United for Peace of Pierce County, WA - We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy.

NEWS & COMMENTARY: Biden pledges support in Kiev as US sends troops to Eastern Europe

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American Vice President Joe Biden pledged support to Ukraine in Kiev as Washington confirmed that hundreds of American troops are heading for countries bordering Russia to engage in "exercises," the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.[1]  --  "For now, the exercises won't involve Ukraine, which isn't a NATO member," the Journal said.  --  But then it added a non sequitur:  "The U.S. Army is planning to continue an annual NATO exercise in Ukraine this summer, called Rapid Trident."  --  COMMENT:  When is President Obama give back that Nobel Peace Prize? ...

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NEWS: As right looks to expand NATO into Ukraine, Putin warns of consequences

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On Saturday, a spokesperson for Vladimir Putin warned that if Ukraine joins NATO, "Russia will be forced to take measures to ensure its security," Voice of Russia radio reported.[1]  --  Also on Saturday, Putin told Russian TV that he considered the recent appointment of former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as NATO's new head, to take effect in October, as a positive development, Reuters said.[2]  --  "Putin said there was no reason why relations between Russia and the West could not improve, but that it was up to the West to make that happen.  --  'I think there is nothing that would hinder a normalization and normal cooperation' with the West, Putin said."  --  But if the American right has anything to say about (and it will), this will never happen.  --  In a typical piece published on Monday by the right-wing Washington Times, Bruce Weinrod pushed for Ukraine's entry into NATO:  "NATO should also enhance its defense training and overall relationship with Ukraine through the NATO-Ukraine Commission established in 1997 and state clearly that admission to NATO is open to any European democratic nation that meets its requirements for membership," he said.  --  "NATO has already wisely suspended its participation in the NATO-Russia Council."[3] ...

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BACKGROUND: Russia's 'green men' trained to fight 'special war' in Ukraine

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A front-page article in Monday's New York Times cited "photographs and descriptions from eastern Ukraine endorsed by the Obama administration" as proof of Russian involvement in the unrest there, noting that "masking the identity of its forces, and clouding the possibilities for international denunciation, is a central part of the Russian strategy, developed over years of conflict in the former Soviet sphere."[1]  --  A former National Security Agency counterintelligence officer who now teaches at the Naval War College calls the Russian approach "special war," which he defines as "an amalgam of espionage, subversion, even forms of terrorism to attain political ends without actually going to war in any conventional sense."  --  One reader complained about the Times's breathless endorsement of U.S. propaganda:  "So what?  --  The U.S. was there and doing the same thing first.  --  Deny that?  --  It is the same type of 'covert' denial that nobody believes.  --  The first use of violence was by the West.  --  The Russians are reacting.  --  The Russians are doing what was already done by their opponents to create this confrontation.  --  The U.S. was pushing Russia.  --  Russia pushed back.  --  If you mention one without the other, you mislead.  --  The U.S. has interests there.  --  So do the Russians.  --  This fighting is about that.  --  The Ukrainians are pawns.  --  The U.S. did not provide the personal attention of an Asst. Sec of State and what she said was $5 billion to Ukraine but nowhere else because of some special deservingness of Ukraine.  --  It was to get what they U.S. wanted, and to take from Russia what it wanted.  --  That is what is going on.  --  Talking about one but not the other is warmongering.  --  We had enough of that from our press before Iraq.  --  We need some objective, balanced reporting, not just repeating what Jen Psaki said in her press release." ...

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ANALYSIS: American LNG producers will profit from our new cold war with Russia

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The new cold war with Russia has been underway for some time, Stephen Cohen of NYU told Democracy Now! on Friday.[1]  --  The current crisis, he said, did not begin with Russian aggression, it began with "the European Union’s unwise ultimatum" in November 2013.  --  Confirming Cohen's analysis, Sunday's New York Times reported in a front-page story that the Obama administration has decided on "an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment" vis-à-vis Russia.[2]  --  "Just as the United States resolved in the aftermath of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its global ambitions, Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions in its own neighborhood and effectively making it a pariah state," Peter Baker said.  --  The only justification mentioned is the president's conclusion that he will "never have a constructive relationship" with Putin.  --  It can hardly be Russia's supposed defiance of international law, since the U.S. would have been declared a pariah state long ago if that sufficed.  --  The original Cold War policy articulated in 1947 by George Kennan, had the at least plausible justification that in a world with nuclear weapons the ideological competition between capitalism and Communism created a need for "containment" as the wisest strategy for the United States.  --  But "neocontainment," as some are already calling it, is motivated by economic incentives that go unmentioned in the New York Times.  -- These incentives include U.S. plans to substitute American liquified natural gas (LNG) for Russian gas in supplying Europe's energy needs, as the website Fuel Fix noted Wednesday.[3]  --   "Increased LNG exports to Europe will be a boon to both the United States and to Europe," said Brigham McCown.  --  "On this side of the Atlantic, LNG exports could add over 450,000 new jobs by 2025 and reduce America’s trade deficit.   --  A new analysis conducted by the economic consulting firm NERA also found U.S. economic welfare would increase the most when LNG exports are unconstrained.  --  On the other side of the Atlantic, ensuring Europe has options in its energy sourcing would definitely curtail its dependence on Russian energy."  --Mark]

