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Gender: Female
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,471

Journal Archives

“Hard Clay”: Remaking Afghanistan in “Our” Image

by Media Lens / April 28th, 2014

"Last month, we reviewed the mind-boggling contrast between corporate media coverage of the January 2005 election in Iraq and the March 2014 referendum in Crimea.Whereas all media accepted the basic legitimacy of an Iraq election conducted under extremely violent US-UK military occupation, they all rejected the legitimacy of a Crimea referendum conducted “at gunpoint”.

"It was not difficult to guess how the same media would respond to the Afghan presidential election of April 5 under the guns of Britain and America’s occupying force."

"The Daily Telegraph had welcomed ‘the first democratic elections’ in Iraq (Leader, ‘Mission accomplished,’ December 6, 2004) and dismissed the Crimea vote as “an illegal referendum conducted at gunpoint”. As for Afghanistan:"

"The sight of millions of Afghans defying the Taliban to vote in their country’s presidential election should induce genuine humility. We might take democracy for granted; they emphatically do not."

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/04/hard-clay-remaking-afghanistan-in-our-image/

The Browning of the World

by Christy Rodgers / April 29th, 2014

....But even the stolid NASA recognizes, as a recent report warns, that it is the greed of the rich, not the “barbarism” of the poor that brings down civilizations. And population growth is most effectively reduced by reducing desperate poverty and increasing education – but that’s apparently too complicated for the Malthusians to understand.

The decline of ecosystems, the decimation of species, the obsession with reductive, mechanistic views of nature and exploitative, expansionist economies were not generated, by and large, by the brown peoples who are now taking on a larger role in wielding the tools of industrialism that (some of them) have only recently begun to profit from. And the market economy shell game on which they have started making wagers offers them extremely limited means to alter its rules. India and the “Pink Tide” governments in Latin America have begun to discover this to their peoples’ chagrin. Adopting the Northern world’s model of progress, as they are finding out, carries an enormous, irreversible cost. So there is much resistance to it in the brown world. Not everybody just “wants what we have,” as the common view here has it. In fact, from Bolivia, where the average person consumes perhaps 1/20th the total resources of her analogue in the US, comes the old-new idea of buen vivir (the good life): a life in which the health of your human community and its surrounding ecosystem are more important than the amount of money you make or things you own.

So I have this to say to all the preppers and survivialists and apocalypticists: there are hundreds of millions of people who have already been living in the future you so fear. They have spent generations living there. It is their present and their past. They wait in long lines for poor services. They live in cramped quarters, with regular power outages, swept by heat, cold, and darkness. They cannot get enough food, decent health care or clean water, and so many of them are chronically ill. There is often violence all around them. The landscapes in which they eke out their living are degraded to the point of exhaustion. The powers that be care nothing for them and live at a remove, protected by guns, stealing everything there is to steal and keeping it for themselves. Why do they have so many children? ask the nativists. Many, many of their children never reach adulthood, and children who can survive to earn are the only guarantee that their parents won’t starve. What would you do? But you have never had to make that choice.

Many people who live in the brown (red, black, yellow) and poor world survive because they have retained social skills that fully consumerized societies like ours have almost destroyed. And they have retained a faith in the regenerative powers of nature that we have lost, and the long view that the great living world is always stronger and smarter than man. And thus kept the ability to perceive the enduring, mystical power of their planet’s biosphere even in some of its most degraded landscapes. If you leave your mental bunker and go out into that world with humility, you will find – more than you would have believed possible – creativity and resourcefulness and a determination to improve not just one’s individual life but the lives of all who suffer. You will find many people there more attuned than you or I to the uses of plants, the meanings of birds, the voice of the wild. Who also know better than we how to provide their own sustenance from the land, having done it for generations.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/04/the-browning-of-the-world/#more-53941

With mission accomplished in Libya, Africom now has few obstacles to its military ambitions on the


This is a far cry from the Africa of 2007, which refused to allow Africom a base on African soil, forcing it to establish its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Gaddafi's Libya had served not only as a bulwark against US military designs on the continent, but also as a crucial bridge between black Africa south of the Sahara and Arab Africa in the north. The racism of the new Nato-installed Libyan regime, currently supporting what amounts to a nationwide pogrom against the country's black population, serves to tear down this bridge and push back the prospects for African unity still further


The Startling Size of US Military Operations in Africa (with map).


Dutch man arrested in connection with Amanda Todd case: RCMP

CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, April 17, 2014 3:50PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:00PM EDT

A Dutch man is facing extortion and child pornography charges in connection with the online bullying case of British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd, who died by suicide in 2012.

The Coquitlam RCMP confirmed Thursday that a 35-year-old Dutch citizen was arrested in the Netherlands in January. He is facing a number of charges, including extortion, internet luring, criminal harassment and possession of child pornography.

Todd, 15, was found dead in October 2012, weeks after she detailed the online harassment and bullying she suffered in a YouTube video, using flashcards to tell her story.

A news release from the Dutch prosecutor’s office said the man was arrested in January and is suspected of encouraging underage girls in several countries, including the U.S., the U.K. and the Netherlands, to perform sexual acts in front of a web camera.

