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The United Nations is Dead: It Did Not Stop the Slaughter

By: Jane Stillwater Monday October 13, 2008 5:15 pm

 

Remember the League of Nations?  Of course you don’t. It is dead in the water. Why? Because it could not, would not and did not stop World War II. Remember Guernica? Remember Warsaw? Remember that horrible and heartless bombing of London that went on and on?  The League of Nations did not stop the slaughter.

But what is even more shamefully dead right now than the failed and pathetic League? The United Nations.

The UN just stood around with its finger up its nose as Iraq was destroyed, Afghanistan was blown up, Libya was demolished, Syria ran red with blood, eastern Ukraine was turned into twisted bone and steel; while Chile, Haiti, East Timor, Bosnia, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, Honduras, Lebanon, Vietnam, Cambodia and Guatemala were tortured. And now Gaza has become a slaughterhouse of such epic creulty that its grisly and unjustifiable death has gone far beyond war crimes — the blitzkrieg of London pales in proportion.

Under-funded and bound and gagged by the war-mongers who control it, the United Nations is now dead in the water. And America’s heart and soul has died with it.Here is a videotape of Joan Rivers, who used to be an American comic, hysterically screaming for more and more bloodshed in Gaza.  It’s painful to watch. “They started it!” No, the Palestinians did not start it. Palestinians have been being systematically slaughtered in their own land for the last 65 years. They have no right to fight back? Not according to Joan Rivers — or apparently not according to the United Nations either.

Here is a videotape of eastern Ukraine being flattened shamelessly by American-backed neo-Nazis.

Here is a videotape of American-backed ISIS foreign fighters beheading Syrian Christians (caution: graphic). And then ISIS moved on to rape Mosul in Iraq.

And here is a videotape of an entire city in Gaza being completely demolished by American-backed neo-Nazis in less than an hour. Hundreds of homes destroyed. Children and horses and ladies blown up like they didn’t even matter, had no right to live.

This is worse than London, worse than Guernica.

And who pays for all this slaughter? You and me. Our souls too are dead in the water unless every man, woman and child in America drops everything immediately and marches on the Pentagon in protest — until all our money stops pouring into the coffers of death-peddlers.

And where is Ban Ki Moon, the UN’s secretary general, during all of this slaughter? Happily drinking coffee at Starbucks in New York? He should be out picketing the Pentagon too. And the White House. And Congress. And Halliburton and Boeing. And that CIA fortress at Langley too — if he ever wants to keep his job and save the United Nations from becoming just another tragic footnote to history, just another League. Or to save his own soul.

 

Report: Obama Exporting Climate Change by Exporting Coal

By: Steve Horn Monday July 28, 2014 3:40 pm

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Greenpeace USA has released a major new report on an under-discussed part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan and his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon rule: it serves as a major endorsement of continued coal production and export to overseas markets.

Leasing Coal, Fueling Climate Change: How the federal coal leasing program undermines President Obama’s Climate Plan” tackles the dark underbelly of a rule that only polices coal downstream at the power plant level and largely ignores the upstream and global impacts of coal production at-large.

The Greenpeace report was released on the same day as a major story published by the Associated Press covering the same topic and comes a week after the release of another major report on coal exports by the Sightline Institute that sings a similar tune.

The hits keep coming: Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson framed what is taking place similarly in a recent piece, as did Luiza Ch. Savage of Maclean’s Magazine and Bloomberg BNA.

But back to Greenpeace. As their report points out, the main culprit for rampant coal production is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which leases out huge swaths of land to the coal industry. Greenpeace says this is occurring in defiance of Obama’s Climate Action Plan and have called for a moratorium on leasing public land for coal extraction.

“[S]o far, the Bureau of Land Management and Interior Department have continued to ignore the carbon pollution from leasing publicly owned coal, and have failed to pursue meaningful reform of the program,” says the report.

“Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and others in the Obama administration should take the President’s call to climate action seriously, beginning with a moratorium and comprehensive review of the federal coal leasing program, including its role in fueling the climate crisis.”

Dirty Details

Some of the numbers crunched by Greenpeace USA make the jaw drop.

For example, one chart shows the amount of coal leased by the BLM during Obama’s time in the White House. During that time, the BLM has leased off billions of tons of coal from Colorado, Montana and North Dakota, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming alone.

As Greenpeace points out, “This is equivalent to the annual emissions of over 825 million passenger vehicles, and more than the 3.7 billion tons that was emitted in the entire European Union in 2012.”

Further, in crunching the numbers on the social cost of carbon metrics, Greenpeace estimates producing all of this BLM-leased coal will cause between $52-$530 billion in damages.

recent major, precedent-setting federal court decision chided BLM for not taking the social cost of carbon into account in leasing out a plot of land for coal production. It remains unclear whether or not this will impact BLM’s future coal leasing activities, however.

