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Man, if they blow this…

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Published on The Guardian’s Blog of Michael Tomasky, by blog owner, January 2010.

Charlie Rangel says the House-Senate negotiations on the final healthcare bill are going badly. “We’ve got a problem on both sides of the Capitol. A serious problem” …

… Remember back last summer when people were saying why isn’t Obama cracking heads? That was not really needed then. But now is the time to crack heads. The ball is on the three yard line.

If these negotiations blow up and the Democrats somehow don’t pass this legislation at this point, they are done as a political party for the foreseeable future. The Republicans are already done – despite the tea party enthusiasm, GOP poll numbers overall are in the toilet. The party has no solutions, no ideas, nothing. It’s great at daily political combat. And that’s all. So we’d have two failed parties. Would anybody then get the message that maybe our system is broken nearly to the point of disrepair? (full text).

Retirees fight for young workers

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Published on People’s World, by Scott Marshall, January 12 2010.

One thing most of us in South Chicago SOAR (Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees) have in common is children and grandchildren. Given that unemployment is above 25% for teenagers and worse for African American and Latino youth, we worry about it a lot. Even our kids and grandkids with skills and college educations are catching it. What could be more frustrating than working hard to learn a trade, or going to college, only to graduate with no prospects for work?

Steelworker retirees tend to think like this so our bull sessions often quickly turn into “what can we do about this.” So it was natural for us to start kicking around ideas about how to fight for jobs and the unemployed. We established a “Jobs or Income Now” committee to help get us going. We drafted a petition calling on Congress to:   Continue Reading…

Battle for Mediation: The Political Price for the War in Yemen

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Published on Dissident Voice, by Ali Jawad, January 12, 2010.

Whilst all wars have a rational “end”, some are less rational than others. The participation of the Saudi and Yemeni establishments in their war against Yemeni Houthis has been a catastrophic error – so catastrophic, in fact, as to verge on political suicide. After months of blind bombing raids, the prospects of any decisive victory disappear further into oblivion with every additional sortie.

“Operation Scorched Earth” – pitched as the sixth war between the Yemeni government and its Houthi citizens – has served to further cement the incompetence of Ali Abdallah Saleh’s government. Its failure to heed from the lessons of past has exposed it to charges of gross impudence within policy circles. Indeed, both Riyadh and Sana’a are condemned of committing the supreme crime in war designs: vanity. Continue Reading…

DPRK ready to discuss peace agreement at six-party talks

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(Democratic People’s Republic of (northern) Korea) – Published on China View, January 11, 2010.

PYONGYANG, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Monday it would discuss reaching a peace treaty with relevant state parties in the framework of the six-party talks to replace the Armistice Agreement, the official Korean Central News Agency reported. The DPRK Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that it was necessary to pay primary attention to build confidence between the DPRK and the United States … //

… It said the conclusion of the peace treaty would also help promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The statement suggested that the Armistice Agreement be replaced by a peace treaty this year which “marks the lapse of 60 years since the outbreak of the Korean War.” (full text).

Who pays for Zuma wives?

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Published on, by Sapa, 07 Jan 2010.

… The Presidency said President Jacob Zuma, who had three wives, would be accompanied by any of the spouses to official or public engagements, or all of them at the same time should he so decide.

“This is his prerogative, and has been the practice since he took office,” the Presidency said.

The Presidency said it had decided to clarify the matter after speculation about provisions for first ladies emerged after Zuma married Thobeka Madiba-Zuma on Monday. Continue Reading…

The Next Decade’s Top Sustainability Trends

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Published on Post Carbon Institute, by Warren Karlenzig, Jan 6, 2010. – Linked on our blogs with the Post Carbon Institute, and with Transition US.

