Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Public opinion is doing something! Now, if only we could put the pressure on in the US.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The Resistance is Ripe Agriculture protest started today at 12pm and has marched through the centre of town under a banner reading "Food Climate Justice, not Climate Change" [pic][video][photos]. Hundreds of people stopped outside the Netto supermarket for speeches about the importance of food sovereignty and the links between climate change, agriculture and exploitation of people.
Earlier in the day activists protested at an exclusive meeting between business and government ministers organised by The Climate Group, an international lobby group who represent business interests - there were 17 arrests [see report and photos | video]
At around 4.45pm, police suddenly arrived unannounced at the Candy Factory (Boljsefabrikken) in the city's northwest district. In this space, activists from the 'Bike block' have been building bicycles for tomorrow's 'Reclaim Power' action. People inside the Candy Factory were told to leave the building while it was being searched, and then they were eventually brought back inside, into the library, and their details were taken. An activist who was in the building at the time describes the situation: "We all got placed in one room, after that the police started to search the place. People got registrated before they were allowed to leave the place. They got some kind of identification-forms, where they noted name and address, but also length, hair color and which clothes people where wearing". By 18.15 the search seemed to be over. The coach that police had brought left with one arrestee. Police then blocked off the building with red and white tape and set up spotlights onto the building. By 19.45 reports came in of police trucks taking away two bicycles as well as some computers [photos | report]. Due to this raid, an indymedia benefit party had to be cancelled.
<"The Obama administration had asked the court not to hear the case. By refusing to hear the case, the Court let stand an earlier opinion by the D.C. Circuit Court which found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all "persons" did not apply to detainees at Guantanamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law.">
Read the full article here.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
From the Washington Post:
Monsanto's dominance draws antitrust inquiry
Patented seeds are go-to for farmers, who decry their fast-growing price
For plants designed in a lab a little more than a decade ago, they've come a long way: Today, the vast majority of the nation's two primary crops grow from seeds genetically altered according toMonsanto company patents.
Ninety-three percent of soybeans. Eighty percent of corn.
But for farmers such as Lowe, prices of the Monsanto-patented seeds have steadily increased, roughly doubling during the past decade, to about $50 for a 50-pound bag of soybean seed, according to seed dealers.
... Monsanto's dominant role in the nation's agriculture, has not unfolded without complaint. Farmers have decried the price increases, and competitors say the company has ruthlessly stifled competition
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This is not, however, the first time that the Feds have focused on Indymedia -- a Web site whose authors sometimes blur the line between journalism, advocacy, and on-the-streets activism. In 2004, the Justice Department sent a grand jury subpoena asking for information about who posted lists of Republican delegates while urging they be given an unwelcome reception at the party's convention in New York City that year. A Indymedia hosting service in Texas once received a subpoena asking for server logs in relation to an investigation of an attempted murder in Italy.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
From Boing Boing: The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad. It says:
- * That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.
- * That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
- * That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.
- * Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)
"In the face of a PR nightmare, Pennsylvania authorities have withdrawn all charges against two members of Tortuga accused of using Twitter to aidprotesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. At a hearing today, insteadof oral arguments regarding a defense motion to unseal the secret 18-page affidavit authorizing the arrests of Elliott Madison and MichaelWallschlager at a motel just outside of Pittsburgh, the prosecution immediately moved to withdraw all charges against the two before the defense had a chance to argue its case. Although clear from the beginningthat these charges were absurd based on the State’s very own laws, our housemates were incarcerated for 36 hours, had their van towed and belongings confiscated, and one house member was given $30,000 in straight bail."
Monday, November 2, 2009
In vivid if flawed English, it described cramped, filthy quarters where dire medical needs were ignored and hungry prisoners were put to work for $1 a day.The petitioners were among 250 detainees imprisoned in an immigration jail that few New Yorkers know exists. Above a post office, on the fourth floor of a federal office building in Greenwich Village, the Varick Street Detention Facility takes in 11,000 men a year, most of them longtime New Yorkers facing deportation without a lawyer."
"[M]ost detainees with a legal claim to stay in the United States are routinely transferred to more remote jails before they can be helped. The lawyers say their effort has laid bare the fundamental unfairness of a system where immigrant detainees, unlike criminal defendants, can be held without legal representation and moved from state to state without notice."
To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/nyregion/02detain.html?hp
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
These are pictures from someone living in Gaza.
On January 17, 2009 the Israeli army fired white phosphorous on a UN school.
White phosphorus is a white wax that is transparent and smells like garlic. It reacts with oxygen very quickly to produce fire and thick white smoke. It reacts with the moisture component of phosphorus and burns the skin and meat, leaving only the bone.