Germany’s “Clean Break” or Greenwashing?

Interestingly and perhaps shockingly to many, much of this coal is being exported to Germany, home of what some have hailed the epicenter of the global green energy revolution. Though German coal mining is going by the wayside, imports are rising.

“German coal mining has been a dying tradition. The government will end subsidies in 2018, effectively killing it,” explained the Associated Press story.

“However, Germany is experiencing a resurgence in coal-fired power. Five German coal plants have been built since 2008, and more are coming…The result: In 2013, Germany’s emissions of carbon dioxide grew by 1.2 percent.”

Dirk Jansen, spokesman for Friends of the Earth-Germany, called the situation at-large tantamount to “greenwashing” in an interview with the Associated Press.

“Obama pretties up his own climate balance, but it doesn’t help the global climate at all if Obama’s carbon dioxide is coming out of chimneys in Germany.”

Beyond Obama, though, it raises equally troubling questions about just how “clean” Germany’s clean break will be when all is said and done.

Over Easy: #TheodoreWafer Will Have to Testify During Defense Case

By: Masoninblue
A gavel

Wafer will be forced to testify about the death of Renisha McBride.

I will be covering for Crane today. T am updating you on the Theodore Wafer trial

There is no live stream coverage.

For reasons that follow, I believe defense motions to dismiss the charges in the Theodore Wafer trial, after the prosecution rests, will be denied and he will have to testify during the defense case.

The prosecution might conclude its case-in-chief late today, although tomorrow is more likely. I say this because the standard operating procedure for presenting evidence in a murder trial is to close with the medical examiner’s testimony. I see no reason for the prosecution to vary from that practice.

We teach trial lawyers to finish their case with a knockout punch and the best way to do that in a murder trial is to call the medical examiner.

The medical examiner’s opinion regarding cause of death must be based on the evidence obtained during the autopsy. Graphic color photos taken during each step of the autopsy are used to document what the medical examiner did in order to establish the necessary foundation for the opinion regarding cause of death.

Autopsy photographs are gruesome and difficult to look at because of the injuries displayed with their associated trauma. People who have have never seen a dead body are usually traumatized when they look at autopsy photos because a violent death, as opposed to a cleaned-up cinematic version of death presented in film, is graphic, shocking and disturbing. The emotional storm triggered by viewing autopsy photos can be upsetting and difficult to forget.

After the prosecution rests, Judge Hathaway will send the jury to the jury room so that she can hear argument from counsel regarding what I have previously described as a defense “halftime motion” to dismiss the charges. We use the word halftime to describe it because the defense raises it after the prosecution rests and before the defense presents its case.

This motion is a standard practice, regardless of the strength of the prosecution’s case, because a failure to raise it at that time precludes a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence at a later time. The motion is rarely granted because the prosecution need only have presented some evidence that, if assumed to be true together with all of the reasonable inferences that flow from it, would be enough to support a verdict of guilty. In other words, the motion raises a threshold question by asking the judge to decide if enough evidence has been admitted in support of a particular charge to allow the jury to consider and decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of that charge.

Much of the witness testimony and evidence admitted in the case so far is not very helpful in determining whether Wafer is guilty or not guilty. For example, I do not believe McBride’s intoxication and conduct banging on doors is helpful to deciding Wafer’s guilt or innocence because, if we assume for the sake of argument that it was so loud that everyone in the City of Detroit was awakened by it, Wafer’s use of deadly force would still not be justified.

Why?

VIDEO: Israel’s Violence Builds Solidarity For Gaza

By: Dennis Trainor Jr Tuesday July 29, 2014 3:15 pm

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

“We are a diverse group of people who have come together against the Israeli occupation and against the massacre. However,” says Kash Nikazmrad, an organizer with Students for Justice in Palestine, “every massacre, every occupation, every act of colonialism always has a mechanism and a supporter. The supporter in this situation has been America.”

Nikazmrad is one of the organizers behind the Los Angeles “Stop The Massacre in Gaza” events.

Judging by the (in)action of Congress, it is hard to dispute Nikazmrad’s claims. When it comes to Israel and Gaza, there is unanimous agreement. As Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss sums up:

The Senate (July 17) unanimously passed a resolution backed by the Israel lobby group AIPAC expressing support for Israel’s attack on Gaza and saying not a word about Palestinian deaths.

The Hill says that the resolution passed ‘through a unanimous consent agreement.’

‘The United States Senate is in Israel’s camp,’ [South Carolina Senator Lindsey] Graham said on the Senate floor Thursday.

The resolution describes Palestinian attacks on Israel as ‘unprovoked’ and says not a word about Palestinian deaths, but speaks of the survival of Israel in urging the dissolution of the unified Palestinian government:

Reaffirms the United States’ support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel…

Calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.

