September 21, 2009 archive

In a huge environmental and human rights victory, World Bank to stop giving palm oil loans

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private arm of the World Bank, has decided to suspend funding in the palm oil sector, affecting the world’s top producer, Wilmar International, pending a review of internal procedures on environmental and social standards…

A group of 19 environmental groups, plantation smallholders and local organizations representing indigenous people filed in 2007 a complaint to the IFC ombudsman over Wilmar’s business practices in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Jakarta Post

The destruction of rainforests for palm oil plantations in the world’s tropical regions is one of the biggest environmental problems in the world.  This is a huge step forward, and one of the only bits of encouraging news ever received, for those who know of the destruction of palm oil and work against it.

Go below the fold for more detail and some background info.

peaceburgh notes

sorry for the drive by essay, but I wanted to share a few links with you. maybe someone can pick up the ball?

Meditation for Peace Sept 25

The Mass Meditation for Peace was created out of a need to have a response to the G20 Summit that was both spiritually modivated and politically conscious. There has been a lot of fear and chaos around this Summit coming to Pgh. We wanted to provide a venue that would make people feel comfortable to participate and express their concerns about the Summit through just being present.

Our message, in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, is “Peace in Oneself, Peace in the World”. We will be gathered to show the importance of creating peace within oneself. Our intent is not to oppose the G20 Summit but rather to emphasize this important point of view.

The meditation will take place Friday Sept. 25th at 10am on Flagstaff Hill with an anticipated attendance of 200. We will sit in silent solidarity for 90 minutes.

Participants are asked to wear a white shirt if possible. At 11:30, those who wish will walk together to the starting point of the “People’s March to the G20”. We have been invited by the organizers of the march to be pillars of support to help maintain a peaceful atmosphere.

News from today below…

Texecutions: “Skewed Justice”

Here’s a trick question.  Is there anything wrong with a death penalty jury trial in which the prosecutor trying the case is having an affair while the case is going on with the judge who is trying the case?  I know.  It looks pretty unfair.  It looks pretty sleazy.  There really should be something the matter with this, right?  Shouldn’t the judge recuse herself?  Shouldn’t the case be assigned to a different prosecutor, all for the sake of the appearance of fairness?

But in Texas, ground zero for state killing, there’s no answer to these questions.  At least not today  Why?  Because the majority of the Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas’s highest court that considers criminal appeals, is wagging its finger at the defendant’s lawyers saying that the affair isn’t something that the Court will look at because the defense lawyers waited too long to raise the issue.  According to the Court, it’s OK to execute Charles D. Hood whether there was an affair or not because the defense waited too long to raise the question. You cannot make this stuff up.

The Rapture Arriveth (parrrrrrrrrrty!)

It is definitely today. Or tomorrow. No, today is right. They think. Definitely, certainly, for like totally sure, dudes.

It, like, must be true, man. There are graphs!

There are really, really, hugely BIG colorful words! LOTS of Godly rapturey proofy words!…

Best proof? Its a trending topic on twitter!

So when you hear the horns tonight, just crank that Marilyn Manson up to window rattling, turn your vibrators on high, and double toke the bong. Wear yourself out and sleep like a baby, because tomorrow we all be reborn!

60-70% of Americans: GONE. All their shit: STILL HERE.

Reborn, I tell you to the land of milk and honey errr hops and buds! I so deserve this punishment sir, I’ve been naughty, naughty, naughty. Leave me behind. Twice if you need to. I’ve been a bad, bad girl. God, you’re the boss, and I just. don’t. listen. You can’t take me.

I deserve the utter hell:

No Faux News reporters, no televangelists, no Republicans, half the Democrats with them, no homophobes, no, well, no nothing that sucks, man. (Other than what you want sucked or to suck! And no one to tell you that’s wrong!)

IT WILL BE THE GARDEN OF EDEN ONCE AGAIN! Oooooops, sshhhhhh. It will be hell, I mean.

And tomorrow……………?

Four at Four

  1. The Guardian reports President Barack Obama ready to slash US nuclear arsenal. “Obama has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country’s arsenal… Obama has rejected the Pentagon’s first draft of the ‘nuclear posture review’ as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether”.

    Obama seeks proposals to drop the nuclear arsenal to hundreds rather than thousands of warheads, narrowing the conditions under which such weapons would be used, and explore “ways of guaranteeing” weapon reliability without testing or new weapons.

  2. The NY Times reports Europeans say the U.S. lacks political will to tackle climate change. “Ahead of this week’s climate talks at the United Nations, the Europeans also expressed little hope that the United States Senate would act on a climate bill before the Copenhagen talks begin.”

