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Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
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Posted by polly7 | Fri Apr 19, 2013, 11:05 PM (24 replies)
By Dave Zirin
Source: Edge of Sports
Monday, April 15, 2013
“Welcoming—not begrudging, not tolerant—welcoming.”
There is an old expression in social movements that sometimes it takes years to make days worth of progress but sometimes it takes only days to leap ahead years. In the fight for full citizenship for our LGBT friends and family, it certainly seems like every day another year mercifully moves forward.
As for the sports world, that longtime bulwark of homophobia, heteronormative socialization, and “no homo” jokes, we seem to be making decades of progress by the hour. We’ve seen NFL players stand up and organize for marriage equality. We’ve seen other players criticized by the league and media for what used to be accepted homophobic slurs. We’ve seen legitimate efforts to try and lay the groundwork for an out-and-proud active gay male athlete. We’ve seen new organizations and voices rise to the occasion to try and actually remake jock culture so it’s a force for LGBT inclusion instead of its historic opposite. And today, in a first for a major sports organization, we have the National Hockey League taking a stand against anti-LGBT bigotry in their sport.
The NHL and the NHLPA announced that they would be joining in a formal partnership with the You Can Play Project, whose mission is ending homophobia in the locker room and on the playing field. The league will adopt tough non-discriminatory language, have educational seminars for rookies, and confidential outreach support for closeted players. In the words of You Can Play founder Patrick Burke, “Today marks a historic step for LGBT equality in sports. The NHL and the NHLPA are stepping up to ensure that the hockey community is welcoming -- not begrudging, not tolerant -- welcoming to LGBT players, coaches, management or fans. Now with the culture of the hockey community behind us, we can do the important educational outreach to help everyone know how to be accepting. The NHL has long had a slogan – ‘Hockey Is For Everyone.’ We will work alongside our partners in the NHL and the NHLPA to continue to make that true.”
For those unfamiliar with the story of the origin of You Can Play, the Burke family is hockey royalty. Patrick’s father Brian Burke is a longtime, greatly respected hockey executive who became an impassioned advocate against homophobia when his son Brendan told his family he was gay. The following year, Brendan died in a car accident at the age of 21. After Brendan’s death, Patrick started You Can Play, in honor of his brother’s memory. They have been doing individual public service announcements and educational events with athletes for several years. Their work is also timely as rumors persist that an NHL player will come out in the months ahead. It makes sense that even Gary Bettman, perhaps the worst commissioner in the history of sports, would see the writing on the wall and understand that partnering with You Can Play makes sense for the league.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/nhl-takes-historic-step-for-lgbt-equality-by-dave-zirin
The Fifth Estate did a great interview with Patrick Burke on his brother, Brendan. http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2010-2011/thelegacyofbrendanburke/patrickburke.html On edit, I just rewatched this and it's part (the most important part, imo) of the full interview I'd seen a while ago. For anyone interested, the full documentary is here: http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2010-2011/thelegacyofbrendanburke/
Posted by polly7 | Mon Apr 15, 2013, 09:54 AM (5 replies)
By Linda Pearson
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Former US National Intelligence Council chairperson Thomas Fingar received the 2013 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence on January 23 for his role overseeing the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran.
The NIE finding’s that all 16 US intelligence agencies judged “with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program” removed the immediate threat of a US-Israeli military attack on Iran.
It contradicted the previous NIE report from 2005, which had judged with “high confidence” that “Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons despite its international obligations and international pressure”.
In his memoirs, then-US president George W Bush complained that the NIE “tied my hands on the military side … how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/wikileaks-and-the-2007-iran-nie-part-1-by-linda-pearson
Posted by polly7 | Sun Apr 14, 2013, 09:22 AM (0 replies)
By Richard Falk
Sunday, April 14, 2013
As with the best of journalists, Victoria Brittain has spent a lifetime enabling us to see in the dark! Or more accurately, she has shined a bright light on those whose suffering has been hidden by being deliberately situated in one or another shadow land of governmental and societal abuse, whether local, national, or geopolitical in its animus. These patterns of abuse are hidden because whenever their visibility cannot be avoided, the liberal mythologizing of the decency of the modern democratic state suffers a staggering blow. In recent years this unwanted visibility has permanently tarnished the human rights credentials of the United States due to the spectacular exposés of the horrifying pictures of prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or various reports of grotesque treatment of Guantanomo detainees. As with Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, the U.S. Government should be embarrassed by its response: a preoccupation with these unwelcome leaks of its dirty secrets, while manifesting indifference to the substantive disclosures of its endorsement of torture and other crimes against humanity. But it is not, and that has become and remains a deep challenge to all of us who wish to live in a society of laws, not sadistic men, a society based on ethics and human rights, not cruelty and dehumanization. Once such secrets have been revealed, all of us are challenged not to avert our gaze, being reminded that upholding the rights and dignity of every person is the duty of government and the responsibility of all citizens, and when flagrant and intentional failures along these lines remain unchallenged, the credentials of decency are forever compromised.
