I missed the video livestream yesterday in real time and haven’t watched yet, so I can’t opine or analyze the contents. Enjoy, and see you in the comments.
|By: yellowsnapdragon Thursday March 10, 2011 7:06 pm|
I missed the video livestream yesterday in real time and haven’t watched yet, so I can’t opine or analyze the contents. Enjoy, and see you in the comments.
|By: Kit OConnell Monday March 10, 2014 9:01 pm|
Tonight’s music video is “Cameron” by Jillette Johnson from her album Water in a Whale. You can see see Jillette Johnson on Thursday in Austin, Texas at the Wind Up Records SXSW show.
A trans person is aiming to be the first of her gender to climb Mount Everest. Transadvocate reports:
Manoj Shahi Monika, a third gender person from Kailali, Nepal could be the first documented trans person to climb Mount Everest, but to do that the 35 year old must first make summit. The climb made famous by the book Into Thin Air is fraught with dangers that have maimed and killed many who have tempted fate.
There is a saying in mountaineering ‘Getting up is optional and getting down is mandatory.’
‘I cannot afford to miss the opportunity to make the record for climbing Everest as the member from the LGBT community,’ said Monika, who wants to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
Monika dreams to flutter the national flag together with a banner of Blue Diamond Society, an organisation working for LGBT community in Nepal, at the top of the peak.
However, Monika isn’t the first transgender person to be on Mount Everest, not by a long shot. Nineteen years before Hillary and Norgay‘s successful summit, British climber Maurice Wilson attempted and possibly reached the peak. Little is known or written about Wilson’s 1933 climb because she was transgender, or mad, as gender diversity was deemed then.
What’s on your mind tonight? Got Firedoglake questions? The watercooler is an open conversation.
|By: Dennis Trainor Jr Monday March 10, 2014 4:22 pm|
Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org
George Zimmerman, signing autographs at a gun show in Orlando, Florida over the weekend, wondered why people are angry with him.
Here is one possible answer:
Here is the thing, George, people know that it is not an aberration for a wanna be cop like you to patrol a neighborhood with a loaded gun and, upon seeing an African American kid whom you did not recognize, assume that kid was a threat, and then tail that kid with your itchy finger on the trigger of your loaded gun and initiate and then escalate a situation that resulted in that unarmed kid murdered and killed by you, Georgie.
It is more than that, however. People are angry at the ALEC written stand your ground laws that, while it played no direct role in your not guilty verdict, played a very direct role in the culture that empowered you to cruise around packing heat. In the case of stand your ground, the NRA wrote the law, and worked with ALEC to grease it through the legislature and get it passed into law in 2005, and the rate of legally justifiable homicides in Florida has tripled since then.
You see this is America, where corporate profits drive legislation. So George, in some ways, you are a lightning rod for something much bigger than even your cowardly murder. Even more than that, people are angry with you George for something that you did not do- they are angry with you because you are the beneficiary of a justice system that at every level oppresses people of color in general and African Americans in wildly disproportionate ways. The fact that you, George, are a person of color adds some nuance to this previous point, but it does not change the fact that you must know in you gut that if Trayvon Martin was named Cody and was popping an Abercrombie and Fitch hoodie above his blond surfer boy lochs, he would not be dead, and if you were stupid enough to have killed him, you would be in a jumpsuit behind bars, having been convicted of murder in a case that would not have made you famous.
Aura Bogado writing for The Nation after the Zimmerman verdict noted that it was White Supremacy that acquitted George Zimmerman- a view that “one that is suspicious of black men in his neighborhood, is one that adheres to white supremacy. It was replicated in the courtroom by his defense, whose team tore away at Rachel Jeantel, questioning the young woman as if she was taking a Jim Crow–era literacy test.”
We are angry with you George, because you are the face of a horrible cancer on the body politic of American life.
Like any cancer victim George, we just want our cancer to go away, even as we ask ourselves what we could have done to bring this cancer upon ourselves.
By James Petras, 99GetSmart
The Obama regime, in coordination with its allies and proxies, has re-launched a virulent world-wide campaign to destroy independent governments, encircle and ultimately, undermine global competitors, and establish a new US – EU centered world order.
