Man on the Spot #43: Russia, Greenwald and Al Qaeda propaganda

Posted by on June 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Pro-Russian protesters. Image: Wikipedia Commons.

Pro-Russian protesters. Image: Wikipedia Commons.

 Hikers Spread Democracy in India –

By MAX BEARAK MAY 12, 2014

MARKHA VALLEY, India — Staring up at the steep and lifeless brown ridges looming over the valley, Gulzar Ahmad Dar, a boyish and chatty Kashmiri policeman, sighed at having drawn a short straw. “What miserable luck I have,” he said, peering down the funnel of mountains toward the village of Markha, his destination, 22 grueling miles away. “But somebody had to get this place, no?”

Killings Surge in North Bronx, Testing New Police Tactics – NYTimes …


“Bury me with Satan,” one tattoo read.

The seasonal return of gun violence — a foreign idea to some New Yorkers but a familiar one in the city’s crime-troubled communities — has come early this year to the northernmost neighborhoods of the Bronx: eight killings, five this month, compared with a single murder at this time last year. The number of shootings has nearly doubled.

For residents, it is a grim departure from the trend in most of the city, where the homicide rate continues its decline, and an alarming omen of what the summer may bring.

NYU Apologizes to Any Workers Mistreated on Its Abu Dhabi Campus


The article described workers being arrested, beaten and deported to their home countries after striking over pay. Recruitment fees, of approximately a year’s wages, were all but required, and laborers had to work overtime, sometimes seven days a week, to earn the base pay they were promised. Not one of the dozens of workers interviewed had his own passport. Some were living in filthy, crowded apartments.

Student Debt Grows Faster at Universities With Highest-Paid …


At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington research group. The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.

Springtime for Bankers

MAY 18, 2014 | Paul Krugman

By any normal standard, economic policy since the onset of the financial crisis has been a dismal failure. It’s true that we avoided a full replay of the Great Depression. But employment has taken more than six years to claw its way back to pre-crisis levels — years when we should have been adding millions of jobs just to keep up with a rising population. Long-term unemployment is still almost three times as high as it was in 2007; young people, often burdened by college debt, face a highly uncertain future.

Economic Recovery Yields Few Benefits for the Voters Democrats …


Voters with family incomes below $30,000 backed Mr. Obama against Mitt Romney 63 percent to 35 percent in 2012, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research. According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in late April, 46 percent of such voters said they would vote for a Democrat running for Congress, versus 43 percent who would vote Republican. Women between the ages of 18 and 49 would back a Democrat over a Republican for Congress 48 percent to 42 percent, much narrower than the gap of 59 percent to 39 percent that Mr. Obama enjoyed.

 Bankrupt Housing Policy

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Columnist MAY 19, 2014

But, in the course of perusing another new book about the financial crisis, “Other People’s Houses,” by Jennifer Taub, an associate professor at Vermont Law School, I was reminded of an effort that took place in the spring of 2009 that could have made an enormous difference to homeowners, one that would have required no taxpayer money and might well have become law with a little energetic lobbying from the likes of, well, Tim Geithner.

Hillary’s Obstacle Course

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Columnist | MAY 19, 2014

800px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropWhat Hillary goes through in the public arena isn’t an examination. It’s a vivisection. That she endures it is admirable. That she’s so willing to is scary. With all politicians, you worry about the intensity of the hunger that enables them to suffer the snows of Iowa and the slings and arrows of outrageous pundits. With Hillary and Bill, you worry that it’s rapaciousness beyond bounds. You also grow weary. The Clintons are exhausting. And that’s just one of many drawbacks worth discussing as Hillary plays Hamlet, mulling what to do. Between Bill’s soliloquies and Barack’s slump, she’s got problems.

A Cancer Treatment in Your Medicine Cabinet?

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributors


WE believe that it might be possible to treat breast cancer — the leading cause of female cancer death — with a drug that can already be found in nearly every medicine cabinet in the world: Aspirin.

Science Standards Divide a State Built on Coal and Oil


Amid a growing cascade of studies documenting melting ice caps and rising temperatures, schools are increasingly teaching students about climate change and the new guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, have been adopted so far by 11 states and the District of Columbia. They assert that human activity has affected the climate.

Rating a Health Law’s Success


Charting the number of deaths from diseases that could have been prevented if the patient had access to appropriate health care, called the “amenable mortality” rate, shows that the United States is far behind European nations. These diseases — like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers — are tracked because early treatment significantly increases the likelihood of survival.

Hospital Chain Said to Scheme to Inflate Bills


What’s more, like their Wall Street bank counterparts, the mega-hospital systems, with billions of dollars in revenue, are more challenging to regulate, according to experts. Sheryl R. Skolnick, who follows health care for CRT Capital, recently wrote in a note to investors, “Investors seem to think that D.O.J. investigations, qui tam suits and allegations of serious Medicare fraud are simply a cost of doing business.” Many settlements run only into the tens of millions of dollars. That’s a corporate slap on the wrist for companies whose stocks typically soar when executives push the profit envelope. Only if the penalty is at least $500 million, Ms. Skolnick said, are corporations likely to find the cost a deterrent.

In New Jersey, a Prosecutor’s Office, an Indictment and Intimidation …

MAY 19, 2014

William McGovern was a prosecutor out of central casting, a tough, careful fellow who has tried murderers and money launderers during a distinguished career in New Jersey.

So he seemed a natural man to turn to in 2010 when the Hunterdon County prosecutor needed to investigate a politically sensitive case centering on the county’s Republican sheriff and two deputies who had connections to the new Republican governor, Chris Christie. Mr. McGovern, who is a Republican, led the investigation, took the case to a grand jury and emerged with a 43-count indictment, alleging abuses of power.

Xenophobic Chill Descends on Moscow


At Mr. Putin’s direction, a committee led by his chief of staff is developing a new “state policy in culture.” Widely expected to be enacted into law, the proposed cultural policy emphasizes that “Russia is not Europe” and urges “a rejection of the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance” in favor of emphasizing Russia’s “unique state-government civilization,” according to Russian news accounts that quoted a presidential adviser on culture, Vladimir Tolstoy.

‘No Place to Hide,’ by Glenn Greenwald

Glenn_GreenwaldMAY 12, 2014

The title of the journalist Glenn Greenwald’s impassioned new book, “No Place to Hide,” comes from a chilling observation made in 1975 by Senator Frank Church, then chairman of a select committee on intelligence. The United States government, he said, had perfected “a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air.” That capability, he added, could at any time “be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”

Qaeda Affiliate Steps Up Video Propaganda Push


The videos, Al Qaeda’s latest response to the drone assassinations of many of its leaders, seek to capitalize on growing anger over the killings of an undisclosed number of noncombatants in drone strikes. But the campaign has now taken on new resonance here since the disclosure last week that an American commando and a spy killed two armed Yemenis who had tried to kidnap them while the Americans were in a barbershop in Sana, the capital. The Americans were later whisked out of the country with the blessing of the Yemeni government.











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