Putinism a Greater Threat to Humanity than Anything the West has Faced Before, Yakovenko Says

via aleksey godin

Paul Goble
            Staunton, December 10 – Speaking to the Forum of Free Russia in Vilnius, Igor Yakovenko says that “over its many thousand years of history, humanity has not once been faced with any challenge and mortal threat comparable to the Putin regime,” a regime that exploits the strengths of Western countries against themselves.
            The Putin regime, the Russian commentator says, is “a new threat” that is especially dangerous because few know how to describe or classify it, preferring instead like old generals to use terms from the past even though “not one of them” is appropriate for describing the state Putin has put in place (yakovenkoigor.blogspot.com/2018/12/blog-post_9.html).
            The Putin regime has no ideology. “We know the ideology of communism, Nazism, fascism and liberalism.” But try to imagine a book with the title “Putinism.”  “Inside it, you would find only blank pages.”  The Kremlin leader uses whatever seems to work for whatever aggression he is carrying out at the time, unconstrained by any ideological principles.
            Because that is so, Yakovenko continues, it is vitally important to convene an international tribunal to make clear what Putin and his regime are about, a tribunal that in the nature of things will combine both the arrangements of the Nuremburg trials of the Nazi leadership and the Russell-Sartre intellectual tribunal of Western crimes.
            On the one hand, the tribunal will include mostly non-governmental experts and activists, he says; but on the other, it will be able to define the nature of the Putin system and its crimes and thus involve governments to take actions against them in order to defend the values that inform Western countries.
            The tribunal should focus on three categories of crimes by Putin and his entourage: the usurpation of power, the war against Ukraine, the war in Syria, and crimes in the information sphere including but not limited to the subversion of the electoral process in Western countries, Yakovenko says.
            In each case, it will become obvious that Putinism does not fit into any of the categories Western analysts typically use for it.  Instead, “it speculates on the values of the civilization of the West and uses them in the ways a parasite does against a host. In this it resembles international terrorism.”
            Today, the commentator continues, the Putin regime is able to maintain itself because “world public opinion and in the heads of world leaders there exists a false picture of the world,” one which talks about the importance of Russia rather than the criminal nature of the Putin regime. A tribunal even with limited powers can help change that.
            “Our task,” Yakovenko says, “with the help of an open public process, is to show the entire world the falseness” of the picture people have of Russia and to “show that Putin’s gas and  oil are toxic and that with their help Putin corrupts Europe, America and the entire world and that to deal with Putin and his appointees is to bring the world closer to catastrophe.”

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vrabia:

shanlonwrites:

earthstory:

I have had 3 mineral posts flagged as adult content today. They contained a tourmaline, a muscovite, and a galena. On Friday I had 3 fossil posts flagged as adult content, including a fossil fish, a fossil tooth from a mastodon, and a Tyrannosaur vertebrae. I’ve submitted appeals for each. This has been getting worse over the past month, apparently most of geology content is now only for adults. 

Apparently you can’t get your rocks off on Tumblr anymore. 

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Netanyahu will do all he can to destroy Jewish-Arab alliances

The alliance between Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Jewish left has historically been viewed as a threat to the rule of the right. That’s why Netanyahu is doing everything he can to undermine it.

By Eli Bitan

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lights the 'Hanukkia' on the First night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, December 06, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lights the ‘Hanukkia’ on the First night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, December 06, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/GPO)

The Israeli right knows exactly how to harm the left: by making its alliance with Palestinian citizens not only impossible but illegitimate, thus drawing away its power. The Jewish left, for its part, has historically done enough to undermine this alliance. But recent events have created new possibilities — and that’s why the right is coming out with guns blazing.

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This dynamic is currently playing out in Haifa, where in the recent municipal elections, newly-elected Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem appointed Raja Zaatry, a veteran activist from the Jewish-Arab Hadash party, to be her deputy. Kalisch-Rotem, who defeated incumbent Yona Yahav from the Labor Party, was elected with the support of the left and the ultra-Orthodox community. In early December, she announced her coalition, which excluded the right-wing Likud, and included the Haredi party, Hadash, and Meretz.

