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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Current location: Switzerland
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:01 PM
Number of posts: 3,196

Journal Archives

Joint Declaration by International Law Experts on Israel's Gaza Offensive

This was posted on 28 July. It is self-explanatory.

As international and criminal law scholars, human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals who firmly believe in the rule of law and in the necessity for its respect in times of peace and more so in times of war, we feel the intellectual and moral duty to denounce the grave violations, mystification and disrespect of the most basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population committed during the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. We also condemn the launch of rockets from the Gaza Strip, as every indiscriminate attack against civilians, regardless of the identity of the perpetrators, is not only illegal under international law but also morally intolerable. However, as also implicitly noted by the UN Human Rights Council in its Resolution of the 23rd July 2014, the two parties to the conflict cannot be considered equal, and their actions – once again – appear to be of incomparable magnitude.

Once again it is the unarmed civilian population, the ‘protected persons’ under International humanitarian law (IHL), who is in the eye of the storm. Gaza’s civilian population has been victimized in the name of a falsely construed right to self-defence, in the midst of an escalation of violence provoked in the face of the entire international community. The so-called Operation Protective Edge erupted during an ongoing armed conflict, in the context of a prolonged belligerent occupation that commenced in 1967. In the course of this ongoing conflict thousands of Palestinians have been killed and injured in the Gaza Strip during recurrent and ostensible ‘ceasefire’ periods since 2005, after Israel’s unilateral ‘disengagement’ from the Gaza Strip. The deaths caused by Israel’s provocative actions in the Gaza Strip prior to the latest escalation of hostilities must not be ignored as well.

In its Advisory Opinion in the Nuclear Weapons case, the ICJ stated that the principle of distinction, which requires belligerent States to distinguish between civilian and combatants, is one of the “cardinal principles” of international humanitarian law and one of the “intransgressible principles of international customary law”.

The principle of distinction is codified in Articles 48, 51(2) and 52(2) of the Additional Protocol I of 1977 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, to which no reservations have been made. According to Additional Protocol I, “attacks” refer to “acts of violence against the adversary, whether in offence or in defence” (Article 49). Under both customary international law and treaty law, the prohibition on directing attacks against the civilian population or civilian objects is absolute. There is no discretion available to invoke military necessity as a justification.

More at the link: http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/joint-declaration-by-international-law-experts-on-israels-gaza-offensive/

I am literally heartsick, not only that this mass slaughter is happening, but that it is happening with my country's assistance and apparently its approval. I stand with these lawyers.

Who says turtles can't be fun?

If this has been posted earlier, I apologize, but I just saw it recently and found it hilarious.

I never knew that turtles had such personalities!

Bullock expected to name Walsh to Senate at news conference

Source: The Missoulian

Walsh, a Democrat like Bullock and Baucus, already has been campaigning since last fall for a full six-year Senate term this year. He is the leading fundraiser among the three Democrats running for the Senate.

Bullock’s office notified reporters Thursday of a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in the Governor’s Reception Room in the Capitol. It said that reporters unable to attend in person can call in on a listen-only line.

Read more: http://missoulian.com/news/local/bullock-expected-to-name-walsh-to-senate-at-news-conference/article_ecdb15b6-8f9c-11e3-91c4-0019bb2963f4.html

Perhaps MT will be able to hold this seat for the Dems after all. Fingers crossed.

Wolf Benefit CD now available from

Native American Music Awards (NAMA).

See at http://www.nativeamericanmusicawards.com/

You can also stream some cool music from NAMA Live.

Montana: Big Sky country at an environmental crossroads

Glad to see this story and hope for more like it. The people united ....

The fuels these proposed projects would transport are among the filthiest on earth, some scientists warn. Environmentalists argue that burning coal and Canadian tar sands oil could saturate the atmosphere with a critical amount of carbon dioxide — so much that the climate would heat up even faster than it is already warming. Many are calling the northwestern United States, with Montana at its heart, a carbon choke point — that is, a place where opponents might stop dirty fossil fuels before they can be burned.

Montana is "potentially a real cork in the carbon bottle," said author and activist Bill McKibben. "And it's a perfect illustration of the emerging, sprawling fossil-fuel resistance. It's necessarily centered in local concerns."


As a Montanan from birth until my 20s and with lots of family and friends there still, I know that people there share more than divides them - much as inside-the Beltway pundits and politicians of both parties aided and abetted by M$M - would like to dismiss all so-called "red" states without ever even trying to understand what can unite good people everywhere.

Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders are two who do try to understand. Fortunately, their number seems to be growing.

Reclaim Democracy! - A Good Source for General Corporate Activism and Information

While researching various issues for a course that I am preparing to teach, I happened upon this aptly-named website and just wanted to share it with like-minded DUers.

There are some excellent and informative articles on a variety of topics that affect us all in ways that we have not even imagined. In many ways, it's a one-stop shop for learning about how we must reassert citizen authority over corporations if we ever want to become a true democracy.

Bookmark and check in from time to time: Reclaim Democracy! http://reclaimdemocracy.org/

A dose of "Margaret and Helen" is a dose of pure sanity,

with humor added. Take some!


An example:

Four. Oh but for the love of God if Texas wasn’t dealing with enough crazy already with Rick Perry, we now have to deal with Ted Cruz. Now here’s a guy who talks in circles so effectively, it’s no wonder his head eventually ran into his ass. In an effort to show off his grasp of the situation, he had to go and bring Dr. Seuss into the mix. For the record Senator Cruz, the moral of Green Eggs and Ham is to try something new… you might like it. ... If brains were leather, Cruz wouldn’t have enough to saddle a junebug.

