By Krista Mahr – Newsweek
Standing in front of a packed classroom at a school in Iruekpen, a remote farming village in southern Nigeria, Precious Owens warns teenage students about the dangers of migrating to Europe. Recruiters trick people into thinking they can get a good job overseas, she explains. “They will come and tell you they have a salon abroad,” she says. But this is often a lie. Instead, migrants en route to Libya frequently wind up imprisoned by smugglers for months, before being shipped across the Mediterranean on rickety boats, she says. The journey is perilous—as are their lives abroad, where many end up as prostitutes or in other forms of forced labor.
by Robert E. Hunter* – lobelog.com
Additional sanctions on Russia, followed by Moscow’s drastic cutting of the US government’s presence in the Russian Federation, take the “Russia issue” to a new level of intensity and risk of Cold War II.
Most blame lies with Russian President Vladimir Putin. By seizing Crimea and promoting conflict in other parts of Ukraine, Russia violated agreements signed by the Soviet Union (the 1975 Helsinki Final Act) and by Russia (the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which guaranteed Ukraine’s frontiers).
By Mychal Denzel Smith* – The Nation
Where we have (mostly) condemned slavery, we as a country have refused to condemn its defenders.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a federal holiday, but I didn’t celebrate it by that name until the year 2000. My family moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1993, where my father, a lieutenant in the US Navy, was stationed after a three-year deployment to Naples, Italy, which is where I started school. Second grade was my introduction to the American school calendar and the set of holidays that would be welcomed vacations from the classroom. As a seven-year-old, I didn’t think to ask anyone why January 15 marked Lee-Jackson-King Day.
By DECLAN WALSH* – The New York Times Magazine
The strange twists in the case of Giulio Regeni’s disappearance in Cairo.
The target of the Egyptian police, that day in November 2015, was the street vendors selling socks, $2 sunglasses and fake jewelry, who clustered under the arcades of the elegant century-old buildings of Heliopolis, a Cairo suburb. Such raids were routine, but these vendors occupied an especially sensitive location. Just 100 yards away is the ornate palace where Egypt’s president, the military strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, welcomes foreign dignitaries. As the men hurriedly gathered their goods from mats and doorways, preparing to flee, they had an unlikely assistant: an Italian graduate student named Giulio Regeni.
Lee Fang – The Intercept*
FOR ALEJANDRO CHAFUEN, the gathering this spring at the Brick Hotel in Buenos Aires was as much a homecoming as it was a victory lap. Chafuen, a lanky Argentine-American, had spent his adult life working to undermine left-wing social movements and governments in South and Central America, and boost a business-friendly version of libertarianism instead.
It was a lonely battle for decades, but not lately. Chafuen was among friends at the 2017 Latin America Liberty Forum. The international meeting of libertarian activists was sponsored by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, a leadership-training nonprofit now known simply as the Atlas Network, which Chafuen has led since 1991. At the Brick Hotel, Chafuen was reveling in recent victories; his years of work were starting to pay off, thanks to political and economic circumstances — but also because of the network of activists Chafuen has been working for so long to cultivate.
Hugh Miles* – The Guardian
New details have emerged about the abductions of three dissident Saudi princes in what appears to be a systematic state-run Saudi government programme to kidnap defectors and dissidents.
The three, all members of the Saudi regime before they became involved in peaceful political activities against the government in Riyadh, were kidnapped and taken against their will to Saudi Arabia between September 2015 and February 2016.
By Hazel Henderson*
In the USA, founders feared concentration of power in government. They installed separation of powers in the US Constitution—-buttressed by freedom of the press. The very first Amendment reinforced this free media which became known as “the Fourth Branch” of US democracy.
Today, two new threats have emerged: 1): political interference with press freedom by intimidation, propaganda from both foreign powers and domestic interest groups, advertising, planting fake news, trolling online and mainstream media using “bots” and big data analytics.
Jeffrey D. Sachs - Project Syndicate
NEW YORK – The US is in the midst of a political meltdown, unable to manage a domestic economic agenda or a coherent foreign policy. The White House is in turmoil; Congress is paralyzed; and the world is looking on in astonishment and dread. If we are to survive and overcome this collapse, we must understand its sources.
There are two power centers in Washington, DC: the White House and the Capitol. Both are in disarray, but for different reasons.
Robert Fisk* – The Independent
There are still honourable Israelis who demand a state for the Palestinians; there are well-educated Saudis who object to the crazed Wahabism upon which their kingdom is founded; there are millions of Americans, from sea to shining sea, who do not believe that Iran is their enemy nor Saudi Arabia their friend. But the problem today in both East and West is that our governments are not our friends
When Qatar’s Al Jazeera satellite channel has both the Saudis and the Israelis demanding its closure, it must be doing something right. To bring Saudi head-choppers and Israeli occupiers into alliance is, after all, something of an achievement.
