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polly7

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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 13,855

Journal Archives

The Kids Aren’t All Right

By Nick Turse
Source: TomDispatch.com
May 18, 2015

MALAKAL, South Sudan — I didn’t really think he was going to shoot me. There was no anger in his eyes. His finger may not have been anywhere near the trigger. He didn’t draw a bead on me. Still, he was a boy and he was holding an AK-47 and it was pointed in my direction.


When I was their age, I wasn’t trusted to drive, vote, drink, get married, gamble in a casino, serve on a jury, rent a car, or buy a ticket to an R-rated movie. It was mandatory for me to be in school. The law decreed just how many hours I could work and prohibited my employment in jobs deemed too dangerous for kids — like operating mixing machines in bakeries or repairing elevators. No one, I can say with some certainty, would have thought it a good idea to put an automatic weapon in my hands. But someone thought it was acceptable for them. A lot of someones actually. Their government — the government of South Sudan — apparently thought so. And so did mine, the government of the United States.


There was a reason that boy pointed his weapon my way. A lot of them, in fact. In the most immediate sense, I brought it upon myself. I was doing something I knew could get me in trouble, but I just couldn’t help myself.

I tried to take a picture. Okay, I took a picture. More than one.


By May 2014, UNICEF estimated that 9,000 children had been recruited into the armed forces of both sides in the civil war, despite the fact that under “both international and South Sudanese law, the forcible or voluntary recruitment of persons under the age of 18, whether as a member of a regular army or of an informal militia, is prohibited.” Today, that number is estimated to have grown to 13,000.


Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-kids-arent-all-right/

Yay, war .... and whatever it takes.

What’s wrong with VE Day?

By Milan Rai
Source: teleSUR English
May 18, 2015

On 10 May, the head of the Church of England, Justin Welby, led a service of remembrance at Westminster Abbey, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. He addressed a congregation of War War II veterans, the royal family, and political leaders, saying: ‘We gather again, 70 years on, thankful for victory over the greatest darkness of the 20th century, perhaps of all history. Our gratitude is not simply for victory in Europe, but also the reconciliation in Europe that followed, neither obviously nor automatically.’

That evening, re-elected British Prime Minister David Cameron told Channel 4 News: ‘today is a good day to remember just what the United Kingdom stands for and what it has done. The United Kingdom stood alone against Hitler.’

There is a lot one could say about this, including the fact that the Soviet Union lost 26 million citizens during the war (around 14% of the population), while Britain lost less than half a million (less than 1% of its population). Seems like a lot of other people got hurt while Britain was ‘standing alone against Hitler’.


David Cameron was right to say that the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War is a good time ‘to remember just what the United Kingdom stands for and what it has done’. The answers are rather grim, and they cast a different light on the postwar history of Greece and the current conflicts around Greek debts. What about Britain’s debt to Greece for the (long-term) harm caused by its 1944-1945 invasion?


Full article: https://zcomm.org/zcommentary/whats-wrong-with-ve-day/

BBM. Fuck Cameron. The very young men my family lost were Canadian. Nations all over the world lost so many citizens - it takes a special kind of arrogance to make that claim, let alone think it.

And pay your debts to Greece, asshole.

“Win-Lose” is “Lose-Lose” in the 21st Century

Obama on the TPP: Beckoning Us to the Graveyard
by John V. Walsh / May 17th, 2015

We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy and we should do it today while our economy is in a position of global strength. If we don’t write the rules for trade around the world, guess what, China will. And they’ll write those rules in a way that gives Chinese workers and Chinese businesses the upper hand.


— Barack Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a Speech at Nike Factory in Oregon, May 8, 2015

Those very few words of Obama’s, his most widely circulated PR effort to garner support for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and thoroughly representative of the thinking of our imperial elite, are so revealing, so wrong and so dangerous on so many levels that one scarcely knows where to begin. In fact they carry the seeds of our destruction. And they are focused on China.

