Wednesday, July 29, 2015

President Obama Speaks to the People of Africa

During his trip to Kenya and Ethiopia, President Obama delivers remarks at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The President Holds a Bilateral Meeting with the African Union Headquarters Chairperson

President Obama delivers remarks in a bilateral meeting with African Union Headquarters Chairperson Dr. Dlamini Zuma.

The President Tours the Faffa Food Factory in Ethiopia

White House Press Briefing

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz briefs reporters and responds to questions on range of topics, including reports that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar died in April 2013 in Pakistan.

Video link: WH Press Briefing 

Source: C-Span

House Speaker Weekly Briefing

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) briefed reporters and responded to questions on his party’s legislative agenda.

Video link: Speaker Boehner

Source: C-Span

Senate Hearing on Campus Sexual Assaults

Republican and Democratic women senators as well as University of California President Janet Napolitano and other education officials testified at a Senate hearing on ways to combat sexual assaults on college campuses around the country.

Source: C-Span

Leo Shane on Veterans Affairs Department Accountability


Military Times Congressional Reporter Leo Shane talks about a House bill to expand the Veterans Affairs Department’s authority to fire or demote VA employees based on performance.

Source: C-Span

Senator Marco Rubio on National Security and Foreign Policy

2016 presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) talks about national security and fields questions from the audience at a moderated forum at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Source: C-Span

Gay CIA Contractor Disturbed after Homophobic Presentation

Former Navy SEAL Brett Jones tells Brian Ross his CIA teammates mocked his sexuality and compromised the trust he held in them during sensitive missions.

Lessons in Greek — for Leftists

 By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

As I said in the column which inaugurated my “Duopoly Watch” series for The Greanville Post, one of the most important books by the great leader on the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, was “The State and Revolution.”  Among other things, I noted:

“it deals with the nature of the state apparatus under capitalism. It is important to understand that the state apparatus never exists independently of the economic system of the country within which it stands.  Rather it is there to make sure that it, the economic system, stays firmly in place.  The disagreements between political parties in the capitalist nations come over how best to go about maintaining the ruling class’s control, the ruling class being those individuals, corporations, organizations, and interests that have their hands on the levers of economic power in the nation. In other words, the direct and principal beneficiaries of the rule of capital. 

“Concerning the nature of ‘constitutional democracy’ under capitalism, Ulyanov himself put it this way:
‘To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament – this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics’ ”.

Now, every once in a while comes along a leftist party, although pledged to operate within the confines of capitalist “constitutional democracy,” that truly believes that it can get elected (a), and (b), that it can really change ruling class control, through the parliamentary system. 

Well, Greek lesson 1: what has happened to Syriza and Tsipras shows, once again that that is not possible.  The ruling class is the ruling class, and short of revolution, as Lenin so rightly noted, it will always rule, one way or another.

Greek lesson 2:  The Greek ruling class seems to be coming out of the mess in very good shape.  They managed to make sure that the worst of the “austerity” measures, imposed by their brethren in the European Union, were carried out under the nominal governmental control of a “leftist” government rather than its “center-right” predecessor.  Of course it was the latter that was largely responsible for presiding over the making of the mess to begin with, e.g. (a VERY important article): “How Goldman Sachs Profited From the Greek Debt Crisis: The investment bank made millions by helping to hide the true extent of the debt, and in the process almost doubled it,” by Robert B. Reich (who, by the way, is no socialist). 

Please note also, that the tax increases demanded by the European Union do not seem to be falling on the Greek ruling class (although I may have missed something there), nor do the demanded “reforms” (read further punishment for the Greek working class to pay for the ruling class’ mistakes/greed) seem to include, for example, forcing the Greek billionaires to pay the taxes that they have avoided for years by shipping their profits overseas.

The upshot of all of this is that the Syriza government has now become the enforcer for the evermore punitive measures being imposed by the European Union on the Greek working class.

Greek lesson 3: The international capitalist ruling class (of which the Greek ruling class is of course a part) is absolutely intent on showing the people of Italy and Spain what would await them if they were to elect a left-wing government that would attempt something along the lines of what Syriza originally intended to do, if we are to take their rhetoric as a true reflection of intent (at bottom, force a significant amount of loan forgiveness upon the most irresponsible of the original lenders).  In my view, it is the teaching of this political lesson, even more rather than the “regardless of who was responsible for incurring them, good people pay off their debts, donchaknow” lesson, which Angela Merkel and the joint ruling classes of the EU nations, want to accomplish through the “negotiations.”