This is but a prelude to commenting briefly upon Victoria Brittain’s extraordinary recent book of humane disclosure, SHADOW LIVES: THE FORGOTTEN WOMEN OF THE WAR ON TERROR (London: Pluto, 2013; distributed in the United States by Palgrave Macmillan). Brittain is a journalist who not only sees in the dark, but what is even rarer among the restless practitioners of this profession, she stays around long enough to listen. Here she listens with empathy and insight to the words and experience of women whose male partners have been targeted in Britain and the United States by the rapacious masters of homeland security in the years since the 9/11 attacks. These women and their children, mainly living in Britain, are the forgotten and neglected ‘collateral damage’ of those who are detained year after year without charges or trials as terrorist suspects. As the book makes clear, Muslims as a distinct ethnic and religious group, have been deprived of rights available to others accused of political crime. She quotes an American lawyer, Linda Moreno, “After 9/11 the Constitution was suspended when it comes to Muslims, especially Palestinians.” (p.161) But it was not only the liberal governments that were at fault, it was also the media that stereotyped anyone accused of being a jihadist or somehow sympathetic with the aims and activities of those alleged to be guilty of acts of terrorism as unquestionably evil, and such a menace as to deserve ill-treatment. In Brittain’s words, “he enormity of the injustice perpetrated over a decade and more has been airbrushed out of America’s and Britain’s mainstream consciousness.” She goes on to ask a question we need to ask ourselves with all due gravity—“How did we get so coarsened that this is virtually unremarked?” (p.23)
The real story here is that of several women who try to live in the ruins created by the detention of their husbands, and seek to do whatever they can to bring normalcy to their family life, and raise their children as lovingly as possible in the process. It is a difficult life where the reverberations of Islamophobia are daily felt via the hostility of neighbors and the treatment experienced in schools and elsewhere. In other words, society, as well as government and the media, are complicit in the incidental, yet severe, punishments endured by these families of targeted individuals. Yet the picture is not entirely grim as these women are also courageous and determined not to be defeated, even as they struggle against depression and acute anxiety, as well as the loneliness associated with the loss of their loving partner and co-parent. And what is worse in some ways, are witnesses to the collapse of their men due to the mistreatment of prolonged prison experiences unalleviated by the reality of indictments and charges. These men are mainly held on the basis of secret evidence that is not even disclosed to their lawyers, and the majority seem entirely innocent, victims of post-9/11 panic politics nurtured by the nanny security state. When in Britain such detainees are released, it should not be confused with ‘freedom’ because the former prisoner is require to wear electronic tags, subject to curfews, daily reporting to local police, living with rigid restrictions on visits by friends, routine intrusions in family space by security personnel, even prohibitions on use of computers. In summing up the overall ordeal of these families, Brittain comments, “or all of them, something worse than their very worst nightmares had come true.” (p.149) One of the daughters who had endured this reality asks plaintively, “isten to my story, then decide if you will be able to live my life.” (p.67) It occasions no surprise that the several of the men attempt suicide or experience paranoid delusion and that the women become clinically depressed.
