Fair Use Note

WARNING for European visitors: European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent. As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies. You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities.

Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday Morning BlogNews

Army Corps Suspends Streamlined Permits for Mountaintop Removal

Ken Ward's Coal Tattoo blog dives into the particulars of this regulatory proposal. Suffice it to say that the net result should be positive, as mountaintop removal projects will now require an individual permit, which entails a more stringent approval process.

New regs notwithstanding, what is warranted is not a slightly stricter permit approval process but immediate action by the Obama administration to abolish the very practice of mountaintop removal -- the most destructive strip mining on the planet.

Blood and Oil in Central Asia

In the past month, two seemingly unrelated events have turned Central Asia into a potential flashpoint: an aggressively expanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a nascent strategic alliance between Russia and China. 

At stake is nothing less than who holds the future high ground in the competition for the world's energy resources.

 "It's no coincidence that the map of terror in the Middle East and Central Asia is practically interchangeable with the map of oil."

According to Escobar, one of NATO's first forays in the energy war was the Balkans, which NATO represented as a fight to liberate the Albanians in Kosovo. Moscow and Beijing, however, viewed it as an opportunity for the Albanian Macedonian Bulgarian Oil Corporation (AMBO) to build a $1.1 billion pipeline to bring Caspian Basin oil to the West, thus bypassing Iran and Russia. 

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which now has observer status from Iran, Pakistan, and India.

Unlike NATO, the SCO is a regional organization, not a military alliance. Counting observers, it embraces the bulk of humanity, much of the world's energy resources, and a growing section of its GNP.

In many ways, Beijing is the linchpin in this 21st-century "great game," because China is weathering the current worldwide depression better than most countries. While its exports have taken a beating, the Chinese have successfully fallen back on their enormous internal market to take up some of the slack. As a result, China recently opened the aid spigots to nations in the region.

 Peak Oil and the Remaking of Iraq

"Augustus boasted that he found Rome a city of bricks and made it a city of marble. Baghdad was another city of bricks, and a coterie of American generals turned it into a city of cement. Their concrete is everywhere -- from the sprawling Green Zone to the barriers and blast walls that line almost every street -- reorienting the physical, spiritual and social geography that for more than a millennium was dictated by the lazy bends in the Tigris River. 

"In time, though, those walls may matter less than the deeper forces that six years of an American presence hastened. Baghdad is now a city divided from itself. Shiite neighborhoods rarely have Sunnis. Sunni ones, far less numerous today, no longer have Shiites. Christians have all but left. Potentates seek refuge in fortresses, and the poor fend for themselves... The Americans created none of it, but facilitated all of it, giving space to the region's worst impulses."

Creating Hescostan in Kabul

 journalist Norman Solomon begins a recent piece this way: "The president has set a limit on the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. For now. That's how escalation works. Ceilings become floors. Gradually." Then he adds: "[N]o amount of spin can change the fact that the U.S. military situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. It would be astonishing if plans for add-on deployments weren't already far along at the Pentagon." 

Well, be astonished no longer. Right now, unsurprisingly enough, it's not looking good in that country. Roadside bomb (IED) attacks are spiking (with an "all-time high" of 465 in May alone), and American and NATO deaths have jumped by 40% since 2008, 75% since 2007. And so, despite a major Obama administration expansion of the war and a significant commitment of new troops and money, fast on the heels of Solomon's piece came the first trial balloon -- the first leaks in a Washington Post piece from those unnamed, if ubiquitous, "senior military officials" -- for what may be the next round of escalation.
 new U.S. commander General Stanley A. McChrystal has supposedly already concluded "that the Afghan security forces will have to be far larger than currently planned if President Obama's strategy for winning the war is to succeed." Here's the catch (and you knew there would be one, didn't you?): the only way to make that force larger is to pour billions more dollars and thousands of new American soldiers into the country as "advisors" and "trainers."

Everything That Happens in Afghanistan Is Based on Lies or Illusions

The heart of the city is now hidden behind piles of Hescos -- giant, grey sandbags produced somewhere in Great Britain. They're stacked against the walls of government buildings, U.N. agencies, embassies, NGO offices, and army camps (of which there are a lot) -- and they only seem to grow and multiply. A friend called just the other day from a U.N. building, distressed that the view from her office window was vanishing behind yet another row of Hescos. Urban life as Kabulis knew it in this once graceful city has been lost to the security needs of strangers.

What's wrong with this new Obama strategy? For one thing, in some areas the local Pashtun population has instead turned out to fight against the foreign invaders, side by side with the Taliban (who, it should be remembered, are mostly local Pashtuns). They're as fed up as anybody with the puppet Karzai. Like millions of other Afghans, they say Karzai has done nothing for the people. But saddled with history, Karzai remains the horse the U.S. rode in on.

