Richard Menec | 1 Jan 02:55 2010

Climate crisis will be the challenge of new decade

Irish Times                        December 31, 2009

Climate crisis will be the challenge of new decade

by Oisín Coghlan

What will the decade ahead hold for the environment? Mankind has yet to meet 
the stark challenges posed by global warming, which will not go away

THIS IS not how it was supposed to end. Internationally, this decade was 
supposed to give us a comprehensive global treaty to contain climate change. 
In Ireland, some of us allowed ourselves hope that a soft-landing for the 
Celtic Tiger would herald a "post-materialist" era where environmental and 
social considerations were given as much weight as economic ones in 

Instead, the Copenhagen climate talks ended in confusion and recrimination 
and in Ireland the economic crash has driven us back to very understandable 
materialist concerns about budget cuts and job losses.

The coming decade will see whether humanity is capable of overcoming a 
complex web of environmental problems that pose an existential threat to 
civilisation. Climate, the most urgent and most mainstream of these 
problems, epitomises the challenges.

Politicians and scientists agree we must limit global warming to less than 
two degrees Celsius to prevent runaway climate change. Current pollution 
trends put us on a path to six degrees of warming this century, when four 
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Sid Shniad | 1 Jan 03:22 2010

The Poetic Justice of Dennis Brutus
Dec 29, 2009 The Poetic Justice of Dennis Brutus

By Amy Goodman

Dennis Brutus broke rocks next to Nelson Mandela when they were imprisoned
together on notorious Robben Island. His crime, like Mandela’s, was fighting
the injustice of racism, challenging South Africa’s apartheid regime.
Brutus’ weapons were his words: soaring, searing, poetic. He was banned, he
was censored, he was shot. But this poet’s commitment and activism, his
advocacy on behalf of the poor, never flagged. Brutus died in his sleep
early on Dec. 26 in Cape Town, at the age of 85, but he lived with his eyes
wide open. His life encapsulated the 20th century, and even up until his
final days, he inspired, guided and rallied people toward the fight for
justice in the 21st century.

Oddly, for this elfin poet and intellectual, it was rugby that early on
nagged him about the racial injustice of his homeland. Brutus recalled being
sarcastically referred to by a white man as a “future Springbok.”

The Springboks were the national rugby team, and Brutus knew that nonwhites
could never be on the team. “It stuck with me, until years later, when I
began to challenge the whole barrier—questioning why blacks can’t be on the
team.” This issue is depicted in Clint Eastwood’s new feature film,
“Invictus.” President Mandela, played by Morgan Freeman, embraces the
Springboks during the 1995 World Cup, admitting that until then blacks
always knew whom to root for: any team playing against the Springboks.

In the late 1950s, Brutus was penning a sports column under the pseudonym
“A. de Bruin”—meaning “A brown” in Afrikaans. Brutus wrote, “The column ...
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Sid Shniad | 1 Jan 03:22 2010

Cause and effect in the "Terror War"
Dec 29, 2009
Cause and effect in the "Terror War"*

*What do we think is going to happen if we continuously invade, occupy and
bomb Muslim countries and arm and enable others to do so?
By Glenn Greenwald

    "In all their alleged allegedness, this Administration has an allergy to
the concept of war, and thus to the tools of war, including strategy and war
aims" -- Supreme Tough Guy Warrior Mark Steyn, National Review, yesterday.

    "The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.'s drone
program in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to
parallel the president’s decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more
troops to Afghanistan" -- New York Times, December 4, 2009.

    "In the midst of two unfinished major wars, the United States has
quietly opened a third, largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen" --
New York Times, yesterday.


Actually, if you count our occupation of Iraq, our twice-escalated war in
Afghanistan, our rapidly escalating bombing campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen,
and various forms of covert war involvement in Somalia, one could reasonably
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Sid Shniad | 1 Jan 03:23 2010

Nepal's Ambassador to US calls for Suharto- or Pinochet-Style Military Coup as "Solution" to Maoism in Nepal

Getting Out Of The Quagmire*

As things have evolved over the past three years, Nepal has become a fertile
ground for a military takeover of the government, independently or under the
shadow of a constitutional authority. Such a possibility has been talked
about in a limited circle but been forced open by a delegation of some
Nepali Congress (NC) leaders who recently urged President Ram Baran Yadav to
consider imposing President’s Rule to help restore peace and enable the
Constituent Assembly (CA) to complete writing the constitution before the
expiry of deadline in five months. This is not an incredible or
inappropriate suggestion, considering the marathon obstructions staged by
Maoists to prevent the CA to open for business and carry out its mandate.

