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January 24, 2017

Still ‘Je suis Charlie’ Two Years On

Indian journalists and cartoonists protested and expressed solidarity with victims of attack on a Paris-based media house "Charlie Hebdo" by drawing their creations and lighting candles in New Delhi, main visual by Cartoonist Shekhar Gurera

Photo by Pk4wp

[Editors (Zach) note: This was originally posted on Sarah’s facebook page and she thankfully allowed me to share it with you. Sarah is a human rights lawyer based in Paris and London. You can read her piece on Erik Prince’s plan for the refugee crisis in Europe here.]  Those who knew and/or followed me then remember how difficult that day was for me; some have ended friendships over it, some have started one, some have disagreed but respected my grief. I was present on the scene and I have lost friends. I have lost journalists. I have peered across the…

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Blackwater’s Erik Prince Has a Solution for the Refugee Crisis

erik

The last thing the refugee crisis needs is Erik Prince. Last we heard from Erik Prince, he had set up sail for the new shores of Abu Dhabi, away from pesky congressional hearings about unlawful killings in Iraq, and close to the security-laden borderlands of the Horn of Africa. His new venture, Frontier Services Group, provides logistical and material support in conflict zones as well as aid delivery. We’d like to seize the opportunity of a new year to wish the former Blackwater CEO the best in his new endeavours. In an opinion-piece penned for the respectable Financial Times, the…

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Obama Comes to Alaska: We Have to Save the Ice so We Can Break It

4B2G8340

As I drove, I imagined having to explain to a Secret Service agent that the reason my boots set off the sniffer dog is because the last two places I wore them were a pig farm and a gun show respectively. So, there was a perfectly good explanation why I smelled of gunpowder, and fertilizer. “No really! I swear! I still have the pictures on my phone!” I was glad I had allowed extra time. I had allowed so much extra time, it turns out, that I was the first member of the press at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER) and waited in…

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Putin Snubs Alaska – Not Invasion-Worthy

putin-palin-view-from-russia

You can finally stop scanning the horizon with binoculars from your porch, Alaska. Turns out Vladimir Putin doesn’t want us. At least that’s what he’s claiming in front of the cameras. The Russian President and former KGB agent participated in an annual televised call-in show, where he answered questions from viewers on a wide range of topics. One of those callers asked Putin if he had any plans to “acquire Alaska.” Apparently Vlad does not find the 49th state invasion worthy. “What would you need Alaska for?” Putin asked, reminding viewers that even though Russia had sold off Alaska on the cheap back in…

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Chevron & Ecuador: The Real Story

Cofan Leader

Last week, The New York Times reported: Chevron won a major victory. A federal judge in Manhattan ruled that a two-decade legal effort to punish the company was marred by fraud and corruption, making it increasingly likely that the oil company would be ultimately successful in beating back the legal and financial challenge. There’s $9.5 billion up in the air, and the oil giant Chevron will do anything to make sure it doesn’t have to pay up. Greg Palast, who has covered the story for BBC Television says,“The judge is completely, utterly full of s**t.” Palast, who  investigated the story for…

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Don Young & 22 in GOP Oppose TPP Fast Track

Congressman Don Young (R-AK) at a recent Federal Overreach Summit in Anchorage.

“Fast track.” Sounds productive. Sounds exciting. Sounds all, “Git ‘er dun.” But in reality, what fast track trade authority does is allow a President to sign and enter into a trade agreement before Congress gets to vote on it, have a guaranteed vote within a set number of days, limited debate, and no amendments allowed. Presidents including Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush requested the authority, which has been used 16 times since its inception in the 1970s. And now President Obama would like to have it while negotiating trade agreements via the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). [Here’s a quick…

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NSA Spying, Tax Fraud Join Trade Debacle

US Trade Representative Michael Froman (left), EU Trade Chief Karel de Gucht (right)

Although the horrendous TPP (“Trans Pacific Partnership”) pact is the most pressing global trade story here in the U.S., the current round of the TPP’s European cousin (aka TAFTA) is taking the cake in Belgium for sheer entertainment value. At the core of both pacts are sweeping new corporate rights and privileges, like the investor-state system. That little gem allows corporations to sue governments in foreign tribunals for taxpayer compensation of any domestic policy they claim undermines their “expected future profits.” Take a minute and sit with that last sentence until it really sinks in. Developing nations seeking commercial relationships with the…

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TPP 101 in Less than 4 Minutes. Go.

tpp

You’ve likely heard about the “TPP” in the news lately. You know it has 3 letters. You may even know that they stand for Trans Pacific Partnership. You may know that it’s considered a bad thing by the left, the right, and everyone in between. You may know it has something to do with trade… aaaand you may have gotten overwhelmed. Or you may be frustrated that other fairly engaged people seem not to know what it’s all about and why it matters. Here’s a great primer that takes less than four minutes, featuring Amy Goodman from Democracy Now interviewing…

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Springtime for Goldman Sachs

Palast

You just knew it had to be one of those brie-biting, Sartre-spewing, overly-garlicked Frenchmen who pushed the Earth’s finance system over a cliff. This week, US prosecutors finally began the trial of the only person on the entire planet whom they have charged with the financial crimes that sank worldwide stock markets by trillions in 2008 and left millions homeless and jobless, from Detroit to Manchester. By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine Amazingly, say prosecutors, it all came down to a single Frenchman, Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre, only 29 years old at the time. Even Julius Caesar waited until he turned 51…

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Today is Malala Day: She Speaks at the UN on Education for All

Cropped Malala

Malala Yousafzai, the girl who fought for education in Pakistan made famous by her diaries on BBC, spoke at the UN today less than a year after she was shot  in the head by members of the Taliban. Her voice didn’t waver, it was strong and clear. Today is now Malala Day – it’s her 16th Birthday. [Friendly warning: I’m a grown man and I openly wept for 16 straight minutes while watching this… and am tearing up as I type this blog… you might want to schedule in some time to listen to it and really deal with it….

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