First, the arrogance and hegemonic intent of the statement is astonishing even though it has become routine for the U.S. elite. What gives the United States, a country of 300 million on the opposite side of the vast Pacific, the right to determine the rules of trade for East Asia, which includes China, a country of 1.3 billion people? The U.S. can no longer assert that privilege based on its economic power since its gross GDP, measured in Purchasing Power Parity is now, according to the IMF, second to China’s.

Clear evidence of the relative power of the Chinese and American economies was the world’s reaction to China’s launch of the badly needed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to provide development funds for Asia and beyond. The level of funding necessary for such development has long been denied by the U.S.-dominated World Bank and IMF. U.S. allies, even the UK and Israel, stumbled over one another to join the AIIB, despite the bullying of the U.S. to stop them, leaving the U.S. and its cat’s paw in East Asia, Japan, out in the cold. More amazingly, the U.S. thinks it can write the rules of trade for China and East Asia! Given the new economic realities, that day is past. Indeed, Obama, perhaps unwittingly in his desperation to sell the measure by frightening us into acceptance of it, acknowledges this fact. What else can he mean when he says, “we should do it (pass TPP) today while our economy is in a position of global strength.” What is he saying implicitly about the situation tomorrow?


Yes, let us work to stop the TPP. But let us be aware that this battle is not simply about a few more goodies for Americans. The TPP is in fact one more step on the road to Armageddon, which the U.S. seems to be paving with some measure of desperation and panic.


http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/05/win-lose-is-lose-lose-in-the-21st-century/

Considering the number of huge U.S. owned corporations about to get the upper hand in environmental, health, employment and so many other issues in so many countries, I agree with all of this. I've read many articles from other countries involved concerning their fear of these trade agreements, and we've already seen the results - just one example Mexican farmers decimated by NAFTA, Canadian provincial gov'ts sued over resources - we all have reason to be afraid.

FAIR trade!

Gandhi as an Economist

by John Scales Avery / May 18th, 2015

If humans are to achieve a stable society in the distant future, it will be necessary for them to become modest in their economic behavior and peaceful in their politics. For both modesty and peace, Gandhi is useful as a source of ideas.


Gandhi’s exceptionally sweet and honest character won him many friends in England, and he encountered no racial prejudice at all. However, when he traveled to Pretoria in South Africa a few years later, he experienced racism in its worst form. Although he was meticulously well dressed in an English frock coat, and in possession of a first-class ticket, Gandhi was given the choice between traveling third class or being thrown off the train. (He chose the second alternative.) Later in the journey he was beaten by a coach driver because he insisted on his right to sit as a passenger rather than taking a humiliating position on the footboard of the coach.


Gandhi was about to return to India after the settlement of the case, but at a farewell party given by Abdullah Seth, he learned of a bill before the legislature which would deprive Indians in South Africa of their right to vote. He decided to stay and fight against the bill. Gandhi spent the next twenty years in South Africa, becoming the leader of a struggle for the civil rights of the Indian community. In this struggle he tried “… to find the better side of human nature and to enter men’s hearts.”


Gandhi also organized many demonstrations whose purpose was to show the British public that although the British raj gave India many benefits, the toll exacted was too high, not only in terms of money, but also in terms of India’s self-respect and self-sufficiency. All of Gandhi’s demonstrations were designed to underline this fact. For example, in 1930 Gandhi organized a civil-disobedience campaign against the salt laws. The salt laws gave the Imperial government a monopoly and prevented Indians from making their own salt by evaporating sea water. The majority of Indians were poor farmers who worked long hours in extreme heat, and salt was as much a necessity to them as bread. The tax on salt was essentially a tax on the sweat of the farmers.


Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/05/gandhi-as-an-economist/#more-58440

New Urban Algae Invention Produces As Much Oxygen As A Small Forest

This amazing canopy melds nature and technology into something awesome!



EcoLogicStudio in London has designed an Urban Algae Canopy, which produces the same amount of oxygen daily as a forest of 40,000 square meters. This cutting-edge technology was unveiled this week at Expo Milano 2015 Future Food District. The prototype is the world’s first bio-digital canopy, integrating micro-algal cultures and real time digital cultivation protocols within a unique architectural cladding system.

