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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:33 pm 
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Study: US is an Oligarchy
By Gordon Haber, April 18, 2014


Image.Global Media Coverage: US is an Oligarchy


It’s official: America is run by corporations and rich people. Or so says a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities.

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And how did they prove that Joe Sex-Pack is getting the shaft? The authors looked at 1779 surveys on policy issues between 1981 and 2002. Using a “quadratic logistic regression technique,” whatever that is, the authors grouped the respondents by level of income—poor, median and relatively affluent. Their opinions were then compared to those of business groups (such as defense contractors and oil companies) and mass interest groups (like the NRA and the Teamsters).

The authors thus concluded that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy.” No surprise there, right? But it is surprising to learn that, just like your average schmo, the interest groups “have little or no independent influence.”

Although the breathless headlines suggest otherwise, the authors never baldly state that the U.S. is run by an oligarchy. Instead they believe that the study supports the related theories of Economic Elite Domination, which means (obviously) that the rich folks run the show, and Biased Pluralism, wherein interest groups—especially business groups—have the most influence. Read more »


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:54 pm 
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WSJ

Russia, U.S. Trade Charges of Violating Ukraine Deal
By L. ALPERT, Moscow and CAROL LEE in Kiev, Ukraine


Image.(Read the latest updates on the crisis in Ukraine.)


Russia and Ukraine, backed by the U.S., traded accusations of violating the agreement made in Geneva to defuse tensions between them, as Vice President Joe Biden arrived Monday in Kiev with a warning of new sanctions. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the Ukrainian government of flagrantly violating last week's agreement by not moving to immediately disarm what he called extremists in Ukraine. more...


Image.RT: Lavrov: US should face responsibility for powers it installed in Kiev


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:55 pm 
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Image.NYT: Ukraine Crisis in Maps

A visual survey of the continuing dispute, including satellite images of Russian naval positions and maps showing political, cultural and economic factors in the crisis.

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MILITARY ANALYSIS
Russia Displays a New Military Prowess in Ukraine’s East
By Michael R. Gordonapril 21, 2014

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Russia of behaving in a “19th-century fashion” because of its annexation of Crimea. But Western experts who have followed the success of Russian forces in carrying out President Vladimir V. Putin’s policy in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have come to a different conclusion about Russian military strategy. They see a military disparaged for its decline since the fall of the Soviet Union skillfully employing 21st-century tactics that combine cyberwarfare, an energetic information campaign and the use of highly trained special operation troops to seize the initiative from the West.

“It is a significant shift in how Russian ground forces approach a problem,” said James G. Stavridis, the retired admiral and former NATO commander. “They have played their hand of cards with finesse.” Read more »


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:55 pm 
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Image.AFP: Ukraine orders military operation against rebels after Biden leaves

Kiev (AFP) - Ukraine relaunched military operations against pro-Kremlin separatists late Tuesday, hours after US Vice President Joe Biden ended a two-day Kiev visit in which he warned Russia over its actions in the former Soviet republic. The US Defence Department at the same time announced it was sending 600 US troops to neighbouring Poland and to Baltic countries for "exercises".

Russia already has tens of thousands of its troops massed on Ukraine's eastern border. The latest moves underscored the severity of the crisis that has brought East-West relations to their most perilous point since the end of the Cold War. Read more »


Image.TST: US sends troops to bolster Poland

US Army scouts training in Poland: America has already sent fighter jets there (US Army Photo/Alamy) - A small contingent of American troops is to be dispatched to Poland in a move designed to put pressure on President Vladimir Putin and signal Nato’s resolve to resist Russian expansionism.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:56 pm 
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"Intersex is as common in nature as male and female. Intersex humans are common too, and in many ancient 'traditional' societies they were valued as gifted healers, teachers, seers/shamans or religious leaders. Sadly, over centuries with the rise to Global power of a certain kind of homophobic religious fundamentalism, sex and gender atypical intersex people have been demonized and shamed into hiding and social invisibility. Now intersex people and their allies are fighting back, and of course this is part of humanity's own 'spiritual journey' of 'self-realization'." from: Facebook

see also:

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http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segmen ... 2ff90001bb


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:56 pm 
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Russian social media CEO quits, flees country
By Laura Mills, Associated Press


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Moscow (AP) — The founder of Russia's leading social media network — a wunderkind often described as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg — has left his post as CEO and fled the country as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership. The slow-motion ouster of Pavel Durov from the network known as VKontakte, or "In Contact," is the latest sign that independent media outlets in Russia have become increasingly imperiled.

