A Negotiated End to Fighting in Ukraine

Russia has accused Ukraine of using drones to attack two air bases hundreds of miles inside Russia and an oil depot near the Ukrainian border. One of the air bases reportedly houses Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers. While Ukraine has not publicly taken responsibility, a senior Ukrainian official told The New York Times the drones were launched from inside Ukrainian territory with help from Ukrainian special forces on the ground near at least one of the Russian bases. Russia responded to the drone strikes by firing a barrage of missiles across Ukraine. This comes as millions of Ukrainians are bracing for a winter without heat or electricity due to Russian strikes on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently accused the U.S. and its NATO allies of becoming directly involved in the war by arming and training Ukrainian soldiers.

I think both sides see that there is no military way out. I’m speaking of NATO and Ukraine on one side and Russia on the other side. This war, like von Clausewitz told us two centuries ago, is politics by other means, or with other means, meaning that there are political issues at stake here, and those are what need to be negotiated.

What President Macron said is absolutely correct, that President Putin wants political outcomes that, in my view, absolutely can be met at the negotiating table. Just to quote what Macron said in another interview, he said, “One of the essential points we must address” — meaning we, the West — “as President Putin has always said, is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment

— source democracynow.org | Dec 06, 2022

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Burning Books and Destroying Education on the Path to Fascist Dictatorship

Widening the lens on the escalating assault on education and those who teach it offers chilling thoughts on the future of U.S. democracy.

From book bans to classroom demonizing trans youth and LGBTQ lives, to eradicating the real history of the U.S. and its ongoing legacy on racial and gender oppression, to the intimidation of educators and purging those who don’t toe the line, global parallels with where this repression leads should set off alarms.

Chile provides a case study. After the 1973 coup, led by Augusto Pinochet with U.S. support against democratically elected Socialist President Salvador Allende, “the military seized control of campuses and swept out those they felt sympathized with Allende rule,” as the Christian Science Monitor put it.

Active-duty generals were appointed to run the universities and primary and secondary schools were placed under the rule of mayors appointed by Pinochet to promote full government control of classroom instruction.

Targeting educators was a priority with strict penalties imposed on what could be taught, leading to the firing of thousands of university professors and teachers, while others

— source commondreams.org | Chuck Idelson | Feb 28, 2023

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US Funds ‘Independent Journalism’ in Cuba to Spread Propaganda

A former top CIA spy has admitted that the United States funds anti-government propagandists in Cuba who portray themselves as “independent journalists”.

Major British newspaper The Guardian spoke with CIA veteran Fulton Armstrong, whom it described as “the US intelligence community’s most senior analyst for Latin America from 2000 to 2004”.

Armstrong stated that, in Cuba, “a lot of the so-called independent journalists are indirectly funded by the US”.

The ex CIA analyst pointed out that, today, the Joe Biden administration bankrolls anti-government opposition forces in Cuba with at least $20 million in annual support for supposed “democracy promotion” activities.

The Guardian acknowledged that the CIA has a history of spreading disinformation inside Cuba, as part of a US information war aimed at destabilizing the revolutionary government. The newspaper wrote:

Financing media has long been part of Washington’s diplomatic toolkit.

In the 1960s in Cuba, Radio Swan, a CIA covert action programme, attempted not only a propaganda offensive to undermine support for Fidel Castro, but doubled up as a communication link, sending coded messages to paramilitaries during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.

A decade ago it emerged that the US government had paid contractors to create ZunZuneo, a social network built on texts, to organize “smart mobs” on the island. And during

— source scheerpost.com | Ben Norton | Jan 25, 2023

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Russell Banks, John Brown and the American Soul

The deep malaise that defines American society — the rage, despair and widespread feelings of betrayal and loss — is rarely captured and almost never explained in the pages of newspapers or on screens. To grasp what has happened to the United States, the savage economic and emotional cost of deindustrialization; the destruction of our democratic institutions; the Neolithic violence that sees us beset with almost daily mass shootings in malls, offices, schools and movie theaters; the rise of the militarized state; and the consolidation of national wealth by a tiny cabal of corrupt bankers and corporations, we must turn to our artists, poets and writers. Foremost among writers who explored our peculiar American

— source | Chris Hedges | Jan 15, 2023

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Ukraine’s Death by Proxy

There are many ways for a state to project power and weaken adversaries, but proxy wars are one of the most cynical. Proxy wars devour the countries they purport to defend. They entice nations or insurgents to fight for geopolitical goals that are ultimately not in their interest. The war in Ukraine has little to do with Ukrainian freedom and a lot to do with degrading the Russian military and weakening Vladimir Putin’s grip on power. And when Ukraine looks headed for defeat, or the war reaches a stalemate, Ukraine will be sacrificed like many other states, in what one of the founding members of the CIA, Miles Copeland Jr., referred to as the “Game of Nations” and “the amorality of power politics.”

I covered proxy wars in my two decades as a foreign correspondent, including in Central America where the U.S. armed the military regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala and Contra insurgents attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. I reported on the insurgency in the Punjab, a proxy war fomented by Pakistan. I covered the Kurds in northern Iraq, backed and then betrayed more than once by Iran and Washington. During my time in the Middle East, Iraq provided weapons and support to the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) to destabilize Iran. Belgrade, when I was in the former Yugoslavia, thought by arming Bosnian and Croatian Serbs, it could absorb Bosnia and parts of Croatia into a greater Serbia.

