By Ramesh Jaura
HIROSHIMA, Aug 28 2015 (IPS) – A three-day landmark U.N. Conference on Disarmament Issues has ended here – one day ahead of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests – stressing the need for ushering in a world free of nuclear weapons, but without a consensus on how to move towards that goal.
By Michelle Goldberg – The Nation
She’s spent decades seeking refuge in the center. Will progressives embrace her now?
Earlier this year, Buzzfeed uncovered a 1979 television interview with Hillary Clinton—then Hillary Rodham—who had just become first lady of Arkansas. In the half-hour video, we see a young woman in oversize glasses, calm and smiling as the host grills her about whether she’s too liberal, too feminist, too career-oriented to fit into her new role. The host tells her that she probably cost her husband votes by keeping her last name. (She would later give in and change it.) “You’re not a native,” he says. “You’ve been educated in liberal Eastern universities. You’re less than 40. You don’t have any children…. You practice law.” (She assures him that she and Bill plan to have children and adds, “I’m not 40, but that hopefully will be cured by age.”) After nearly 20 minutes of this sort of thing, the host asks Clinton what she finds attractive about Arkansas—a place to which, her biographers have made clear, she moved with great reluctance to further her husband’s political career. Outsiders, he notes, complain that “We’re so unprogressive here. We’re just not as progressive as they are up North.” Appearing eager to finally ingratiate herself, she replies by pouring scorn on urban America: “You know, if it’s progress to default on your bond obligations so that your city’s going into bankruptcy, or if it’s progress to have such an incredible crime rate that people don’t venture outside their doors, or if it’s progress to live in a city whose air you can’t breathe, well, then I hope we are unprogressive, and I hope we never get to the point where that’s our definition of progress.”
By Kanya D’Almeida
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2015 (IPS) – Imagine having to venture out into a conflict zone in search of water because rebel groups and government forces have targeted the pipelines. Imagine walking miles in the blazing summer heat, then waiting hours at a public tap to fill up your containers. Now imagine realizing the jugs are too heavy to carry back home.
BY COLUM LYNCH – Foreign Policy (FP)
An FP investigation shows how a bitter internal fight is making it harder for the U.N. to police its own crimes, from corruption to sexual abuse.
Carman Lapointe, a Canadian national who serves as the United Nations’ internal corruption watchdog, marched into the office of the U.N. secretary-general’s chief of staff, Susana Malcorra, this past January with a provocative request. The U.N. Investigations Division, which she oversees, had grown so consumed by interoffice backbiting and score-settling, Lapointe claimed, that she wanted to shut it down and rebuild it from scratch.
By Maria Margaronis – The Nation
There’s been a groundswell of insurgent politics, from Greece to Britain, but so far victory has been elusive.
They emerge one after the other—the?anti-austerity parties, the purveyors of hope, the new or newly popular leaders and formations—from Greece to Spain to Ireland, from Turkey to Israel, from Burlington to Britain. They rally thousands, speak out for the dispossessed, challenge moribund elites; they are vilified as populist, deluded, dangerous; they win elections (Greece’s Syriza, Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau) or cross parliamentary thresholds (Israel’s Arab Joint List or Turkey’s HDP). They are in a sense successors to mass movements (Occupy, the indignados, Gezi Park, the Arab Spring). They glow for a short time on the bleak world stage; they are blocked, or fail, or fade, and new ones take their place.
Frank Bruni – The New York Times
Let me get this straight. If I want the admiration and blessings of the most flamboyant, judgmental Christians in America, I should marry three times, do a queasy-making amount of sexual boasting, verbally degrade women, talk trash about pretty much everyone else while I’m at it, encourage gamblers to hemorrhage their savings in casinos bearing my name and crow incessantly about how much money I’ve amassed? Seems to work for Donald Trump.
By David Bromwich – TomDispatch.com. /The Nation
Even if the agreement is signed into law, Iran hawks will keep lobbying for a president who will abandon it
David Addington, the legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, made that declaration to Jack Goldsmith of the Office of Legal Counsel in the months after September 11, 2001. Goldsmith would later recall that Cheney and Addington were the first people he had ever met of a certain kind: “Cheney is not subtle, and he has never hidden the ball. The amazing thing is that he does what he says. Relentlessness is a quality I saw in him and Addington that I never saw before in my life.”
