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Showing posts from September, 2010

Where's the Voice of the Young People?

Common Dreams - My generation once shouted down the establishment, protested the war, rejected material possessions. Then the draft ended and we lost our idealism.
Now we run the wars. Our arrogant old generals refuse to admit that we don't need the bloated monstrosity that sucks nearly a trillion dollars a year out of the economy. Martin Luther King said it over 40 years ago, when he condemned the spending of billions on war instead of on education and society.
And now we run Wall Street. The Gordon Gekkos of my generation insisted for years that the economy would grow if the rich were taxed less, for they would spend their money on new business, research, and jobs. Read more.

Pakistan retaliates against US and West, cuts off Nato supply route

Al Jazeera - Pakistan has blocked a vital supply route for international forces in Afghanistan in apparent retaliation for an alleged cross-border helicopter raid by NATO troops that killed three Pakistani frontier soldiers.
Over the weekend, NATO helicopters fired on targets in Pakistan at least two times, killing several suspected fighters they allegedly pursued over the border from Afghanistan.
Pakistan's government protested against the attacks, which came in a month during which there have been an unprecedented number of drone missile attacks in the country's northwest.
Pakistan also threatened to stop providing protection to NATO convoys if the military alliance's helicopters attacked targeted inside Pakistan again. Read more.

House votes to punish China for currency policy

McClatchy Newspapers -The House of Representatives voted 348 to 79 Wednesday to send a strong pre-election, bipartisan message to China: Stop manipulating your currency to keep it artificially low or the U.S. will get tough and move against you.
The vote, among the strongest ever threatening retaliation against China for its currency policy — which benefits Chinese exporters and burdens U.S. producers — was intended largely as a political stand that lawmakers in hard-hit economic areas could trumpet back home before the Nov. 2 congressional elections.
However, experts warned, Congress also could look to the outside world like it's willing to risk triggering a trade war that could badly wound an already weakened U.S. economy. Read more.

"Help Us Produce; Don't Give Us Food": Food Sovereignty in Haiti

Jonas Deronzil @ Truthout - I've been farming for 36 years. My parents were planters too, my whole family going all the way back.
Before the 1980s, farmers could work on the strength of their courage. But since 1986 especially, when Jean-Claude [Duvalier] fled, through the government of [Gen. Henri] Namphy in 1988, rice has fallen flat in the country. The cost of everything is rising. The cost of manual labor is rising. They've had to leave a lot of their land fallow. What you harvest, you can't sell for enough money to cover your costs. Peasants have had go to Port-au-Prince. That's one of the causes for the expansion of slums throughout Port-au-Prince. Peasants are discouraged, the government doesn't do anything to encourage their production.
Since foreign rice has invaded Haiti, we plant our rice but we can't sell it. The foreigners have all the possibilities: they have water, they have machinery, they have easy access to fertilizer and other inputs. They can …

Foreclosure Funny Business

Dean Baker @ The Guardian UK - Virtually everyone has had the experience of being forced to pay a late fee or a bank penalty because of some fine-print provision that we overlooked. Sometimes, begging by good customers can win forbearance, but usually we are held to the written terms of the contract, no matter how buried or convoluted the clause in question may be.

That is the way it works for the rest of us, but apparently this is not the way the banks do business, at least when those at the other end of the contract are ordinary homeowners. As a number of news reports have shown in recent weeks, banks have been carrying through foreclosures at a breakneck pace and freely ignoring the legal niceties required under the law, such as demonstrating clear ownership to the property being foreclosed. Read more.

President Jimmy Carter Transported to Cleveland Area Hospital

ABC News - Former President Jimmy Carter was transported by ambulance to a Cleveland hospital after falling ill during a flight, the The Carter Center said Tuesday in a statement.

"While on a flight to Cleveland, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter developed an upset stomach, and, upon arrival, was taken to Metro Health Hospital for observation," according to a statement released by The Carter Center in Atlanta. "He is resting comfortably and is expected to resume his book tour this week." Read more.

Israel Seizes Gaza Aid Boat

Common Dreams - An aid ship carrying eight Jewish activists from Europe, Israel, and the US was apprehended by the Israeli navy just miles off the coast of Gaza after being warned by a warship.
Navy commandos boarded the Irene, and then the passengers were led off the boat.
Rich Cooper, an organiser with Independent Jewish Voices, told Al Jazeera that his group is now demanding the immediate release of the activists.
The ship had left the port of Famagusta in Turkish-held northern Cyprus on Sunday afternoon.
The Israeli army had said it would offer to transfer the ship's aid supplies to the port of Ashdod and then ask the crew to turn back.
Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, had repeatedly warned that Israel will intercept any ship nearing Gaza, which is governed by the Palestinian group Hamas.
"In the tradition of the civil rights movement ... we assert our right to continue to Gaza under international law," Glyn Secker, the Irene's captain, told Al Jazeera on Mon…

Wind Energy Can Power Much of East Coast, Study Says

McClatchy Newspapers - The strong winds off the Atlantic Ocean could become a cost-effective way to power much of the East Coast — especially North and South Carolina, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia, a new study released Tuesday says.The report by the conservation advocacy group Oceana argues that offshore wind could generate 30 percent more electricity on the East Coast than could be generated by the region's untapped oil and gas. It predicts that wind from the ocean could be cost competitive with nuclear power and natural gas to produce electricity.The study appears just as new developments are starting to push U.S. efforts to catch up with Europe and China on tapping the energy in offshore wind. Read more.

