Statement from the US Delegation to the Conference on Human Rights in Havana, Cuba by Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Dec. 11, 2008

On the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights.

We celebrate 60 years of failure. Human rights have been converted from a noble goal into an instrument of foreign policy used by rich and powerful nations against the poorest and weakest people of the world.

In 2008, almost 3 billion people throughout the world suffer the most basic privations.

After 60 years of empty human rights rhetoric, we demand that governments focus their attention on fulfilling the promises of 1948. We write this document on the parchment of the environment, which everyone shares, and has warned us all to drastically change the ways in which mass production and consumerism take place.

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Gareth Porter: While Obama talks carrots and sticks, Iran questions sitting at the table

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews Continue reading

Bush administration takes parting shot at endangered wildlife + Fastest lawsuit filing

Dandelion Salad

Updated: see below

Defenders of Wildlife
For Immediate Release
December 11, 2008
Contact(s) Cat Lazaroff, (202)772-3270

Bush administration takes parting shot at endangered wildlife

Last minute Endangered Species Act regulations put nation’s wildlife at risk of extinction

WASHINGTON—Rushing to put in place changes it failed to secure in the past eight years, the Bush administration has finalized new Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations today, cutting huge holes in the safety net that protects animals and plants in danger of becoming extinct.

First proposed by the Department of the Interior a little over three months ago, the new regulations will eliminate the requirement that agencies seek advice from expert biologists with federal wildlife agencies in decisions about whether dams, towers, highways and other projects will likely harm imperiled species.

“This administration’s disdain for wildlife and the environment has never been more clear than it is today,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife and former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “For 35 years, the Endangered Species Act has helped save and recover imperiled wildlife on the brink of extinction. Now, with this administration facing its last days, they are doing everything they can to cement their anti-environmental legacy before the Obama administration takes office.”

The Bush administration’s last minute rulemaking has drawn heavy criticism from the public, lawmakers, conservation groups and newspaper editorialists around the country. More than 250,000 comments opposing the changes were submitted to the Interior Department in the 60 days it allowed for the public to respond to the changes.

But the massive public outcry seems to have fallen on deaf ears. In its push to finalize the rules before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, the department had only 15 people spend only 32 hours reading the comments, averaging mere seconds in reviewing each of the more than 250,000 comments. Department officials then ignored the major concerns raised by the comments, making only cosmetic changes to the original proposals.

Both President-elect Obama and key Democratic leaders have signaled that they will oppose the ESA changes. In addition, Defenders intends to take immediate legal action to stop these regulations.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has argued that the new regulations are needed to keep the ESA from being used to limit emissions from coal power plants and other polluting sources that contribute to global warming. This continues the Bush administration’s failed approach of ignoring the problem.

“Global warming presents the greatest threat this generation has seen to ourselves, our wildlife and our environment, and yet the Bush administration has dragged its feet on addressing the impacts of a warming planet for its entire time in office,” Clark said. “While the ESA by itself certainly can’t provide a comprehensive solution to global warming, its protections will be essential in helping at-risk species survive a changing climate. If allowed to stand, these regulations will deprive the Obama administration of a powerful tool to protect wildlife and ecosystems from the effects of global warming.”

Many of the ESA regulation changes finalized today were tried before in a failed legislative effort by former Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA), whose anti-environmental record and repeated attacks on the ESA contributed to his defeat in the 2006 elections.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service are the keepers of the flame for our threatened and endangered wildlife. They are equipped to make decisions based on looking at the whole picture for a species, on what’s happening to their habitat, their health and other significant impacts,” Clark said. “It seems that the Bush administration has prioritized the interests of its industry allies over its responsibility to the public for protecting our nation’s imperiled wildlife. We will work in the courts, with Congress, and with the Obama administration to overturn these damaging regulations, so that we can begin to address the environmental neglect and damage that has been done over the last eight years.”

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit http://www.defenders.org.

