Friday, December 25, 2009

should not shall

"The most progressive U.S. President in a generation comes to the most important international meeting since the Second World War and delivers a speech so devoid of substance that he might as well have made it on speakerphone from a beach in Hawaii. His aides argue in private that he had no choice, such is the opposition on Capitol Hill to any action that might challenge the dominance of fossil fuels in American life. And so the nation which put a man on the moon can’t summon the collective will to protect men and women back here on Earth from the consequences of an economic model and lifestyle choice that has taken on the mantel of a religion.
Then a Chinese Premier who is in the process of converting his Communist nation to that new faith (high-carbon consumer capitalism) takes such umbrage at Obama’s speech that he refuses to meet – refuses, in fact, to do much of anything beyond sulking in his hotel room, as if this were a teenager’s house party instead of a final effort to stave off the breakdown of our biosphere.
Late in the evening the two men meet and cobble together a collection of paragraphs which they call a ‘deal’, although in reality it has all the meaning and authority of a bus ticket, not that it stops them affixing their signatures to it with great solemnity. Obama’s team then briefs the travelling White House press pack – most of whom, it seems, understand about as much about global climate politics as our own lobby hacks know about baseball – and before we know it the New York Times and CNN are declaring the birth of a ‘meaningful’ accord.
Meanwhile a friend on an African delegation emails to say that he and many fellow members of the G77 block of developing countries are streaming into the corridors after a long discussion about the perilous state of the talks, only to see Obama on the television announcing that the world has a deal. It’s the first they’ve heard about it, and a few minutes later, as they examine the text, they realise very quickly that it effectively condemns their continent to a century of devastating temperature rises.
By now the European leaders – who know this thing is a farce but have to present it to their publics as progress – have their aides phoning the directors of civil society organisations spinning that the talks have been a success. A success? This deal crosses so many of the red lines laid out by Europe before this summit started that there are scarlet skid marks across the floor of the Bella Centre, and one honest European diplomat tells us this is a ‘shitty shitty deal.’
This deal is beyond bad. It contains no legally binding targets and no indication of when or how they’ll come about. There isn’t even a declaration that the world will aim to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees C – instead leaders merely ‘recognise the science’ behind that vital threshold, as if that were enough to prevent us crossing it. The only part of this deal anyone sane came close to welcoming was the $100bn global climate fund, but it’s now becoming apparent that even that’s largely made up of existing budgets, with no indication of how new money will be raised and distributed so poorer countries can go green and adapt to climate change.
Not all of our politicians deserve the opprobrium of a dismayed world. Our own Ed Miliband fought hard on no sleep for a better outcome, while President Lula of Brazil offered to financially assist other developing countries to cope with climate change and put a relatively bold carbon target on the table. But the EU didn’t move on its own commitment (one so weak we’d actually have to work hard not to meet it) while the United States offered nothing and China stood firm.
Before the talks began I was of the opinion that we would only know Copenhagen was a success when plans for new coal-fired power stations across the developed world were dropped. If the giant utilities saw in the outcome of Copenhagen an unmistakable sign that governments were now determined to act, and that coal plants this century would be too expensive to run under the regime agreed at this meeting, then this summit would have succeeded. Instead, as the details of the agreement emerged last night we received reports of Japanese opposition MPs popping champagne corks as they savoured the possible collapse of their new government’s carbon targets. It’s not just that we haven’t got to where we needed to be, we’ve actually ceded huge ground. There is nothing in this deal – nothing – that would persuade an energy utility that the era of dirty coal is over. And the implications for humanity of that simple fact are profound.
I know we greens are partial to hyperbole. We use language as a bludgeon to direct attention to the crisis we’re facing, and you’ll hear much more of it in the coming days and weeks. But really, it’s no exaggeration to describe the outcome of Copenhagen as an historic failure that will live in infamy. In a single day, in a single space, a spectacle was played out in front of a disbelieving audience of people who have read and understood the stark warnings of humanity’s greatest scientific minds - and what they witnessed was nothing less than the very worst instincts of our species articulated by the most powerful men who ever lived.
I will leave the last word to the late Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who would have given voice to the insanity of Copenhagen better than I ever could, and whose poem Requiem is perhaps appropriate at this moment: ‘When the last living thing, has died on account of us, how poetical it would be if Earth could say, in a voice floating up, perhaps from the floor of the Grand Canyon, “It is done. People did not like it here”.’