The top ten sustainability stories of the past decade was my last post. What trends are likely the next ten years? One thing for sure, 2010 through 2019 will be one day looked at as 1.) the turning point for addressing climate change by using effective urban management strategies, or it will be remembered as 2.) the time when we collectively fumbled the Big Blue Ball … //

… 7. End of Cheap Oil/ Onset of Fossil Fuel Shortages Time, Period: 2012-2019:

Besides fresh water, oil is the most threatened increasingly imported resource in developed economies. Energy shortages or supply disruptions are expected to continue to develop because of political acts, terrorism, warfare and natural disasters. The issue is not that the reserves are “running out,” but that getting at the remaining oil in a cost-effective manner is becoming increasingly more difficult, as has been outlined in multiple books by author Richard Heinberg (The Party’s Over, Peak Everything) and others. Continue Reading…

What Meditation Is – and What It Is Not

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Linked on our blogs with – Published on, not dated.

There are many different, even contradictory ideas, about what meditation is. Primary to the Osho approach is the need for the meditator to understand the nature of the mind, rather than fight with it.

Most of us most of the time are run by, dominated by our thoughts or feelings. It follows that we tend to think we are those thoughts and feelings. Meditation is the state of simply being, just pure experiencing, with no interference from the body or mind. It’s a natural state but one which we have forgotten how to access … //

… Some Common Misconceptions – Meditation is (not):   Continue Reading…

Sergio: A Must-See Documentary

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Published on Huffington Post, by Arianna Huffington, January 9, 2010.

This week I wrote about our latest Book Club pick, Shadow Elite, which documents the poisonous effect the rise of a “transnational” class of elites has had on our democracy. Today I want to give you an antidote: Sergio is a powerful and deeply moving documentary I recently saw that tracks the remarkable life – and tragic death in Iraq at the hands of a suicide bomber – of UN envoy Sergio de Mello, one of the greatest (albeit least heralded) peacemakers of the 20th century … (full text).

The book: Chasing the Flame, Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (Hardcover), by Samanta Power.

11th National Art Exhibition creates a picture of creativity

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Published on China News, Source: China Daily, 2010-01-08.

The National Art Museum of China is hosting the Eleventh National Art Exhibition, displaying recent Chinese contemporary artworks that won top accolades. The show runs until Feb 3.

The exhibition, initiated in 1949 and staged once every five years, is a veritable feast for art lovers in China. It’s the biggest of its kind. A variety of fine artworks in 10 categories are awarded. These include Chinese ink painting, oil painting, engraving, sculpture, murals, watercolor and pastel drawings …  // Continue Reading…

World needs to act now to prevent new Sudan war, ten aid agencies warn

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Published on Reuters, Source: OXFAM GB – UK, 07 Jan 2010.

Major conflict could return to southern Sudan unless there is urgent international action to save the peace agreement that ended one of Africa’s longest and deadliest wars, ten aid agencies warned today.

In a new report “Rescuing the Peace in Southern Sudan” – released on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the signing of the peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – the agencies said a lethal cocktail of rising violence, chronic poverty and political tensions has left the peace deal on the brink of collapse.  Continue Reading…

International Society, Securitization, and an English School Map of the World

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Published on Theory Talks, /#35, by Barry Buzan, December 19, 2009.

Few thinkers have shown to be as capable as Barry Buzan of continuously impacting the direction of debates in IR theory (see als IR theory’s Homepage). From regional security complexes to the English School approach to IR as being about international society, and from hegemony to securitization: Buzan’s name will appear on your reading list. It is therefore an honor for Theory Talks to present this comprehensive Talk with professor Buzan. In this Talk, Buzan – amongst others – discusses theory as thinking-tools, describes the contemporary regionalization of international society, and sketches an English School map of the world.

Q.: What is, according to you, the biggest challenge / principal debate in current IR? What is your position or answer to this challenge / in this debate?  Continue Reading…

Who Would Benefit Politically from a Terrorist Incident on American Soil?

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The Strange Case of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab – Published on Global, by Tom Burghardt, January 4, 2010.

… Enter the CIA, Stage (Far) Right:

What “other government agency” may have suppressed intelligence on the would-be bomber?

The CBS Evening News revealed December 29 that “as early as August of 2009,” tracking closely with the time-frame of NSA intercepts, “the Central Intelligence Agency was picking up information on a person of interest dubbed ‘The Nigerian,’ suspected of meeting with ‘terrorist elements’ in Yemen.”