Here's a time line of what happened:
January 5 The Times reports that telltale smoke has appeared from areas of shelling. Israel denies using phosphorus
January 8 The Times reports photographic evidence showing stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells. Israel Defence Forces spokesman says: “This is what we call a quiet shell – it has no explosives and no white phosphorus”
January 12 The Times reports that more than 50 phosphorus burns victims are taken into Nasser Hospital. An Israeli military spokesman “categorically” denies the use of white phosphorus
January 15 Remnants of white phosphorus shells are found in western Gaza. The IDF refuses to comment on specific weaponry but insists ammunition is “within the scope of international law”
January 16 The United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters are hit with phosphorus munitions. The Israeli military continues to deny its use
January 21 Avital Leibovich, Israel’s military spokeswoman, admits white phosphorus munitions were employed in a manner “according to international law”
January 23 Israel says it is launching an investigation into white phosphorus munitions, which hit a UN school on January 17. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF is holding an investigation concerning one specific unit and one incident” Source: Times database
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
He asks, "Why [aren't they] out there inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for our society?"
Unfortunately, I think a couple guys named Gottlieb and Daimler have credit for inventing the automobile, but I can see what he's getting at.
What do you the rest of you guys (I'm pretending that people are reading this) think?!
Here's the full article on the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. Have a look.
Ok, back to the memo.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Key information of the article:
But that is not going to happen. According to media reports in Israel and here, Israel persuaded the United States to get the UNHRC to defer consideration of the report. But then came the crazy part: the United States pressured the Palestinian Authority to itself request deferral.
The Palestinians yielded to the pressure and, for now, the Goldstone report is deep sixed. After all, if the Palestinians don't want alleged war crimes against Palestinians to be investigated, why would anyone else?>>
Seriously?!?! In the face of glaring evidence of war crimes, we've succumbed to Israeli pressures and politely told our friends in Palestine to forget about it for a while?!
I'd write all night about this if we (1L's) didn't have a memo due Friday, but in the meantime, you can find me in the Reading Room. I'll be the one with steam coming out of his ears trying to finish his work while resisting the urge to blog more about our (and Israel's) blatant disregard for Palestinian Human Rights.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Rick Scott owns Solantic--a chain of urgent-care companies across the country---and has been involved in a significant amount of the propaganda against government healthcare since the mid-90's. He founded Conservatives for Patients' Rights and can be seen spouting their anti-reform rhetoric here.
Rick Scott, as illustrated by this Salon article, treats healthcare as an "growth industry", one that should (and did for him and his shareholders at one point) turn double-digit profits every year. His business model at Columbua/HCA, a company at which he worked until being ousted during a major scandal, is described below by Maggie Mahar, a journalist for Barron's.
<<"I think it's basically impossible to achieve the level of profitability they wanted in the hospital business. You can't expect double-digit profits from a hospital. It's a very tough business. You need a lot of people. You need a good nurse-to-patient ratio to keep patients comfortable and respond to emergencies. And it's unpredictable; you don't know how many patients on a night shift are going to get sick. So you can't trim down to the bone. When you do, people die.">>
After being booted from the hospital industry in 2001, Scott started the aforementioned Solantic clinics chain. This chain, which primarily targets the uninsured via fee reductions for cash payments and rushes patients in and out for maximum profit, allows him to profit in the absence of a public option.
Solantic's first Regional Medical Director, Dr. David Yarian, who quit amidst an argument in which Scott clearly emphasized profit over patients, had this to say:
<<"The whole design was for people to get in and out quickly," Yarian says. "I believe the target was 50 patients a day based on a 12-hour day. But no clinic works that way, especially urgent-care clinics where people don't make appointments." The business is too unpredictable. "But Rick and Karen had never run a clinic. He wanted to turn it into a McDonald's. His whole point was volume and speed.">>
It's clear that people like Rick Scott are leading the fight against healthcare reform and that their hunger for the bottom line is what prevents them from endorsing any sort of policy that would ensure coverage for all Americans. Unfortunately, groups like his Conservatives for Patients' Rights are finding plenty of supporters and their efforts are well funded.
Spreading awareness about the dangers of half-assed or no healthcare reform should be one of the foremost current goals of progressive organizations. People like Rick Scott shamelessly distort the truth for their own bottom-lines while providing substandard care to those who often have nowhere else to turn.
Spread the word.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Hint: It's not in Iran.
...Give up? It's in Israel!
Here's a link to University of Michigan History Professor Juan Cole's article discussing the matter. While Obama prepares to reduce the US's own nuclear arsenal, it's more than a bit hypocritical to constantly threaten Iran on this matter when Israel continues to develop nuclear weapons.
This is especially relevant in light of recent Iranian missile tests and nuclear "defiance". Israel's nuclear weapons program is, as Professor Cole writes, the primary drive behind nuclear arms development elsewhere in the Middle East. If there's anyone to blame for this proliferation, it's the Netanyahu government.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Click here to sign a petition (hosted by Credo) urging your Congressperson to support and help pass the Respect for Marriage Act which, if passed, would repeal DOMA entirely and require the US Government to give benefits to individuals in same-sex marriages.
But, if you read the article and thought to yourself, "...but how will those starving bankers survive without my $35.00 surcharges for accidentally buying a coffee without transferring money??", I'm sorry.