Then, on Dec. 4, Makor Rishon, the newspaper of Israel’s religious-nationalist community, published an article on Zaatry, which painted him as a supporter of BDS and a Hezbollah sympathizer who previously compared Israel to ISIS.

The furor came almost immediately. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri demanded Kalisch-Rotem walk back from her decision, while Prime Minister Netanyahu opened his weekly cabinet meeting by discussing Zaatry. Yair Lapid, who in the eyes of many Israelis has come to represent an opposition to the Netanyahu government, decried Zaatry’s appointment on Facebook.

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On Wednesday afternoon, Netanyahu even phoned the mayor in an attempt to persuade her to change her mind. Kalisch-Rotem, however, made clear to him that her coalition agreement would remain unchanged. The controversy might appear like a tempest in a teapot, but it is evidently enough to concern both Netanyahu and Lapid. Kalisch-Rotem’s coalition, it turns out, is a threat to the right’s rule in Israel.

The new centrists

The majority of Jewish Israelis today fall somewhere on the center-left and center-right of the political spectrum, far from the historically divisive issues of war and peace. They vote according to a different set of parameters, such as professionalism, experience, issues touching on religion and state, and other seemingly simpler civil and social issues.

The new crop of politicians, including Lapid, Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay, and Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, have internalized this change; they understand Jewish Israeli society well enough to know that the majority of young people are somewhere between left-wing Meretz’s Tamar Zandberg and right-wing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — not because of the occupation and the settlements, but for other reasons entirely.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked arrives to cast her vote during the party's preliminary elections, in Jerusalem, on April 27, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked arrives to cast her vote during the party’s preliminary elections, in Jerusalem, on April 27, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The left (justifiably) tends to see anyone who isn’t clearly on their ideological team as a right winger, while the right (unjustifiably) views anything that isn’t right wing as left. These categories were previously helpful in explaining Israeli politics, but today they only hinder our understanding. It is true that the left-right divide is still important in Israel, but it is being pushed to the sidelines. The public discussion has shifted to focus on politicians who want everyone’s support — except for those on the ideological extremes.

Today, the goal of both the right and the left is to influence the center: the settlers will try to force Likud to pass laws that benefit them, while the left will force the Zionist Union to openly oppose the expulsion of refugees or cause Netanyahu to think twice before a military operation in Gaza.

The ideological right, however, has for years had an advantage over the left, after forming an alliance with the ultra-Orthodox parties. Mapai, the historical precursor of today’s Labor party, failed to crush the Haredim’s power, allowing Likud to reap the benefits and create a bond with the ultra-Orthodox.

The Jewish left, on the other hand, has the Arab “bloc,” yet it has never truly figured out exactly what to make of it. Despite a history of animosity, the alliance has grown tighter ever since the left decided to prioritize ending the occupation. The Arab parties are varied in terms of their world views and interests, but their persecution by the right-wing establishment has forced them to become bedfellows with one another, along with the Jewish left — often to its chagrin.

Hundreds of Israelis demonstrate in central Tel Aviv against the killing of 60 unarmed Palestinians at the Gaza protest the day before, May 15, 2018. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Israelis demonstrate in central Tel Aviv against the killing of 60 unarmed Palestinians at the Gaza protest the day before, May 15, 2018. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

In fact, it is far more accurate to say that the Jewish left-Arab alliance is built on the possibility of partnership, rather than actual cooperation. The leaders of the Jewish left have made tremendous efforts to sabotage ties with Palestinian citizens. And yet, despite the difficulties, it is the only chance the left has.

Without Palestinians, the left shrivels

The only chance the Jewish left has to be relevant in Israel is through complete Jewish-Arab partnership. It must present a common vision for a dignified life for both Israeli Jews and Palestinians, out of respect for their cultures, without endless bloodshed or one group trying to subjugate the other. The right can continue to hope to break the Palestinians, while we continue to strive for a shared life with dignity.

The only way the right can stop this alliance, which has the power to turn the Israeli left into a full-fledged political power, with 40 percent of Israeli citizens, is to attack the legitimacy of Palestinian elected officials. If supporting Haneen Zoabi is portrayed as beyond the pale, the left shrinks. This is why Liberman, Netanyahu, and others are busy with overtly racist attacks on Israel’s Palestinian citizens.