Unnamed “intelligence sources” told CBS, “‘The Nigerian’ has now turned out to be Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.” But that connection “was not made when Abdulmutallab’s father went to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria three months later, on November 19, 2009. It was then he expressed deep concerns to a CIA officer about his son’s ties to extremists in Yemen, a hotbed of al Qaeda activity.” CBS claims “this information was not connected until after the attempted Christmas Day bombing.”  Continue Reading…

BRAZIL: WSF 24-28 Jan 2010

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World Social Forum celebrates 10th birthday - Published on NEWSAHEAD, not authored nor dated.

The Greater Porto Alegre 10 Years Social Forum marks the 10th birthday of the World Social Forum. A global entity, it brings together anti-globalization, anti-capitalist and social justice movements to challenge the actions of the ruling elites of nations and corporations that meet each year in Davos, Switzerland. Instead of its usual vast gathering to coincide with the annual Davos forum, the WSF will hold seminar-type events in Brazil in January and similar events around the world during 2010.  Continue Reading…

The White Ribbon

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Michael Haneke’s pessimistic study of society – Published on WSWS, by Verena Nees, 6 January 2010.

An often fascinating film that leaves a bitter aftertaste. This is the impression left with the cinema-goer by Michael Haneke’s new film, The White Ribbon … //

… He went on to say: “I set the story in its particular era so that it might acquire an added political significance. It could just as easily have been set in an Islamic village. Of course, it would have had a different look, but the essentials would have been much the same.” When the Focus interviewer persisted in trying to pin him down to the idea that he must have seen tendencies towards evil and fascism in the whole of the northern, Protestant-educated world, Haneke declared: “My films all carry the same label—’citizens at war.’ How do we get along with each other? I really believe that major wars occur because of what has happened to us previously. This is why we’re so susceptible to them.”  Continue Reading…

Should Indians drive cars? Part 2

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Published on BBCnews, by Justin Rowlatt, 3 January 2010.
(First watch the video on the page, 21.41 min, mainly discussing around the question: should Indian families have a car)

The climate conference in Copenhagen was a car crash – virtually everyone, including President Obama, seems agreed on that … //

… The reason Copenhagen foundered was because most countries refused to set aside their narrow national interests for the long-term future well-being of the entire planet.

Ever since the dawn of the industrial revolution, economic development and hence national wealth has been based on the use of fossil fuels. And fossil fuels are still by far the cheapest and easiest form of energy.   Continue Reading…

Committing treason for a piece of the pie

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Published on Online Journal, by By Peter Chamberlin, Jan 5, 2010.

If things were as they seemed, then the most powerful military force that the world has ever seen would have had no trouble defeating Afghan or Iraqi tribes, or the already decimated military of Saddam Hussein. But things are not as they seem on the nightly news; in fact, most things prove to be the exact opposite of how they are portrayed. In a country like America (and sadly, most countries want to be like America), the people prefer to believe whatever they are told.

No one questions now, nor did they at the time these things occurred, why American military forces performed in the following unprofessional, illogical manner: they consistently refused to contain the forces they fought against in any encounter (never closing the back doors) and they always stopped fighting just short of victory, allowing their enemies years to rebuild their forces while American soldiers were restrained from finishing the enemy to become instructors. Continuing the Iraq and Afghan wars was more important than winning or ending them; continuing the wars was “winning” them in the lexicon of the Empire-builders.  Continue Reading…

Legal Abortion Is a Fundamental Right

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why do we often forget that? – Published on AlterNet, by Frances Kissling, January 3, 2010.

It’s time to demand that the promise of Roe becomes a reality for women whose choices are already limited by poverty, joblessness and marginalization.

The debate about abortion coverage in health insurance reform is the latest disappointing moment in the efforts of feminists to ensure that the social transformation Roe promised women was equally available to all women, including those who were dependent on the government for health care. To hear President Obama call the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion, an “American tradition” is only the most recent of many misstatements about what a fundamental right entails. It seems that prochoice legislators, following the president’s lead, now explicitly consider that throwing women who cannot afford to pay for their own abortions under the bus is a reasonable compromise between those who favor and those who oppose legal abortion and a sensible concession to those who think abortion is immoral.  Continue Reading…

Sandwich Theory and Operation Green Hunt

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Published on Zmag, by Radha D’Souza, January 04, 2010.