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NEWS & COMMENTARY: Warships in the Baltic & Canadian jets: NATO's response to the Ukraine crisis

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Canada will send six CF-18 jet fighters and 20 staff officers to bolster NATO's response to the Ukraine crisis, the National Post reported Thursday.[1]  --  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper decried "expansionism and militarism on the part of Russia" and said they presented "a long-term, serious threat to global peace and security."  --  "The Canadian fighter jets will join warplanes from the United States, Britain, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, and Germany, which will be deploying in waves between now and the fall."  --  In July, "a long-planned, U.S.-led military exercise in Ukraine, known as Rapid Trident 2014" is scheduled, and Canadian forces plan to participate.  --  Toronto-based columnist Steven Zhou denounced the naïveté of this approach and warned that in response to American military forces in NATO countries bordering Russia, "Russia will almost certainly declare and execute an official invasion into eastern Ukraine."[2]  --  "What follows such a disaster is anyone’s guess."  --  Zhou has a point.  --  What does NATO think it's doing, "sending part of its naval rapid reaction force to the Baltic Sea," as Reuters reported Thursday?[3]  --  "Russia says deployment of significant NATO forces in eastern Europe, close to Russia, would violate the 1997 Founding Act, a cooperation agreement between Moscow and the alliance."  --  Adrian Croft noted that NATO "has made clear it does not plan to get involved militarily in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member."  --  Then what is it doing "announc[ing] plans on Wednesday to send more ships, planes, and troops to eastern Europe"?  --  NATO's top military commander, USAF Gen. Philip Breedlove, had no explanation, saying only that "we felt it appropriate."  --  This is a textbook case of saber-rattling.  --  Russia is not an aggressive state.  --  In 2011, NATO and Russia even held joint military exercises.  --  As UFPPC said in a recent statement, "the principal source of instability in Ukraine is the messianic drive of free-market fundamentalists to overturn longstanding spheres of influence and to 'liberate' the economy of Ukraine, principally for their own economic and financial benefit." ...

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 April 2014 00:19 Read more...
 

NEWS: US to send ground troops to Poland (Wash. Post)

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Poland's defense minister told the Washington Post on Friday that the U.S. has decided to send "ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO's presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine."[1]  --  Fox News confirmed the report, saying that the Pentagon is "considering" sending "sending relatively small units to the country of around 130 soldiers, and the units would be there on a rotational basis."[2]  --  The New York Times insisted the what was contemplated was "small" and "extremely modest," saying:  "The United States plans to carry out small ground-force exercises in Poland and Estonia in an attempt to reassure NATO’s Eastern European members worried about Russia’s military operations in and near Ukraine."[3]  --  "The company-size Army exercise that is planned is far from the sort of NATO deployment that Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, suggested this month when he told reporters that he wanted the alliance to deploy two combat brigades with as many as 5,000 troops each in Poland," Michael R. Gordon said....

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 April 2014 06:50 Read more...
 

COMMENTARY: Semi-hysterical vitriol on Ukraine on WSJ Op-Ed page

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To denounce diplomacy in Ukraine and "our endless appetite for negotiation" on its notoriously right-wing editorial page, the Wall Street Journal turned on Friday to a former Reagan-administration diplomat and now "fellow" at the right-wing Hudson Institute (which was founded by Herman "Dr. Strangelove" Kahn and his RAND colleagues).  --  According to Charles Fairbanks's vitriolic and semi-hysterical Op-Ed, the diplomatic agreement reached Thursday in Geneva is merely a clever ruse by Vladimir Putin (who has supposedly been "chewing off pieces of eastern Ukraine"), and it is bound to break down.[1]  --  Moreover, "federalization" is merely "newspeak for partition."  --  The Ukrainian government is "under assault by foreign troops."  --  And the virtuous leaders of brave little Ukraine (which is the biggest country in Europe in terms of surface area, not counting Russia) are hanging "between life and death" in "the same situation as the Russian provisional government of 1917 after the fall of the czar."  --  The last point is particularly absurd, since unlike Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, the leader who fell in Kiev on Feb. 21, 2014, was elected democratically in a vote monitored by international observers.  --  And Alexander Kerensky, the leader of the Russian provisional government, was a socialist, not a market-friendly regime eager to comply with IMF demands for structural reform that are certain to impoverish Ukrainian workers....