Forget the White House, a new coalition of cities, businesses and universities are taking a lead role in fighting climate change
The global effort to confront climate change was hobbled for many years by the mistaken idea that only national governments and international rules could solve the problem. The Paris agreement, which recognizes and supports voluntary carbon-reduction efforts by cities, regions and businesses, was an important step in the right direction. Ironically, no one has done more to demonstrate the agreement’s strengths than its most prominent critic: Donald Trump.
By Mark Hertsgaard – The Nation
As tensions with North Korea escalate, Congress and the military must prevent a nuclear first strike.
The United States is not a monarchy, but in times of nuclear crisis it sure feels like one. In his capacity as commander in chief, the president of the United States has sole authority over whether to launch a nuclear strike. He does not need to consult his military advisers, he does not need approval from Congress, it is his call alone.a That is a risky protocol under any circumstances, but when the Oval Office is occupied by someone with the temperament of Donald Trump, it should trouble Americans of all political persuasions. This is especially true when the United States confronts an adversary whose own leader, North Korea’s Kim Jung-Un, seems to be itching for a fight.
The US Department of Agriculture has forbidden the use of the words ‘climate change’. This say-no-evil policy is doomed to fail
In a bold new strategy unveiled on Monday in the Guardian, the US Department of Agriculture – guardians of the planet’s richest farmlands – has decided to combat the threat of global warming by forbidding the use of the words.
Under guidance from the agency’s director of soil health, Bianca Moebius-Clune, a list of phrases to be avoided includes “climate change” and “climate change adaptation”, to be replaced by “weather extremes” and “resilience to weather extremes”.
Posted by Yves Smith – Naked Capitalism
Yves here. Readers will likely concur with Bacevich’s analysis but find his proposals to be simplistic, starting with the fact that he calls them preliminary yet two of them require Constitutional amendments. And he misguidedly calls for a balanced Federal budget, revealing he’s a captive of neoliberalism. So I’d take the many useful parts of this piece, the most important being that the media and pundit fixation on Trump conveniently diverts public attention and energy away from the structures that keep negligent and looting elites firmly in charge, and discount the rest.
Robert J. Burrowes*
A wonderful thing about observing and analyzing the human mind is that there is a seemingly infinite variety of phenomena to observe and analyze. I sometimes wonder if it is even remotely possible to master this subject but, even if it is not, at least it provides an unending source of ‘entertainment’.
The phenomenon that I want to discuss in this article is what Anita McKone and I call the ‘magic rat’.
By Mustapha Karkouti*, Special to Gulf News
He has effectively disqualified himself from overseeing the peace process as he “adopted Israel’s position” in the negotiation between the two parties
Being a son-in-law is not a qualification, even if you are the son-in-law of the leader of the strongest country in the world. This does not qualify you to become an expert, let alone a negotiator, on the Middle East. That seems to be the case of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of US President Donald Trump, and his envoy to the Middle East.
Paul Mason – The Guardian
The ultra-right will have a tough choice between sticking with Trump or switching to a socially conservative, libertarian presidency headed by Mike Pence
A brief list of the “known unknowns” suggests Donald Trump’s presidency will not survive 12 months. We know that a grand jury has been sitting for weeks, with the power of subpoena, to consider evidence of Kremlin involvement in the Trump campaign. We know that Donald Jr received an email from an intermediary offering a meeting as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump”, and that, when this became public, the president personally dictated a false account of that meeting.
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg –The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Whit Ayres, a Republican political consultant here, likes to tell his clients that there are “three keys to credibility.”
“One, never defend the indefensible,” he says. “Two, never deny the undeniable. And No. 3 is: Never lie.”
Would that politicians took his advice.
Fabrications have long been a part of American politics. Politicians lie to puff themselves up, to burnish their résumés and to cover up misdeeds, including sexual affairs. (See: Bill Clinton.) Sometimes they cite false information for what they believe are justifiable policy reasons. (See: Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam.)
By Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, Albert K. Barume and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz *
GENEVA / NEW YORK, Aug 7 2017 (IPS) – The world’s indigenous peoples still face huge challenges a decade after the adoption of an historic declaration on their rights, a group of United Nations experts and specialist bodies has warned. Speaking ahead of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August, the group says States must put words into action to end discrimination, exclusion and lack of protection illustrated by the worsening murder rate of human rights defenders.
By Anna Shen*
SAN FRANCISCO, California, Aug 2017 (IPS) – Gender inequality is the greatest moral and social issue of our time — and the world’s most critical economic challenge. If half of the global population cannot fulfill their human potential, the world’s economic growth will falter.
We are being robbed as we speak: if women fully participated in formal economic activity, it would add $12 trillion to the world’s coffers, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
Chris Mooney – The Washington Post
In recent years, it has become increasingly common to frame the climate change problem as a kind of countdown — each year we emit more carbon dioxide, narrowing the window for fixing the problem, but not quite closing it yet. After all, something could still change. Emissions could still start to plunge precipitously. Maybe next year.