If only these doses were more frequent! Each one is a treasure.

Another Montanan abroad wonders, as I did, where Nate got Montana wrong.

If nothing else, this is a fun read.

Simply put: Montana is weird. An anti-Gay marriage Democrat against an anti-Paul Ryan Republican. And that goes for all of our elected officials. Our last Governor (a Democrat) had a Republican running mate. That same Governor, if I remember correctly, admitted to enjoying a beer or two, while driving, around his farm – yet still finally, in 2005, made drinking while driving illegal in Montana.


Wow! Montana - the "Big Sky" state - turns blue in most top statewide races!

Most of the counting is done, including votes from the top population centers. Despite the votes that are still out, these results should stand.


Except for Attorney General, Montana is reliably blue. Here are the profiles of the AG candidates:

Tim Fox (R) - the winner: http://www.ktvq.com/news/montana-attorney-general-candidate-profile-tim-fox/

Pam Bucy (D): http://www.ktvq.com/news/montana-attorney-general-candidate-profile-pam-bucy/

This was Fox's second run for the office and name recognition may have helped.

Here are the federal results - not nearly as blue. http://electionresults.sos.mt.gov/resultsSW.aspx?type=FED&map=CTY

President Obama didn't visit the state at all this cycle, likely at Tester's request.

One view from abroad

After intermittent spurts of working abroad in my early and middle years, for the last 14 years of my full-time professional career, I was based in central Europe. It was from here that I watched appalled, as the heartbreaking election of 2000 was stolen, and even more appalled as Bush II & Co let 9-11 happen despite many quite specific warnings, lied my country into illegal war in Iraq, let NOLA die and nearly toppled not only the financial and economic situation of the US but that of the entire world. That is but a brief overview of the damage they caused, including incredible damage to US goodwill and reputation abroad.

The sheer vitriol of the RW GOP attacks against President Clinton in the 90s were, up to then, the worst that I had seen in my lifetime - which extends from the last couple years of FDR to date. The continuing viciousness of the attacks against Presidential candidates Gore and Kerry, indeed against anyone who would not fall in line with a RW Talibanesque agenda, made me wonder if the country where I had been born, reared and educated had literally gone insane. In fact, until I discovered DFA in late 2003 and thereafter, sites like DU - where I lurked for years before finally signing up - I believed that only those I knew well - family and friends - felt anything like I did. The view that I received from US MSM, and even from the BBC, was that the majority of Americans were in lockstep behind the Bush Administration with extremely narrow, mostly incorrect, views and knowledge of the world outside the USA.

I decided that I had to be able to offer an alternative POV, at least to my grandchildren, other family members and friends. So, when I retired, I exercised my option to retire abroad. This has meant that I still have to work part-time to support my comparatively expensive lifestyle. Pension, SS and savings, etc. alone just won't cut it. But so long as I am physically, mentally and financially able to do it, I will continue. And yes, the young ones have come. Some have even stayed with me while pursuing classes in French and having the kind of international experiences that I literally would have died for at their ages. Other family members and friends have also come to see for themselves that life on the international scene is not something to be feared, but to be savored and enjoyed, and that we can all learn a lot from each other.

In 2008, I was very proud when we elected Barack Obama as our President. Like so many liberals, I was disappointed when he did not stand up to GOP obstructionism otherwise act in ways I would have preferred. But given the incredible mess that he had inherited, both foreign and domestic, I realized that he was, in fact, doing pretty well at getting the country back on an even keel - and this in spite of unprecedented GOP opposition. So there was never any question that I would not, once again, back him wholeheartedly. The Dems Abroad group here is quite active and I have been proud to be part of it.

US MSM media coverage of this election has been appalling. Unfortunately, the "horse-race" theme has carried over to European coverage. I don't get Faux Noise here in my cable package. But in addition to local language news coverage, I do receive English-speaking Euronews, BBC World, as well as BBC channels 1-4, ITV, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg and Al Jazeera English. So I have a fairly decent selection. Until this morning, all outlets endlessly repeated the "horse-race" theme.

So, it was with great relief that this morning, one of those channels, ironically Al Jazeera English, actually sidestepped the hors-erace theme being reported - nearly hysterically - on all other channels, to cover the predictions of Nate Silver, Sam Wang and others who are focusing on the EV counts, where a truer picture of this election emerges. After hearing this comparatively sane coverage, I checked the respective websites of these so-called "news" gatherers for Nate Silver.

Here is AJE's article: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/11/201211471425526624.html

I could not find even a mention of Nate Silver on the Beeb, CNBC or Bloomberg websites. (Perhaps that is due to my deficient search powers.) There was a short article in CNN, ironically in the "belief" blog (which also features a photo of Nate, for those who have never seen the guru in person): http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/02/my-take-ive-got-my-money-on-the-church-of-nate-silver/?iref=allsearch

Two of my "standard" non-US news sources, the Guardian and the Independent, also mention Nate, just enough to hedge their bets, IMO. The majority of their coverage also reflects the "horserace" meme.

Here's the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/nov/04/storm-sandy-us-elections-speculation?INTCMP=SRCH

Here's the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iv-drip/nate-silver-says-state-polling-points-to-victory-for-obama-8273566.html?origin=internalSearch

So this is primarily to say, once again, a heartfelt "Thank you!" to DU - just for being you and for helping me to remain halfway sane during this seemingly everlasting election! Without you, I literally would not have survived.

Cheers! May we all savor a sweet victory for President Obama on Tuesday!
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