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suffragette

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 9,087

Journal Archives

"Give peace a chance. Give diplomacy a chance. Stop acting and start talking."

As Strikes on Syria Loom, Is U.S. Ignoring a Diplomatic Track That Could Prevent More Violence?

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/28/as_strikes_on_syria_loom_is

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a U.N. team investigating the alleged chemical attack must be given time to establish the facts about what happened last week when hundreds of civilians were killed on the outskirts of Damascus. Ban said, quote, "Give peace a chance. Give diplomacy a chance. Stop acting and start talking."

~~~snip~~~

PHYLLIS BENNIS: It’s certainly possible. Anything is possible. It’s certainly possible the regime used these weapons. It’s also possible that part of the rebels did. We know that some of the rebel armed forces came from defectors. We have no idea whether those defectors included some defectors that might have been involved in Syria’s long-standing chemical weapons program. We also know that some of the rebels are close to al-Qaeda organizations. The Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Nusra Front, has claimed its alliance with al-Qaeda. And the idea that al-Qaeda forces may have access to these weapons is certainly a frightening but very realistic possibility. The problem is, we don’t know. And that’s why the U.N. inspection initially is so important to determine what the weapons were, how they were used, where they were used. The next step then is to determine who used them. That remains a mystery right now. Whoever used them should be brought up on charges in the International Criminal Court and face the harshest punishments available to the international community.


The question of what is the alternative to military strikes starts with diplomacy. It starts with talking. The talks that were scheduled between the U.S. and Russia, designed to try again to create the so-called Geneva II peace conference, is more important now than ever. There have been 100,000 Syrians killed, between military and civilians. Millions have been forced from their homes. And the supporters of the two sides—because this is now clearly a civil war, a devastating civil war, that has become part of really five wars in Syria. There’s a sectarian war. There’s a regional war for power. There’s a war between the U.S. and Russia. There’s a war between the U.S. and Israel and Iran. All of these wars are being fought to the last Syrian. So what’s needed is a set of peace talks. Call it Geneva II. Call it whatever you want. Call it broccoli. Just get those talks started so that you have not only the parties, but their backers. You have the U.S. and Russia, and you have Iran and Saudi Arabia, and you have Iraq and Kuwait. You have all the forces on the two sides coming together to talk about this, rather than fighting to the last Syrian child, to resolve these wars.


I'd prefer to see this calmed down rather than ratcheted up.

Smithsonian Museum - Everybody: An Artifact History of Disability in America



The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has a new on-line exhibit titled “Everybody: An Artifact History of Disability in America”. http://everybody.si.edu/

http://americanhistory.si.edu/press/releases/national-museum-american-history-launches-history-disability-online-exhibition

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will launch “EveryBody: An Artifact History of Disability in America” to explore themes and events related to the history of people with disabilities in the U.S. and offer a new perspective on American history. This online exhibition is a first-of-its-kind image compilation that provides access to objects and stories related to the history of disability that have been collected at the museum for more than 50 years. The information is presented in English and Spanish, and the website is designed to be accessible to all users, including those using specialized software for vision or hearing impairments. All pages on the website follow federal accessibility guidelines, which are outlined on the site’s Accessibility Statement page. The website is available at http://everybody.si.edu.

“Many stories and events related to people with disabilities never make it into the history books or shared public memories,” said Katherine Ott, curator of medical science at the museum. “Knowing this history deepens the understanding of the American experience and reveals how complicated history is.”


From one of the pages:
http://everybody.si.edu/words/appearance

The way people judged a person’s appearance was different when physical injury, crooked teeth and cavities, smallpox marks, and other scarring commonly affected people. People with such bodies were fairly normal. Then in the mid-1800s, some cities began to ban certain people from public streets. These so-called Ugly Laws were directed at people with disabilities who sometimes depended on begging for a livelihood.

“Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, or an improper person to be allowed in or on the streets, highways, thoroughfares or public places in the City of County of San Francisco, shall not therein or thereon expose himself or herself to public view.” —San Francisco “Ugly Law,” 1867


I had not heard of these laws before. Found some additional information that noted how these were used and that some of these laws were not repealed until the mid-1970s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugly_law

http://www.cleveland.com/books/index.ssf/2009/07/susan_m_schweiks_the_ugly_law.html


This Cleveland newspaper vendor lost his job around 1915 for violating the city's "unsightly" ordinance.

Consider the smiling young man in white tie and cap, whose photo appeared in a 1916 report by the "Committee on Cripples of the Welfare Federation of Cleveland." His name is not recorded, but Cleveland's ugly law, banning "diseased, maimed and deformed persons" from appearing in public, cost him his job.

Don't see the problem? Look closer -- the vendor has clubbed hands and feet.

"Although it seems rather hard," the report states, "he appreciated the meaning of it, but considered it ill-advised unless some steps went with it for providing other opportunity for work for cripples."

Susan M. Schweik, the scholar who found and published this photo for her provocative, disturbing new book, "The Ugly Law," asks this question: "What was it, exactly, that this man, in his guarded, strategic protest, is said to appreciate?"



I think the truly ugly part is that such laws were ever enacted.




So they can create plans to protect DHS $$$ from other expenditure

And siphon ever more $$$ to an already over funded system that's had to create ways to spend its ever increasing budget.
Yet social services and security keep being placed on the chopping block.

Seems like a pattern to me.

The newest: 46.3 billion border surge plan



http://seattletimes.com/avantgo/2021356728.html

But thanks in part to lobbying by security contractors, the Senate immigration bill that goes to the Republican-led House this week includes a computerized “biometric” exit system that could cost more than $7 billion.

The plan is part of the bill’s $46 billion “border surge” of security measures, a 10-year spending gusher that would produce a financial bonanza for some of America’s largest aerospace, technology and security companies, as well as some border states.