-Ben Stewart (Greenpeace)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Vietnow plus christian mercenaries

So this allegation by senior intelligence officials that the head of the Taliban is being hidden in the Pakistani city of Karachi is pretty outrageous. ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service that created the Taliban in the 90's to excorcise tighter control in rural areas, is being accused of hiding Mullah Omar in a densely populated urban area to keep him safe from U.S. drone attacks. The Times of India reports

about the drone attacks:

" Since President Barack Obama was inaugurated, the United States has expanded drone bombing raids in Pakistan. Obama first ordered a drone strike against targets in North and South Waziristan on January 23, and the strikes have been conducted consistently ever since. The Obama administration has now surpassed the number of Bush-era strikes in Pakistan and has faced fierce criticism from Pakistan and some US lawmakers over civilian deaths. A drone attack in June killed as many as sixty people attending a Taliban funeral.

The military intelligence source says that the drone strike that reportedly killed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, his wife and his bodyguards in Waziristan in August was a CIA strike, but that many others attributed in media reports to the CIA are actually JSOC strikes. "Some of these strikes are attributed to OGA [Other Government Agency, intelligence parlance for the CIA], but in reality it's JSOC and their parallel program of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] because they also have access to UAVs. So when you see some of these hits, especially the ones with high civilian casualties, those are almost always JSOC strikes." The Pentagon has stated bluntly, "There are no US military strike operations being conducted in Pakistan."

"It's Blackwater running the program for both CIA and JSOC," said the source. When civilians are killed, "people go, 'Oh, it's the CIA doing crazy shit again unchecked.' Well, at least 50 percent of the time, that's JSOC [hitting] somebody they've identified through HUMINT [human intelligence] or they've culled the intelligence themselves or it's been shared with them and they take that person out and that's how it works."

The military intelligence source says that the CIA operations are subject to Congressional oversight, unlike the parallel JSOC bombings. "Targeted killings are not the most popular thing in town right now and the CIA knows that," he says. "Contractors and especially JSOC personnel working under a classified mandate are not [overseen by Congress], so they just don't care. If there's one person they're going after and there's thirty-four people in the building, thirty-five people are going to die. That's the mentality." He added, "They're not accountable to anybody and they know that. It's an open secret, but what are you going to do, shut down JSOC?" "

Hasn't anyone ever heard of hearts and minds? Fuck!

taken from The Nation

for more on Blackwater ( or Xe pronounced " zi " ) check out independant journalist Jeremy Scahill's site

I saw that Tariq Ali was on Democracy Now today ( or was that yesterday ). Anyway, look that shit up. He's the master of historical perspective.

ok, p.s. here's a Vanity Fair article where Blackwater founder and Churched up rich boy Erik Prince reveals sensitive information about his work as a " spy ". I am so sick of this guy I think it gave me strep throat. He seems to be grey-mailing the Government in a potentially successful attempt to avoid prosecution after being implicated in (among other things) the murder of federal witnesses and the smuggling of weapons abroad.
Oh but none of this would have been possible without some asshole on the lower rungs of his company named FUCKING SHREK getting four of his co-workers killed and mutilated in Fallujah and as a direct result Blackwater skyrockets to lucrative prominance and Fallujah is razed and cursed with plagues of infant cancer for years to come because guess who else loves chemical weapons? The fuckwits that gave them to Sadaam in the first place.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

US Special Forces in Afghanistan have started imbedding with " anti-Taliban " militias and providing support via a military fund said to contain 1.3 billion. The special forces troops are reporting directly to the US general leading NATO forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal and details of the plan entitled Community Defense Initiative (CDR) are being kept from non-US Alliance members. Although General McChrystal is head of the international NATO mission in Afghanistan, the newly created special forces group is reportedly outside NATO's authority?

Meanwhile in Fallujah, birth defects and cancer are conspicuosly increasing in children.
A group of Iraqi and British officials, including the former Iraqi minister for women's affairs, Dr Nawal Majeed a-Sammarai, have asked the UN general assembly to task an independent committee to fully investigate the defects and help clean up toxic materials left over from decades of war.

The US Government has admitted to using the chemical weapon White Phospherous during a 2004 battle in retaliation for the deaths of four Blackwater employees in Fallujah.

"We are seeing a very significant increase in central nervous system anomalies," said Falluja general hospital's director and senior specialist, Dr Ayman Qais. "Before 2003 [the start of the war] I was seeing sporadic numbers of deformities in babies. Now the frequency of deformities has increased dramatically."

Thursday, October 8, 2009


" H.B 1595 is a new provision on Oklahoma abortion laws that now requires, among other restrictions and requirements, an official record and reporting system of all abortions occuring within the state. This report will be available for anyone in the world to view, as it will be made public on a website as of March 1st. The Dept of Health, who among others has supported these new provisions, has declared that since the name and “personal information” will not be reported, there is no cause for concern or protest in regards to privacy issues. However, in reviewing the actual text of the law, the first 8 questions that will be asked and reported could easily be used to identify any member of a smaller community.