    “The Obama administration is trying to satisfy European demands for firm targets and timetables, while reassuring a wary Senate that it is not signing on to a system that would impose steep economic costs on the United States that are not shared by developing countries like China and India.”

    “Fundamentally dividing the United States and the European Union are questions on how any global climate agreement would be monitored and enforced.” The European Union wants internationally binding targets that can be monitored and enforeced. The U.S. prefers a honor system called “pledge and review” where there is no international enforcement.

    The Guardian reports China and India expected to seize initiative at New York climate talks. “The UN climate chief, Yvo de Boer, said today that he expects China’s president, Hu Jintao, to announce a series of new measures tomorrow that would put the country well ahead of America in dealing with climate change.” India too is planning to make “aggressive cuts.

    “China and India now appear to be demonstrating a new willingness to act – even in the absence of a firm commitment from America”.

    Part of Asian nations motivation may be growing concerns for the region’s water supply. Global Post reports on The coming war for water.

    There are many reasons for the Kashmir conflict. But perhaps the most important of them is the water that spews into the sky at my feet.

    When the British drew the borders partitioning India and Pakistan, their cartographers failed to consider the run of the rivers that would feed the two countries. Kashmir’s accession to India granted New Delhi control over the headwaters of the Indus – the lifeline of civilization in what is now Pakistan since 2600 B.C. And although a treaty for sharing the water was worked out in 1960, its foundation has begun to crack under the pressure of the two countries rapidly growing populations and the specter of climate change…

    Both countries’ huge populations are still growing, and because most of the available water comes from the disappearing glaciers of the Himalayas they are extremely vulnerable to climate change.

Four at Four continues with an update from Afghanistan and the bailout bill is coming due and the U.S. is still broke.

RW Framing: Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery

You probably don’t even know you do it. And you almost certainly don’t know how much you do it…how deep into your head the Republican BrainWorm has dug.

Or to put it another way, in the legendary Battle for Hearts and Minds…The Republicans may not have won any hearts lol, but they sure did infiltrate a lot of minds.

Karl Rove’s job was not just to win elections, Karl Rove’s job was to to change the lexicon of politics, to change the language….

And by changing the language change the perception…

And by changing the perception of issues….change the way people thought, and by changing the way WE thought, change the way we act.

The aide (Rove) said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality-judiciously, as you will-we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do

If you can change the way people THINK about an issue you can…and Rove did…change the way people talk about it and act on it. And it worked.

We are STILL operating in the Republican reality. And the proof of that is that we are still playing defense….defense against Republican born framing and perception on every issue we face.

Scam of Ages

[to the tune of “Rock of Ages”]

Scam of Ages, aimed at me,

Let me hide myself from thee;

Let the sickness and the blood,

From my wounds and years of life,

Be by some miracle then cured,

Saved from bankruptcy assured.

The wrong-way economy

The current economic troubles in the US can be explained as a simple case of policy inversion. Because our government is a plutocracy, controlled by the wealthy, its response to economic distress is to provide aid disproportionately to those who need it least. What we are witnessing is a zero-sum struggle between the 1 million people who run America and everyone else. Bankers, realtors, lawyers, lobbyists, and corporate executives are using the Federal Treasury to maintain their incomes, and this is being done at the expense of the vast majority of the American public.

An elaborate propaganda campaign has been created to persuade the people that the world will explode if the earnings of the plutocrats diminish. But the continuation of this reverse-Robin Hood policy is far more dangerous than cutting Federal subsidies to the wealthy. It is the American citizenry that provides the economic base that supports the affluent elites. By sinking the population under unsustainable debt to win a few more quarters of big bonuses and golden parachutes, the plutocrats are risking the total collapse of the US economy.

The correct course for US fiscal policy is for the government to stop being the lender of last resort and instead to become the EMPLOYER of last resort. Only by restoring a secure income stream to the working class and middle class can America’s prosperity be rebuilt. It is objected that government employment programs are wasteful. But just how efficient have our private employment markets been? How efficient has Wall Street been? How efficient has General Motors been? How efficient was Enron?

What Obama needs to do now is throw out his economic team and commit to a populist agenda. We need to stop grinding the US people down to keep champagne flowing on Wall Street.  Corporate executives with myopic vision restricted to the next quarter are not going to rebuild America’s transportation network, energy infrastructure, and educational facilities. Our government needs to put people back to work making the things America NEEDS. Instead, it is piling on more debt so that we can continue to consume the garbage that makes unsustainable profits for corrupt corporations.