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Updated

Center Races to File Suit Challenging Bush’s Gutting of Endangered Species Act

Dear Lo,

Just hours ago, Bush announced his long-threatened 11th-hour regulations gutting the Endangered Species Act. In what might be the fastest lawsuit filing in history, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit within minutes in San Francisco federal court to strike down the regulations. The Center and its partners — Defenders of Wildlife and Greenpeace — are asking the court to protect endangered plants and animals by completely nullifying Bush’s policies as quickly as possible.

As an early Christmas gift to industry, Bush’s policies exempted greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, oil and gas drilling, and other harmful developments from the Endangered Species Act. Having just listed the polar bear and two Florida corals as endangered species due to global warming in response to Center lawsuits, the Bush administration is now trying to handcuff federal regulators and the law by preventing actions needed to save these and other endangered species.

And if that weren’t bad enough, Bush also exempted tens of thousands of logging, mining, road building and development projects from Endangered Species Act review. Rather than have U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists independently review these actions, the Bush policy allows the agencies proposing the logging and mining to do the review themselves. In its typical pattern of denial and abuse, the Bush administration ignored the fact that this policy has already been tried and failed. In timber sales exempted from scientific review between 2004 and 2005, a full 68 percent violated the Endangered Species Act, harming spotted owls, salmon, and other species.

I will keep you posted as this fast-paced suit develops in the courts. Unfortunately, there are more bad regulations affecting clean air, clean water and our oceans coming down the pipe. The Center will remain vigilant in challenging these last ditch attempts by the lame-duck administration to undermine our bedrock environmental law. We’ll keep fighting until the Bush nightmare is over.

Sincerely,

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director
Center for Biological Diversity

P.S. We’re racing against the Bush administration for the next 39 days to uphold our environmental protections. Click here to make a special donation right now to support our efforts.

Capitalist Fools by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Dandelion Salad

Behind the debate over remaking U.S. financial policy will be a debate over who’s to blame. It’s crucial to get the history right, writes a Nobel-laureate economist, identifying five key mistakes—under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II—and one national delusion.

by Joseph E. Stiglitz
vanityfair.com
January 2009

There will come a moment when the most urgent threats posed by the credit crisis have eased and the larger task before us will be to chart a direction for the economic steps ahead. This will be a dangerous moment. Behind the debates over future policy is a debate over history—a debate over the causes of our current situation. The battle for the past will determine the battle for the present. So it’s crucial to get the history straight.

What were the critical decisions that led to the crisis? Mistakes were made at every fork in the road—we had what engineers call a “system failure,” when not a single decision but a cascade of decisions produce a tragic result. Let’s look at five key moments.

No. 1: Firing the Chairman

In 1987 the Reagan administration decided to remove Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and appoint Alan Greenspan in his place. Volcker had done what central bankers are supposed to do. On his watch, inflation had been brought down from more than 11 percent to under 4 percent. In the world of central banking, that should have earned him a grade of A+++ and assured his re-appointment. But Volcker also understood that financial markets need to be regulated. Reagan wanted someone who did not believe any such thing, and he found him in a devotee of the objectivist philosopher and free-market zealot Ayn Rand.

[…]

via Joseph E. Stiglitz on capitalist fools: About Us: vanityfair.com.

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Debit, credit, banco! By Rudo de Ruijter

The Curse of Global Capitalism By Jon Ronnquist

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2

Obama’s Appointments by Steven Jonas

by Steven Jonas, MD
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on Buzzflash.com

December 11, 2008

To understand where President-elect Obama is going with is appointments, I think it is very important to understand something about his psyche. As far as I can tell from a distance, Mr. Obama has his ego out of the way. He is not making decisions based on meeting internal ego needs. He feels really good about himself, and so he should. But even people who should, based on externals, feel good about themselves, sometimes don’t. In fact, Mr. Obama appears to me to be the first U.S. President since Dwight David Eisenhower (you can do your own analysis) who makes his decisions on everything, from his policies to his personnel to his choice of White House dog (see last week’s New Yorker cover), based on objective reality as he sees it, not on dealing one or more self-perceived personal deficiencies or emotional needs.