We will proceed by identifying the recent ‘cycles’ of US empire-building; the advances and retreats; the methods and strategies; the results and perspectives. Our main focus is on the imperial dynamics driving the US toward greater military confrontations, up to and including conditions which can lead to a world war.
Recent Imperial Cycles
US empire-building has not been a linear process. The recent decades provide ample evidence of contradictory experiences. Summarily we can identify several phases in which empire-building has experienced broad advances and sharp setbacks – with certain caveats. We are looking at global processes, in which there are also limited counter-tendencies: In the midst oflarge-scale imperial advances, particular regions, countries or movements successfully resisted or even reversed the imperial thrust. Secondly, the cyclical nature of empire-building in no way puts in doubt the imperial character of the state and economy and its relentless drive to dominate, exploit and accumulate. Thirdly, the methods and strategy directing each imperial advance differ according to changes among targeted countries.
Over the past thirty years we can identify three phases in empire-building.
Imperial Advance 1980’s to 2000
In the period roughly from the mid-1980’s to the year 2000, empire-building expanded on a global scale.
(A). Imperial Expansion in the former Communist regions
The US and EU penetrated and hegemonized Eastern Europe; disintegrated and pillaged Russia and the USSR; privatized and denationalized hundreds of billions of dollars worth of public enterprises, mass media outlets and banks; incorporated military bases throughout Eastern Europe into NATO and established satellite regimes as willing accomplices in imperial conquests in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
(B). Imperial Expansion in Latin America
Beginning from the early 1980’s to the end of the century, empire-building advanced throughout Latin America under the formula of “free markets and free elections”.
From Mexico to Argentina, empire-centered, neo-liberal regimes privatized and denationalized over 5,000 public enterprises and banks, benefiting US and European multi-nationals. Political leaders lined up with the US in international forums. Latin American generals responded favorably to US-centered military operations. Bankers extracted billions in debt payments and laundered many billions more in illicit money. The US-centered, continent-wide “North American Free Trade Agreement” appeared to advance according to schedule.
(C).Imperial Advances in Asia and Africa
Communist and nationalist regimes shed their leftist and anti-imperialist policies and opened their societies and economies to capitalist penetration. In Africa, two key “leftist” countries, Angola and post-apartheid South Africa adopted “free market policies”.
In Asia, China and Indo-China moved decisively toward capitalist development strategies; foreign investment, privatizations and intense exploitation of labor replaced collectivist egalitarianism and anti-imperialism. India, and other state-directed capitalist countries, like South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, liberalized their economies. Imperial advances were accompanied by greater economic volatility, a sharpening of the class struggle and an opening of the electoral process to accommodate competing capitalist factions.
Empire-building expanded under the slogan of “free markets and fair elections” – markets dominated by giant multi-nationals and elections, which assured elite successes.
Imperial Retreat and Reverses: 2000-2008
An encore of a Sunday Train from 22 April, 2012, on a topic that has come back in the news
Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence
One element of the recent California HSR “revised” draft 2012 Business Plan (which we shall call the Other, Other Plan) involves looking to one particular means of finance in addition to general fund bond finance and Federal transport grant funding:
Cap-and-Trade Program Funds
Assembly Bill 32 (Statutes, 2006, Chapter 488) mandates a reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In accordance with that law, California will implement a market-based cap-and-trade program. Funds from the program can be used to further the purposes of AB 32, including for development and construction of the high-speed rail system.
This has led to the current controversy in which the California Legislative Analysts Office, the LAO, has argued that the Cap and Trade funds might not be usable for HSR (pdf: p. 8).
One of their points, “Other GHG Reduction Strategies Likely to Be More Cost Effective,” involves a serious and common misframing of the question of the use of funds dedicated to reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: when reducing GHG emissions in a project that serves multiple purposes, the cost effectiveness of the GHG emissions spending depends on what share of the project funding is represented by that GHG emissions spending.
So more on transport, Green House Gas emissions, and the peculiar analytical weaknesses that crop up whenever the California LAO turns its attention to HSR, over the fold.
Funding Shares Matter
Lets consider three projects. A reduces CO2 at a cost of $20/ton. B reduces CO2 at a cost of $50/ton. And C reduces CO2 at a cost of $250/ton. Which one is the more cost efficient way to reduce CO2 emissions ?