~~~

If the law is enacted, the Treasury Department would set aside $46.3 billion in a special trust-fund account to protect it from lawmakers who might seek to draw on or reduce the money in future budget battles.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, considers Homeland Security acquisitions programs to be at “high risk” for abuse. A GAO report in February concluded that major acquisitions “continue to cost more than expected, take longer to deploy than planned, or deliver less capability than promised.”

~~~
“It’s an irrational buildup,” said Chris Rickerd, policy counsel on immigration at the American Civil Liberties Union. “It doesn’t correspond to security needs or any reasonable approach to securing the border.”


Some previous related posts:


TSA and Border Patrol both received funding increases

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=628201


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=439&topic_id=1648105&mesg_id=1654095

As I noted then:
I'd love to see an accounting of the increased funding that has gone to all these 'security" entities as a category, some newly created such as Dept of Homeland Security and some like the Border Patrol that have been operating beyond their mission to justify the increased budget. It would also need to include areas such as wire tapping (how much to pay for the rooms created for server traffic, such as at AT&T and the salaries for those monitoring all that) and the bureaucracies put in place in the last decade.

How much better that funding would be spent on social needs and investment in areas such as infrastructure (especially updating the grid and investing in sustainable energy technology. Instead, we've had amounts that are hard to even identify or track diverted for years now.


And some examples of how this is getting used:

"Researcher detained at U.S. border, questioned about Wikileaks"

http://upload.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x8859153


Kafkaesque ordeal: Innocent Canadian arrested at U.S. Border

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002329405


Border Patrol Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Claiming Illegal Stops Based on Race

http://upload.democraticunderground.com/1002711790


TSA and VIPR:

Here's some info on VIPR and on additional expansion of DHS, TSA and Border Patrol funding and roles:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=816389

Including inter city buses:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=816634


http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=818308

Oil and coal

There have been numerous new oil and coal moving ventures being pushed out here on the west coast too, cali.
Most, perhaps all, to supply China.

And these stretch from Canada to Washington to Oregon.

One is the increase in coal trains from Wyoming. These are uncovered and would sift the coal dust throughout the route. Since the trains have right of way, they would also block train crossings, even for emergency vehicles, something that has already been an issue with fewer of these. They derail, too. And note Goldman Sachs is set to profit from this, too.

http://www.coaltrainfacts.org/key-facts


This one is about shipping the crude oil from fracking out through WA and OR:

http://columbiariverkeeper.org/featured/crude-oil-terminal-threaten-columbia-river-communities/


And the Enbridge Northern Gateway project:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enbridge_Northern_Gateway_Pipelines


All of this seems to have ramped up significantly and recently.

I wonder how much is tied to TPP negotiations. We still really know only a small amount about those secret agreements, and those bits only because of leaks.

I think we are seeing something historical here

And not just the information about the surveillance (though that is extremely important).

As we have been become more globalized, the corporations and financial sectors have been taking advantage (in more ways than one) of the globalization trend.
We have also gained more immediate access to information from primary news sources globally.

But this is the first time I've noticed that such a major series of news stories is being disseminated to the different regions so they can publish the aspect(s) that affect them the most and have these first published in their own primary news agencies, rather than siphoning all of the information through a primary news agency in one region. Basically, it is a decentralization of what has been a centralized process.



Pipelines can also be dangerous


This explosion happened in Bellingham, WA.

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=5468

At 3:25 p.m. on June 10, 1999, the Olympic Pipe Line Company was pumping gasoline thorough a 16-inch pipeline from a refinery in Ferndale, south to terminals in Seattle and Portland, when a pressure relief valve failed. The resulting pressure surge led to a catastrophic rupture in the line traversing Whatcom Falls Park, and sent 277,200 gallons of highly volatile gasoline into Hanna Creek and Whatcom Creek, which flows through downtown Bellingham into Bellingham Bay.
~~~