Netanyahu, who views himself as an enlightened, right-wing liberal, had for years stopped short of making blatantly racist and discriminatory remarks in public. His preference, like that of every prime minister before him, was to promote discriminatory policies while conveying a message of equality to the outside world. This trick originally belonged to Mapai, particularly vis-a-vis Israel’s Declaration of Independence: near-equality on the page, zero equality in reality. Over the past few years, Netanyahu removed the veneer, and time after time has directed his attacks at Palestinian citizens.

Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jewish supporters protest against the Jewish Nation-State Law in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 11, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jewish supporters protest against the Jewish Nation-State Law in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 11, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Netanyahu’s considerations are purely political: without the Arabs, the left shrivels up, both morally and politically. In his eyes, the passing of the Jewish Nation-State Law exposes his opponents’ Achilles heel: the heads of the Jewish left were too busy arguing over whether to show up to protest with Palestinian citizens, and once they decided not to partner up with the Palestinian left, they turned themselves into an permanent minority and exposed the hypocrisy of the ideology they claim to support.

The Zaatry controversy is another classic example of the right’s cynicism. Netanyahu doesn’t care about the deputy mayor of Haifa — he wants to make headlines by showing Israelis that the Labor Party backs Hadash. He also wants to avoid setting a precedent: if he remains silent on Zaatry, he may end up with similar Jewish-Arab partnerships in other cities — including Tel Aviv. Perhaps even in the Knesset.

The left cannot remain silent. It must speak clearly and defiantly to tell Netanyahu: the future you are so afraid of is the future we want to see.

Eli Bitan is a blogger for Local Call, where this article was first published in Hebrew. Read it here

The post Netanyahu will do all he can to destroy Jewish-Arab alliances appeared first on +972 Magazine.

Orthodox Rabbis Accused Of ‘Mafia-Like’ Tactics In Blacklisting Lesbian Comic From Kosher Restaurants

Orthodox Rabbis Accused Of 'Mafia-Like' Tactics In Blacklisting Lesbian Comic From Kosher Restaurants

A group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis allegedly threatened to revoke the kosher certifications of two Brooklyn restaurants last week, after learning that the businesses had planned to host a comedy show featuring a lesbian performer. The “mafia-like tactics” were successful, according to event organizers, who say they’ve since been barred from both venues. [ more › ]

Armenia election: reformist PM Nikol Pashinian wins convincing victory

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Former newspaper editor marks dramatic break from the cadre of rulers who have run Armenia since the late 1990s

Armenia’s acting prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has bolstered his authority after his political bloc won early parliamentary elections in the former Soviet country, the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) results showed.

My Step Alliance, which includes Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party, won 70.4% of the vote on Sunday based on results from all polling stations, the CEC said on its website.

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Illegal mining in Brazil’s rainforests has become an ‘epidemic’

Final death race

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Campaigners release map showing scale of pollution and damage to environment caused by small-scale miners

An epidemic of illegal artisanal mining across the Amazon rainforest has been revealed in an unprecedented new map, pinpointing 2,312 sites in 245 areas across six Amazon countries.

Called garimpo in Brazil, artisanal mining for gold and other minerals in Amazon forests and rivers has been a problem for decades and is usually illegal. It is also highly polluting: clearings are cut into forests, mining ponds carved into the earth, and mercury used in extraction is dumped in rivers, poisoning fish stocks and water supplies. But its spread has never been shown before.

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Supreme court snubs attempts to block Planned Parenthood funding – live

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6.56pm GMT

Top executives in the construction and facilities department of Bloomberg LP, the company owned by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are set to be arrested on fraud, theft and bribery charges, the New York Times reports.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is alleging a wide-ranging pay to play scheme, where subcontractors and vendors paid bribes and kickbacks over the course of almost four years to executives at Bloomberg and at Turner Construction, a general contractor that oversaw work at Bloomberg.

6.17pm GMT

New York Yankees president Randy Levine, who is reportedly one of the people Donald Trump is looking at to be his chief of staff, tells Fox News he’s not really interested.

@FoxNews exclusive from Randy Levine: “I have spoken to nobody about the chief of staff job. I have grest respect for the President but am very happy being president of the Yankees” @Yankees @MLB @realDonaldTrump

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