DOJ Refuses to Revoke BP's Probation Over Safety Violations at Texas City Refinery

Jason Leopold @ Truthout - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has refused to pursue a probation revocation case against BP after the company was found to have violated a federal judge's March 2009 felony judgment, which required BP to fulfill the terms of a settlement agreement it entered into with government regulators five years ago to make certain safety upgrades at its Texas City refinery by September 2009, according to documents obtained by Truthout. Read more.

Appalachia is Rising Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Common Dreams - I am a coal miner's great, great granddaughter. My grandpap Miller was killed in an Appalachian coal mine - and I am rising -- along with Appalachia Rising, a group in Washington, DC today to protest the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. You've no doubt heard of "clean coal."IS mountaintop removal coal mining clean when coal companies clear-cut the trees and blow up our ancient Appalachian mountains using the same explosives that Timothy McVey used to blow up the Federal building, turning an area the size of Delaware into desolate moonscape?IS IT clean when coal companies dump their debris into 2,000 miles of sparkling, mountain streams that are the headwaters for much of the East coast drinking water? Read more.

Jewish Activists Set Sail for Gaza from Cyprus

Common Dreams - A boat carrying Jewish activists from Israel, Germany, the U.S. and Britain set sail on Sunday for Gaza, hoping to breach Israel's naval blockade there.
Richard Kuper, an organizer with the British group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said one goal is to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians. Kuper said the boat, which set sail from northern Cyprus flying a British flag, won't resist if Israeli authorities try to stop it.
The voyage by the 33-foot (10-meter) catamaran Irene came nearly four months after Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships, including the Mavi Marmara, killing eight pro-Palestinian Turkish activists and a Turkish American. Read more.

Legalization of pot endangers alcohol industry profits

David Sirota @ Truthout - Here's a fact that even drug policy reform advocates can acknowledge: California's 2010 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana does, indeed, pose a real threat, as conservative culture warriors insist. But not to public health, as those conservatives claim.

According to most physicians, pot is less toxic -- and has more medicinal applications -- than a legal and more pervasive drug like alcohol. Whereas alcohol causes hundreds of annual overdose deaths, contributes to untold numbers of illnesses and is a major factor in violent crime, marijuana has never resulted in a fatal overdose and has not been systemically linked to major illness or violent crime.

So this ballot measure is no public health threat. If anything, it would give the millions of citizens who want to use inebriating substances a safer alternative to alcohol. Which, of course, gets to what this ballot initiative really endangers: alcohol industry profits. Read more.

Fish Kills and Dead Zones Create Confusion in the Gulf

Truthout - Earlier this week, thousands of fish died and floated to the surface of Bayou Robinson in the Plaquemines Parish area of southern Louisiana. The massive die-off was the third found near the parish in a week, prompting outrage from local leaders who want to know if leftover oil and toxic dispersants from the massive BP oil spill are to blame.

"We've never seen so many species floating in so many different areas," Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told local reporters. Read more.

No, Higher Consciousness Won’t Save Us

Norman Solomon @ Common Dreams - In his 1995 book, Reich challenged what he called "the System" -- "a merger of governmental, corporate, and media power into a managerial entity more powerful by reason of technology, organization, and control of livelihood than any previously known form of rule." Reich astutely noted that "we deny and repress the fact of corporate governmental power," and he pointed out: "There will be no relief from either economic insecurity or human breakdown until we recognize that uncontrolled economic forces create conflict, not well-being." Read more.

Israel used 'incredible violence' against Gaza aid flotilla, says UN Human Rights Council

Telegraph UK - The sharply critical report found there was "clear evidence to support prosecutions" against Israel for "wilful killing" and torture committedin the raid on the flotilla on May 31. Nine activists on a Turkish ship were killed as they attempted to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. Read more.

States Pass Staggering Array of Anti-Choice Laws, Policies and Ballot Measures

Truthout - Live in TeLive in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arizona, Missouri or Louisiana? The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) wants you to know that, with the implementation of health care reform in 2014, you will not have access to abortion coverage in your state's health exchanges. These states have enacted insurance bans on abortion coverage. Five other states considered the bans and the CRR expects more to do so in 2011. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The 2010 state legislative session has seen legislation forcing women to undergo "biased counseling" (and compelling health care providers to provide said counseling) which may contain medically inaccurate and misleading information, as well as mandatory ultrasound requirements. Some states have pushed anti-provider bills which seek to bar physicians who provide abortion care from a state's malpractice compensation fund, and bills which force women to return at least twice to a provider before being deeme…

Obama's Secret 'Kill Lists' Fly in the Face of US and Int'l Law

Inter Press Service - Two of the nation's most influential human rights organisations have filed a lawsuit challenging the government's authority to carry out "targeted killings" of U.S. citizens located far from any armed conflict zone.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) charge that the authority contemplated by the Obama administration is far broader than what the Constitution and international law allow.
The organisations claim that, "outside of armed conflict, both the Constitution and international law prohibit targeted killing except as a last resort to protect against concrete, specific, and imminent threats of death or serious physical injury. Read more.