At 3:25 p.m. on June 10, 1999, the Olympic Pipe Line Company was pumping gasoline thorough a 16-inch pipeline from a refinery in Ferndale, south to terminals in Seattle and Portland, when a pressure relief valve failed. The resulting pressure surge led to a catastrophic rupture in the line traversing Whatcom Falls Park, and sent 277,200 gallons of highly volatile gasoline into Hanna Creek and Whatcom Creek, which flows through downtown Bellingham into Bellingham Bay.

~~~
The Bellingham Fire Department’s investigation determined that Wade King and Stephen Tsiorvas ignited the gasoline vapor from the ruptured pipeline when they inadvertently lit a butane fireplace lighter near the spill in Whatcom Falls Park. The boys had been using the lighter to set off fireworks outside the park earlier in the day. Bellingham Fire Chief Mike Leigh gave his view that the boys were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Boys Saved Bellingham

In a twist of fate, King and Tsiorvas became unwitting heroes. In a statement to the news media on June 18, 1999, Bellingham Mayor Mark Asmendson said, “The cause of the fire was the fuel released from the Olympic pipeline. The fact that it was ignited was inevitable. With the thousands and thousands of gallons of fuel that were proceeding down Whatcom Creek, had the ignition not taken place where it did and at the time it did, the damage to this community and the loss of life would have been far greater. These boys completely, without notice or any awareness, were involved in an action that ended up being heroic for the city of Bellingham.”

The center right is in power there

It looks like the Spanish Ambassador to Austria mentioned in the articles, Alberto Carnero (also listed in some places as Alberto Carnero Fernández) is a right winger who also held posts in Foreign Policy and Security previously. This would likely make him the same Alberto Carnero listed here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush–Aznar_memo

He also was connected to something called the FAES Foundation, which looks to be a neocon think tank.

Puerto Rico, Haiti and Italy are among countries which have had epidemics of thelarche

And early sexual development.

Early studies linked these to high levels of hormones in food, including chicken. Newer studies seem to be looking at phtalates more.



I remember reading an article about this in MS magazine in the 1970's. That article was about children starting puberty at extremely early ages - some as young as 2yrs old. In addition, some of the boys also developed female characteristics such as enlarged breasts. The article postulated that U.S. agriculture was injecting poultry with even larger than usual amounts of hormones and selling them in Puerto Rico and that this could be the cause.

I couldn't find that article on a quick search, but found more info.

http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/Newsletter/articles/v6premature.cfm


Premature Thelarche in Puerto Rico
Since 1979, pediatric endocrinologists in Puerto Rico have detected an alarming increase in the number of patients with premature thelarche (Pérez, 1982; Bongiovanni, 1983). Among the hypotheses proposed to explain the observed premature sexual development in this US Caribbean island territory, the most controversial theory associated thelarche with the subject's diet. Sáenz et al. (1985) suggested that dairy and meat products were contaminated with anabolic estrogenic chemicals, which are used for increasing muscle mass in cattle and poultry. In 1985, studies conducted by the US Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with a scientific commission from the Puerto Rico Department of Health, led to the conclusion that no abnormal levels of the suspected chemicals were present in the approximately 800 samples of meat and dairy products that were analyzed (Montgomery, unpublished data). Other theories are still under consideration, such as the association with ovarian cysts, premature endogenous production of sexual hormones, and environmental contamination by pharmaceutical waste products. These theories do not establish a strong association with the majority of the cases reported (Freni-Titulaer, et al., 1986). Also, a genetic predisposition of Puerto Rican girls for developing premature thelarche is unlikely. Investigation of this ethnic group in the Philadelphia area did not reveal a similar pattern of early sexual development (Freni-Titulaer, et al., 1986). Moreover, other ethnic groups living in Puerto Rico are also affected by the condition (Freni-Titulaer, et al., 1986).

In 1987, the Puerto Rico Department of Health created by law the Premature Thelarche and Early Sexual Development (PTESD) Registry in response to the observed increase in cases (Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 1989). This is the only world registry created for the study of premature sexual development in a human population. The objectives of this surveillance system are to define the epidemiologic, clinical, and etiologic aspects of the different manifestations of premature sexualdevelopment on the island. Although the registry was established in 1988, retrospective data to 1969 and prospective data to 2001 have been collected. In this time period, approximately 7,600 cases of premature sexual development have been registered, of which 70% are premature thelarche cases. Based on the data accumulated by the registry, the estimated annual average incidence rate of premature thelarche in Puerto Rican girls 6-24 months of age is eight cases per 1,000 live female births from 1984 to 1993 (Bourdony, 1998). This incidence is, to our knowledge, the highest ever reported. Compared to a study conducted in Minnesota (Van Winter, et al., 1990), this estimated incidence of premature thelarche in the Puerto Rican female population is 18.5 times higher. The actual incidence is much higher since only the cases diagnosed by some of the pediatric endocrinologists practicing in the island are being recorded by the Registry. The other 30% of registered cases consist of premature sexual hair, strong (apocrine) odor in both sexes, vaginal bleeding in females and prepubertal enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) in males. No studies have been conducted to define the clinical, epidemiologic, etiologic or prognostic characteristics of these conditions.


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/science/17puberty.html?fta=y


At the annual Pediatric Academic Society meeting in May in San Francisco, they presented a report that described how a preschool-age girl, and then her kindergarten-age brother, mysteriously began growing pubic hair. These cases were not isolated; in 2004, pediatric endocrinologists from San Diego reported a similar cluster of five children.

It turns out that there have been clusters of cases in which children have prematurely developed signs of puberty, outbreaks similar to epidemics of influenza or environmental poisonings. In 1979, the medical journal The Lancet described an outbreak of breast enlargement among hundreds of Italian schoolchildren, probably caused by estrogen contamination of beef and poultry. Similar epidemics in Puerto Rico and Haiti were tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the 1980’s.




Note that Italy banned hormone use after details like the study above came out. If you search on the terms thelarche, gynecomastia, hormones, precocious development, etc, you'll find numerous articles addressing this and many scientific studies trying to determine the cause, mostly looking at food and environment (including pesticide use, etc.).

Here's a reference to one of the earlier ones from Puerto Rico, for example:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3928858


Given his phrasing and the regions affected, I think it's more likely he was referring to these incidents and these studies.

Katharine Gun on "Bush’s Foiled NSA Blackmail Scheme," Snowden and current events


http://consortiumnews.com/2013/06/21/bushs-foiled-nsa-blackmail-scheme/



In early 2003, as the U.S. and British governments were seeking international acquiescence to their aggressive war on Iraq, an unexpected cog throw into the propaganda machine was the disclosure that the National Security Agency was spying on UN Security Council members in search of blackmail material.

