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US Navy Assault on Alaska Begins

Bombing the Arctic: US Navy War Games in Gulf of Alaska Threaten One of World’s Most Pristine Areas
by Democracy Now!
The U.S. Navy is set to begin a major war exercise in the Gulf of Alaska amid protests from local communities concerned about environmental damage. The Navy is reportedly unleashing thousands of sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines and Coast Guard members along with several Navy destroyers, hundreds of aircrafts, untold weaponry and a submarine for the naval exercises.

We are joined by Dahr Jamail, staff reporter at Truthout, whose latest piece is
"Destroying What Remains: How the US Navy Plans to War Game the Arctic."

Israel's Race Toward National Insolvency

Israel’s race to economic (and moral) bankruptcy
by Jonathan Cook
Two recent reports suggest that Israel could face catastrophic consequences if it fails to end the mistreatment of Palestinians under its rule, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel itself. The Rand Corporation’s research shows that Israel could lose $250 billion over the next decade if it fails to make peace with the Palestinians and violence escalates.
Ending the occupation, on the other hand, could bring a dividend of more than $120 billion to the nation’s coffers.
Meanwhile, the Israeli finance ministry predicts an even more dismal future unless Israel reinvents itself. It is likely to be bankrupt within a few decades, the finance ministry report says, because of the rapid growth of two groups who are not productive. By 2059, half the population will be either ultra-Orthodox Jews, who prefer prayer to work, or members of Israel’s Palestinian minority, most of whom are failed by their separate education system and then excluded from much of the economy.

Judge Recommends Charges in Tamir Rice Police Killing

Judge Says Probable Cause for Charging Officers Who Killed 12-Year Old Tamir Rice
June 16, 2015 
Tamir Rice 2015Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford says the officers who killed Tamir Rice must be charged for his death or new political leadership is needed in Cleveland if #BlackLivesMatter. 
[T]he audience will remember he's the 12-year-old boy in Cleveland who was shot down by a cop while he was playing with a toy gun in a neighborhood park.
Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator.

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Understanding America's Renewed Nuclear Brinkmanship

Explaining the Ukraine Crisis
by David Swanson - Consortium News
 June 16, 2015

I’m not sure if there’s been a better written book published yet this year than Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated, but I’m confident there’s not been a more important one.

With some 17,000 nuclear bombs in the world, the United States and Russia have about 16,000 of them.

The United States is aggressively flirting with World War III, the people of the United States have not the foggiest notion of how or why, and authors Natylie Baldwin and Kermit Heartsong explain it all quite clearly.

Go ahead and tell me there’s nothing you’re now spending your time on that’s less important than this.
This book puts all the relevant facts — those I knew and many I didn’t — together concisely and with perfect organization. It does it with an informed worldview. It leaves me nothing to complain about at all, which is almost unheard of in my book reviews. I find it refreshing to encounter writers so well-informed who also grasp the significance of their information.
Nearly half the book is used to set the context for recent events in Ukraine.

After the Oil Rush: North Dakota Mired in Post-Shale Boom Bust

The Dark Side Of The Shale Bust
by Nick Cunningham -
The fallout of the collapse in oil prices has a lot of side effects apart from the decline of rig counts and oil flows.
Oil production in North Dakota has exploded over the last five years, from negligible levels before 2010 to well over a million barrels per day, making North Dakota the second largest oil producing state in the country.
But the bust is leaving towns like Williston, North Dakota stretched extremely thin as it tries to deal with the aftermath. Williston is coping with $300 million in debt after having leveraged itself to buildup infrastructure to deal with the swelling of people and equipment heading for the oil patch. Roads, schools, housing, water-treatment plants and more all cost the city a lot of money, expected to be paid off with revenues from oil production that are suddenly not flowing into local and state coffers the way they once were.

These Greeks Bear No Gifts: Syriza's Sell-Out

Syriza: Plunder, Pillage and Prostration: (How the ‘Hard Left’ embraces the policies of the Hard Right)
by James Petras

Greece has been in the headlines of the world’s financial press for the past five months, as a newly elected leftist party, ‘Syriza’, which ostensibly opposes so-called ‘austerity measures’, faces off against the “Troika” (International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and European Central Bank).
Early on, the Syriza leadership, headed by Alexis Tsipras, adopted several strategic positions with fatal consequences - in terms of implementing their electoral promises to raise living standards, end vassalage to the ‘Troika’ and pursue an independent foreign policy.
We will proceed by outlining the initial systemic failures of Syriza and the subsequent concessions further eroding Greek living standards and deepening Greece’s role as an active collaborator of US and Israeli imperialism.