This leads me to admire another important element of his thinking that is becoming clear as one analyzes his decision-making process. The first question he asks and answers for himself is: “what is the objective here?” That became oh-so-clear when he intervened in the Senate’s process for dealing with poor ol’ Joe Lieberman (who will be a lame duck in the Senate for so long that he will need crutches just to get into the chamber by the time 2012 rolls around). Many of us on the Left (and yes, I do count myself as being on the Left) wanted to do nothing more than “get ‘im.” What a SOB. “Out, out, damned spot” on the escutcheon of the Democratic Party.

“But what would be the objective of that,” one can hear Mr. Obama asking himself. Revenge, right? And what would that accomplish? Yes, a much better chair of the Homeland Security Committee. But also one less vote for the Democratic Caucus (most of the time) and a former Democratic Senator (and Vice Presidential nominee) who would feel no compunctions about making anti-Democratic policy speech after anti-Democratic policy speech. So bring him back in (with a private commitment deal, one can be sure), let him run his committee (which will be much less important since in the Obama Administration, we will have a Secretary and a Department actually concerned about Homeland SECURITY, not simply on scaring the beejesus out of the American people at politically opportune times), and not have to worry about him off there on the flank somewhere.

In any Administration, the major decisions are made by the President (OK, in the last one certainly those concerned with foreign and military policy were made by someone else, what was his name again? Seems to have disappeared since the election.) The Cabinet Secretaries do not make them. Their jobs are to carry out Presidential policy. And so, if you want Permanent War in Iraq, you pick Rumsfeld. If you want Justice to take the lead in your plan to gradually destroy Constitutional Democracy, when even such a reactionary as John Ashcroft won’t exactly do your bidding, you get Gonzales and then Mukasey. You get a cipher at Homeland Security. You make one competent pick at the beginning for Secretary of State but when he won’t do your bidding, you first ignore him, then get rid of him, and then put in another cipher. And so on and so forth. To implement your policies, you mainly want and need weaklings. And you get them.

And so in his Administration, Obama will be making the principal decisions. But for this, he will need strength in the Cabinet, and he is getting it. You also need to make your picks based on one of your most important mantras: “what’s the objective?” For example, at State it is obviously first, finally getting a settlement of the Israel/Palestine conflict. While Sen. Clinton meets many other needs, both intellectual and political, of all the available qualified candidates, she is the one most likely to be able to broker that deal.

At Defense, the transition actually began two years ago when Jim Baker inserted his man Bob Gates. He had been on the Iraq Study Group.

Which recommended a plan very much like what Mr. Obama will be attempting to carry out: achieving a comprehensive Middle East settlement as first proposed, believe it or not, by the Saudis in 2002. Gates also nixed the War on Iran, kicked out the former leadership of the Air Force (on the grounds of apparent corruption, but likely also having to do with chopping down the then developing Cheney’s-own-chain-of-command project), and started taking a hard look at all of those very expensive, totally useless, military hardware projects so dear to the hearts of Cheney and Rumsfeld. What are Obama’s objectives for Defense? Get out of Iraq, probably figure out a way to get out of Afghanistan too, start saving some big bucks by cutting way back on the hardware stuff, and rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces to do what they should be doing: protect our shores. Gates has had a two-year head start. So keep him on.

Just one more example: Justice. There happens to be an organization called the American Constitution Society. It is our answer to the “let’s destroy traditional U.S. Constitutional Democracy by stages” Federalist Society. (Full disclosure: as a former law school faculty member, I belong to the ACS.) For the whole of the Bush Presidency, the ACS has been right out front on the anti-Constitutional Bush appointments to the Federal bench, on the Bush direct assaults on Constitutional Democracy, on the Bush use of torture and illegal detention, on the Bush wholesale violations of the due process of the law.