The man is also suspected of posing as an underage boy and encouraging men to perform sexual acts on webcam, then blackmailing them by threatening to give the images to the police, the news release said.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/dutch-man-arrested-in-connection-with-amanda-todd-case-rcmp-1.1780872#ixzz2zFdZPnqa

Includes details from the operation's support officer first on Amanda's harassment case in 2010 and the effects Amanda's video had around the world.


Climate Change and False Gods

By Meredith Tax

Source: opendemocracy.net
April 17, 2014

In a report released Sunday, April 13, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won the Nobel Prize in 2007, together with former US vice-president Al Gore, made it clear that, while the future will be sunny, it is anything but bright. The report, written by an expert committee of 1250, made recommendations for immediate actions to mitigate, if not prevent, climate change. The leading one is to stop using fossil fuels and divert energy investment into renewable sources like wind, water power and solar. The report says we must limit global warming to 2°C by the year 2050; this can be done without wrecking the world economy but we have to move fast—‘we cannot afford to lose another decade’, says Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the expert committee.

There is nothing new about this. As Elizabeth Kolbert notes in this week’s New Yorker, we have known since the seventies that carbon emissions are the cause of global warming. The signs of impending disaster are clear. The polar ice caps are melting; the coral reefs are dying; the oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb increased carbon emissions. Heat waves, heavy rains and floods are worse and more frequent. Species are becoming extinct; fresh water supplies are being used up; the world’s food supply is at risk. But we still keep burning carbon like there was no tomorrow; in fact ‘atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rising> almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decades of the 20th century’.

It is hard to know what to do about a political system held captive by an alliance of big money and Bible-punchers. US environmental groups are certainly becoming more activist in response to climate change; in March, 15,000 people turned out and hundreds of students were arrested at the White House in a protest against the Keystone pipeline. But these are not the kind of numbers needed to save the planet, and most Americans are too busy struggling to make ends meet to have time for politics. It is impossible to overstate the exhaustion and dis-empowerment of the working and/or middle class (over here, we have never been too clear about the difference). The official unemployment rate is stuck at 6.7%, a gross underestimate since it doesn’t count people who are working part time or have given up looking. One-third of the workforce is now in contingent employment with no union or job security. Many people have to work 60 to 80 hours a week, often putting together part time jobs. Add to this the extra time and energy, mostly female, needed to make up for lack of public services for the elderly, young children, and the disabled, and the hours most Americans spend driving (producing carbon emissions) because of poor public transportation options, and you have a crushing burden of overwork. Even though the system has lost all credibility, particularly with the young, the ruling elite has no problem keeping the lid on, because people are so hard-pressed and the American left is too weak to present a coherent alternative.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/climate-change-and-false-gods/

(sorry for the wacky links, I can't figure out how to fix them, but always find it unfair not to include them because of the work the author's put into it).

Ukraine, Through the US Looking Glass

Published on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by Consortium News

by Robert Parry

The acting president of the coup regime in Kiev announces that he is ordering an “anti-terrorist” operation against pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine, while his national security chief says he has dispatched right-wing ultranationalist fighters who spearheaded the Feb. 22 coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

On Tuesday, Andriy Parubiy, head of the Ukrainian National Security Council, went on Twitter to declare, “Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense volunteers was sent to the front line this morning.” Parubiy was referring to the neo-Nazi militias that provided the organized muscle that overthrew Yanukovych, forcing him to flee for his life. Some of these militias have since been incorporated into security forces as “National Guard.”

Parubiy himself is a well-known neo-Nazi, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991. The party blended radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Parubiy also formed a paramilitary spinoff, the Patriots of Ukraine, and defended the awarding of the title, “Hero of Ukraine,” to World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose own paramilitary forces exterminated thousands of Jews and Poles in pursuit of a racially pure Ukraine.

During the months of protests aimed at overthrowing Yanukovych, Parubiy became the commandant of “Euromaidan,” the name for the Kiev uprising, and – after the Feb. 22 coup – Parubiy was one of four far-right Ukrainian nationalists given control of a ministry, i.e. national security.

But the U.S. press has played down his role because his neo-Nazism conflicts with Official Washington’s narrative that the neo-Nazis played little or no role in the “revolution.” References to neo-Nazis in the “interim government” are dismissed as “Russian propaganda.”


Whose Propaganda?

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/04/16-6

CEO Pay Soars, Workers Toil in Capitalism's New Gilded Age

Published on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by Common Dreams

Ratio of CEO-to-worker pay is 'unconscionable,' says AFl-CIO as prominent economist argues this level of inequality proves current capitalist system 'cannot work'

- Jon Queally, staff writer

Here's the first number to know: 331.

That, according to a new report, is the number of times more the average CEO in the United States made in 2013 compared to the average worker.

Here's the second number: 774.

That's the number of times more those same CEOs—some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet—made compared to the nation's minimum wage workers.

"I have proved that under the present circumstances capitalism simply cannot work." —Thomas Piketty

These two numbers are central to the AFL-CIO's latest 'Executive Paywatch' report, released Wednesday, which shows the astronomical disparity between the annual pay of the nation's top executives—which continue to rise year after year—and the stagnant wages that middle class and the working poor continue to suffer.

On average, according to the report, U.S. CEOs earned $11.7 million in 2013 while the U.S. worker earned $35,293. That means CEOs were paid 331 times that of the average worker.....

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/04/16-0

2.5 Million Tons of Bombs on Laos

Picturing the deadly legacy of America's secret war in the world's most bombed-out country.
—By H.F. Bhojani | Wed Mar. 26, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

Between 1964 and 1973, the United States dropped around 2.5 million tons of bombs on Laos. While the American public was focused on the war in neighboring Vietnam, the US military was waging a devastating covert campaign to cut off North Vietnamese supply lines through the small Southeast Asian country.

The nearly 600,000 bombing runs delivered a staggering amount of explosives: The equivalent of a planeload of bombs every eight minutes for nine years, or a ton of bombs for every person in the country—more than what American planes unloaded on Germany and Japan combined during World War II. Laos remains, per capita, the most heavily bombed country on earth.

The map above, created by photographer Jerry Redfern, provides another view of the massive scale of the bombing. Each point on the map corresponds to one US bombing mission starting in October 1965; multiple planes often flew on missions.

More than 100 Laotians fall victim to unexploded cluster bombs annually, delayed casualties of Operation Barrel Roll and Operation Steel Tiger, which dropped 270 million cluster bomblets. Packed by the dozens or hundreds in canisters, cluster bombs are designed to open in midair, scattering small explosives across a wide radius. Yet not all of them detonated, and today, 80 million live bomblets lurk under Laos' soil.

Left: Bo Ya, 35, lost his hands and most of his vision 10 years ago when he picked up some unexploded ordnance (UXO). Right: A pile of bomb scrap, shrapnel, and cluster bombs lies next to a new home along the old Ho Chi Minh Trail.

A Vietnamese trader and his family eat dinner by a heap of shrapnel and cluster bombs and an artillery shell. Scrap-metal traders buy bomb debris from Laotians who collect it in the fields and forests.

Ethnic Lave kids count the money they earned from selling bomb scrap.


In Cargill's Chicken Factories in China, Workers "Live on the Farm" and "Can't Leave"

—By Tom Philpott| Thu Apr. 3, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

In a wide-ranging interview with the India-based Economic Times, Cargill CEO David MacLennan talks about how the globe-spanning agribusiness giant managed to turn the 2008 economic crisis into a "record year of profits"—a remarkable performance, given that that year's food-price spikes pushed 115 million people into hunger, as the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization estimated. And then MacLennan drops this nugget on his company's poultry operations in China:

So we are building a facility in Shuzou, Nanjing, which will have 45 farms and it's a chicken facility that will process 1.2 million chicken every week. That's 60 million chicken a year. We have a hatchery, where we hatch the eggs and one-day old chicks, DOCs, get transported to the farms. The employees live on the farm. They can't leave because then you increase the risk of disease. So you grow the chicken for 44 days. The chicken goes to the plants, get processed, might be for KFC and McDonald's, might be for retail. They can count on us because they know where every one of their chicken came from. It came from us because we're fully integrated as opposed to other companies.

I should note that US meat giant Tyson, too, is rolling out fully integrated and vast chicken facilities in China. But wait, back up: like employees at Foxconn, the company that manufactures Apple products, Cargill's poultry workers will live on-site. But rather than reside amid the production of iPhones and whatnot—apparently, not the most pleasant place to call home—Cargill's workers will live amid the growth and slaughter of 1.2 million chickens per week—and all the blood, guts, and vast stores of chickenshit that implies.

MacLennan doesn't mention whether the live-in requirement the company imposes on its Chinese workers also applies in its poultry operations in other developing countries. But he does boast that the company runs "very big" chicken operations n Nicaragua and Costa Rica, adding that it plans to "develop fully-integrated poultry breeding, hatching, growth and processing" in other countries around the world......


Whatcott, LaBarbera arrested on U of R campus (with video)


REGINA — Police arrested two anti-gay advocates Monday after they refused to leave the University of Regina, where they had set up an anti-abortion display and were handing out material about what they call the dangers of LGBT relationships.

“The materials were graphic and the materials were disturbing,” said U of R provost and vice-president, academic, Thomas Chase after the two-hour ordeal had ended. “The materials, we felt, could harm members of this campus community who we have a duty to protect and support.”

Students had braced themselves for Bill Whatcott and Peter LaBarbera’s visit to campus. The former is a local pro-life and anti-gay activist; the latter the head of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality whose invitation to speak at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association convention on Saturday in Weyburn caused a stir.

“The idea that you can’t have an open debate on homosexuality at a college campus and that some speech code is brought in to kick people off because they have a viewpoint that most students probably haven’t heard — it seems to me it’s pretty undemocratic,” said LaBarbera, who had initially been denied entry to Canada over concerns of hate speech. He appealed and won, under the agreement that he would leave the province by April 17.

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