… Democratic Values and ‘Sandwich Theory’

Middle India values democracy, and most will agree that, in principle, democracy demands respect for every man, woman, and child, rich or poor, urban or rural, of any caste or nationality. Respect for all entails crediting all human beings with basic intelligence by virtue of being human. Democracy is based on the belief that all people possess the capacities to determine their destinies. If this is true, then the ‘sandwich theory’ is fundamentally undemocratic.

Most people in middle India today agree that the Adivasis and rural poor have real and legitimate grievances against the economic policies of successive governments. According to the ‘sandwich theorists’ the Maoists exploit their grievances to further their own ends. This precludes the possibility that at least a section of the Adivasis and rural poor may have chosen to go with the Maoists. Continue Reading…

Parental responsibility

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Published on The Independent, 18 December 2009.

… (England): Half a million children aged 11-15 get drunk at least once a month and the numbers have doubled in the last 20 years. England has one of the worst records in Europe for under-age drinking and is reaping the costs in terms of social and medical harm.

But is the strategy workable? All parents of teenage children – and Sir Liam has been one – know that exercising control is one of the greatest challenges. Not only over drinking, but also over smoking, drugs, sex and myriad other activities. Teenagers are born to experiment – testing the limits is part of growing up. It may be best to accept that you cannot stop them going at 100 miles an hour, and to strive to prevent them going at 150 miles an hour. The important goal is to keep the lines of communication open.  Continue Reading…

What happened at the summit

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Cuba’s view of COP15 – Linked on our blogs with The Group of 77 at the UN. – Published on Pambazuka News, by Fidel Castro, 2009-12-23.

… In this week’s Pambazuka News, Fidel Castro writes on the experiences of the Cuban delegation at last week’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Until very recently, the discussion revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centres on whether human society will survive. These are not dramatic phrases. We must get used to the true facts. Hope is the last thing human beings can relinquish. With truthful arguments, men and women of all ages, especially young people, have waged an exemplary battle at the Summit and taught the world a great lesson.

It is important now that Cuba and the world come to know as much as possible of what happened in Copenhagen. The truth can be stronger than the influenced and often misinformed minds of those holding in their hands the destiny of the world.  Continue Reading…

H1N1-Swine Flu: The Perfect Panacea for Political Dissent

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The heady mixture of pestilence, war and internal instability – Published on Global, by Michael Werbowski, January 2, 2010.

Pandemic emergencies have been invoked in failing or failed states such as Mexico last spring, and more recently in Ukraine (“Ukraine’s Fantom flu”, Foreign Policy, November 25, 2009).

Both states are in current internal turmoil and are basically being kept afloat thanks to an IMF loan lifeline, or billions in cash infusions. But these economic shots in the arms from the IMF medics also seem to be accompanied by mass scare campaigns fomented from the top and fear mongering techniques. There is an odd coincidental timing between flu outbreaks and chronic political- economic pandemonium. Are the authorities attempting to cow the population into a state of submission? Continue Reading…

I wonder if all Muslim know this – Islam a la Taliban

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Published on CHOWK, by mohammad gill, December 25, 2009.

Khalid Hosseini, the renowned author of The Kite Runner, described Islamic practice as propounded by the Taliban in Afghanistan in his other novel A Thousand Splendid Suns as follows. This quote is quite extensive but it is worthwhile to read it in full:

For all (men, women, children ):

  • All citizens pray five times a day. If it is prayer time and you are caught doing something other, you will be beaten.
  • All men will grow their beards. The correct length is at least one clenched fist beneath the chin. If you do not abide by this, you will be beaten.
  • All boys will wear turbans. Boys in grade one through six will wear black turbans, higher grades will wear white. All boys will wear Islamic clothes. Shirt collars will be buttoned.
  • Singing is forbidden.
  • Dancing is forbidden.
  • Playing cards, playing chess, gambling, and kite flying are forbidden.
  • Writing books, watching films, and painting pictures are forbidden.
  • If you keep parakeets, you will be beaten. Your birds will be killed.
  • If you steal, your hands will be cut off at the wrist.
  • If you steal again, your foot will be cut off.
  • If you are not Muslim, do not worship where you can be seen by Muslims. If you do, you will be beaten and imprisoned. If you are caught trying to convert a Muslim to your faith, you will be executed.