Joe Nocera – New York Times
In the fall of 2009, Jim Chanos began to ask questions about the Chinese economy. What sparked his curiosity was the realization that commodity producers had been largely unaffected by the financial crisis; indeed, they had recorded big profits even as other sectors found themselves reeling in the aftermath of the crisis.
By Karlos Zurutuza
LAAYOUNE, Occupied Western Sahara, Aug 2015 (IPS) – Ahmed Ettanji is looking for a flat in downtown Laayoune, a city 1,100 km south of Rabat. He only wants it for one day but it must have a rooftop terrace overlooking the square that will host the next pro-Sahrawi demonstration.
By Michelle Goldberg – The Nation
We’ve built ourselves this crowd-sourced panopticon, and now we have to live in it.
This was a week when a lot of people were hurt, some very badly, by the practice of doxxing, or splattering people’s private information online. And it was a week when media outlets that should know better were complicit.
Greece Makes Payment to European Central Bank, Avoiding Default
By JACK EWING
FRANKFURT — Greece narrowly avoided defaulting on its debt on Thursday, making a crucial payment to the European Central Bank after receiving billions of euros in new aid from other eurozone countries.
By Roberto Savio*
SAN SALVADOR, Aug 2015 (IPS) – The long saga on Greece is apparently over – European institutions have given Athens a third bailout of 86 billion euros which, combined with the previous two, makes a grand total of 240 billion euros.
Paul Krugman* – The New York Times
Rand Paul said something funny the other day. No, really — although of course it wasn’t intentional. On his Twitter account he decried the irresponsibility of American fiscal policy, declaring, “The last time the United States was debt free was 1835.”
By Noam Chomsky* – TomDispatch.com. / The Nation
There’s a clear way to ensure a nuclear-free Middle East, but Washington is not interested
Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the UN Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the US Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”
Jamil Anderlini – Financial Times
Facing an economic slowdown, and with policy options running low, Beijing’s leaders broke an old taboo and devalued the renminbi
In the thick of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, as one desperate country after another slashed the value of their currencies, China was credited with halting the malaise by keeping its exchange rate pegged firmly to the dollar.
By Zoë Carpenter – The Nation
Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, but Donald Trump and other candidates are keeping alive the idea that some Americans should not have equal rights at birth.
By Kitty Stapp
NEW YORK, Aug 19 2015 (IPS) – Following in the footsteps of Pope Francis, who has taken a vocal stance on climate change, Muslim leaders and scholars from 20 countries issued a joint declaration Tuesday underlining the severity of the problem and urging governments to commit to 100 percent renewable energy or a zero emissions strategy.
Posted by Yves Smith – Naked Capitalism
Yves here. The US pretends not to have industrial policy, but it does, in spades, via which sectors get exceptional support, either via direct spending, R&D support, tax breaks, guarantees, and other subsidies. The military industrial/surveillance complex, banking, housing, and Big Pharma are among the most preferred sectors. The poor performance of the US armed forces, in face of the huge levels of spending, show how being in denial about what our national priorities really are and failing to make those pet industries accountable has led not just to waste but in the last 20 years, to outright looting.
Dr Geoffrey Douglas*
Introduction, by the publisher of Othernews
The problem of nutrition is a fundamental one, not only in the third world. Food is becoming more and more depleted of nutrients, and it has been taken over by the pharmaceutical sector and by business conglomerates, with parameters that have little to do with health and much to do with profit.
By Rodger Baker – Geopolitical Weekly
Last week was an eventful one for China. First, the People’s Bank of China shocked the financial world when it cut the yuan’s reference rate against the U.S. dollar by nearly 2 percent, leading to a greater than 2 percent drop in the value of the yuan in offshore trading. The decline triggered a frenzy of speculation, including some expectations that the Chinese move would trigger a race to the bottom for Asian currencies. Beijing said the adjustment was designed to fix distortions between the trading rate of the yuan and the rate it should have been at according to speculation, and that subsequent large shifts were unlikely. The International Monetary Fund, however, noted that the move could lead to a freer floating yuan — something the IMF has asked of Beijing before the organization considers including the yuan in its Special Drawing Rights basket of currencies. In comments made on the sidelines of its annual report on the Chinese economy, released later in the week, the IMF also noted that the yuan was not undervalued, despite the decline.