1. Date of abortion
2. County in which abortion performed
3. Age of mother
4. Marital status of mother
(married, divorced, separated, widowed, or never married)
5. Race of mother
6. Years of education of mother
(specify highest year completed)
7. State or foreign country of residence of mother
8. Total number of previous pregnancies of the mother
Live Births
Induced Abortions "

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

let's talk about

brief history of college sex columns

At its core, the sex column phenomenon is a radical progressive movement in the sense of pushing against traditional silence and the status quo, which is a source of concern for many administrators, parents and even students. Challenges to the columns stem from a conservative mindset--whether that be political, religious or cultural. Given that the Republican Party has become increasingly dominated by the religious right and the issues of the conservative culture wars, with sex smack at the forefront, these columns become politicized in a way the columnists themselves don't necessarily intend. With abortion, abstinence programs and same-sex marriage making up three of the right's key issues, the statement that "sex is OK" becomes even more politically charged when the sex in question is generally unmarried and occasionally queer.

Heather Strack asserts in the (Dartmouth)Free Press, "A sex column is a significant statement of female rights. Not only am I a female columnist, but I am writing about a topic considered taboo and improper for a woman." Women are the main target of abstinence/purity movements; thus, even if most columnists do not state this as unambiguously as Strack, the campus sex column is not only about students seizing control but about hearing underrepresented voices. Though men are readers in equal numbers, the sex columnist is a (straight and queer) female-dominated profession, with a small minority of queer men.

(ok so they say queer a lot, but good points are made)

Sex columns vary widely and don't always include feminist motivations; some focus on love and relationships, while others have more casual concerns. They can promote exploration of gender and sexuality, or reinforce a heteronormative mentality. However, by and large, student sex columnists have higher standards for inclusive, woman-positive sex journalism--and better access to a venue willing to publish this material--than their off-campus counterparts. Isabel Murray, feminist columnist for the Free Press, takes Cosmopolitan to task for its heteronormative, male-pleasure-oriented approach, while pointing out that it and similar women's magazines are nonetheless the only noncampus media addressing female sexuality (explaining why until recently it was the most read magazine among college women).

also (deep sigh)

A Senate committee voted Tuesday night to restore $50 million a year in federal funding for abstinence-only education that President Barack Obama has pushed to eliminate.

The 12-11 vote by the Senate Finance Committee came over objections from its chairman, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.

Two Democrats – Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas – joined all 10 committee Republicans in voting "yes" on the measure by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

The measure would still have to pass the full House and Senate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Caster Semenya

"If it is the goal of the media and IAAF to destroy the life of a young, talented female athlete by outing her as potentially intersex then they are not simply pitiless; they are socially repugnant."

from the nation

Sunday, August 30, 2009

my stop-lossed cuzzin Tyler

Bill McClellan is prolly one of my top-five favorite St. Louisans and Tyler Harris is definitely numero uno. If anyone's ever seen Donnybrook on the stl pbs station, Bill is the decent person with the mustache.

Two weeks before Christmas, after being inactive for two years, buying a house with his wife and getting cozy in an awesome job, Tyler received a packet in the mail for soldiers returning to active duty. About three months later he was back in the cradle of civilization where he currently resides, undoubtedly making everyone around him realize for the first that they are morons, his awesomeness routinely illuminating their banality.

Tyler's story in his own words:

and the article Bill wrote

oh yeah, and politely tell people this is bullshit if you're so inclined

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Female Officers Put in Charge of Policing Climate Camp

In the wake of the death of Ian Tomlinson, the subsequent coverup, and the general brutality of the G-20 protest crackdown, female officers are set to head up peace-keeping at Climate Camp. I'm interested to know what anybody thinks about this ( especially if you have examples in your own experience of dealing with male and female officers ).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

positive and negative cnn stuff on Mexico

prosecuted for leaving water for illegal immigrants. Tsk, tsk. Judges having some serious Limbaugh moments, dudes. Shameful shit.
bad news first

fairly enlightened oped on the continental american drug war and it's potential evolution. Kind of a sensational lead though, not sure I care for it.

good newsey stuff second

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hillary visits Congo

washington post

"The Congolese military has launched an offensive to take back eastern Congo from Rwandan rebels who have lived in the region for years. The operation has won support from the United States and United Nations. But human-rights groups say it has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and has driven up the rate of rape, with soldiers often involved."

yahoo news

"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Monday for Congolese youth to lead nationwide protests against massive corruption and rampant sexual violence in the country's violence-torn east.