NJ Senator Cory Booker blamed Hamas for the violence:

‘I strongly condemn the heinous attacks being perpetrated by Hamas and other terrorist groups against Israel. No country should have to live under a constant threat of aggression against its people, and I stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel as it defends itself against this shocking violence. My heart goes out to the citizens of Israel and the countless civilians in Gaza caught in this Hamas-initiated violence.’

MJ Rosenberg says it’s all about pro-Israel money, and that Senators have a double standard for US military actions and Israeli ones:

Note that even progressive saints Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders found nothing in this to object to. 

For the record, no U.S. military adventure has had the support of all hundred senators in decades. But, hey, this is Israel. And, more important, this is AIPAC. And cash.

Kash Nikazmrad of Students for Justice in Palestine, joins Dennis on Acronym TV to discuss the growing global resistance to the massacre in Gaza.

ny jews gaza1
***

Tuesday Watercooler

By: Kit OConnell Tuesday July 29, 2014 8:25 pm

 

Coelecanth, preserved

“I’m not dead yet!”

Tonight’s video is “The Coelacanth: A Living Fossil” from TED-Ed.

The coelacanth, a prehistoric fish that was mistakenly thought to have gone extinct at the same time as the dinosaurs, has managed to stick around our seas for 360 million years. Erin Eastwood details the surprising “back from the dead” discovery of the coelacanth and explains how this fish’s fins shed light on the evolutionary movement of vertebrates from water to land.

Lesson by Erin Eastwood, animation by James Price for The Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

A group of Satanists are claiming that access to abortion and reproductive health services are part of their deeply-held religious beliefs and therefore members should be exempt from anti-choice laws. Think Progress reports:

The Satanic Temple — a faith community that describes itself as facilitating ‘the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty’ — has launched a new campaign seeking a religious exemption to certain anti-abortion laws that attempt to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy. The group says they have deeply held beliefs about bodily autonomy and scientific accuracy, and those beliefs are violated by state-level ‘informed consent’ laws that rely on misleading information about abortion risks.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Satanists point out, it strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women’s health care that go against their religious liberty. ‘Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state­ mandated “informational” material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them,’ a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement.

The Satanic Temple, sometimes referred to as “the nicest Satanic cult in the world,” falls somewhere between satire, performance art, and activism. The group says its central mission is to ‘encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.’

[...] Members of the Temple of Satan are encouraging all women who share their belief in medical accuracy to seek their own exemption from these laws, even if they don’t personally identify as Satanists. They’ve drawn up a sample letter to help women talk to their doctors about the issue, as well as created ‘Right to Accurate Medical Information’ t-shirts for purchase.

Thanks to Dana Sayre for this link.

Bonus: “Better finish that novel, because Twitter is watching!” via the AVClub.

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Painting by Numbers

By: David Cox Monday July 28, 2014 2:56 pm

George Orwell had it all wrong you know, rather than a monolithic Big Brother enforcing conformity, there are thousands of Big Brothers. Choirs of angels singing a siren’s song as devil sings along in three-part harmony, in this, the misinformation age. Hosanna, halleluiah! Great news, a great victory for Oceania!

The Huffington Post dedicated its entire front page: “The unemployment rate dipped in June from 6.3 percent in May to its lowest level since the financial crisis struck at full force in the fall of 2008 with the bankruptcy of the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers.”

Bloomberg News called it: “Payroll Surge Fuels Self-Sustaining U.S. Expansion”

224,000 new jobs in May and now, 288,000 in June, with unemployment falling to 6.1 percent! It’s all good, isn’t it? It’s all good, proof positive, the participation rate now stands at 62.8 percent and that’s great, isn’t it? Last June, the participation rate stood at 63.5 percent.

Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness. –George Orwell

America’s labor force bulges to 155,694,000 with the addition of 288,000 new jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of unemployed workers fell this month by 325,000, leaving 9,474,000 still unemployed. That’s the keyhole view, the media view, the headline view.  For while the federal government can tell you how many endangered newts might live in a particular stream bed. Their concern for living, breathing and formerly tax paying citizens, isn’t quite as precise. They began as unemployed and when their unemployment benefits expired, they became “marginally attached to the labor force.” From there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to the “discouraged worker” category.

Like a pinball machine, once these unemployed miss that last flipper, they go down a hole and just disappear. They’re Americans who aren’t employed and are no longer counted as unemployed; they just disappear from the labor force, from the headlines and from their government’s concern. 3.8 million Americans are down that hole with 293,000 more circling that dark vortex this month.

Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me:
There lie they, and here lie we
Under the spreading chestnut tree.
 –George Orwell

Every new job is a good job, right? If we forget that 19th century cotton planters in the south had achieved full employment. There is what is known as “part-time for economic reasons” it is also known as involuntary part-time and this month the number of Americans working part-time for economic reasons rose by 275,000 to 7,544,000. The numbers who could only find part-time work rose by 111,000 to 2.6 million. It is somehow difficult to explain this self-sustaining economic expansion, when the other 4.5 million Americans are working part-time due to slack work or business conditions.