There is for several of the women a kind of existential double jeopardy. They came to Britain or the United States as refugees to escape from deadly torments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine, expecting at least the benefits of a liberal democracy, and instead were confronted by a far worse existence than what they had reluctantly left behind. Sometimes their memories were filled with happiness, as with one woman describing her earlier time in Afghanistan: “The life was not easy, but it was beautiful.” (p.154) These years of injustice were “intertwined with memories, ghosts and dreams of an Afghanistan or a Palestine—past or future. Those other shadow lives infused everything for them, if you came close enough to listen, and were, with their faith. Their secret lifeline of joy against bitterness and despair.” (p.164) Not only what was remembered, but also what was hoped for, believed in, a faith, often with overtones of the Koran, of a deliverance yet to come, however difficult the life of exile had become.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/seeing-in-the-dark-with-victoria-brittain-by-richard-falk
Posted by polly7 | Sun Apr 14, 2013, 09:18 AM (0 replies)
By Ted Snider
Thursday, April 11, 2013
In 1988, Iran acquired 23 kilograms of enriched uranium for medical isotopes used in the imaging and treating of cancer. Those 23 kilograms are now nearly used up. But when Iran went to the International Atomic Energy Association to request help in purchasing a new batch of 19.5% enriched uranium so she could keep her hospitals functioning, which, as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, she has every legal right to do, the U.S. and Europe prevented her from making the legal purchase. With that avenue blocked, Iran then, on a number of occasions, agreed to a nuclear swap in which she would send her 3.5% enriched uranium out of the country to be enriched into fuel rods for the medical reactor and sent back to Iran. Most recently, when Brazil and Turkey brokered a uranium swap deal, Iran agreed, but the U.S. and her allies not only ignored it, but reprimanded meddlesome Brazil and Turkey and pushed ahead, instead, with more sanctions on Iran.
This isolation and abandonment by the international community, which left Iran with no option but to enrich her own 19.5% uranium, must be a terrifying reminder of the dangers of international abandonment. In 1982, when the Iraqis, who had invaded Iran, began using chemical weapons, Iran went to the Security Council begging for help. But help never came. Fact-finding mission after fact-finding mission confirmed Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, but, for several years, the Security Council left Iranians to die. And 10,000 of them did. As many as 90,000 more soldiers and civilians were victims of chemical attacks that America and the world knew about.
So when the international community abandons Iran in her legal quest for medical isotopes to treat cancer patients in her hospitals, it may be a discreet, unemotional event in the west. But Iranians remember what happens when the international community leaves you on your own, and they have learned to be self sufficient. Hence, the--from their perspective--historically learned and rational decision to enrich their own.
Since North Americans see the current set of negotiations as the only set of negotiations, existing discreetly without historical context, they do not recognize the pattern or, therefore, the conclusion. For Iranians, who may see the current set of negotiations, not as historical creationists, but as people with a historical memory, because it is their history they are remembering, recognizing the historical pattern may just lead them to the same conclusion arrived at by the former head of the IAEA: that, as was the case for Mossadeq, the intent of deception and impossibility in negotiations is not, as with international abandonment, foreign support for internal attacks, sanctions and being portrayed as irrational, an agreement with the Iranian regime, but a replacement of the Iranian regime.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/iranians-have-memories-too-by-ted-snider
Posted by polly7 | Fri Apr 12, 2013, 02:14 PM (6 replies)
By Kwei Quartey
Source: Foreign Policy in Focus
Monday, April 08, 2013
The array of names by which the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been known over the years—the Congo Free State, the Belgian Congo, and Zaire, among others—bespeaks its long history of exploitation and conflict. In the ongoing fallout from the Second Congo War alone, well over 5 million people have been killed—approximately the population of Minnesota and approaching the number of Jews killed in the Holocuast. Even now, a deadly assortment of militias, M23 and Mai Mai prominent among them, continues to fight in the eastern DRC, where reports abound of horrifying acts of murder and rape in towns such as Goma, capital of North Kivu province on the border with Rwanda.
Although most of the developed world has long been unburdened with knowledge of the violence in the DRC, the slaughter is intricately linked to electronic components carried by millions of people in the United States and Europe. The tantalum capacitor is a reliable and stable component of electronic circuitry found in smartphones, DVD players, video game systems, laptops and tablets, hearing aids, pacemakers, and jet engines. Tantalum is extracted from coltan, short for columbite-tantalite, which is a dull, black, metallic ore mined in the DRC. Artisanal and small-scale miners do the work in filthy, dangerous, and taxing conditions. At the bottom of the supply chain, these workers earn a pittance, but the mining is often their sole income source.
In Goma and other eastern Congo towns close to Rwanda, coltan and conflict go hand in hand. Revenue from the mineral trade fuels the war. A 2001 UN Panel of Inquiry stated: “Here lies the vicious circle of the war. Coltan has permitted the Rwandan army to sustain its presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
Harsh public criticism of Apple and other manufacturers for essentially selling the public “blood phones” containing the conflict mineral coltan has forced electronics companies like Nokia to take a position. Although a 2010 off-the-cuff comment by Steve Jobs calling the conflict mineral trade “a very serious problem”—but seeming to dismiss it—was less than satisfactory, the Enough Project, which has been ranking companies by how well they keep conflict minerals out of their supply chains, has since shown that Apple and three other leading companies – Intel, Motorola Solutions, and HP – have been pioneers of progress. In its 2012 corporate rankings report, Enough states that “a majority of leading consumer electronics companies have moved ahead in addressing conflict minerals in their supply chains—spurred by the conflict minerals provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and growing consumer activism, particularly on college campuses.”