Even after losing the control of government in May this year over the
enigmatic issue of civilian supremacy, Maoists have not softened their
stance on the president’s action that re-instated the ex-army chief after
his firing by the then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. In order to
further press on this issue, Maoists have announced formation of autonomous
states in several parts of the country in defiance of the wishes of
government, which also seems to challenge the constitution-making authority
of CA. By doing so—unilaterally deciding to divide up the country into
ethnic enclaves—Maoists have started the process of a slow dissolution of
the State which they eventually would turn into an all-powerful proletarian
dictatorship, making the country a one-party State. This particular
perception of Maoists’ ultimate objective and long-term planning is not
based on fancy or conjecture but comes straight out of their public
declarations that claim the virtues of ‘fusion’ of ideologies and role of
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Sid Shniad | 1 Jan 03:24 2010

Far right Dutch political leader sees Israel as first line of defense for the West


*Dutch anti-Islam MP: 'Israel is West's first line of defense'*

*"...the fight against Israel is not territorial, and hence Israel is only
the first line of defense for the West. Now it's Israel but we are next.
That's why beyond solidarity, it is in Europe's interest to stand by
       -- Geert Wilders, far right racist Dutch political leader
By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel will be a major part of Geert Wilders' next film on Islam, the
rightist Dutch legislator said last week in an interview for Haaretz. He
praised Avigdor Lieberman, observing "similarities" between Yisrael Beiteinu
and the Party for Freedom - a small movement which has grown to become
Holland's second most popular.

Wilders, a controversial anti-immigration politician, rose to international
fame last year when he released a 14-minute film entitled Fitna, which
attempts to portray what he considers as Islam's "violent nature." The film,
which has been viewed by millions online, provoked mass protests throughout
the Muslim world.

In April Wilders announced he was working on a sequel. Just as Fitna focused
on genocidal anti-Semitism in the Muslim world, Wilders said that the sequel
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Sid Shniad | 1 Jan 03:31 2010

One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists
Dec 28, 2009 One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists

By Chris Hedges

Syed Fahad Hashmi can tell you about the dark heart of America. He knows
that our First Amendment rights have become a joke, that habeas corpus no
longer exists and that we torture, not only in black sites such as those at
Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or at Guantánamo Bay, but also at the federal
Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan. Hashmi is a U.S.
citizen of Muslim descent imprisoned on two counts of providing and
conspiring to provide material support and two counts of making and
conspiring to make a contribution of goods or services to al-Qaida. As his
case prepares for trial, his plight illustrates that the gravest threat we
face is not from Islamic extremists, but the codification of draconian
procedures that deny Americans basic civil liberties and due process. Hashmi
would be a better person to tell you this, but he is not allowed to speak.

This corruption of our legal system, if history is any guide, will not be
reserved by the state for suspected terrorists, or even Muslim Americans. In
the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who
are branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi endures what many others,
who are not Muslim, will endure later. Radical activists in the
environmental, globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and
anarchist movements—who are already being placed by the state in special
detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism—have discovered
that his fate is their fate. Courageous groups have organized protests,
including vigils outside the Manhattan detention facility. They can be found
at or On Martin Luther
King Day,  this Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. EST, protesters will hold a large vigil in
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Yoshie Furuhashi | 1 Jan 06:18 2010

TeleSur: Iran: Pro-Government Demonstrations All over the Country (with Video)

Click on the link below for the TeleSur video:

Iran: Pro-Government Demonstrations All over the Country
by TeleSur

"One thing is clear: the developments in Iran today are not comparable
to the time before the downfall of the Shah.  Back then, the country
was united against the Shah.  There were no two sides to speak of.  If
there had been two sides, the US would have conveniently arranged for
a coup.  Today in Iran, there are two sides.  It won't be a simple
transition of power.  More likely, it will be a messy and bloody
conflict between the two sides, and both will resort to violence to
push ahead.  Like in Lebanon, the US media wanted you to believe that
there was one side, only.  We now know it was not the case." -- As'ad
AbuKhalil, "Iran Protests: Covering the Other Side" (Angry Arab News
Service, 31 December 2009).