Although months in the making, the loss of Durov's leadership in VKontakte means that the space for free speech on the Russian web could shrink even further. Users on VKontakte were even spreading jokes this week that the new nickname for the "In Contact" website should be "In Censorship." Read more »


Image.Photos

- In this photo taken Saturday, May 19, 2012, Pavel Durov, founder of Russia's leading social network site VKontakte, or "in contact", sits in a cafe in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Creator of Russia's leading social network Durov left his post as CEO on Tuesday April 22, 2014, and is understood to have left Russia, one week after he posted online what he said were documents from the security services demanding personal details from 39 Ukraine-linked groups on VKontakte.(AP Photo/Roman Kulik)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:31 pm 
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AFP

Palestinians vow unity as Israel peace talks teeter
By Adel Zaanoun, AFP, April 23, 2014


Image.Haaretz: U.S. 'disappointed' by Palestinian reconciliation deal

Head of the Hamas government Ismail Haniyeh and senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed sign a reconciliation agreement in Gaza City April 23, 2014. Photo by Reuters


Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Rival Palestinian leaders from the West Bank and Gaza Strip forged a new reconciliation agreement on Wednesday, angering Israel at a time when US-brokered peace talks are at a standstill. Washington warned that the accord could seriously hamper American efforts to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for choosing "Hamas, not peace", and a Netanyahu aide said he had called off a peace meeting with the Palestinians scheduled for Wednesday evening. However, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP that no meeting had been planned for Wednesday. He said the Palestinians would meet bilaterally with US peace envoy Martin Indyk in Ramallah on Thursday. Under the rapprochement between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) -- internationally recognised as the sole representative of the Palestinian people -- and the Islamist Hamas which rules Gaza, the sides agreed to form a "national consensus" government within weeks.

"An agreement has been reached on the formation within five weeks of an independent government headed by president Mahmud Abbas," said a joint statement read by Hamas's Gaza premier Ismail Haniya in front of a visiting PLO delegation. The new interim Palestinian administration would be charged with holding parliamentary and presidential elections within six months of taking office. The news brought thousands of people on to Gaza's streets in celebration. Read more »
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Image.Video: U.S. to Move Troops Near Russia

The Pentagon said U.S. troops would be sent for exercises in Eastern Europe to reassure allies on Russia's border.

Image.Video: Putin: Sending Troops to Ukraine Not Ruled out

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he hoped not to send Russian troops into Ukraine but didn't rule it out.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:39 am 
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Ukraine revolt shows faces, but whose are the brains?
By Alissa de Carbonnel and Aleksandar Vasovic


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- The head of the pro-Russian separatists government Denis Pushilin speaks during a news conference in the regional government building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine in this April 18, 2014 file photo.


Donetsk/Slaviansk, Ukraine (Reuters) - One is a dapper former croupier and promoter of Ponzi scams run by "Russia's Bernie Madoff"; the other is a burly Soviet Navy veteran turned soap factory boss, with a shifting gaze and a glint of gold teeth.

In an uprising whose calling cards are the Kalashnikov and the black balaclava, Denis Pushilin and Vyacheslav Ponomaryov have become the unmasked faces of the pro-Russian separatist movement in eastern Ukraine that has plunged Moscow and the West into their most ominous confrontation since the Cold War. But many in the Donetsk region, including officials who have negotiated with the activists, see the pair as mere fronts for brains behind the scenes: a "puppeteer" in the words of one local Ukrainian mediator; or Vladimir Putin in the eyes of Kiev, which says Russian special forces are orchestrating events.

Pushilin, a 32-year-old who won 77 votes when he ran for parliament a few months ago, emerged this month as leader of the self-styled People's Republic of Donetsk, occupying the regional governor's office in Ukraine's industrial heartland. Well-pressed suits set him apart from his frumpy admirers and unwashed men in mismatched camouflage on the barricades, as he gives an articulate voice to widely held fears among Russian speakers; many despise the leaders in Kiev who overthrew Viktor Yanukovich, the Donetsk-born president, and want a vote on letting the industrial east follow Crimea into Russian hands.

"There will be a referendum," is his mantra to small crowds who gather to hear him speak from a stage protected by walls of sandbags and truck tires, topped with barbed wire. Read more »
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Image.AFP: First troops land in Poland as US beefs up Baltic presence

The first American troops arrive at the airport in Swidwin, Poland on April 23, 2014, after Washington said it was sending armed forces to the Baltic states as the crisis over Ukraine deepens (AFP Photo/Janek Skarzynski )

Reuters: Ukrainian troops dig in near Slaviansk - Reuters correspondent
The Ukrainian government has said it is launching a renewed "anti-terrorist operation" to retake towns and public buildings held by pro-Russian separatists if they do not disarm and leave under the terms of an accord with Russia made in Geneva a week ago that was also signed by the United States and the European Union.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:11 am 
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Image.AFP: In India's vote, Hindu holy city is battleground

VARANASI, India (AP) — For tens of millions of Hindus, Varanasi is a place of pilgrimage. Crowded with ancient temples and shrines, its streets jammed with believers and tourists, this city on the banks of the holy Ganges River is where the devout believe they attain instant salvation. But in recent weeks Varanasi also has become the noisy battleground for India's most-watched contest in its national elections: Two of the country's most prominent politicians are facing off in a contest for the city's sole parliamentary seat.


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