When the private sector fails to allocate resources properly, the government must step in. We have witnessed a massive failure of resource allocation in America, and attempts to persist in that misallocation are doomed. The wealth of the people should be spent on the welfare of the people, not on the aggrandizement of a predatory elite. This is the change that America needs, and it is the change that Obama has failed to deliver.

President Obama was wrong

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    “Insurance executives don’t do this because they’re bad people; they do it because it’s profitable.”

President Obama – 9/9/09

     With all due respect, Mister President, I beg to disagree.

     Therefore, I submit this as evidence to the fact that Insurance Executives are in fact bad people, very, very bad people.

Image Hosting by

    As you can see, our 9/11 heroes who ran into the burning flames of the WTC and survived can be denied insurance because of their occupation. An expecting father can be denied health care insurance. He might as well be having the baby himself, in their opinions, and, if that were the case, they would still deny him coverage anyway.

    Therefore, I respectfully disagree with what you have said, President Obama. I understand why you said it, after all Insurance Execs are people too. At least, one must assume so.

    With all due respect, Mr. President, I appreciate your attempt to avoid demonizing anybody, even Insurance Executives, as I assume you do so for the sake of decency, President Obama, really, I do. I understand that it is beneath the office of the President to do so. I simply disagree with your statement, but with respect, of course.

    So I will say it for you.

    Not only are insurance execs bad people who do what they do for profit, they are clueless, heartless, greedy bastards who would let you die for a dollar. That is not just bad, I’d say it’s evil, but since you can’t say that, Mr. President, I will for you.

    Insurance Executives are EVIL, greedy, clueless, heartless leeches who would sooner watch your family die than lose a dollar of profit, profits that go to pay their big, fat salaries.

     More of the cold, hard Truth below the fold, and a call to action as well.

Joe Goebells Was Right!

This video speaks volumes.  Note how irritated a book store employee gets when the proceedings just don’t go off as planned.  She is not interested in learning about the reasons behind the death of millions but instead obsessed with politeness and proper etiquette.

September 21st (since 1982):

International Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace was established by United Nations resolution in 1981 and first celebrated in 1982 (then as the 3rd tuesday of the month).

Events are planned all over the world to promote peace and make it more visible…..>>>>Rest Here with 24 hour stream on many issues of Peace.

Docudharma Times Monday September 21

Monday’s Headlines:

Democrats Target Bank Overdraft Charges

This week, the world is watching Obama

Lonely Japanese find solace in ‘rent a friend’ agencies

The last post: Inside a military morgue in Helmand

Why did so many artists attend Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s trial?

Sarkozy and de Villepin square up in sleaze case

Khamenei denies US nuclear claims

Can Hamas spoil Obama’s three-way Mideast summit?

Muslims mass-producing children to take over Africa, says Archbishop

Cuba rocks to huge peace concert

General Calls for More U.S. Troops to Avoid Afghan Failure


Published: September 20, 2009

WASHINGTON – The top military commander in Afghanistan warns in a confidential assessment of the war there that he needs additional troops within the next year or else the conflict “will likely result in failure.”The grim assessment is contained in a 66-page report that the commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, submitted to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30, and which is now under review by President Obama and his top national security advisers.

The disclosure of details in the assessment, reported Sunday night by The Washington Post, coincided with new skepticism expressed by President Obama about sending any more troops into Afghanistan until he was certain that the strategy was clear.

Hell’s bells! The joy of Morris Dancing

Beards, silly outfits and wooden sticks – the traditional English dance has been the butt of jokes for decades. So can a new movie celebrating its charms teach us to appreciate it? Jonathan Brown joins the throng

Monday, 21 September 2009

I am standing in a Scout hut on a rainy Wednesday night in a leafy suburb of York, preparing to be initiated in to the ways of morris. Few would imagine that danger is at hand. Morris dancing – with its tinkling bells, clink of pewter tankards and brightly-clad participants – evokes the timeless, gentle charm of an English village. It may be atavistic and some may even find it a little unsettling. But ultimately it is plainly harmless and above all, safe.

Yet I am now learning that what I believed to be a risk-free if rather unfashionable activity is in fact fraught with peril – a contact sport in the finest traditions of bone-crunching Sumo and tooth-spitting Aussie Rules. I had assumed that the greatest menace – apart from the occasional derisory comment – might be a nasty case of hanky burn brought on by a too-vigorously brandished snot rag; or perhaps a poke in the eye with a flailing pig’s bladder – even a mild bout of tinnitus courtesy of those chimes. But that was before I witnessed the spectacle of the Skirmish.

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