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/blood-phones-and-the-congo-by-kwei-quartey
Posted by polly7 | Mon Apr 8, 2013, 10:18 AM (4 replies)
By Nicolas Maduro
Friday, April 05, 2013
Posted by polly7 | Sat Apr 6, 2013, 01:46 PM (16 replies)
So many of them seem just hopeless. I posted this a while ago, it talks of others who've suffered similarly.
Greece's Social Fabric Unravels
By Charles André Udry
Thursday, January 10, 2013
THE PERIOD from October 20 to November 17, 2012 opened a window on the socio-political crisis in Greece. Its consequences are still difficult to foresee. In the first part of this discussion, we will trace the contours of the dark and dangerous socioeconomic situation, as a preamble before we make some points about the "SYRIZA model"--that is, the Coalition of the Radical Left that came in second in Greece's elections last spring.
A recent study made public by professor Haralambos Papageorgiou at a national conference held in Athens from October 18-20, 2012, indicated that 33 percent of women and 25 percent of men living in Greece were suffering from moderate to severe depression. The main cause of this was the repercussions of the economic depression, with all its manifestations in the daily lives of a very large majority of Greeks--and the possibility that these conditions will continue into the future.
On August 29, 2012, Giorgios Chatzis left a message on his wife's telephone: "I will not be coming home. I have no more to offer. I am nothing anymore. I love you all. Take care of the children."
The destruction of the "social fabric" has been set in motion. For the moment, the socio-political mobilizations are standing in the way of the explosion of exacerbated tensions (which already existed) between the various "fragments" of the society, and the fear of "the unknown," which is taking hold of certain parts of the population.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/greeces-social-fabric-unravels-by-charles-andr-udry
Posted by polly7 | Fri Apr 5, 2013, 06:07 PM (0 replies)
It makes me wonder what some think women have been fighting for? If you don't have the right to do with your own body as you please ....... what else is there? I find it beyond ironic that while claiming to buck the system, they're trying so hard to keep certain women trapped in it. Authoritarian, hypocritical b.s.
Posted by polly7 | Fri Apr 5, 2013, 03:07 PM (0 replies)
Original Peoples, Workers, Climate, Food and Torture Activists, and a Polar Bear
by Margaret Flowers / April 4th, 2013
A group of Indigenous women are walking the length of the Mississippi river — 1,200 miles — to raise awareness about pollution. They carry a 1½ quart bucket of clean water from the headwaters of the Mississippi which they plan to pour into the mouth of the river to show the her what she can be.
Climate Justice activists may be more powerful than we realize. The French energy company, Total, sold its 49% ownership in the Canadian oil sands to the Canadian energy company, Suncor, for a $1.65 billion loss. Why? The cost is getting too expensive and profits are going down. With all of the highly publicized tar sands spills recently in Minnesota, Arkansas and other states, people are seeing the environmental risks. Since we know that the Alberta Tar Sands is the tipping point for climate change, shouldn’t corporations be held accountable for the climate disasters that will inevitably follow? Protest pressure is building.1
The hunger strike continues. Solidarity protests were organized last week by Witness Against Torture against the Guantanamo Bay prison. Guantanamo is an example of criminal injustice. The trial against the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program is exposing the practice of racial targeting by New York police. This week, one of the commanders caught on tape settled a lawsuit against him for $78,000. We wrote an overview of the abusive criminal (in)justice system, “A Forest of Poisonous Trees.”
In New York City, low-wage, fast food workers walked off the job today in the largest-ever strike against the fast food industry which has virtually no unions. Workers are demanding that chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s raise their wages to $15 an hour and allow them to organize a union without retaliation. More than 400 workers, from 50-some stores, will participate in the surprise strike, doubling the size of their previous walkout and potentially shutting down several fast food restaurants for the day. Waging Nonviolence published an article that explained what it takes to organize a workplace.
Full Article and Links: http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/04/inspiration-is-contagious/
Posted by polly7 | Fri Apr 5, 2013, 10:41 AM (2 replies)