Proxy wars are notoriously hard to control, especially when the aspirations of those doing the fighting and those sending the weapons diverge. They also have a bad habit of

— source chrishedges.substack.com | Chris Hedges | Mar 11, 2023

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The Supreme Court Case That Could Gut Native Sovereignty

Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on Wednesday in a case focused on the Indian Child Welfare Act, a 1978 law created to prevent family separation in Native communities. The case centers on a Navajo girl known as Baby O, who is being raised by a white couple who sued to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act. Our next guest says the court’s ruling could have potentially seismic implications for Indigenous nations in the U.S.

Yeah. So, Baby O, when she was born, she was left at a hospital under Nevada’s safe haven law. And she went to live with Heather and Nick Libretti, a white couple who live outside of Reno, Nevada. They thought, given the circumstances, they would be able to adopt her. But the child’s father was identified, and it became clear that she was eligible for citizenship in the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, a federally recognized tribe in Texas, and that her case fell under ICWA. The Librettis were told they would not be able to adopt the child, that her placement with them would be temporary.

And instead of accepting that the child would go to blood relatives, they decided to fight. They hired lawyers. They asked the child’s grandmother to renounce her tribal membership so that ICWA wouldn’t apply to the case. They got in touch with relatives who were considering fostering and adopting the child, and had conversations with them to try

— source democracynow.org | Nov 10, 2022

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90% of all U.S. coal plants are contaminating groundwater

More than 90 percent of the country’s coal plants are contaminating water across 43 states, according to a new report. And nearly half of them have no plans to clean up the mess.

The study, released on Thursday by the environmental watchdogs Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project, looked at 292 sites around the country, from the desert outside Las Vegas to the coast of Massachusetts. The researchers focused specifically on coal ash, a toxic byproduct of burning coal to produce power. 

Failure to clean up coal ash violates a federal rule that was passed in 2015 after a stormwater pipe burst at the Duke Energy Dan River Steam Station in North Carolina, spilling 39,000 tons of the contaminant into the Dan River. Coal ash contains cancer-causing heavy metals such as arsenic and cobalt. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, toxic sludge from the spill stretched over 70 miles downstream, threatening the drinking water quality of thousands of residents. 

One of the goals of the 2015 rule was to halt the industry’s practice of dumping coal ash into unlined ponds that allow the material to seep into groundwater, creating an environmental hazard for nearby communities, and most companies are now required to send their waste to safer containment sites. However, the report found that utilities are

— source grist.org | Lylla Younes | Nov 04, 2022

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GOP Is Stoking Political Violence

A California man is facing charges of attempted homicide, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse after police say he broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home early Friday morning. Police say the man assaulted Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer, fracturing his skull. The assailant, who has been identified as 42-year-old David DePape, reportedly yelled “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” The House Speaker was in Washington at the time. According to some press accounts, the assailant had zip ties and duct tape with him at the time of his arrest.

Police say they’re still determining a motive for the attack on Paul Pelosi, but numerous outlets report the assailant had posted conspiracy theories online about QAnon, about the 2020 elections. So many of what he posted was antisemitic and filled with hate. The man’s former partner described him as mentally ill.

In a letter to other lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she and her family are “heartbroken and traumatized.” Paul Pelosi was hospitalized after the attack, required surgery on his skull.

— source democracynow.org | Oct 31, 2022

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Powell Memo: Start of the Counterrevolution

It was good seeing CounterPunch publish an article on what is known as the “Powell Memo” by Brad Wolf. He rightfully notes, “Powell expressed his grave concern that American business and free enterprise were under full-scale attack from “leftists” and might altogether collapse unless drastic steps were taken.” However, far more was at stake.

Lewis Powell was a Virginia attorney, tobacco-industry lobbyist and future Supreme Court Judge. He can be credited with helping launch the conservative social wars of the last half-century. In 1971 he delivered a secret study for the Chamber of Commerce entitled, “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System.” His advice to the business community was simple:

Business must learn the lesson . . . that political power is necessary; that such power must be assiduously cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination—without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business.

He took special care to note:

There should be no hesitation to attack the [Ralph] Naders, the [Herbert] Marcuses and others who openly seek destruction of the system. There should not be the slightest

— source counterpunch.org | David Rosen | Jan 20, 2023

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Indigenous Voters’ Voting Rights Are Under Attack

Indigenous voters played a key role in Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 when they helped him win Arizona, but now face a sweeping rollback of their voting rights. This comes as the top Republican candidates in close races in Arizona are 2020 election deniers, including the gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Blake Masters, who’s running for U.S. Senate against Senator Mark Kelly.

Last year, a Supreme Court ruling in the case Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, which came out of Arizona, allowed the state to ban ballot collection from outside set precincts, which is a method that’s widely used by Native voters in Arizona. The move is expected to suppress their vote.

For more, we’re joined by The New Yorker magazine staff writer Sue Halpern, who spoke to voters on Arizona’s Navajo, Apache and Hopi reservations for The New Yorker in a new piece headlined “The Political Attack on the Native American Vote.” She’s also a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, and she’s joining us from Exeter, New Hampshire, where there is a key Senate contest going on between Maggie Hassan and General Bolduc. Also with us, in Fort Apache, Arizona, is Lydia Dosela, the matriarch coordinator for the

— source democracynow.org | Nov 08, 2022

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