Obama, a former professor of Constitutional Law, appears determined to begin setting things right for the restoration of U.S. Constitutional Democracy from Day One of his administration. So if that’s your objective, which would choose for your Attorney General? Why Eric Holder, a Board member of the ACS, would make a fine choice, don’t you think? And then, as if to reinforce this first impression, Mr. Obama chooses as his White House Staff Secretary (no, she doesn’t sit there taking notes; she is in charge of the President’s schedule) the current Executive Director of the ACS. Ron Klain, VP-elect Biden’s incoming Chief of Staff, is another ACS Board member.

“What’s the objective?” Mr. Obama will be making the principal decisions. He seems to be picking people who will be able to carry them out. That’s the objective of his appointments.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and a www.TPJmagazine.us Contributing Author; a regular Columnist for BuzzFlash; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC; and a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/.

see

Obama’s “Way-to-Go, Brownie!” Moment? by Greg Palast

A Historic Moment:The Election of the Greatest Con-Man in Recent History By James Petras

Obama and the World Crisis by Richard C. Cook

Obama-Barack

Thai military plays key role in forming new government

Dandelion Salad

By John Roberts
http://www.wsws.org
11 December 2008

After intense behind-the-scenes manoeuvring, Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party announced on Monday it had the numbers to form a new government and formally called for the reconvening of parliament. The push is the outcome of a protracted campaign by anti-government protesters, backed by the monarchy, the military, the state bureaucracy and the courts, to oust the elected People Power Party (PPP)-led government.

On December 2, the Constitutional Court dissolved the PPP and two of its coalition allies for electoral fraud, effectively ousting Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. Somchai and 108 party officials are banned from politics for five years, leaving 39 parliamentary seats vacant. Former Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul is currently head of a caretaker government.

[…]

via Thai military plays key role in forming new government.

Dennis Kucinich: Our Automotive Industry Is Necessary To National Security + Paul: How Much is This Really Costing!

Dandelion Salad

New tag for Dennis Kucinich posts: Kucinich-Dennis J.

New tag for Ron Paul posts: Paul-Ron-MD

C-SPAN
December 10, 2008

http://www.c-span.org/video/?c2942892/clip-house-session (clip)

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Ron Paul: How Much is This Really Costing!

EDUCATIONAL REVOLUTION Continue reading

Israeli troops raid West Bank cities

Dandelion Salad

Press TV
Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:13:00 GMT

The Israeli military has raided the West Bank cities of Nablus and Jenin, detaining a number of residents, Palestinian sources say.

Israeli troops invaded downtown Jenin early on Thursday, under a barrage of heavy gunfire. The soldiers were deployed in main streets causing a state of panic among the local habitants, the sources said, IMEMC reported.

In another raid, Israeli soldiers ransacked several Palestinian homes in Nablus city, arresting at least six Palestinian residents from the Ma’adamma village, one of the city’s suburbs.

Witnesses said that a number of Israeli armored vehicles swept into the village late Wednesday, breaking into several houses.

Despite a valid security agreement with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the Israeli army regularly makes arrests during overnight operations in West Bank towns.

The PNA said the Israeli raids are in violation of an accord agreed upon in the first phase of the US-backed Road Map peace plan.

According to a recent report released by the Nablus-based International Solidarity Organization for Human Rights, Israel has arrested 330 Palestinians in the West Bank in November.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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MIR: West Bank Stories

DN!: Unsteady Calm Following Settler Violence Against Palestinian Residents in Hebron

Help These Brave Young Israelis + The last time I was out of prison, I went to see my dad.

Israel-Palestine-Gaza-Occupation

Obama’s atomic umbrella: U.S. nuclear strike if Iran nukes Israel

Dandelion Salad

By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
11/12/2008

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s administration will offer Israel a “nuclear umbrella” against the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran, a well-placed American source said earlier this week. The source, who is close to the new administration, said the U.S. will declare that an attack on Israel by Tehran would result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran.