The number of hours worked by Americans each week is unchanged from a year ago at 34.5 hours. The economy added a 138,000 new construction jobs since last June and that’s down from 142,000 in April. The improvements are incremental, trumpeting 288,000 new jobs is wonderful, if we can forget that for every one of those new jobs this month, 540 unemployed Americans found none.

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink George Orwell

The average retail worker in the US, have seen their paychecks rise by a whopping, nine dollars a week, since last June. Professionals and business services have seen their incomes rise by less than $25.00 per week. Average hourly income has increased this month by six cents per hour, against an annual inflation rate of 2.1 percent.

Chip Ward: Leave It to Beaver(s)

By: Tom Engelhardt Monday July 18, 2011 11:05 am

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

A happy beaver

Save the beavers, save the earth.

If you want to be unnerved, just pay a visit to the U.S. Drought Monitor and check out its map of the American West with almost all of California stained the deep, distressing shades of red that indicate either “extreme” or “exceptional” drought.  In other words, it could hardly be worse.  California is now in its third year of drought, with no end in sight; state agricultural losses are estimated at $2.2 billion for 2014 alone; most of its reservoirs are less than half full; the Colorado River basin, which supplies water to “about 40 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in seven states,” including California, is compromised; and California’s first six months of 2014 have been the “hottest ever… nearly five degrees warmer than the twentieth century average.” The drought’s arms extend north through Oregon (“severe”) into Washington, where it’s already been the fire season from hell — and it’s just beginning.  They also reach east through Nevada as far as Utah and straight across the Southwest in various shades of yellow, orange, and deep red.

TomDispatch’s western contingent, environmentalists Chip Ward and William deBuys, have had the stresses of climate change, rising heat, drought, wildfires, desertification, and someday the possible abandonment of parts of the Southwest on their minds (and so on the minds of TD readers) for years now.  These days, the chickens are coming home to roost — but not, it seems, the beavers.  Ward, a Utah environmentalist and the former assistant director of the Salt Lake City Public Library System, has long focused not just on how our American world is being ravaged, but on how to protect and restore it.  In today’s post, he offers a reminder that sometimes such restoration can come in small packages and that even the most modest of natural geo-engineering can disturb vested interests. Tom

The Original Geo-Engineers
Or How to Save the Iconic West from the Cow
By Chip Ward

The great novelist Wallace Stegner sorted the conflicting impulses in his beloved American West into two camps. There were the “boomers” who saw the frontier as an opportunity to get rich quick and move on: the conquistadors, the gold miners, the buffalo hunters, the land scalpers, and the dam-building good ol’ boys. They are still with us, trying to drill and frack their way to Easy Street across our public lands. Then there were those Stegner called the “nesters” or “stickers” who came to stay and struggled to understand the land and its needs. Their quest was to become native.

That division between boomers and nesters is, of course, too simple.  All of us have the urge to consume and move on, as well as the urge to nest, so our choices are rarely clear or final. Today, that old struggle in the American West is intensifying as heat-parched, beetle-gnawed forests ignite in annual epic firestorms, reservoirs dry up, and Rocky Mountain snow is ever more stained with blowing desert dust.

The modern version of nesters are the conservationists who try to partner with the ecosystems where they live. Wounded landscapes, for example, can often be restored by unleashing nature’s own self-healing powers. The new nesters understand that you cannot steer and control an ecosystem but you might be able to dance with one.  Sage Sorensen dances with beavers.

Dances with Beavers

The dance floor is my Utah backyard, which, like most backyards out here, is a watershed.  At its top is the Aquarius Plateau, the horizon I see from my deck, a gracefully rolling forest of pines and aspens that stretches for 50 miles to the south, 20 miles wide at its midpoint, and reaches 11,300 feet at its highest ridge.

VIDEO: Hug a Terrorist; Commentary From Jon Snow You’ll Never See In America

By: john in sacramento

These are two, I presume, Palestinian girls who symbolize the actual victims of this massacre

And Jon Snow, from Channel 4 in Britain, with an editorial on what he’s witnessed:

People can say what they will about that Israeli government manufactured terrorist organization. And people can say what they want about the rockets fired from Gaza, but what the rockets actually are in the vast, vast, vast majority of cases are glorified backyard enthusiast type rockets. And not that they won’t harm anyone, it’s about proportion. And not that they don’t have a few larger ones, like the M-302′s. It’s still about proportion, and the true victims.

Stop the massacre!

PS And please, don’t anyone make a blanket determination and conflate the two separate entities; the Israeli Government and all of the people of the Jewish faith in this situation. Because there are many Jews who deplore the actions of the government of Israel.