Of course, you have no way of knowing, since you are missing a key piece of information: what share of funding is coming from the funds dedicated to reducing CO2 emissions:
So, for projects that are onlyfunded to reduce CO2 emissions, the evaluation is simple. But for projects that are “win-win-win” type projects, advanced and supported as helping with multiple goals, the question is:
Possible answers include:
|By: Steve Horn Monday March 10, 2014 10:29 am|
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
The recent March 6 House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing titled “Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Fuel Supply and Infrastructure” never had over 100 online viewers watching the livestream at any point in time. And it unfolded in an essentially empty room.
But the poor attendance record had no relation to the gravity of the facts presented by testifiers. Among other things, one presenter revealed 36 percent of the gas by-product from oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin was flared off as waste during a brutally cold midwest winter with no end in sight.
These damning facts were brought forward by Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres) Oil & Gas and Insurance Programs Director Andrew Logan, one of eight people called to testify around topics ranging from domestic propane markets to fossil fuels-by-rail markets, to pipeline markets and flaring.
A topic covered previously by DeSmogBlog, Logan submitted to the Subcommittee that flaring “is getting worse, not better.”
“Flaring in North Dakota hit 36% in December, a new record,” Logan told the subcommittee. ”This means that more than 1/3 of all natural gas produced in the state is going up in smoke, at the same time as consumers around the country are seeing price spikes from natural gas in this cold winter, along with actual shortages of propane in many places.”
Logan also said that wasteful flaring is also a growing quagmire in Texas, which has seen a 10-fold increase in flaring permits since 2010.
At least one influential Subcommittee member has taken notice.
U.S. Rep. Waxman: Flaring “Wasteful and Unnecessary”
During the question-and-answer portion of the hearing, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman(D-CA) chimed in with his thoughts on flaring, calling for a follow-up hearing to focus exclusively on this issue.
“The wasteful and unnecessary flaring of natural gas is a serious problem and has no place in a modern energy infrastructure. I believe the Subcommittee should a hearing to get the facts regarding flaring and to develop real solutions to the problem,” said Waxman.
In an interview with DeSmogBlog, Logan said he believed that a hearing on this issue would go a long way toward tackling the flaring problem.
“Flaring, at least at the level we are currently seeing in the Bakken, is so obviously indefensible that simply shining a light on the problem should get us well on the way to a solution,” said Logan. “That being said, the Republicans obviously control the House — and therefore the subject of hearings at present — and so I don’t know how likely it is that we will see hearings anytime soon.”
“Wasteful” is an understatement given how much gas is flared off in the Bakken Shale. The amount flared off could heat over half a million homes per day, according to a New York Times investigation.
“In 2012 alone, flaring resulted in the loss of approximately $1 billion in fuel and the GHG emissions equivalent of adding one million cars to the road,” explained Ceres’ July 2013 report titled, “Flaring up: North Dakota Natural Gas Flaring More Than Doubles in Two Years.”
According to World Bank data, the U.S. is now one of the top five flarers in the world.
So, what’s being wasted? Not just methane gas, but also “rich [and] valuable natural gas liquids like propane and butane [which are] about the last gas you would want to flare,” according to Logan’s testimony.
The propane is being flared at the same time North and South Dakota face a propane crisis and accompanying price spike.
“In North and South Dakota, the shortage has become so acute that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has opened shelters to serve its population, most of whom rely on propane,” explained The New York Times.
Logan says the situation in the Dakotas epitomizes why strong federal regulations are needed.
“It’s outrageous that propane is being flared off as a waste product when Dakotans are shivering in the cold due to artificial propane shortages,” he said. “The only real solution is regulation that forces the industry to curtail flaring once and for all.”
“Flaring in North Dakota will only be solved when the regulatory structure changes so that flaring is no longer the easiest option. For that to change, the incentive structure needs to change.”
Why Flare? Profits
At the hearing, Waxman asked Logan why he thinks companies choose to flare at all.
“Well, it’s really all about the relative economics and also the state of regulation in places like North Dakota. So while it’s profitable to capture the gas, it’s more profitable to drill the next oil well,” Logan testified. “So if you’re an oil company with a limited amount of money to spend — as they all are — it’s a somewhat rational short-term choice to say, ‘Well look, if I don’t have to capture that gas, I’d rather spend that money to drill another well.’”
|By: Deena Stryker Sunday March 9, 2014 10:29 am|
Some American commentators close to the Obama administration are touting the coup in Kiev as a successful tit for tat for Russia’s obstruction of U.S. war plans against Syria and its broader imperialist agenda. However, the Europeans, who get a lot of their gas from Russia, are split over joining ‘a coalition of the willing’. At the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels on Feb. 26, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen insisted that a solution could be found through cooperation with Moscow. She was echoed by the German business community.