There are more lessons for the left in parliamentary so-called democracies, of course, but to my mind, thanks to Vladimir Ilyich, these are the most important ones.

Senior Editor, Politics, Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books. In addition to his role with The Greanville Post, he is a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement, a columnist for BuzzFlash@Truthout, a “Trusted Author” for OpEdNews, and the Editorial Director of and a Contributing Author to The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy.  Dr. Jonas’ latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013,, and available on Amazon.

Trailblazers in Black History: Nina Mae McKinney, The First Black Movie Star

Nina Mae became the first black movie star and popular entertainer in her time. Nina Mae became the first black woman to have a leading role in the first black cast movie "Hallelujah" and to be signed to a major studio, MGM. Though the movie had stereotypes, Nina Mae took her role as "chick" and introduced a new image of a black woman...beautiful, sexy, vivacious, lively, passionate, emotional, innocent but fierce. In the role she displayed her versatility as an actress, though she never acted before, her naturalness and knowledge of her culture came through and she brought her role alive and made the film a success but not without controversy, as with most of the black films of the time.

Read more here: Nina Mae McKinney

Today in History: July 29th

University of Cincinnati Police Officer Indicted for Murder in Death of Samuel Dubose

The white University of Cincinnati police officer who shot unarmed black man Samuel Dubose during a traffic stop has been indicted on a murder charge, a prosecutor announced Wednesday, saying the cop "purposely" killed the motorist and "should never have been a police officer."

In announcing the charge against officer Ray Tensing, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters lambasted the cop over the death of Dubose, 43, saying the fatal shooting was "the most asinine act I've ever seen a police officer make." 

Dubose was pulled over July 19 for having a missing front license plate.

During the news conference, prosecutors played footage from Tensing's body camera. 

Full article and accompanying video available here: University Cop Indicted for Murder

Source: NBC News

Seattle Mourns Murdered Chinatown Leader Donnie Chin

Just before three a.m. last Thursday morning, Seattle Chinatown-International District community leader and International District Emergency Center (IDEC) Director Donnie Chin was fatally shot in his car. Seattle Police do not believe that Chin was the intended target of the shooting. According to local media, his friends suspect that he may have been responding to a disturbance and gotten caught in the crossfire.

Full article available here: Seattle Mourns Donnie Chin

Source: NBC News

Feds Indict Pennsylvania US Rep. Fattah in Racketeering Case

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah

A longtime Philadelphia congressman who was indicted Wednesday paid off a campaign loan with charitable donations and federal grants, funneled campaign money to pay down his son's student loan debt and disguised a lobbyist's bribe as payment for a car he never sold, federal prosecutors said.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and four associates were charged with racketeering conspiracy. They also were charged with bribery, conspiracy to commit wire, honest services, bank and mail fraud, and money laundering, among other things.

Prosecutors say the charges covered several schemes. They allege Fattah used federal grants and donations to his educational foundation to pay back part of a wealthy campaign supporter's $1 million loan and that he helped arrange a $15 million federal grant for a nonexistent nonprofit in lieu of a $130,000 payment to a political consultant after his failed 2007 mayoral run.

"The public does not expect their elected officials to misuse campaign funds, misappropriate government funds, accept bribes or commit bank fraud," U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said. "These types of criminal acts betray the public trust and undermine faith in government."

Full article and video available here: Feds Indict Fattah

Source: NBC News

Russian Hackers Used Twitter to Reach U.S. Computers: Report

Russian government-backed hackers who penetrated high-profile U.S. government and defense industry computers this year used a method combining Twitter with data hidden in seemingly benign photographs, according to experts studying the campaign.

In a public report Wednesday, researchers at security company FireEye Inc said the group used the unusual tandem as a means of communicating with previously infected computers. FireEye has briefed law enforcement on what it found.

The technique, uncovered during a FireEye investigation at an unnamed victim organization, shows how government-backed hackers can shift tactics on the fly after they are discovered. 

Full article and video available here: Russian Hackers Used Twitter 

Source: Reuters/NBC News