Nato's action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove | John Pilger 'What is certain is that Barack Obama’s rapacious coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap.' Photograph: Anatoliy Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images I watched Dr Strangelove the other day. I have seen it perhaps a dozen times; it makes sense of senseless news. When Major TJ "King" Kong goes "toe to toe with the Rooskies" and flies his rogue B52 nuclear bomber to a target in Russia, it's left to General "Buck" Turgidson to reassure the president. The genius of Stanley Kubrick's film is that it accurately represents the cold war's lunacy and dangers. In 1964, the year Dr Strangelove was made, "the missile gap" was the false flag. Strategic nuclear missiles from the cold war. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato enlargement project. And there is China. In an arc extending from Australia to Japan, China will face US missiles and nuclear-armed bombers.
Thom Hartmann: How America Killed Its Middle Class April 17, 2014 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. There's nothing "normal" about having a middle class. Despite what you might read in the Wall Street Journal or see on Fox News, capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. At the top there is a very small class of superrich. So, for average working people, there is no such thing as a middle class in "normal" capitalism. You can see this trend today in America. This is how quickly capitalism reorients itself when the brakes of regulation and taxes are removed - this huge change was done in less than 35 years. The only ways a working-class "middle class" can come about in a capitalist society are by massive social upheaval - a middle class emerged after the Black Plague in Europe in the 14th century - or by heavily taxing the rich.
DN! AMY GOODMAN: A new analysis by the Associated Press finds that budget cuts imposed this year under sequestration promise to to be far more painful in 2014. Spending is already frozen at 2013 sequestration levels, and the operating budgets of federal agencies could shrink by billions more. The cuts now in place will remain in effect for the next eight years unless Congress acts to change them. Federal funding for food stamps alone could face a nearly $10 billion reduction over the next decade as part of a compromise bill to break a House-Senate deadlock on spending. Meanwhile, a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds the cuts outlined in the House Republicans’ version of the bill would disqualify some 170,000 U.S. military veterans from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, which provides food aid to one-in-seven Americans. We welcome you to Democracy Now! Click here to support this global independent news hour today. AMY GOODMAN: Name names.
Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'? | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment A new study partly-sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common." The independent research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists.
Why are people racist? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Joseph Harker I first felt the force of racism as a six- or seven-year-old in the playground. I was the only black child at school, (and a fairly light-skinned one at that), yet I was marked out as different by my class “friends”, whose daily entertainment was to surround me in a circle and, together, repeatedly shout, “Nigger!”. As soon as I went to one child to get him to stop, he’d laughingly say: “Sorry, I didn’t mean it”. Then I’d approach the next child, and he’d say the same; meanwhile, the first would start the chant again. This would carry on for the full break time, or until the group was bored, with no intervention whatsoever from the teachers. Why did these children act like this? For me, it felt far more visceral. Even earlier than that, I was aware of race. Prejudice is, of course, a universal trait. But to prejudge is to make a decision about someone based on minimal information – and despite the obvious flaws in this thinking, research shows that it endures.