Clinton said she would press officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo to address the issues. But she stressed that domestic outrage at graft and sexual assaults against women and girls was needed to help prod the government into action."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Robert Strange McNamara (June 9, 1916 – July 6, 2009)

in rememberance of Robert Mcnamara ( secretary of defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations ) here's my favorite scene from The Fog of War.

sleep well, Mac The Knife

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yeah, I read a four page article.

and dug it, here are some highlights:

Over the past three decades, California has tripled the number of prisons it operates, has more than quintupled its prison population and has gone from spending $5 on higher education for every dollar it spent on corrections to a virtual dead-heat in spending. That puts it in the same boat as Michigan, Vermont, Oregon, Connecticut and Delaware--all of which, according to estimates by the Pew Charitable Trust, spend as much or more on prisons than on colleges. California is also under federal court order to implement costly improvements in the delivery of medical and mental healthcare services in prisons and to release close to a third of the prison population--about 55,000 inmates--to improve conditions for those remaining behind bars.

And when it comes to the mentally ill, momentum continues to build around mental health courts designed to get people medical and counseling help rather than simply to shunt them off to prison. States like Pennsylvania are starting to develop parallel institutions to deal with mentally ill people who run afoul of the law. Many other states will likely follow suit in the near future. Forty years after deinstitutionalization, a new consensus is emerging that prisons became an accidental, de facto alternative to mental hospitals, and that very little good has come from that development.

p.s. Lauren! Do you own a bullhorn yet? That would be sweet!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

boo to the boo-er

plagiarized from democracy now:

Back in the United States, White House economic adviser Larry Summers was greeted with a hostile protest during a speaking appearance on Thursday. Earlier this week, the White House disclosed Summers received nearly $2.7 million in speaking fees last year from several of the financial companies that have received government bailouts. In addition, Summers earned over $5 million working one day a week at the D.E. Shaw hedge fund. As Summers addressed an audience at the Economic Club, two protesters stormed the stage with a sign saying “We want our money back.”

Larry Summers: “You know it’s hard enough to focus on the policy—focus on the policy choices that we have now without focusing—without focusing on—”

Protester #1: “Larry Summers is part of the problem. He’s a toxic mess.”

Protester #2: “And I’m out of work.”

Protester #1: “$135,000 from government bailed-out companies for one day? Your former companies paid you for that? We the people say no!”

Protester #2: “$5.2 million. $5.2 million this man made working one day a week in 2008 working for a hedge fund. We want our money back.”

Protester #1: “You’re part of the problem. You’re part of the problem.”

Protester #2: “Can we have our money back? Can we have our money back, please? Can I have some TARP to go with my stimulus?”

Protester #1: “I need a bailout for the peacekeepers. That’s right, Larry. You should resign. I am the people’s voice, sir. You should resign. Obama deserves a leader.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

get real on sex ed

Peter Rothberg quoted from

"There's an under-reported health care crisis brewing in this country: A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study reports at least one in four teenage girls -- ages 14 to 19 -- has a sexually transmitted infection; The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports that the US has the highest rates of teen pregnancy among comparable countries, and an estimated 750,00 teenagers will become pregnant this year, and Advocates for Youth reports that about two young people are infected with HIV every hour of every day.

In recognition of this crisis, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) recently introduced the Responsible Education About Life Act (REAL), a bill that designates federal funds for age-appropriate and medically accurate information to help young people make informed decisions about their relationships and sexual behavior.

voice your support for the (REAL) act here

Friday, February 27, 2009

your (dis)honer

ok... so I haven't felt like posting, reading, or listening to the news that much cuz... I haven't. But this shit is just too fucked up to not spread around.

Two judges in PA. have plead guilty to accepting over two million dollars in kickbacks and contracts from a private juvenile detention center starting in 2003 which calls into question the convictions of aproximatly 5,000 kids, some of whom are still incarcerated.

It pretty much looks like they got payed to pack the prisons.... with kids.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

two things

I should have said this a while ago but Gus Van Zant and Sean Penn made one hell of a fucking movie.

Joseph Lowery's speech was awesome too. Do yourself a favor and don't read the comments.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The United Nations Relief and Workers Agency (UNRWA) has suspended aid to Gaza after one of it's contractors was shot dead and two other's wounded by Israeli tank fire on their way to pick up goods from a border crossing. The contractors had coordinated their movements with the Israeli military and were driving UN flagged vehicles, as reported in this NYT article.

Israel bombed a UN monitoring post on the Israeli/Lebanese border during the war of 2006 killing four peacekeepers despite a reported 10 calls to cease fire around the position before it was finally hit.

The Guardian has reported that unnamed sources close to the Obama transition team believe he will pursue low-level or clandestine diplomatic relations with Hamas and that a consensus is slowly growing in Washington that the Bush administrations policy of isolating Hamas has clearly failed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I like this Tariq Ali piece from December 30th.

and on a lighter note:

Al Franken is good enough, smart enough, and dog-gonnet, people do like him.