Tag Archives: politics

Juan Cole: John Kerry acknowledges Israeli apartheid and 5 ways he is understating it

Juan Cole: John Kerry acknowledges Israeli apartheid and 5 ways he is understating it

“Israel itself was ethnically cleansed of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948, and was designated ‘Jewish,’ such that the expelled Palestinians (now millions strong) were denied the right to return to their homes.  Some 70% of the residents of the Gaza Strip are from southern Israel, and cannot return to their nearby homes in cities such as Sderot, where Israelis have settled Ethiopians and Thai guest workers.  In the Palestinian West Bank, some 600,000 Israeli squatters have usurped significant amounts of land from Palestinians, for which they paid nothing to the original owners, and their squatter settlements are off-limits to Palestinians, who cannot live in them.”

 

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The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting

The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting

“Now we have McCutcheon v. FEC, where the Court, in yet another controversial 5-4 opinionwritten by Roberts, struck down the limits on how much an individual can contribute to candidates, parties and political action committees. So instead of an individual donor being allowed to give $117,000 to campaigns, parties and PACs in an election cycle (the aggregate limit in 2012), they can now give up to $3.5 million, Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports. 

The Court’s conservative majority believes that the First Amendment gives wealthy donors and powerful corporations the carte blanche right to buy an election but that the Fifteenth Amendment does not give Americans the right to vote free of racial discrimination.”

 

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Homophobia: Africa’s new apartheid

Homophobia: Africa’s new apartheid

“The construction of sin and categorical notions of sexuality over the past four centuries on the continent are inextricably linked to colonialism, the Church and the ambitions of the state. And ‘independence’ from the colonial powers, as it came, was a shame, for it often did little to inspire independent thought. If anything, the struggle for gay rights in so many African countries today tells us about a continent still battling the demons of colonialism, a continent that is still in the process of negotiating an identity – as articulated, again, through the lens of the colonial master. Among the greatest challenges many African democracies face today are the continued existence of one-party states and the lack of strong civil institutions.”

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Ukraine Protesters Shot Dead as Clashes With Police Continue

World

Updated 8:27 a.m. EST

At least two people were reportedly shotdead during violent clashes between police and protesters in Kiev on Wednesday, the first fatalities so far during mass demonstrations that have roiled the country since President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in November.

Oleg Muiy, coordinator of medical services for the protesters, told the Kiyv Post that one 30-something victim had “four wounds to the head, neck and on the chest. The experts will check whether the bullets were rubber.” Another protester death also appeared to be caused by a gunshot wound, and a third died from falling near the scene, the Associated Press reports. Prosecutors later said the first two deaths were caused by live ammunition.

The violence escalated…

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The NSA is Even Spying on Computers That Aren’t Online

Swampland

A computer doesn’t need to be online for the National Security Agency to take a peek.

The spy agency has managed to sneak surveillance software onto almost 100,000 computers worldwide, and is even able to use computers that aren’t connected to the Internet for spying and cyberattacks, the New York Times reports. The NSA relies on secret channels of radio waves that are transmitted from tiny circuits and USB cards implanted by NSA-friendly spies or manufacturers to snoop on offline computers.

The NSA targets include units of the Chinese army, Russian military networks, systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, European Union trade institutions, as well as U.S. partners like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, the Times reports, in the latest details to emerge from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks.

The spying agency said it does not use implantation software or its radio frequency technology inside…

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Why the Iran deal is good for U.S.

Global Public Square

By Laicie Heeley, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Laicie Heeley is the director of Middle East and defense policy at The Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

Two weeks after the P5+1 powers reached a deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for some sanctions relief, the American public is still trying to make sense of the deal.

Multiple polls, including from Washington Post/ABC and Reuters/Ipsos indicate strong American support for the deal with Iran. Yet a new Pew Research poll suggests many Americans are skeptical about Iran’s intentions, with a plurality disapproving of the agreement.  Given that the agreement is so complex, it’s understandable that the U.S. public is making up its mind about the deal. But the reality is that after decades of disappointment, the United States is finally approaching a win with Iran. This is a good…

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Human rights a third class passenger on Mexico’s train

Global Public Square

By Javier Zúñiga, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Javier Zúñiga is a special adviser for Amnesty International. The views expressed are his own.

When Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto came to power a year ago, he was the new face of the old Partido Revolucionario Institucional, the political machinery that dominated the country for more than 70 years. With his carefully built image of a dynamic young professional, Peña Nieto started his term in office by launching multiple reform initiatives, covering numerous aspects of daily life in the country. He claims that his policies will put Mexico on a promising train to modernity and prosperity. But a year on, what has he really achieved?

One of Peña Nieto’s early commitments was to end the cycle of human rights violations and violence that so characterised former President Felipe Calderon’s administration. Sadly, he has not delivered on that promise: On…

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Can Iraq be saved?

Can Iraq be saved?

“Oil money pours in abundance to both the government budgetary allocations and the coffers of the feuding factions. The money allows the parties to guarantee funds to buy off opponents, and it helps maintain prosperity and supports a massive internal security apparatus. Iraq is experiencing what is called ‘conflict resources‘, a complex phenomenon which argues that while revenues from resources extracted in conflict zones may delay or stop the collapse of the state, it perpetuates the fighting. In other words, Iraq might be able to survive the chaos as long as oil prices remain high. Yet, there is no guarantee that different dynamics would not leave it in a freefall. “

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2013 elections show Latinos and young voters can’t be pinned down

2013 elections show Latinos and young voters can’t be pinned down

“Thus, it seems to me that last night’s elections are confirming the trends we’re seeing nationally in at least two respects: Democrats may very well have loads of success in future elections, but they cannot count on any sort of permanent support from Latino and young voters. These groups have shown a willingness to abandon President Obama and Democrats and vote like the rest of the electorate under the right circumstances, as manifested in New Jersey and Virginia in 2013.”

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Syria and our educational system: A discussion with Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Lawrence Davidson and Ilan Pappé

Syria and our educational system: A discussion with Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Lawrence Davidson and Ilan Pappé

PAPPÉ: While in the American academia the knowledge production on the Middle East in general and Syria in particular has been considerably transformed in recent years, the dissemination of these more updated views fails to reach the conventional educational system. For two main reasons: Politics can still subdue and censor views that are not endorsed ideologically, and academics have still not learned how to write openly, directly and, one should say, courageously about these issues.”

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