In contrast, as reported Feb. 26 by the European Policy Centre in Brussels, British neoconservative policy advisor Amanda Paul demanded the EU adopt a tougher line against Putin. The conservative daily Die Zeit agreed, noting that “although reason, caution and compromise are good virtues, Europe have to learn power politics. We believe that the world is rational, with lots of compromise and consideration. In reality, Man is not a moral animal, but an animal of power.”
It is no coincidence that this quote should come from the German business community, for it expresses an ideology that is deeply rooted in that country, and which has gained significant influence, albeit under the radar, in the U.S., although it constituted the philosophical basis of the Nazi state.
To make this point I will turn to a surprising source: British former diplomat Alastair Crooke’s 2009 book Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution. Unlike NY Times bestsellers that deal with Islam, it introduces the reader to analyses of Western ideology by Islamist scholars, revealing knowledge ignored by most American college graduates.
During the Vietnam War, the well-known conservative philosopher Alan Bloom accused liberalism of undermining American values and in particular patriotism. He claimed that one of liberalism’s founders, John Locke, who influenced both the French and American revolutions, extended Hobbes’ ideas about liberal government, rights, the ‘self-aware Self’ and innate human goodness. Bloom and other Chicago School philosophers and economists, starting with Leo Strauss, were convinced that liberalism had thus led to nihilism, a ‘defining modern disorder’ that discourages citizens from sacrificing themselves for the State. The idea of nihilism had been laid out by Heidegger and Nietzsche, and led to the path taken by Nazi Germany. It was elaborated by their disciple, Carl Schmitt, who was none other than Leo Strauss’s friend and mentor.
The ‘Chicago School’, as it is widely known, is presented as being concerned strictly with economics, it’s best-known representative being Milton Friedman. In fact, it has been a major player in the development of the overall Neo-Conservative philosophy. From here I will simply cut and paste a slighted edited version of Crooke’s analysis of Neo-Conservatism’s philosophical background as it appears starting on page 248 of “RESISTANCE”:
The Chicago School and the Essence of Power
|By: wendydavis Saturday June 30, 2012 6:59 am|
This post is largely by way of a PSA; I’d found this article at the Ecologist while on an entirely different mission, and a lot of it is beyond my low level of scientific knowledge. The authors ask that this be widely disseminated, requiring only that we link to the original publication at ISIS, the Institute of Science in Society in the UK. I give you:
Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji, 4th March 2014
New studies document substantial differences of GM maize and GM soybean from their non-GM counterparts, writes Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji – exposing a permissive regulatory regime that has failed miserably in protecting public health and safety.
GM causes very real and substantial, unpredictable and uncontrollable changes in the host genome including mutations, and rearrangements as well as new transcripts and proteins.
Several new studies carried out by scientists independent of the biotech industry are showing up glaring differences between GMOs and their unmodified versions.
This makes a mockery of the regulatory principle of ‘Substantial Equivalence’ which has facilitated approvals of GMOs with practically no protection for public health and the environment.
As has already been written, the so-called ‘Principle of Substantial Equivalence’ is both unscientific and arbitrary.
An unscientific doctrine
The concept of ‘Substantial Equivalence’ was first introduced in 1993 by the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD), an international economic and trade organisation, not a public health body.
The principle states that if a new food is found to be substantially equivalent to an already existing food product, it can be treated the same way as the existing product with respect to safety.
This concept has greatly benefited the trade of GM produce, allowing it to effectively bypass regulatory requirements that would apply to novel food and other products – including novel chemical compounds, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and food additives – all of which require a range of toxicological tests and can be subject to legal limitations on safe consumption / intake.
Regulatory agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, generally base their GM food safety regulations on substantial equivalence.
Consumers are left unprotected
There are many good reasons for consumers to feel unprotected by these regulatory policies, not least because the principle itself is designed to be as flexible and open to interpretation for the approval of just about any and every GMO submitted.