~~~


DB: Can you explain the document you released and the significance of the timing?

KG: It was released at the end of January 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq. I saw an email that had been sent from the NSA to GCHQ. It was a request for GCHQ to help the NSA intercept the communications of six nations that sat on the Security Council at that time. It was to intercept their domestic and office telecoms in order to obtain all the information we could about the delegates, which the U.S. could then use to achieve goals favorable to U.S. interests. They called for the whole gamut of information, which made me think they would potentially use the information to blackmail or bribe the U.N. delegates.

~~~

DB: We are now seeing extraordinary NSA leaks from Edward Snowden in the British Guardian. What are your thoughts on this?

KG: I think Snowden is probably is a lot more clued-up than I was at the time. My leak was a single issue. Snowden has had a long period of time working within the U.S. intelligence services. He’s obviously a very technically savvy professional. I admire him for taking this tremendous step, which he thought out very carefully and methodically. He has made some very good points. These kinds of issues should be in the public domain because it involves innocent members of the public. We, the public, should be able to have a measure of a say in these matters.


More here about Gun:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/03/katharine-gun-iraq-war-whistleblower

Ten years ago, a young Mandarin specialist at GCHQ, the government's surveillance centre in Cheltenham, did something extraordinary. Katharine Gun, a shy and studious 28-year-old who spent her days listening in to obscure Chinese intercepts, decided to tell the world about a secret plan by the US government to spy on the United Nations.

She had received an email in her inbox asking her and her colleagues to help in a vast intelligence "surge" designed to secure a UN resolution to send troops into Iraq. She was horrified and leaked the email to the Observer. As a result of the story the paper published 10 years ago this weekend, she was arrested, lost her job and faced trial under the Official Secrets Act.

The memo from Frank Koza, chief of staff at the "regional targets" section of the National Security Agency, GCHQ's sister organisation in the US, remains shocking in its implications for British sovereignty. Koza was in effect issuing a direct order to the employees of a UK security agency to gather "the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises". This included a particular focus on the "swing nations" on the security council, Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, "as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters".