Once completed, the Urban Algae Canopy will produce the oxygen equivalent of four hectares of woodland and up to 150kg of biomass per day, 60% of which are natural vegetal proteins. Designers say: “In EcoLogicStudio we believe that it is now time to overcome the segregation between technology and nature typical of the mechanical age, to embrace a systemic understanding of architecture. In this prototype the boundaries between the material, spatial and technological dimensions have been carefully articulated to achieve efficiency, resilience and beauty.”


http://www.trueactivist.com/new-urban-algae-invention-produces-as-much-oxygen-as-a-small-forest/

(no further information at link).

I thought I had read here that Germany had done something like this, or perhaps the same, but I can't find the thread.



The Phony ‘Bad Intel’ Defense on Iraq

Jeb Bush’s stumbling start to his presidential bid has refocused attention on Official Washington’s favorite excuse for the illegal, aggressive and disastrous war in Iraq – that it was just a case of “bad intelligence.” But that isn’t what the real history shows, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern recalls.

By Ray McGovern
May 15, 2015 "Consortium News"

Presidential aspirant Jeb Bush this week may have damaged his chances by flubbing the answer to an entirely predictable question about his big brother’s decision to attack Iraq.


After some backfilling and additional foundering on Tuesday and Wednesday, Bush apparently memorized the “correct” answer. So on Thursday, he proceeded to ask the question himself: “If we’re all supposed to answer hypothetical questions: Knowing what we now know, what would you have done? I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.”

It is a safe bet that, by Thursday, Iraq War champion Paul Wolfowitz, now a senior adviser to Jeb Bush, had taken him to the woodshed, admonishing him along these lines: “Jeb, you remembered to emphasize the mistaken nature of pre-war intelligence; that’s the key point; that’s good. But then you need to say that if you knew how mistaken the intelligence was, you would not have attacked Iraq. Got it?”

It was then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz — together with his boss Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and a string of neocon advisers — who exploited the tragedy of 9/11 to make war on Iraq, which they had been itching for since the 1990s. They tried mightily (and transparently) to link Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to the Sept. 11 attacks. Following their lead, the fawning corporate media played up this bum rap with such success that, before the attack on Iraq, polls showed that almost 70 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein played some kind of role in 9/11.


Brimming with WMD:.........

Riding High, Wolfowitz Slips:........

The Downing Street Memorandum:..........

Challenging Rumsfeld:........

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/05/15/the-phony-bad-intel-defense-on-iraq/

Old news to everyone here, but interesting for me to read just how much the CIA doubted these claims, I had thought they were on board from the start.

The War Zone of Donetsk, Ukraine

Posted on May 17, 2015

By Halyna Mokrushyna, CounterPunch


A family rests in a hostel for the internally displaced in Donetsk. Many homes were damaged by bombs and shells launched by the Ukrainian army in 2014. People of means or with family connections have moved out of the area. (AP / Efrem Lukatsky)

This piece first appeared at CounterPunch on April 27.

From April 13 to April 17, 2015, I participated in a press tour to Donbas, the region in eastern Ukraine torn by armed conflict between Ukrainian military forces and local insurgency. The people of Donbas (the region includes the oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk), rebelled last year against Kyiv’s imposed integration with the European Union and its new, official history and ideology based on extreme and exclusive Ukrainian nationalism.

Donbas has always been a predominantly Russian-speaking region, oriented culturally and integrated economically to Russia. When in February of 2014 the Euromaidan “Revolution” overthrew the elected President Victor Yanukovych, Donbas rejected this overthrow as well as the violence with which it was carried out. Donbas did not recognize itself in this West supported coup-d’état, which was celebrated in the Western and Ukrainian media as a popular revolt against a “corrupted dictator”. Donbas responded with its own protests and demands to hold a referendum on the future of the region. Kyiv answered these legitimate demands by launching an “anti-terrorist” operation against its own people in April 2014.

