Barack Obama is recognised to be a person of acute intelligence, a legal scholar, careful with his choice of words. He deserves to be taken seriously — both what he says, and what he omits.
Particularly significant is his first substantive statement on foreign affairs, on January 22, at the state department, when introducing George Mitchell who is to serve as his special envoy for Middle East peace.
On January 22, however, the one president was Barack Obama, so he could speak freely about these matters. Obama emphasised his commitment to a peaceful settlement: “It will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Israel and its Arab neighbours.”
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We’ve all heard about the “Petitions” of “Scientists” who disagree with Climate Science. This sordid little episode in the history of climate denial points up once again the fundamental dishonesty of the climate denial industry.
There were once 22 Uighur prisoners in Guantánamo. Muslims from China’s oppressed Xinjiang province, they had all been swept up as human debris during “Operation Enduring Freedom,” the US-led invasion of Afghanistan that began in October 2001. The majority of these men were seized after fleeing to Pakistan from a run-down settlement in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora mountains, which had been hit in a US bombing raid. Initially welcomed by Pakistani villagers, they were then betrayed and sold to US forces, who were offering $5000 a head for “al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects.”
None of the men had been in Afghanistan to support al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and none had raised arms against US forces. They all maintained that they had only one enemy — the Chinese government — and explained that they had ended up at the settlement either in the hope of finding a way of rising up against their oppressors, which was unlikely, as the settlement was dirt-poor and had only one gun, or because they had hoped to travel to other countries in search of work — primarily Turkey, which has historic connections to the people of East Turkestan (as the Uighurs call their homeland) — but had been thwarted in their aims.
There’s depressing news this week that the big banks are up to their old shenanigans again. This time they’ve zeroed in on Geithner’s cash giveaway bonanza, the “Public Private Investment Partnership” (PPIP). As expected, Bank of America and Citigroup have angled their way to the front of the herd, thrusting their pig-heads into the public trough and extracting whatever morsels they can find amid a din of gurgling and sucking sounds. Here’s the story from the New York Post:
“As Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner orchestrated a plan to help the nation’s largest banks purge themselves of toxic mortgage assets, Citigroup and Bank of America have been aggressively scooping up those same securities in the secondary market, sources told The Post…
But the banks’ purchase of so-called AAA-rated mortgage-backed securities, including some that use alt-A and option ARM as collateral, is raising eyebrows among even the most seasoned traders. Alt-A and option ARM loans have widely been seen as the next mortgage type to see increases in defaults.
One Wall Street trader told The Post that what’s been most puzzling about the purchases is how aggressive both banks have been in their buying, sometimes paying higher prices than competing bidders are willing to pay.
Recently, securities rated AAA have changed hands for roughly 30 cents on the dollar, and most of the buyers have been hedge funds acting opportunistically on a bet that prices will rise over time. However, sources said Citi and BofA have trumped those bids.”(“Double Dippers; Citi and B of A buy laundered loans at lower rates”, Mark DeCambre, New York Post)
Wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates how to transform her family’s farm in Devon into a low energy farm for the future, and discovers that nature holds the key. With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family’s wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land. But last year’s high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is. Alarmed by the answers, she explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel. With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, Rebecca learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy future.
Noam Chomsky: The best way to move forward is support unionization
President Obama wanted to show his solidarity with working people, so he went to Illinois and talked at an industrial plant. The choice was striking: he chose Caterpillar. Now, he had to do that over the objections of church and human rights groups because of the devastating effect that Caterpillar machines are having in the Israeli-occupied territories, where they’re wiping out agricultural land and destroying all of the roads and villages and so on. But nobody, as far as I can see, noticed something even more dramatic. I mean, Caterpillar has a role in US labor history. Caterpillar was the first plant in generations to bring in scabs to destroy a strike.
British Tamils Forum, assisted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T), hosted an international conference, titled “World Tamils Forum”, on Thursday, 26 March 2009 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in London. Tamil academics, professionals and Tamil Youth from 22 countries attended the conference, at which Rev Jesse Jackson from the USA was the key-note speaker. The 45 delegates gathered over two days to discuss and draw up a declaration addressing the humanitarian tragedy facing Tamils in Sri Lanka, exposing the Genocidal War, reinforcing the need for a political process and the role that international actors would need to play.
The Former Defence Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Sri Lanka Rt. Hon. Des Browne, Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) Member Mr Mike Griffiths, Entertainer and Charity Worker Sir Jimmy Savile, Members of Parliament from the UK and Sri Lanka, Dignitaries and Civil Servants also attended the conference.
While it’s a commonly held belief that “everyone has a nonbiological twin somewhere in the world,” I wonder if we all have an antithetical “anti-twin” as well. Because I recently met someone who could easily be mine. Ironically enough, it was at the public library, one of my favorite haunts.
It’d been a particularly cold winter and the mercury had finally inched up to where it was light jacket weather, so I decided to spend a day prowling around an area called The Country Club Plaza, a Kansas City “landmark.”
Picture the Plaza as a physical incarnation of the spiritual realm where all the souls of the “good” members of the bourgeoisie will transcend once they’ve run themselves to death in the race to acquire the most toys.
Featuring rather exotic-looking architecture styled after that of Seville, Spain; retailers who demand credit approval and notarized validation of net worth exceeding six figures prior to entry into their establishment (so as to prevent “the rabble” from invading their luxurious fiefdoms); and restaurateurs whose appetizers cost enough to feed a family of four for a month, this “shopping district” is at the nexus of what some people refer to as Kansas City’s “old money.” Suffice it to say that the inhabitants of the palatial estates lining nearby Ward Parkway and State Line Road enjoy extensive insulation from the current “economic downturn.”
I have a vision, as Martin Luther King once said. A vision of racial and economic equality, equal opportunity and civil rights for people of all colors. The question is how do I, we, go about realizing this vision?
Dr. King conceived of passive resistance, non-violent protests, to bring vast numbers of people, black and white into the street, to the schools and lunch counters, the bus stops and the Washington Mall to show their strength and insistence on their principles. I envision a similar formula.