Attention women:

  • You will stay inside your homes at all times. It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a mahram, a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home.
  • You will cover with burqa when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten.
  • Cosmetics are forbidden.
  • Jewelry is forbidden.
  • You will not wear charming clothes.
  • You will not speak unless spoken to.
  • You will not make eye contact with men.
  • You will not laugh in public. If you do, you will be beaten.
  • You will not paint your nails. If you do, you will lose a finger.
  • Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately.
  • Women are forbidden from working.
  • If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death.

Listen. Listen well. Obey. Allah-u-akbar.” (see the book: A Thousand Splendid Suns, pp. 247-249).
Allah-u-akbar indeed …

… My dear Taliban, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. You cannot set the clock back: nobody can. If Islam is indeed the religion of peace, you are disturbing it even in the Muslim world. (full text).

My comment to the normal Muslims: dear fellows, how can you accept this? If you do not accept it, you have to act, to show it, to speak it out. YOU have to minorise the Taliban. So do not remain hidden in your privacy, hoping it will be over one day. YOU are the first to stop this mess, if you do not want westener soldiers in your country *. TO STOP THAT IS FIRST YOUR JOB!!  THE JOB OF YOU, THE NORMAL MUSLIM …  OF YOU, THE UMMAH.

Added later: because, the day the westeners can see that the UMMAH is realy, actively acting worldwide for a human Islam, I’m sure the Swiss voters will say YES to any Minaret you want.

The UMMAH must learn that Islam never can ask equality if the Muslim world is not ready to give back. Give back the normal human respect, right for development and freedom of deciding ones own lifepath … give this back to all of us, to everyone on this planet. Even to Muslim women.

(* or/and give some superpowers the pretext to reach your oil, YOU must stop this pretext).

Linked on our blogs with Swissness in danger – the minarets and we.

Egypt lacks the milk of human kindness

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Published on The People’s Voice, by Stuart Littlewood, Jan. 2, 2010.

It is desperately sad to see the noble efforts of the Viva Palestina expedition turning sour in front of our eyes as the forces of darkness plot once again to derail humanitarian aid for Gaza.

Admittedly the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (joint organizers) are avoiding questions about whether or not they obtained clearance from Egypt for the route. This encourages speculation that convoy members were led up the garden path when they headed for Aqaba. The cost in time and expense (and lost pay, as many took time off work to make the trip) of having to re-trace their steps to Syrian, and divert to the port of Latakia, is an added burden they could have done without …  Continue Reading…

Walk the way of light in Nepal

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Received by e-mail, From: Jensine Larsen, Date: 29/12/2009.

In the final installment of our special series of emails announcing the three Voices of the Future awardees, we are thrilled to introduce Sunita from Nepal. Hailing from a small community in rural Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries, 24-year-old Sunita is a remarkable example of the vast potential of young women leaders who are lifting their communities across the globe.

Hear from Sunita below, and in her piece, in this audio, published on World Pulse: My Community: Wealth of Gender Discrimination, 17.03 min, where she envisions a Nepal where women and girls can dream big …

… (Sunita’s Bio) … Bring the gift of voice and connection to women like Sunita worldwide in 2010! Sign up today to receive World Pulse Magazine and make an additional, generous contribution. We thank you for being a part of the World Pulse vision. Sincerely, Jensine Larsen & the World Pulse Team.

Buy an African baby – bomb some African villages

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Published on Online Journal, by Thomas C. Mountain, Dec 31, 2009.

… Just about anyone can buy a baby in Ethiopia these days, you know what I mean, “adopt”? It costs about $30,000. Cash. Some reports say over 3,000 were sold . . . adopted, last year alone.

It has turned into a major cash flow for the Godfathers of the Ethiopian “government.” Do the math, 3,000 times $30,000, in one year, and another London bank account or three is going to have to be set up to be stuffed chock full of some very sick money …  // Continue Reading…