I saw first-hand these “terrorists” in Donetsk – people who before this fratricidal war were owners of small businesses, miners, university professors, engineers, security service officers, and so on. After Kyiv launched a war against them, they decided that they want to build something different from the oligarchic regime in Kyiv – a new state, free from corruption and nationalism. In Donetsk and in Lugansk, they have created new political entities with emerging governing structures—the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk Peoples Republic.

It is an enormous and difficult task. Ukraine has cut all the supplies to the rebellious region. Russia has not recognized the people’s republics politically, but it does provide them with humanitarian aid. I talked to these courageous people in Donetsk who, in spite of all difficulties, work every day to fulfill their dream. They have created their own banking system, the first old age pensions have been paid as of April 1, students are attending local universities, kids are in public schools, and destroyed infrastructure is being slowly repaired and rebuilt. Resources are scarce, but people of the DPR are doing the best they can under the circumstances.


Full article: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_war_zone_of_donetsk_20150517

The awful truth about climate change no one wants to admit

By David Roberts
Source: Vox.com
May 17, 2015

There has always been an odd tenor to discussions among climate scientists, policy wonks, and politicians, a passive-aggressive quality, and I think it can be traced to the fact that everyone involved has to dance around the obvious truth, at risk of losing their status and influence.

The obvious truth about global warming is this: barring miracles, humanity is in for some awful shit.

Here is a plotting of dozens of climate modeling scenarios out to 2100, from the IPCC:



(Global Carbon Project)

The black line is carbon emissions to date. The red line is the status quo — a projection of where emissions will go if no new substantial policy is passed to restrain greenhouse gas emissions.

We recently passed 400 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere; the status quo will take us up to 1,000 ppm, raising global average temperature (from a pre-industrial baseline) between 3.2 and 5.4 degrees Celsius. That will mean, according to a 2012 World Bank report, “extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise,” the effects of which will be “tilted against many of the world’s poorest regions,” stalling or reversing decades of development work. “A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided,” said the World Bank president.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-awful-truth-about-climate-change-no-one-wants-to-admit/

A Change Is Gonna Come (Live) - Playing For Change Band

https://



(And another excuse to encourage a look at this fantastic organization: 'Playing For Change' - http://playingforchange.com/ )

‘People Have the Power to Bring About Change’

Published on Friday, May 15, 2015
by EcoWatch

by David Suzuki

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The Continental Divide at the border of Alberta and British Columbia in Canada. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Recent events in Canada have shown not only that change is possible, but that people won’t stand for having corporate interests put before their own.

When plummeting oil prices late last year threw Alberta into financial crisis, people rightly asked, “Where’s the money?” They could see that an oil producer like Norway was able to weather the price drop thanks to forward planning, higher costs to industry to exploit resources and an oil fund worth close to $1 trillion! Leading up to the election, the government that ran Alberta for 44 years refused to consider raising industry taxes or reviewing royalty rates, instead offering a budget with new taxes, fees and levies for citizens, along with service cuts.

The people of Alberta then did what was once thought impossible: they gave the NDP a strong majority. Almost half the NDP members elected were women, giving Alberta the highest percentage of women ever in a Canadian provincial or federal government.

On the other side of the country, voters in Prince Edward Island followed B.C. provincially and Canada federally and elected their first Green Party member, as well as Canada’s second openly gay premier. Remember, homosexuality was illegal in Canada until 1969!

In my home province, after a long struggle by elders and families of the Tahltan Klabona Keepers, the B.C. government bought 61 coal licenses from Fortune Minerals and Posco Canada in the Klappan and Sacred Headwaters, putting a halt to controversial development in an ecologically and culturally significant area that is home to the Tahltan people and forms the headwaters of the Skeena, Stikine and Nass rivers. The Tahltan and the province have agreed to work on a long-term management plan for the area.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/05/15/people-have-power-bring-about-change

It's beginning (I hope) .....
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