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NEWS: Diplomatic agreement reached on east Ukraine

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After Thursday's accord in Geneva to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis, "Western officials noted the agreement calls for immediate de-escalation, and said it would soon be clear if Moscow abides by the spirit of the accord," the Wall Street Journal reported.[1]  --  Before negotiations began few believed an agreement would be reached, but "talks started off tense but quickly grew focused, with Moscow bringing ideas to the table," Laurence Norman, Jay Solomon, and Lukas Alpert said.  --   However, the New York Times noted that "But neither President Obama in Washington nor President Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow signaled that the crisis over Ukraine was over," and added that "the agreement was as notable for what it did not address as for what it did."[2] ...

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UFPPC statement: Is Russia really the new enemy?

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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

IS RUSSIA REALLY THE NEW ENEMY?

April 17, 2014

Western media are presenting Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin as an aggressive state endangering its neighbors.  The truth is just the opposite.  Expansionist Western neoliberals and messianic neoconservatives, not pro-Russian operatives, have been the principal aggressors in Ukraine.

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NEWS: Kiev's military intervention in east Ukraine a farcical fiasco

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Before it even confronted pro-Russian militants, the military forces sent by Kiev "unraveled in disarray on Wednesday with the entire contingent of 21 armored vehicles that had separated into two columns surrendering or pulling back before nightfall," the New York Times reported, calling the development "a glaring humiliation for the new government in Kiev."[1]  --  "Unable to exercise authority over their own military, officials increasingly seem powerless to contain a growing rebellion by pro-Russian militants that has spread to at least nine cities in eastern Ukraine," Andrew E. Kramer said....

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NEWS & ANALYSIS: Kiev sends troops, 'setting itself up for a spectacular defeat'

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The crisis in Ukraine escalated Tuesday as the government in Kiev began military operations in eastern Ukraine in response to a growing wave of pro-Russian uprisings.  --  In essence, a civil war has begun.  --  The White House cheered.  --  But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that "It is unacceptable to use force to sort out the current situation," the Wall Street Journal reported.[1]  --  Russia has promised to protect the interests of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, and should Russia respond militarily, the U.S. is considering "possible military deployments in Europe," the Journal said in a separate article.[2]  --  "A defense official said it would be unlikely that the U.S. would put a large battalion or brigade-sized force in a country directly on Russia's border, but could rotate a larger force to Romania or another Eastern European ally."  --  "Still off the table, officials say, is an American military intervention to help Ukraine fend off the Russian army," according to Carol Lee and Julian Barnes.  --  But "a visit to Kiev on Monday by Vice President Joe Biden for talks with Ukrainian leaders . . . is intended to send a signal to Russia that Washington will stand by the young government in Ukraine."  --  "Mr. Obama is under growing pressure from members of Congress to act," Lee and Barnes said.  --  Simon Shuster of Time warned that by beginning a military operation it is ill-equipped to prosecute, "the government in Kiev may be setting itself up for a spectacular defeat, as neither its army nor its intelligence services are prepared for a confrontation with Russia."[3] --  What will "standing by the young government" mean then? ...

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NEWS: Putin urges restraint as US admits CIA director visited Kiev

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Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday and said the U.S. should work "to prevent the use of force and bloodshed as much as possible" in Ukraine, according to a statement from Putin's office, Bloomberg News reported.[1]  --  The White House said that Obama "expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists," and urged Putin to use his influence to get them to withdraw from the government buildings they seized, according to a statement from the White House.  --  In other developments, the White House spokesman confirmed on Monday "that CIA Director John Brennan was in Kiev over the weekend.  --  The Obama administration had previously refused to confirm Russian statements that the head of the Central Intelligence Agency had met with officials of Ukraine’s interim government."  --  Jay Carney would have us believe that Brennan just happened to be there "as part of a trip Brennan took to Europe for regular consultations with security officials." ...

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NEWS: UN official warns Ukraine 'teeters on the brink'

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At a previously unscheduled meeting of the U.N. Security Council Sunday night the assistant secretary-general for political affairs warned that the "likelihood of further bloodshed and violent clashes grows by the hour" in Ukraine, which now "teeters on the brink," CNN reported.[1] ...