El Salvador's Gold Fight

As El Salvador transitions from decades of conservative rule to the administration of leftist President Mauricio Funes, the country faces an international showdown triggered by a restrictive free-trade agreement between the United States and Central America. Canada's Pacific Rim Mining Corporation is suing the government for its refusal to allow it to mine gold in El Salvador's rural north. If Pacific Rim succeeds in securing the $100 million settlement it seeks, that would set a troubling precedent. At stake is a question that affects all nations: Can private interests trump national sovereignty under international law?

Bush's Hit Teams

There has been public evidence for years that the Bush administration approved “rules of engagement” that permitted executions and targeted killings of suspected insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Also permitted U.S. military units to engage in close-quarter executions when encountering alleged insurgents, even if they were unarmed and presented no immediate threat to American or allied troops.

Epic engineering: It still lives

A quarter-mile downstream from Hoover Dam, two fingers of concrete stretch toward each other from sheer cliffs, suspended nearly 900 feet above the Colorado River.

In a month, the fingers will meet, an 80-foot gap will close and the longest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere will be complete.

China quarantines school groups

More than 100 schoolchildren and their teachers from the UK and US have been quarantined in Beijing after eight children were found to have swine flu.

Bioweapons, Dangerous Vaccines, and Threats of a Global Pandemic

America has had an active biological warfare program since at least the 1940s.

In 2001, the Bush administration rejected the 1972 BWC, took advantage of a loophole allowing "prophylactic, protective or other peaceful uses," continued a secret Clinton administration bioweapons initiative, and asserted its right to spend multi-billions illegally to develop, test and stockpile "first-strike" chemical and biological weapons that potentially can kill millions.

Alarming News about Baxter International

"World media (outside America) are reporting that Baxter Pharmaceuticals has admitted that it 'accidently' contaminated various vaccine batches with Avian Flu viruses. These batches were shipped to 18 countries. Clearly, either 1. stupidity and incompetence (are to blame) or 2. intentional contamination of flu vaccine lots was at work."

The FDA as an Industry Front Group

"The FDA has put into mothballs its federal mandate to protect the public. In order to foster drug sales, the FDA hides important medical data from the public and from doctors, including the risks of heart attacks, suicide, seizures, and serious mental-health debility.

WHO, CDC, and Canada's Public Health Agency (PHAC) Fearmongering Misinformation

Besides declaring its highest Level 6 influenza pandemic alert on June 11, the BBC reported on July 3 that WHO's Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, warned that the spread of swine flu is "unstoppable" while admitting that most cases are mild and many people recover unaided.

"In fact, vaccines are explicitly acknowledged NOT to protect against diseases they supposedly are designed to prevent (read the Package Inserts for vaccines, available on line and in your doctors' offices if you doubt that) and often" cause them.

Yet they continue in use because they're so "immensely, enormously and hideously profitable," and Big Pharma has enough clout to proliferate products that "in a rational society (should) be banned forever."

On June 10, Austrian journalist Jane Burgermeister filed sweeping criminal charges with the FBI in addition to earlier ones on April 8 with the Vienna State Prosecutor's Office against Baxter AG, Baxter International and Avir Green Hill Biotechnology AG, "for manufacturing, disseminating, and releasing a biological weapon of mass destruction on Austrian soil between December 2008 and February 2009 with the intention of causing a global bird flu pandemic virus and of intending to profit from that same pandemic in an act that violates laws on international organised crime and genocide."

Swine flu– too many to count

Dr A True Ott Prohibiting Mass Vaccination

Rape Doctrine

We now find Rape Crisis Centres are under threat not just in North Wales but nationwide.

Weary of Racist Talk

Pastor Rick Warren - Building bridges to Islam and his next big project

Convention theme "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," "was a call for pluralism and bridge-building between different faith communities in the US

The six deadly hypocrites

Will the destructive center kill health care reform?

Electro-Convulsive Shock Therapy for Internet Addiction Halted in China

Moon landing tapes got erased, NASA admits

Water Infrastructure Plays Catch-Up in Asia

Caspian states urged to protect environment

The Caspian Environment Program offers a $5.5 million aid package to Caspian Sea littoral states to preserve the ecosystem of the world's largest lake.

Bottled Water Makers in the Hot Seat

 The Environmental Working Group, which found chemical contaminants in tests of bottled water, has begun calling for more oversight of the bottled water industry. 

Restaurants have started to pull bottled water from their menus, and cities like Toronto are delivering chilled, dispensable drinking water to public events so people won’t have to buy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment