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Gender: Female
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,580

Journal Archives

Hope in the gloom as left gains in Greece, Spain, Ireland

By Dick Nichols

Source: Links.org

May 31, 2014

The result of the May 25 European parliamentary poll was dominated by the victories of the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) in France (26%, 24 MEPs, Members of the European Parliament) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Britain (26.8%, 24 MEPs). It has set off a wave of mainstream media angst across the old continent.

The angst is understandable. Five years after the 2009 European elections, the political basis for European Commission austerity policy has been severely weakened and “governance” of the 28-member European Union has become even more fraught.

Moreover, old European spectres have re-emerged, with a surge in support for formations that directly identify as Nazi or fascist—like the Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary and the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Germany. Their victories are a direct result of the economic crisis and the austerity policies of “Brussels”.

From scoring 0.46% and 23,566 votes in the 2009 European Parliament elections, Golden Dawn has risen to 9.38%, with hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/hope-in-the-gloom-as-left-gains-in-greece-spain-ireland/

Bush/Blair Iraq War Plotting to Remain Largely Hidden From Public: UK

Published on Friday, May 30, 2014 by Common Dreams

'Neutered' Iraq War inquiry to censor full content of conversations in lead-up to 2003 invasion

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Critics are charging that a UK inquiry into the country's role in the Iraq War has "neutered" its own investigation by censoring critical conversations between George W. Bush and Tony Blair in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion.

Headed by Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry was convened in 2009 by the UK government and tasked with establishing "what happened" in Iraq and identifying "the lessons that can be learned." The report's released is years behind schedule, in part due to debate over the release of 25 letters and 130 recordings of conversations between Blair and Bush.

The U.S. has heavily pressured the UK government to block the release of these conversations, which the U.S. says are classified. The UK government has also fiercely lobbied against the full release of the documents.

In a letter dated Wednesday (pdf), Chilcot stated that an agreement has been reached with the UK government to release the "gist" of the conversations and only use direct quotes "the minimum necessary to enable the Inquiry to articulate its conclusions." According to Chilcot, "Consideration will be based on the principle that our use of this material should not reflect President Bush's views......"

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/05/30-3

Maya Angelou, Still She Rises

Published on Thursday, May 29, 2014 by TruthDig.com

by Amy Goodman

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise”

Maya Angelou wrote those words in her poem “Still I Rise.” She died this week at 86 at her home in North Carolina. In remembering Maya Angelou, it is important to recall her commitment to the struggle for equality, not just for herself, or for women, or for African-Americans. She was committed to peace and justice for all.

If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat,” she wrote in the opening pages of her first breathtaking autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which chronicles her childhood to the age of 17. Born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, at the age of 7 or 8, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. He was killed shortly thereafter. As a result of the trauma, she remained virtually silent for five years, speaking only to her brother. She became a single mother at 17, and struggled to support her son as she worked a variety of jobs, eventually gaining success as a calypso singer.

She heard Martin Luther King, Jr. address the Harlem Writers Guild, of which she was a member, and joined with a fellow performer to produce and sing in “Cabaret for Freedom” in Greenwich Village, to raise funds for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. By some accounts it was King, or the legendary activist and organizer Bayard Rustin, who asked her to take on a leadership role with the SCLC, which she accepted, becoming the group’s Northern coordinator.

Maya Angelou became a supporter of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution. She met and fell in love with a South African civil-rights activist, and they moved to Cairo with her son. They stayed together for three years, but she stayed on in Africa, moving to Ghana, where she met Malcolm X. The two collaborated on the pivotal political project that Malcolm X was developing, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. She returned to the U.S. to support the effort, but Malcolm X was assassinated shortly after her return. That tragedy, and the 1968 assassination of her friend Martin Luther King Jr., devastated Angelou. It was in 1969 that she was encouraged by the author James Baldwin, among others, to focus on her writing. Thus was born her first of seven autobiographies and the phenomenal career for which Maya Angelou is known around the world. Reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s first inaugural in 1993 catapulted her into the mainstream consciousness.

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/29-10

I will always love this woman.

Illegal Wood and Murdered Activists in the Amazon

Published on Friday, May 30, 2014 by Greenpeace

by Jason Schwartz

Last Saturday (May 24th) marked the third anniversary of the murder of husband and wife activists Ze Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo.

Although a properly managed and inclusive process of timber extraction could be beneficial to both local communities, extractors, and consumers, the global demand for Amazonian wood has produced a culture of lawlessness, impunity, and dysfunction among the timber industry in Brazil. Indigenous and other local forest communities have seen their land seized, their lifestyles destroyed, and their livelihoods stolen. They have also faced constant violence. Since 1996, at least 1000 activists have been murdered in Brazil while facing down the the timber industry’s chainsaws.

Chico Mendes is an icon of the fight for the Amazon and its people. Originally a rubber tapper, he became an outspoken union leader and led the movement to defend the Amazon against the Brazilian military dictatorship’s ‘development by force.’ He was murdered in his home in Xapuri, Acre in 1988.

José Dutra da Costa, or Dezinho, was the president of the Rural Workers Union in the municipality of Rondon, in the state of Pará. He was a key figure in the fight to expose the slavery-like working conditions in the region’s agricultural sector. Dezinho fought for landless families and workers by campaigning against inappropriate private use of public and community lands. He was murdered in his home in November of 2000. The man who pulled the trigger, Wellington de Jesus da Silva, was arrested and condemned to 27 years in solitary confinement. However the farmer who ordered the killing, Décio José Barroso Nunes, was only convicted this year. He received 12 years.

At dawn, on August 25th, 2001, Ademir Federicci, or Dema, was murdered. Dema, a community leader for the Workers Party, spoke out against illegal logging inside indigenous lands. He exposed fraud inside the office Superintendent for Amazon Development. In the early 2000’s, at the time of his murder, he was leading a community movement opposing the construction of the Belo Monte mega-dam. Today, there is a fund created in Dema’s name for forest conservation and social justice projects in the Amazon.

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/30-3

'Runaway Oil Trains': A Metaphor for Our Fossil Fuel Failure

Published on Friday, May 30, 2014 by Common Dreams

New report documents unprecedented rise of crude-by-rail industry and the broader dangers it represents

- Jon Queally, staff writer

A newly published report this week raises the alarm over the nation's expansion of crude-by-rail transportation as it makes a broader and direct warning about the threat of the Obama administration's "all of the above" energy strategy that seeks to expand fossil fuel production in the U.S. despite the climate emergency on the nation's doorstep.

The report by Oil Change International, titled Runaway Train: The Reckless Expansion of Crude By Rail in North America, is the first major exposé of the dangers inherent in the expansion of crude-by-rail industry on the continent.

Following violent and deadly disasters like the derailment and explosion in the town of Lac Megantic, Quebec last year and the continued fight to stop major oil pipelines, the report goes out of its way to argue that the debate between rail transport vs. pipelines is a false one. It shows that spills and disasters both methods of transport are on the rise, a fact which proves that the fossil fuel paradigm should be relegated to the history books, replaced with a new energy system that invests in conservation and efficiency as well as renewable resources such as wind, geothermal, and solar.........

....“Communities are already waking up to the dangers of oil trains barreling through their backyards, with spills, explosions and derailments happening all too often. This report and online tool will help provide the critical information that’s been sorely missing in order to shine a light on what’s really going on, and to help stop the runaway train of crude-by-rail in its tracks before more damage is done,” Stockman said.

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/05/30-1

The Rise of the European Right: Reaction to the Neoliberal Right

by James Petras / May 30th, 2014

The Nature of the New Right

...... Right: Contradictions and the Double Discourse

The Right, while criticizing the neo-liberal state for unemployment, focuses mainly on the immigrants competing with nationals in the labor market rather than on the capitalists whose investment decisions determine levels of employment and unemployment.

The Right attacks the authoritarian nature of the European Union, but its own structures, ideology and history pre-figure a repressive state.

The Right rightly proposes to end foreign elite control of the economy, but its own vision of a ‘national state’, especially one linked to NATO, multi-national corporations and imperial wars, will provide no basis for ‘rebuilding the national economy’.

The Right speaks to the needs of the dispossessed and the need to ‘end austerity’ but it eschews the only effective mechanism for countering inequalities – class organization and class struggle. Its vision of the ‘collaboration between productive capital and labor’ is contradicted by the aggressive capitalist offensive to cut wages, social services, pensions and working conditions. The new Right targets immigrants as the cause of unemployment while obscuring the role of the capitalists who hire and fire, invest abroad, relocate firms and introduce technology to replace labor.........

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/05/the-rise-of-the-european-right-reaction-to-the-neoliberal-right/

What's next for vaccines? 'One of the best investments,' experts tell summit

Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca @AndreaJanus Published Thursday, May 29, 2014 4:48PM EDT

Fewer than five per cent of children around the world have received the 11 vaccines that the World Health Organization deems vital, experts say, and children will continue to die from vaccine-preventable diseases at an alarming rate unless the global community acts.

The warning about the need to ramp up vaccination efforts in developing countries was delivered at the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit being hosted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week in Toronto.

What's next?

While only four per cent of the populations of high-income countries are unvaccinated, that figure jumps to 26 per cent in low-income countries, Berkley said. For every one percentage point jump in vaccination coverage in low-income countries, he said, 150,000 future lives are saved.

With less than five per cent of children in the world protected by all 11 vaccines recommended by the WHO, he said, work remains. (See: WHO recommendations on immunizations)

The goal of his organization will be to immunize more than 60 million children annually between 2016 and 2020.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/what-s-next-for-vaccines-one-of-the-best-investments-experts-tell-summit-1.1844376#ixzz33EevL2Ij

Why West Nile Virus Is So Scary


This story first appeared on the Atlantic website and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

....... My grandmother—or Oma, as we call her, the German word for grandmother—had always been a picture of perfect health, a trait that she and Opa, my grandfather, attributed to decades spent farming organic produce and tending to their land. But as Oma spent the next 32 days in the hospital and then three weeks in a rehabilitation facility, my family came to realize that the first night of terror was just the beginning. Despite the best efforts of her doctors, Oma did not get better.

On September 20, samples from the deceased birds at the Bronx Zoo were tested and sent to the CDC. DNA sequencing revealed a viral strain, closely related to West Nile virus found in other parts of the world, but never before found in the Western Hemisphere. Around the same time, the CDC, while performing tests on a human brain specimen from an encephalitis case, discovered a strain of West Nile virus identical to the one found in the bird. Over the course of the next few months, the same match between the viruses in the birds and those in humans was found dozens of times. A previously undetected strain of West Nile virus, it seemed, was now in the United States.

IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT how severe West Nile outbreaks will be from year to year in different places. But researchers and public health officials do know that where and when outbreaks occur has much to do with warmer weather. Warm temperatures in the early spring speed up the development of mosquitoes from egg to larva to adult, according to authors of the American Society for Microbiology's report on West Nile virus.

Early heat increases the rate at which the virus replicates and how quickly it reaches the mosquito's salivary glands. Mosquitoes also digest blood faster in hotter weather, which means that they need to feed more, which in turn means that they spread the virus faster.

This is a good article, difficult to pick out excerpts ... http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/climate-change-west-nile-virus-spread

Hurricane Amanda Just Set an Ominous New Record

The first eastern Pacific hurricane of 2014 set a new intensity record. Here's why we could see even stronger storms before the year is over.

—By Chris Mooney | Tue May 27, 2014 3:56 PM EDT

Hurricane Amanda in the eastern Pacific on May 25 NOAA/Wikimedia Commons

Usually, people living in the United States don't pay much attention to hurricanes in the eastern Pacific, the other basin where megastorms that can affect North America are formed. Mostly, these storms wallop Mexico, or travel harmlessly out to sea. So, given the standard myopia of the media, we rarely hear much about them.

But this year, perhaps, we ought to be paying more attention. The eastern Pacific hurricane season started on May 15, and already, with its first storm, it has set an ominous record. The hurricane in question, named Amanda, spun up south of the Baja California peninsula Thursday, and on Sunday it attained maximum sustained wind speeds of 155 miles per hour—just below Category 5 status. Or as National Hurricane Center forecaster Stacy Stewart put it when the storm reached its peak strength: "Amanda is now the strongest May hurricane on record in the eastern Pacific basin during the satellite era."

This record is notable for two reasons. First of all, even though there remains a great deal of uncertainty and debate about the relationship between hurricanes and global warming, the fact is that in many hurricane basins across the world, new storm intensity records have been set just since the year 2000. Amanda therefore fits into this broader pattern.

Second, there is growing evidence that El Niño conditions—characterized by an eastward shift of warm water across the great Pacific Ocean, with global weather ramifications—are developing in the Pacific right now. The latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now gives us a greater than 65 percent chance that El Niño conditions will develop by this summer.

Full article: http://www.motherjones.com//environment/2014/05/hurricane-amanda-record-climate-el-nino

Iranian Women Defiantly Remove the Veil

Posted 20 May 2014 14:47 GMT

Women activists Iran all over are defiantly removing their veil to protest governmental discrimination against women. The bilingual “آزادی های یواشکی زنان در ایران” or “Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women” campaign counts already near 320,000 supporters with just two months of existence. The campaign features Iranian women from all over the country removing their veil, an act for which they may face severe repercussions under Iran's Article 638 which states: “Women, who appear in public places and roads without wearing an Islamic hijab, shall be sentenced to ten days to two months’ imprisonment or a fine of fifty thousand to five hundred Rials.”

Some chose to hide their face, and other chose to show it.

It had been the very fist time I had ever seen the desert. As sun was rising in order to respect her beauty, I took my headscarf off so that she could see me beautiful too
That feeling was great.. I was..fearless in the desert.. with my head uncovered in the desert

Full article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/05/20/iranian-women-defiantly-remove-the-veil/
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