See, also, "Manifestaciones en apoyo al gobierno de Irán se
extendieron a todo el país" (TeleSur, 30 December 2009); and Andy
Newman, "Iran: Time for the West to Butt Out"(Socialist Unity, 30
December 2009).

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Yoshie Furuhashi | 1 Jan 07:32 2010

Iran 2010 Prediction

Iran 2010 Prediction
by Cyrus Safdari

This is my prediction for Iran affairs in 2010:

We'll start out of course with more sanctions and leaked "secret
documents" and testimony from "defectors."  The crescendo will come at
the end of the year: look for an all-out propaganda assault by the
pro-Israelis to get the US to attack Iran.  This is the year that they
want to get this done.

Cyrus Safdari is an independent Iranian analyst.  The Wall Street
Journal articles rescued from the memory hole were first published on
his Web site Iran Affairs on 31 December 2009; they are reproduced
here for non-profit educational purposes.

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Bill Totten | 1 Jan 08:03 2010

[BillTottenWeblog] Understanding Obamacare

by Luke Mitchell

Harper's Magazine Notebook (December 2009)

The idea that there is a competitive "private sector" in America is
appealing, but generally false. No one hates competition more than the
managers of corporations. Competition does not enhance shareholder value,
and smart managers know they must forsake whatever personal beliefs they
may hold about the redemptive power of creative destruction for the more
immediate balm of government intervention. This wisdom is expressed most
precisely in an underutilized phrase from economics: regulatory capture.

When Congress created the first US regulatory agency, the Interstate
Commerce Commission, in 1887, the railroad barons it was meant to subdue
quickly recognized an opportunity. "It satisfies the popular clamor for a
government supervision of railroads at the same time that that supervision
is almost entirely nominal", observed the railroad lawyer Richard Olney.
"Further, the older such a commission gets to be, the more inclined it
will be found to take the business and railroad view of things. It thus
becomes a sort of barrier between the railroad corporations and the people
and a sort of protection against hasty and crude legislation hostile to
railroad interests". As if to underscore this claim, Olney soon after got
himself appointed to run the US Justice Department, where he spent his
days busting railroad unions.

The story of capture is repeated again and again, in industry after
industry, whether it is the agricultural combinations creating an
impenetrable system of subsidies, or television and radio broadcasters
monopolizing public airwaves for private profit, or the entire financial
sector conjuring perilous fortunes from the legislative void. The real
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Suzanne de Kuyper | 1 Jan 10:59 2010

Re: Terrorism Still Less Deadly in US Than Lack of Health Insurance, Salmonella

When do we wage war on Salmonella?  From where I live, never, until the War
Empire has fully desroyed itself or been forced off the dollar.   Well on
the way
now to self destruction.  The H1N1 flue will probably invade any
countries that dare to seriously propose no more dollar control, and
the West, carefully occupied by the US military since WW11,  is a
pussy.  The threateners are so familiar, the occupiers 'friends'.   Can the
change come from within the U.S.   Habeous no longer lives there.
Zioniststh slowly destroy all U.S. strengths, laws, freedoms, prosperities,
integreties.   Now a financially bankrupt country.  As Ben Bernake stated "I
just print money!"  No health affordable insurance further weakens the once
great and powerful country the U.S. was.  Now living to perpetuate Genocide?
     suzannedk <at>

On Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 10:17 PM, Sid Shniad <shniad <at>> wrote:

> *Terrorism Still Less Deadly in US Than Lack of Health Insurance,
> Salmonella
> *
> *
> *By: Blue Texan
> Tuesday December 29, 2009
> Firedoglake
> Since we still seem to be having a national freakout over some loser who
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