~~~

As for her own story, she recognises that 10 years on it scarcely registers with the public. I sensed a slight flash of anger as she said: "It's not even a footnote in the history of Iraq." But she said she would still be prepared to give evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. "There seems to be this blasé attitude – the spying goes on, everyone does it and so it's nothing to get all hot under the collar about. But this specific instance is the ugly truth of what goes on."


Many more articles here:


http://www.accuracy.org/1104-the-katharine-gun-case/


The text of the memo:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/mar/02/iraq.unitednations1

To:
From: FRANK KOZA, Def Chief of Staff (Regional Targets)
CIV/NSA
Sent on Jan 31 2003 0:16
Subject: Reflections of Iraq Debate/Votes at UN-RT Actions + Potential for Related Contributions
Importance: HIGH
Top Secret//COMINT//X1
All,

As you've likely heard by now, the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc - the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises. In RT, that means a QRC surge effort to revive/ create efforts against UNSC members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters.

We've also asked ALL RT topi's to emphasize and make sure they pay attention to existing non-UNSC member UN-related and domestic comms for anything useful related to the UNSC deliberations/ debates/ votes. We have a lot of special UN-related diplomatic coverage (various UN delegations) from countries not sitting on the UNSC right now that could contribute related perspectives/ insights/ whatever. We recognize that we can't afford to ignore this possible source.

We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might have similar, more in-direct access to valuable information from accesses in your product lines. I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these lines in formal channels - especially as this effort will probably peak (at least for this specific focus) in the middle of next week, following the SecState's presentation to the UNSC.

Thanks for your help











Fake storefronts prepared for G8

With G8 soon to start, thought it would be timely to post this:


Suffering Under Austerity, Northern Ireland Puts Up Fake Storefronts For G8 Summit


http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/05/31/2086711/suffering-under-austerity-northern-ireland-puts-up-fake-storefronts-for-g8-summit/?mobile=wt



When leaders of the world’s eight largest economies convene in Northern Ireland next month for a summit of the G8, they’ll be surrounded by fictitious prosperity. As the Irish Times’ Dan Keenan explained to Public Radio International on Wednesday, the town of Enniskillen is erecting facades over vacant storefronts to simulate active businesses in a place Keenan says “has suffered terribly as a result of the credit crisis and the resulting recession.”


In all, Keenan reported in the Times, “More than 100 properties within range of the sumptuous Lough Erne resort which hosts the world’s wealthiest leaders, have been tidied up, painted or power-hosed.” The effort covers up the grimmer reality of a place more vulnerable to austerity than much of the rest of the United Kingdom, where child poverty is substantially higher than in the rest of the country. After three years of harmful austerity under Prime Minister David Cameron, the G8 summit will be the first shot of stimulus County Fermanagh’s economy has received in a long time. The Toronto Star puts the hoped-for spending injection at just under $60 million U.S., but notes that Toronto’s experience hosting a G20 summit in 2010 cost many times that much, and left “scars” on the city.



http://www.theworld.org/2013/05/northern-ireland-town-fakes-prosperity-for-g8-summit/


Dan Keenan: These are basically empty shops that are being now made to look as if they are thriving businesses, and they’ve done that in a very clever fashion indeed.

Werman: How do they do it?

Keenan: What they’ve done is they have filled the shop front window with a picture of what was the business before it went bankrupt or closed. In other words, grocery shops, butcher shops, pharmacies, you name it, they have placed large photographs in the windows that if you were driving past and glanced out the window, it would look as if this was a thriving business. It’s an attempt really by the local authority to make the place look as positive as possible for the visiting G8 leaders and their entourages, and it’s really tried to put a mask on a recession that has really hit this part of Ireland really very badly indeed.

~~~

Keenan: This is one big initiative really stemming from the Foreign Office in London. This is David Cameron’s gig. It’s his invitation, it’s his decision to host the G8 in County Fermanagh, which is, don’t forget, part of the United Kingdom. It’s also on the island of Ireland, it’s in Northern Ireland, but he will be the hosting head of government and it’s his say so. Much of the money that has been spent in and around the host town of Enniskillen, about more than £300,000 worth, that’s getting on from half a million dollars, the bulk of the cash and certainly the driving force behind the plans to tidy up the place, that’s all coming from London.


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