But America’s nuclear guarantee to Israel could also be interpreted as a sign the U.S. believes Iran will eventually acquire nuclear arms.

Secretary of state-designate Hillary Clinton had raised the idea of a nuclear guarantee to Israel during her campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency. During a debate with Obama in April, Clinton said that Israel and Arab countries must be given “deterrent backing.” She added, “Iran must know that an attack on Israel will draw a massive response.” Clinton also proposed that the American nuclear umbrella be extended to other countries in the region, like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, if they agree to relinquish their own nuclear ambitions.

[…]

via Obama’s atomic umbrella: U.S. nuclear strike if Iran nukes Israel – Haaretz – Israel News.

h/t: ICH

see

Who Originated the ‘Nuclear Umbrella for Israel’ Proposal? – Jim Geraghty – The Campaign Spot on National Review Online

Obama-Barack

Kosovo: A European Narco State by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, December 7, 2008
author’s website: Antifascist Calling…

When three officers of Germany’s foreign intelligence service the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), were arrested in Pristina November 19, it exposed that country’s extensive covert operations in the heart of the Balkans.

On November 14, a bomb planted at the office of the European Union Special Representative was detonated in downtown Pristina. While damage was light and there were no injuries, U.N. “peacekeepers” detained one of the BND officers hours after the blast when he was observed taking photos of the damaged building. Two of his colleagues waited in a car and acted as lookouts. The officer named these two colleagues as witnesses that he was in his office at the time of the attack.

That office, identified by the press as the “private security firm” Logistics-Coordination & Assessment Service or LCAS, in reality was a front company for BND operations. Its premises were searched three days later and the trio were subsequently arrested and accused by Kosovan authorities of responsibility for bombing the EU building. As a result of the arrests, the BND was forced to admit the real identities of their agents and the true nature of LCAS.

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“Robert Mugabe must go” – Comments by Brown, Sarkozy, Bush and the British press

Updated: Dec. 12, 2008 added a couple more links to stories

compiled by Cem Ertür
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
9 December 2008

“Robert Mugabe must go” – Comments by Brown, Sarkozy, Bush and the British press

I have been in close contact with African leaders to press for stronger action to give the Zimbawean people the Government they deserve. [UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 6 December 2008] [1]

I say today that President Mugabe must go. Zimbabwe has suffered enough. [France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy, 8 December 2008] [2]

As my Administration has made clear, it is time for Robert Mugabe to go… We urge others from the region to step up and join the growing chorus of voices calling for an end to Mugabe’s tyranny. [US President George Bush, 9 December 2008] [3]

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DN!: Unsteady Calm Following Settler Violence Against Palestinian Residents in Hebron

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

Democracy Now!
Dec. 10, 2008
Hebronweb

Unsteady Calm Following Settler Violence Against Palestinian Residents in Hebron

We take a look at the troubled West Bank city of Hebron, where the city’s Palestinian residents have been at the receiving end of a new wave of attacks from hard-line Jewish settlers. Violence flared last week after Israeli riot police forcibly evicted some 250 settlers from a disputed Palestinian-owned home that the settlers had occupied last year. Tensions have been high ever since an Israeli High Court ruling last month that ordered the settlers to vacate the building. We go to Hebron to get the latest. [includes rush transcript]

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via Democracy Now! | Unsteady Calm Following Settler Violence Against Palestinian Residents in Hebron.

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MIR: West Bank Stories

Israeli Terrorist Settler Shooting Palestinians in Hebron

4th Blockade-Busting Boat Arrival

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New system has soldiers in virtual battleground killing terrorists from a distance

“Israel IS NOT ABOVE THE LAW”

Help These Brave Young Israelis + The last time I was out of prison, I went to see my dad.

Israel-Palestine-Gaza-Occupation

Human Rights on Dandelion Salad