Gary Leupp: Putin’s “Threats” to the Baltics: a Myth to Promote NATO Unity (CounterPunch)
In his book 2017: War with Russia published a few months ago, former deputy commander of NATO Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff predicts that to prevent NATO expansion Russia will annex eastern Ukraine and invade the Baltic state of Latvia in May 2017. Most dismiss the book as sensationalist fantasy, but it draws attention to the fact that NATO is in fact aggressively expanding, and holding large-scale war games in Romania, Lithuania, and Poland, and Russia is truly concerned.
Amina Ismail: Egypt Abducts and Tortures Hundreds, Amnesty Report Says (Haaretz)
Egyptian security agents have abducted and tortured “at least several hundred people,” some as young as 14, in an unprecedented spike in enforced disappearances aimed at silencing opponents, Amnesty International asserted in a report published on Wednesday.
Gideon Levy: Religious Ultranationalist Zionists Have Taken Over Israel (Haaretz; also via Google News)
First they built the settlements, then they killed off the two-state solution, now they are free to turn to their next target.
We can already announce the winner. Religious ultranationalism, which hides behind the worn-out name “religious Zionism,” has won, big time. With the appointment of the new police commissioner, head of the Mossad and the expected appointment of the attorney general, each belonging to their camp, they have captured additional outposts of decisive power. Now the entire top leadership of the legal system (the state prosecutor and Tel Aviv district prosecutor are theirs too) and part of the defense establishment is in their hands.
Donald Macintyre: Israeli settlements: EU fails to act on its diplomats’ report (Guardian)
The EU has sidelined a call from its most senior diplomats in Jerusalem to step up efforts to halt trade with Jewish settlements in occupied territory despite Brussels’ repeated public protests that the settlements are illegal and threaten the prospects for a two-state solution.
The diplomats said labelling of produce from settlements in European supermarkets should be more strictly enforced. They also called for further EU guidelines on not recognising the settlements as part of Israel…
The tone of the annual Heads of Mission report on Jerusalem, written after several months of violent attacks in the city and the West Bank and kept secret until now, is in marked contrast to the recent report by the international Middle East quartet of the US, EU, Russia and the UN.
Nir Hasson: Border Police Deliberately Provoke Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Internal Reports Say (Haaretz, also via Google News)
In one such initiation of ‘friction,’ a confrontation was sparked in which a boy was shot in the head with a sponged-tipped bullet, putting him in a coma.
Russell Mokhiber: Brilliant Bernie Burns It Down (CounterPunch)
Bernie endorses Hillary.
How disgusting is that? Not surprising.
Predictable in fact. But disgusting nonetheless…
Bernie is cut from the same cloth as Dennis Kucinich — wedded to the corrupt party. Bowing down to power. Kucinich got a ride with Obama on Air Force One. Bernie got a hug from Hillary.
That’s what they do.
Build a “movement.”
Then burn it down.
Dave Lindorff: Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton, Candidate of Wall Street and Corporate Power (CounterPunch)
Bernie Sanders threw in the towel today in his epic campaign to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, standing on a stage in Portsmouth, New Hampshire beside the woman he had spent the whole primary season denouncing as a tool of the corporate elite and especially of the Wall Street banking cabal, and saying he endorsed her as the party’s candidate for president of the United States.
Michael Hudson, Paul Jay: Is the Real Scandal the Clinton Foundation? (CounterPunch)
[T]he military-industrial complex is one of the big contributors to the Clinton Foundation, as is Saudi Arabia, and many of the parties who are directly affected by her decisions.
Jill Stein: Revolution Undermined: On Bernie Sanders’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton (CounterPunch)
I join millions of Americans who see Hillary Clinton’s campaign as the opposite of what they and Bernie Sanders have fought for. Despite her penchant for flip flopping rhetoric, Hillary Clinton has spent decades consistently serving the causes of Wall Street, war and the Walmart economy…
Sadly, Sanders is one of a long line of true reformers that have been undermined by the Democratic Party. The eventual suppression of the Sanders campaign was virtually guaranteed from the beginning with super-delegates and super Tuesdays, that were created after George McGovern’s nomination to prevent grassroots campaigns from winning the nomination again…
Each time a progressive challenger like Sanders, Dennis Kucinich or Jesse Jackson has inspired hope for real change, the Democratic Party has sabotaged them while marching to the right, becoming more corporatist and militarist with each election cycle.
Binoy Kampmark: Ending With a Whimper: the Political Surrender of Bernie Sanders (CounterPunch)
Robert Fantina: A Perfect Couple: Sanders and Clinton (CounterPunch)
Much to the surprise of absolutely no one but his most ardent fans, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has sold his soul and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
Joshua Frank: The Stench of Bernie Sanders and the “Unsafe State Strategy” (CounterPunch)
[W]as it really a defeat, or was that staged rally with Hillary and Bernie the deal all along? Had Bernie simply been the DNC’s dupe and wrangled up America’s disgruntled youth into the stinky feedlot of the Democratic Party, so that Hillary wouldn’t have to do the dirty work herself? Is that why Bernie was so damn afraid to go after her email scandal in those debates? Was that why he refused to “go negative” even though the Clinton camp never held back their contempt for Bernie? Is that why Sanders refused to take on her egregious foreign policies (or was that because he supported most of them)? It really shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise regardless, at the outset Bernie said he planned to back Hillary in the general election if his primary bid burned out — and Bern out it did.
The lesser-evil voting debate on an article by Noam Chomsky and John Halle continues:
David McDonald: Lesser Evil Politics: Really, Noam? Hubert Humphrey? (CounterPunch)
Daniel Falcone: What Readers Need to Know about Noam Chomsky’s Position on Lesser-Evil Voting (CounterPunch)
Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Bono etc.: 23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black in America (Mic/YouTube)
David Hungerford: Brexit: It’s Not About the EU, It’s About the EZ (CounterPunch)
Reunified Germany has the largest population and the largest economy in Europe. The expansion of the European Union and the Euro Zone were driven by an alliance of Germany and France. From the beginning there were those who understood that Masstricht and the euro were intended to be instruments of German domination of Europe…
Germany is a manufacturing powerhouse. Huge export accounts are the key to its longer term economic stability. One justification of the EU is it keeps the Germans busy making autos and elevators instead of panzers. But the problem isn’t Germany. It’s capitalism.
Due to the common currency, the Eurozone is an unrestricted export domain. Trade imbalances can no longer be corrected by changes in currency exchange rates.
Luciana Bone: Amazing Brexit: Identity and Class Politics (CounterPunch)
From its inception in 1951 as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), through its phase as the European Economic Community (EEC) formed in 1958, to the treaty known as the Single European [Market] Act of 1986, setting the birth of the European Union (EU) for 1992, the planners of the free-trade area in Europe knew that the consequences would be unemployment and migration—the result of curbing the power of unions, depressing wages, and removing the social safety net. If there is a culprit in the Brexit vote it’s the “free trade” orthodoxy of the EU and its assault on the welfare state and workers’ rights.
But this has not been the perspective from which officialdom and the pundocrats pronounced their hysterical verdicts. In a classic move of reversing cause and effect, they blamed the victims. Even more cynically, they divided the victims for public consumption into good guys (immigrants) and bad guys (the British working class), thus setting the liberal humanitarians howling at those crude, illiberal, and anti-immigrant workers. Brilliant societal mind fuck.