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NEWS: Confused, reporterless Wash. Post hypes claims of Ukraine 'invasion' though unsure of facts

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The Washington Post, calling Ukraine's acting president "President Oleksandr Turchynov" though his legitimacy is dubious, on Sunday implicitly endorsed his claim that "The blood of Ukrainian heroes has been shed in a war which the Russian Federation is waging against Ukraine," though the Post reporter's New York Times colleague in Slovyansk (as he spells it), reported that he has not seen a single soldier in the city.  --  While the New York Times noted an official account according to which the police station there had been "stormed," the Post reported that the Ukrainian was killed in "a fight outside Slavyansk."  --  And the New York Times reported that the "men with guns" who set up checkpoints in the city of 130,000 (also spelled Sloviansky and Slaviansk) "asserted they were locals, and nothing suggested otherwise: Some wore mismatched camouflage, but most were out in jeans and ski jackets. Some appeared to be drunk."  --  The Post, though, which has fallen on hard economic times despite the injection of Jeff Bezos's money and does not any longer have many reporters in its employ, echoed uncritically the assertions of U.S. officials:  "'Well, it has all the telltale signs of what we saw in Crimea,' Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday on ABC’s 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos.'   'It’s professional, it’s coordinated, there’s nothing grass-roots-seeming about it.'"  --  Really?  There's nothing grass-roots-seeming about mismatched camouflage, jeans, ski jackets, and drunkenness? ...

Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 05:21 Read more...
 

NEWS: NY Times reports 'pro-Russian protesters appear to control entire city of Slovyansk'

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Fighting has occurred between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militants in Slovyansk (also transliterated as Sloviansky, Slavyansk, and Slaviansk, pop. 130,000) in eastern Ukraine, and both Kiev and Moscow have "intensified their statements," the New York Times reported Sunday.[1]  --  What exactly has happened is obscure, however.  --  Andrew Kramer and Andrew Higgins said in paragraph 2 of their story that "[a]t least one [Ukrainian] officer was killed" while "storm[ing] a Ukrainian police station" that militants had seized, but accounts differ and it seems safe to say that no one knows what has really happened.  --  "Roman Svitan, a security adviser to the Ukrainian authorities in Donetsk, said the operation on Sunday was carried out by Alfa, a special services unit of Ukraine’s State Security Service.  --  He gave an upbeat assessment of its progress, saying Ukrainian forces had evicted gunmen from the Slovyansk Police Headquarters, though protesters there said nothing of the sort had happened."  --  It should be noted that Andrew Kramer is in Slovyansk, but did not report seeing any Ukrainian security forces:  "Ukrainian helicopters buzzed the town around noon, but no soldiers were seen."  --  "By Sunday afternoon, the government’s push to reassert its authority in a vitally important industrial and coal-mining region appeared to have made little headway," the Times said.  --  "Pro-Russian protesters appeared to control not only the police station but the entire city of Slovyansk, having set up checkpoints at major streets leading into town." ...

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NEWS: More pro-Russian moves increase tensions in eastern Ukraine

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In the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk (also transliterated as Sloviansky, Sovyansk, and Slaviansk, pop. 130,000), twenty pro-Russian gunmen bearing "modern weapons" "took over the main police building" and "immediately began constructing barricades on roads leading into the city," the Washington Post said Saturday.[1]  --  Buildings in several towns nearby were also attacked, Will England reported.  --  The Wall Street Journal called the events "a dramatic escalation."[2]  --  The New York Times said they "suggested a coordinated campaign to destabilize the Donetsk region."[3]  --  Bloomberg News cited "U.S. and allied intelligence reports" that "indicate that some of yesterday’s demonstrators infiltrated cities in eastern and southern Ukraine during the last month or more as part of a Russian plan to divide Ukraine into federated regions, some of which may hold referendums to rejoin Russia, as Crimea did, the officials said."[4]  --  "Speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the reports, which they stressed aren’t conclusive, two officials said that the assessment by U.S. and NATO intelligence analysts continues to be that Russian President Vladimir Putin prefers using a campaign of provocation, propaganda, bribery, and subversion -- rather than an outright invasion by Russian troops -- to retake some of parts of eastern and southern Ukraine," said Daria Marchak, Volodymyr Verbyany, and Stepan Kravchenko....

