Tag Archives: Poland

The People will only take so much – and we have reached that point

Written by Carol Benedict

White supremacists beating Deandre Harris in a Charlottesville parking ramp. Photo: Zach Roberts/Nation of Change

Across this country, we are witnessing the general population respond to the Charlottesville tragedy. Never since the Civil War have we seen such a divisive point. Even the Viet Nam era protests were more civilized than this, notwithstanding the killings at Kent State that to this day have never been served justice.

But what we are not talking about is scarier and even more detrimental to our way of life and what it says about Americans overall. What we are witnessing is the degeneration of a once proud society, now brought to its knees by what would have been considered just one year ago as preposterous and impossible.

In 1945, at the end of WWII, the world recoiled when the death of Benito Mussolini was reported in April. By 1956, civilization took to tearing down of the statues of dictators and rulers who were later judged to be on the wrong side of humanity, beginning with Stalin’s statue in Budapest. Saddam Hussein’s statue met the same fate in 2003 in the town of Firdos, Iraq. It followed with similar actions in other countries; Iran, Egypt, Ukraine and Poland, to name a few.

When Hussein’s statue was pulled down to a screaming throng of angry citizenry, many Americans looked on in horror, grateful nothing like THAT could ever happen in America. We were, after all, a nation of law and order, respect and civilized discourse.

In 2008, the world congratulated America for finally elevating itself to a seemingly post-racial society. Since that time, we have seen eight years of political obstruction referred to as “governance” in Washington DC, championed by Mitch McConnell , who proudly stated that the number one goal for the GOP was to obstruct any policy put forth by the Obama Administration.

In 2016, America responded to that recognition by our international friends and allies through electing a recognized businessman and self-elevated media celebrity with absolutely no political prowess or experience, to lead a country as if it were a corporate enterprise and all that matters is the bottom line profit margin at the end of the day. Along the way, he has collected the most incompetent cabinet that represents what Americans refer to as “the good ole’ boys” of white Caucasian men making the decisions for all of the country.

We now must ask ourselves, “What have we become? What will we accept as a society? Where do we turn when our own President praises the actions of racist bigots while promoting divisiveness through despicable stances on the first amendment protections for freedom of religion and freedom of the press?”

When it takes a ground-swelling effort from the veterans of this nation to protect the family of the victim killed in Charlottesville, we have said we will not take this any more.

Perhaps what we really need to say is, “The People will only take so much, and we have reached that point.”

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendent researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

Share

Protests in Poland as Right-Wing Ruling Party Dismantles Democracy

‘This is a blatant attack by Poland’s government on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law’

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-21-2017

Protesters across Poland have flooded the streets for the past week, condemning judicial reforms that will give the right-wing ruling party control over judge selections. (Grzegorz Żukowski/Flickr/cc)

Tens of thousands poured into the streets in Poland Thursday night, condemning proposed laws that would dramatically weaken the nation’s judicial system, just two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump visited the country and praised its commitment to freedom and democracy, speaking to “an audience of close to 15,000 enthusiastic, flag-waving Poles—many of them bused in by Poland’s ruling right-wing” party.

The pending judicial reform is just the latest in a series of anti-democratic measures adopted in Poland since the far-right Law and Justice Party (PiS) came to power in 2015. As the New York Times noted, the party has “increased government control over the news media, cracked down on public gatherings, and restricted the activities of nongovernmental organizations.” It has also limited female reproductive rights. Continue reading

Share

NATO and Russia ‘War Games’ Not Games At All

The nature and scale of ongoing exercises suggest ‘Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia.’

Written by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-12-15.

At the opening ceremony of a NATO exercise in Latvia this June. (Photo:Latvijas armija/flickr/cc)

At the opening ceremony of a NATO exercise in Latvia this June. (Photo:Latvijas armija/flickr/cc)

War games conducted by Russian and NATO forces go far beyond the hypothetical, raising the specter of a very real conflict on the European continent, a new study warns.

According to the European Leadership Network (ELN), a think tank based in London, “[o]ver the last 18 months, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the relationship between Russia and the West has deteriorated considerably”—at least in part due to war games that feed a “climate of mistrust.”

ELN’s report, Preparing for the Worst: Are Russian and NATO Military Exercises Making War in Europe more Likely? (pdf), analyzes a Russian ‘snap exercise’ in March involving 80,000 military personal from bases all across the country, and NATO’s Allied Shield set of war games conducted on air, land, and sea in June, which involved 15,000 personnel from 22 countries.

Though both sides “may maintain that these operations are targeted against hypothetical opponents, the nature and scale of them indicate otherwise: Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia,” the authors write.

NATO’s activities, for example, are “clearly intended to simulate the kinds of operations NATO forces would need to engage in, in the context of a military crisis or confrontation with Russia somewhere in the Baltic region,” the report reads, while the scale and geographical distribution of Russia’s drill “means it could only have been a simulated war with U.S.-led NATO.”

“We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable,” the report continues, “but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe.”

The exercises also indicate “what each side sees as its most exposed areas,” ELN states, with NATO concentrating its activities in the Baltic States and Poland and Russia focusing primarily on the Arctic and High North, the seaport city of Kaliningrad, occupied Crimea, and its border areas with NATO members Estonia and Latvia.

While Russia and NATO both insist that their moves are defensive in nature, the authors argue that war games can be easily perceived “as provocative and deliberate aggravation of the crisis.”

To “defuse or at least minimize the tensions” between the world powers, the report recommends increased transparency and communication around scheduling of exercises; “restraint in terms of size or scenarios used in exercises;” and—most grandly—the immediate commencement of “conceptual work” on a new treaty limiting deployment of specific categories of weapons.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Share

We Can Read

Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee releases its long-awaited report on the CIA’s use of torture as an interrogation technique after  the September 11 terror attacks. As usual with any report like this, there’s some things we know already, some things that we’ll find out and some things that will remain unknown to the general public.

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What we know already.

The formal probe into the CIA’s program began in 2009, in the first of the Obama administration. It’s taken years for Senate investigators to review and analyze more than 6 million cables, memos and other records. The final report is more than 6,000 pages long, and has over 35,000 footnotes. Continue reading

Share