From the outset Canadian officials had an incredibly expansive definition of NATO’s supposed defensive character, which says an “attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies.” As part of the Parliamentary debate over NATO external minister Lester Pearson said: “There is no better way of ensuring the security of the Pacific Ocean at this particular moment than by working out, between the great democratic powers, a security arrangement the effects of which will be felt all over the world, including the Pacific area.”
Human waves flooded the Israel-Gaza fence beginning Saturday morning marking the first anniversary of the Great March of Return protests, facing off against Israeli forces behind the fortified barbed-wire fence. The demonstrators gathered despite rain, and even as Egypt is seeking to mediate a deal to end the blockade of Gaza. For the fifty-second week in succession, Israeli military’s tear gas canisters, live rounds and rubber bullets broke into the shouts of demonstrators, more than 40,000 (according to Israeli army), gathering at several locations along the border. Three Palestinians were killed and more than 200 others injured.
National Labor Relations Board data indicate that 2018 marked a huge upsurge in strikes by workers across the U.S. The year saw 21 major work stoppages involving 485,000 workers, compared with 25,000 in 2017. The most obvious takeaway is this: In the year of the Janus Supreme Court decision that prevented unions from charging fees to non-union workers who still benefit from union-negotiated contracts, workers were anything but cowed. Workers struck across the country, including hotel workers, university graduate students, United Steelworkers locals, and staff of the University of California Medical Centers up and down the state.
This week in a small remote corner of North Carolina, two mega fossil fuel corporations, Duke and Dominion, may have met their match. In the Robeson County Courthouse in Lumberton Lumbee and Tuscarora neighbors of a proposed metering and regulation(M&R) station (including a 350-foot radio tower) and a compressor station (which already exists) challenged their County Commissioners' permitting of these projects. Because these facilities are essential to the construction of Atlantic Coast Pipeline, they were also taking on the corporate owners of the ACP.
Post-flood satellite images of Mozambique show that Cyclone Idai submerged about 835 square miles of homes and fields — an area larger than New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Boston combined. Aid workers in Mozambique describe the floodwaters as “inland oceans extending for miles and miles.” Idai’s official death toll in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi reached 761 on Monday, but that total will surely rise. There are reports of hundreds of bodies alongside a single road as floodwaters began to recede.
The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018, its 25th anniversary edition, highlights record sea level rise, as well as exceptionally high land and ocean temperatures over the past four years. This warming trend has lasted since the start of this century and is expected to continue. In 2018, most of the natural hazards which affected nearly 62 million people were associated with extreme weather and climate events. Floods continued to affect the largest number of people, more than 35 million.
Neither the Palestinian protesters nor the Israeli soldiers will back down. Israel’s government is undaunted by the UN findings. The Palestinians have no choice but to protest. The confrontation will escalate on the first anniversary of the March. The Israelis will be harsh, harsher to give Benjamin Netanyahu the kind of muscular response that allows him to bully his way back to power.
The imposter fraud Guaido is having a difficult time organizing people to support his coup against President Maduro. Our colleague, Eva K. Bartlett, who joined us on a recent peace delegation in Venezuela and has remained behind to continue to report on activities there. She has been trying to go to a Guaido opposition protest and yesterday went to several locations where they were supposed to take place. She was unable to find any opposition of significance and no Guaido. Venezuela's Comptroller General Elvis Amoroso announced Thursday that the opposition politician Juan Guaido has been barred from holding public office for 15 years over irregularities in his financial activities.
The United States came under sharp criticism from 14 other United Nations Security Council nations for its decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights in violation of international law. The Security Council met on Wednesday at the request of Syria, which in a letter to the council called the US move a "flagrant violation" of UN resolutions. Speaker after speaker at the council session supported Syria's sovereignty over the Golan Heights and opposed Israel's annexation after Trump's proclamation. "This unilateral action does nothing to assist in finding a long-term peaceful solution to the conflict in the Middle East," South Africa's UN Ambassador Jerry Matjila said.
President Donald Trump and his White House team may have been cleared of collusion with the Kremlin in the 2016 presidential election. That startling conclusion by Special Counsel Robert Mueller after nearly two years of investigation, might be viewed by some as giving Trump freedom to now get on with normalizing relations with Moscow. Don’t bet on it. The fundamental issue for Washington is that Russia is not a vassal for American imperialism. That’s why there will be no reset. There will only be reset when American imperialism is replaced by a law-abiding, genuinely democratic US government. Until then, expect more US hostility, confrontation and even war towards Russia.
“The power of the communists, wherever that power flourishes, depends upon their ability to suppress and destroy the free institutions that stand against them. They pick them off one by one: the political parties, the trade unions, the churches, the schools, the universities, the trade associations, even the sporting clubs and the kindergartens. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is meant to be a declaration to the world that this kind of conquest from within will not in the future take place amongst us.” – March 28, 1949, Lester Pearson, External Affairs Minister, House of Commons
A manifesto signed by 464 Brazilian jurists calls for the release of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been held as a political prisoner since April 7, 2018, after being sentenced on the second instance for passive corruption and money laundering without any evidence against him. The document is addressed to the ministers of the Fifth Panel of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), Felix Fischer, Jorge Mussi, Reynaldo Soares da Fonseca and Ribeiro Dantas. In the text, jurists point out that Lula is a victim of injustice and violence practiced by the state.
I purposely chose the word facetious, because South Carolina’s Dept. of Correction’s Director Bryan Stirling has absurdly decided to address serious issued in South Carolin’a prisons with impotent legislation. The problem in South Carolina’s prisons is NOT the fact that a few prisoners have obtained access to cell phones. The problem is that South Carolina’s prisons, some of the most dangerous and deadly in country, are in devastatingly horrific conditions and prisoners have been using cell phones to expose the issues that they are forcibly confined to.
Once more, punctually, Israel – with the vengeance of Zeus – has begun to bomb Gaza. The sounds and smells of war are never absent from Gaza, which has – for the past dozen years – been victim of an Israeli stranglehold and of Israeli bombings. It helps Israel that the United States is fully behind its policy of annihilation. Trump’s colonial declaration – against UN resolution 497 (1981) – to ‘give’ the Golan Heights to Israel has numbed Israel of any ethical concern. With full US backing, it will seize Jerusalem and the Golan and try to do what it wants to Palestine. Numbers of dead and injured are easy to come by, but these do not capture what it means for the Palestinians in Gaza who live in a cage.
The most important question about Medicare for All is a simple one: If other industrialized countries can afford to offer high-quality universal health care to their citizens, why can’t the United States? We’ve been fooled to believe that the USA requires a uniquely expensive, fragmented and administratively complex system of health care coverage. But that’s just plain wrong. In a seminal paper published in 2003, Uwe Reinhardt and Gerard Anderson found “it’s the prices, stupid” that set the U.S. health care system apart. It’s not that care in the United States is higher quality. Nor is it that we use more of it than other countries.