnishes and paints, but I know the look of the packaging of both, and whatever was brought here last week has got nothing to do with it. It looks like a chemical weapon.” 
“They don't let anyone in the warehouse. There is round-the-clock guard in military uniform without insignia. All the time there's been some strange hustle and bustle.” 
Soldiers “boasted that separatists will be given a big washing, from which they will puke blood. Our guerrillas have verified this information. There is understanding that the Ukrainian military and Security Service are preparing a provocation against the Novorossiya militias having intent to show them use chemical weapons against civilians.”
“Harm as many civilians as possible. Show dead bodies on TV for Europe and America to intervene. This is actually why I am calling from Slavyansk, we don't want to be Guinea pigs and die for Poroshenko or America.” 
“Tell everyone that Kiev is preparing a provocation with chemical weapons…This information was confirmed by at least one source in the region, an employee of a major transportation company engaged in the transshipment of cargo from rail to road.” 
“According to this source, the dangerous cargo was jointly accompanied by intelligence services of Ukraine and military, and in full cooperation with the central and local authorities.”
If a major chemical weapons attack on Donbass occurs, the source will be proved right. It won’t be the first time. Kiev used toxic substances and cluster munitions against area freedom fighters earlier. Western media ignored what happened.
On August 30, Voice of Sevastopol (VOS) headlined “ ‘Moscow Must Burn!’ Right-Wing Extremists in Ukraine Mobilize,” saying:
“(R)ight-wing volunteer militia leader Dmytro Korchynsky” has a large following in Ukraine. “I want to lead a crusade against Russia,” he said.
“Our goal is not only the expulsion of the occupiers, but also vengeance. Moscow must burn.”
Reuters said Korchynsky wants to create a Christian “Taliban movement.” VOS reported 40 (right-wing, ultranationalist) volunteer militia groups active in Ukraine.
Many of their members were Maidan protesters involved in ousting the former Yanukovych government. VOS said they pose a serious threat to the current regime - especially if they have US backing over dissatisfaction with Poroshenko, prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and other Kiev officials.
They demand Poroshenko’s ouster, imposition of martial law, full-scale war on Donbass,  “unity” of Ukraine by any means necessary, and perhaps disruptive activities against Russia.
On Monday, Moscow’s EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov said Ukraine’s constitutional changes violate the letter and spirit of Minsk - calling for Donbass “special status” self-governance.
Poroshenko rejects it - saying constitutional amendments he proposed prohibit “special status.” Chizhov accused him of introducing changes without consulting Donbass officials as required by Minsk, excluding their rights, flagrantly violating ceasefire terms.
“I think the core of the problem is the inability, or unwillingness, or both, of the Ukrainian government and President Poroshenko to sit down and negotiate directly with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk,” Chizhov explained.
Donetsk Parliament Speaker Denis Pushilin said “(w)e do not recognize what is going on now in the Rada (parliament) as we know for sure that the amendments proposed by Poroshenko are just an imitation of the Minsk agreements implementation.”
The rights of Donbass residents are excluded from Kiev’s parliamentary debates. Policies directed by Washington call for continued war, defeating Donbass freedom fighters and maintaining instability on Russia’s border. 
America’s agenda heightens the possibility of direct confrontation - a reckless policy risking the use of nuclear weapons for the first time since WW II.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 



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