Thursday, April 24, 2014

Scott Rothschild: "Teacher Protests Follow Brownback" @ Lawrence Journal World

Robert Parry: "NYT Retracts Russian Photo Scoop" @ Consortium News

Dave Lindorff: "Washington & Corporate Media Are In Full Propaganda Mode On Ukraine" @ This Can't Be Happening!

The lies, propaganda and rank hypocrisy emanating from Washington, and echoed by the US corporate media regarding events in Ukraine are stunning and would be laughable, but for the fact that they appear to be aimed at conditioning the US public for increasing confrontation with Russia – confrontation which could easily tip over the edge into direct military conflict, with consequences that are too dreadful to contemplate.

It would be beyond ironic if, a quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of nearly half a century of Cold War and Mutual Assured Destruction, during all of which time US and Russian soldiers never fought against each other, we now ended up with soldiers from our two countries actually doing battle with each other, instead of just fighting proxy wars.

For now, perhaps out of sheer unwillingness to accept that dreadful possibility, I’m choosing to look for the humor in this conflict.

When it comes to the US, the laughs are easy to find.

Start with Vice President Joe Biden, a guy who has always been hard to take seriously. I mean, we’re talking about a politician who in 1988 had to quit running for president when he was caught lifting his life story from British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock.

Still, Biden outdid even himself on his current visit to Ukraine when he called on Russia to back off in its support of pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine saying that, “No nation should threaten its neighbors by amassing troops along the border.”

This from the man who is one heartbeat from the presidency of a nation that doesn’t just have an army and a navy and an airforce along its southern shore threatening its neighbor Cuba, but actually has its navy based on Cuban territory, which it refuses to leave, despite having long ago run out its lease. And the US doesn’t just threaten. It acts, most recently by attempting to fund a fake Cuban “Twitter” operation called ZunZuneo (Hummingbird Tweet) designed to enable and encourage anti-Cuban government activists to anonymously organize and create chaos.

But Biden’s not alone.

There’s US Secretary of State John Kerry, who famously condemned Russia for supporting the self-determination of residents of Crimea in separating themselves from Ukraine, encouraging a referendum in which the vast majority of that Ukranian state voted to have Crimea leave Ukraine and be annexed to Russia. Kerry called Russia’s actions in Crimea, which involved no significant violence, an “incredible act of aggression”...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising four-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to:

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thomm Hartmann @ Politics and Prose Bookstore "The Crash of 2016: The Plot To Destroy America And What We Can Do to Stop It"

Thomm Hartmann: Book Release 2013 "The Crash of 2016: The Plot To Destroy America and What We Can Do About It" @ Democracy Now

Sustainability Action Newsletter, Lawrence Chapter, 22 April, 2014 @ Discomfit Magazine

American Masters: "A Fierce Green Fire" @ PBS

Travis Gettys: "Property Records Cast Doubt On Rancher Cliven Bundy's Ancestral Claims To Federal Lands" @ The Raw Story

Leslie Sazillo: "Updated: Florida Students Protest Koch Influence Over College Professors" @ Daily Kos

[Excerpt] ... Many of us have been aware of this type of corruption most of our adult lives. What's new is the blatant attempts, and actual buying/selling of our government, our media, our healthcare, our environment, and now our public education system. It's so easy. It's so… legal. Plus, how many other public colleges, high schools and elementary schools are, or will be, bought/influenced by dark money? One can only hope more Americans will rise up via the ilk of Occupy, Anonymous and WolfPAC. Something's got to give or something's going to snap. The Koch brothers are obviously not the only wealthy entity driven by money, greed and power. We are bound to see more and more of the corrupt 1% rear their ugly heads. It's so good to see students speaking out. I hope to see us 'diary' the hell out of these issues and get them out to the public, not only by having them published on this site, but by posting them ourselves, to social media networks ourselves. The people can turn this around - Only the people can stop this. But first we must become aware.

Read more at Daily Kos.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

KS Gov. Sam Brownback Signed It ... Against Teachers & Special Ed. Students


Dear Michael,

Gov. Brownback's signing of the school funding bill yesterday is his latest attempt to deceive Kansans into believing that education is his top priority. His television ads would have you believe he is a strong education advocate yet Brownback chose to stand with extreme special interests over Kansas students, parents and teachers. The bill he signed --now his bill-- eliminated due process for Kansas teachers. With his signature he stripped money from at-risk students. And he undermined public schools by creating corporate tax breaks for private school scholarships. 

Gov. Brownback and his far-right Legislature have never made education a priority. That's why Brownback made the biggest cut to education in state history to fund tax breaks that hurt our schools. That's why it took 3.5 years and a constitutional order before Brownback even acknowledged the problems facing our schools. And that's why the bill the governor signed yesterday is weighted down with unneeded special interest policies that harm our schools and may not even satisfy the Court's mandate.

I’m tired of Sam Brownback putting his personal political agenda before our Kansas kids. Join me today by contributing $25, $50 or $100 and together we will build a grassroots campaign that will elect leaders that respect our teachers and public schools.

Thank you for your continued support. Together we will win.


Joan Wagnon
Chair, Kansas Democratic Party

Bryan Lowery: "Brownback signs school finance bill" @ Wichita Eagle

[Excerpt] ... Brownback said that school districts will have flexibility to increase teacher pay in order to attract teachers.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said individual school districts could still decide to offer due process hearings but are freed from a state requirement.

“I think what’s being missed in this whole thing is the local control aspect. The school districts hire the teachers and negotiate the contract,” he said.

Wagle disputed that the policy, which was added to the bill without any hearings, had not been thoroughly vetted.

“We have talked about tenure reform for many, many years,” she said. Wagle added that teachers should not be treated as a special class.

Both the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity called for the governor to sign the bill.

Jeff Glendening, state director of AFP, was present at the bill signing, which he called a great day for Kansas students.

“I think having the ability for Kansas students to know that they have a good teacher and for parents to know that their kids have got a good teacher in the classroom is very important,” he said. Merrick walked by and patted him on the shoulder as he explained this point.

AFP’s foundation is chaired by David Koch, executive vice president of Wichita-based Koch Industries.... 

Read more at the Wichita Eagle.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

William Blum: "The Anti-Empire Report #127 - 07 April 2014" @ Killing Hope

Indoctrinating a new generation

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would now vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed. ... 

Read more and/or answer Professor Blum's request at: The Anti-Empire Report.

Grace Wyler: "The Bundy Ranch Standoff Was Only the Beginning for Right-wing Militias" @ Vice News Magazine

[Excerpt] ... For right-wing militias and paramilitary groups founded around a collective paranoid belief that the federal government is just looking for an excuse to impose martial law, images of armed federal agents forcibly seizing cows basically means it's DEFCON 1. By Saturday, as many as 1,000 anti-BLM protestors from as far away as Virginia, New Hampshire, and Georgia had set up camp in Bunkerville, an arid patch of land where the BLM was rounding up the Bundy cattle. Packing handguns and assault rifles, the protesters carried signs featuring slogans like “Tyranny Is Alive,” “Where's the Justice?” and “Militia Sighn In [sic]," and many said they were prepared for a shoot-out with the federal government. The mood was such that even Glenn Beck was wary of the crowd, announcing on his show that “there's about 10 or 15 percent of the people who are talking about this online that are truly frightening." ... [End of Excerpt]