Hypocritical Celebrants Cheer Magna Carta While Torturing Untried at Guantánamo

800 Years of Magna Carta: The Stench of Hypocrisy Regarding Habeas Corpus for Shaker Aamer and Other Guantánamo Prisoners
by Andy Worthington

Sometimes the stench of hypocrisy is so overpowering that one wonders how those mired in it can avoid gagging while they deliver their outrageous lies.
That was the case today in Runnymede, west of London, where, 800 years ago today, the barons of England forced King John to sign Magna Carta (the Grand Charter), a document that arose out of their anger at being made to pay for the king’s foreign wars, and which, significantly, limited his power.
Its most famous clause — Clause 39 — introduced habeas corpus to the world — the right not to be imprisoned without a fair trial. It states, “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned … except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land,” and its lasting significance is generally considered with Clause 40 as well, which states, “To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay justice.”

Canada's Medicare Death Watch - Or, Why Retirement Means a Pine Box

Canadian Medicare and the Retirement Conundrum
by Murray Dobbin - CounterPunch
There’s been lots of attention paid recently to the Canada Pension Plan and how to extend it, and news stories and commentary about how adequate or otherwise Canadians’ retirement situation will be. The sunshine boys over at the C.D. Howe Institute (a.k.a. the Isn’t Capitalism Wonderful Institute, or ICWI) reassure us that everything is fine and we should just ignore all the warnings.

The author of one ICWI study observes:

“Canadians frequently read that they borrow too much, spend too much, save too little, retire too early and live too long.”

Well, yes, they are told that because it is regrettably true. Personal debt levels are at a record high of 163 per cent of after-tax yearly income, savings rates are a small fraction of what they were in the 1970s and ’80s, and low interest rates (trying to goose a system that has now adjusted to goosing) has given them license to borrow madly off in all directions.

According to a 2014 BMO Rainy Day report, “Three in 10 Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque or spending more than they earn… Forty-seven per cent of Canadians said they have enough to cover three months or less… One in five — 19 per cent — have less than $1,000.”

Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Canada's Medicare Death Watch - Or, Why Retirement Means a Pine Box

Medical Neglect As the New Executioner

Mumia Attorneys Sue in Federal Court for Prisoners' Right to Medical Care and Hospital Visitation
by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

June, 15 2015

Killing prisoners through medical neglect and incompetence in Pennsylvania

Attorneys from the Abolitionist Law Center in Pennsylvania, an organization defending prisoner rights and challenging the state's penal system, have filed suit in federal court demanding that Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections stop preventing them from even seeing their client, journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, on occasions when he has to be hospitalized for a critical diabetes condition.
In an hour-long interview with Dave Lindorff on ThisCantBeHappening's radio show "This Can't Be Happening!" that aired last Wednesday on, Abolitionist Law Center founder and legal director Bret Grote says that Abu-Jamal, who is serving a term of life imprisonment without possibility of parole, was allowed to develop a case of diabetes through poor diet and medical neglect in the SCI_Mahanoy prison where he is incarcerated, and then, when finally rushed to a hospital after he had collapsed in diabetic shock, was barred from seeing supporters and relatives (even his wife and brother!) or even his attorneys, on orders of the DOC.
Grote says that intense pressure from local and international supporters, who demonstrated outside the hospital and deluged the DOC and the Governor's Office with calls and emails, led the DOC to relent and allow some brief visits, but then began denying Abu-Jamal's attorneys access to his medical records.

Pope's First Encyclical Aims at Capitalism and Preserving God's Creation

The Pope calls for increased attention for the environment
by Vatican Radio

Pope Francis has invited everyone to pay attention to environmental issues. Speaking after the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said his first encyclical will be published on Thursday, and he said: “This encyclical is aimed at everyone”
Calling on everyone to accompany this event with renewed attention to environmental degradation, and the need to act to salvage one’s territory, the Pope said of his encyclical: Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common home that God has entrusted to us”.
The document entitled “Laudato Si’, On the Care of Our Common Home” will be launched at a Vatican news conference this week.
The Pope’s appeal followed a reflection on the Gospel reading of the day that speaks of the seed that sprouts and grows and of the mustard seed which is the smallest of all seeds but becomes the largest of plants.

Reason, Self-Interest, and Democracy

Democracy and Rational Self-Interest
by Ray Grigg - Shades of Green
Reason in a Dark Time daleDemocracy is described as that system of government in which we get what we deserve. While it has civilized societies by accentuating the better side of our human character, it has also made us vulnerable to one of our most serious failings.
This failing is identified and explored by Dale Jamieson, a professor of philosophy and law, in his 2014 book, Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed.
Jamieson argues that our failure to successfully address global climate change — probably the most serious threat ever to confront humanity — stems from the structure of democracy itself.
As a system that responds to the collective concerns of its citizens, it cannot avert an emerging crisis until the majority of voters recognize and accept the danger. For this to happen, a plurality of people must become duly informed, reach the same conclusion, and then elect the governments that will initiate the preventative measures.

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