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NEWS: Separatists getting little traction in eastern Ukraine

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On Tuesday, separatists in eastern Ukraine called for a referendum on their region's status after arming and barricading themselves inside the state security building in the Ukrainian city of Luhansk (pop. 446,000), Reuters reported Tuesday.[1]  --  Pro-Russian activists are also occupying the regional government headquarters in Donetsk, Thomas Grove said.  --  On Wednesday, Ukraine's interior minister said the crisis would be resolved "within the next 48 hours" and said, menacingly:  "For the minority who want conflict they will get a forceful answer from the Ukrainian authorities."[2]  --  The leader of the commando who seized the building, who called himself Vasiliy, said his "soldiers" (said to be trained military who are veterans of action in Chechnya and Afghanistan) would "stay and fight" until their demand for a referendum was granted, said Grove, also the author of this piece.  --  On Wednesday the Wall Street Journal focused on Donetsk as it reported at length on evidence of Russian involvement in the separatist movement in Ukraine over the course of the past months, also reporting that there were few signs that separatists' activity outside of Crimea was gaining traction.[3]  --  But James Marson suggested that Russia was unlikely to respond to separatists' call for help, even as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was vociferously blaming Russia for the unrest....

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BACKGROUND: Aug. 21 Syria gas attack was Turkish false flag op to push Obama over red line (S. Hersh)

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Barack Obama's decision to stand down from the strike on Syria that he was on the verge of launching last summer came after the Joint Chiefs of Staff informed the president that the gas used in the Aug. 21 sarin attack in Syria was not that of the Syrian armed forces, and that "the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression," legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh revealed in an article dated Friday and posted Sunday on the website of the London Review of Books.[1]  --   "It was the Joint Chiefs who led Obama to change course," Hersh said.  --  But the Obama administration has never admitted this, and still denies it.  --  Hersh also reported that the Obama administration, without obeying the legal requirements for such an arrangement, secretly funneled arms from Libya to Syrian rebels in an operation that was run by CIA Director David Petraeus, "creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line,’ a back channel highway into Syria," and implied that this "rat line" was a factor in the attack in which Ambassador Chris Stevens died.  --  After that incident, the U.S. ended its involvement in shipping arms, but the "rat line" continued to function through the involvement of other countries.  --  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was upset at what he perceived as a betrayal, and decided to create an event that would force the U.S. to intervene against the Assad regime, to the overthrow of which Turkey was committed.  --  A former intelligence official told Hersh:  "We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line."  --  "Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey -- that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support.  --  The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it." ...

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CINEMA: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' is about Obama's terror kill lists, say directors

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The directors of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" say their new big-budget ($170m) superhero film, which opened on Apr. 4, integrates political critiques of "civil liberties issues, drone strikes, the president's kill list, preemptive technology," Mother Jones reported Friday.[1]  --  Robert Redford's appearance in the film is related to its political themes as well, said Asawin Suebsaeng.  --  Reviews of the film are good, MTV reported.[2] ...

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 April 2014 06:56 Read more...
 

UFPPC statement: Most Americans think US should 'mind its own business'

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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

MOST AMERICANS THINK U.S. SHOULD ‘MIND ITS OWN BUSINESS’

April 3, 2014

Americans, we often hear of late, are war-weary, fatigued, and discouraged. Iraq and Afghanistan have not gone well and we’re tired, pundits tell us.  But the truth is very different:  deep down, it is not because ordinary Americans are weak but because they believe in morality that they think their leaders shouldn’t dictate to the world.

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NEWS & COMMENTARY: Russia sees NATO reverting to Cold War mindset -- and Russia is right

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Russia complained on Wednesday of NATO's reversion to a Cold War mindset.[1]  --  "It is not hard to imagine who will gain from the suspension of cooperation between Russia and NATO on countering modern threats and challenges to international and European security, in particular in areas such as the fight against terrorism, piracy, and natural and man-made disasters," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, mordantly.  --  "In any case, it will certainly not be Russia or NATO member states," he added.  --  Supporting evidence indicating that Lukashevich is right was not long in coming.  --  Also on Wednesday, Ars Technica reported that NASA has been ordered to suspend contacts with Russia.[2]  --  COMMENT: The organs of the national security state establishment that are more concerned with self-perpetuation and self-justifying PR in order to protect their budgets than with actual national security are delighted with the new tensions with Russia and are largely responsible for the hype about the largely imaginary Russian preparations for an invasion of Ukraine.  --  In fact, Russia's defensive moves in the face of the Western-encouraged and to some extent Western-organized overthrow of the Ukrainian government are secretly  welcome, since they promise to justify increased defense budgets in the future....

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 April 2014 06:42 Read more...
 
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Meeting schedule

United for Peace of Pierce County meets 7:00-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of every month at First United Methodist Church in Tacoma (621 Tacoma Avenue South).

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