Friday, June 12, 2009
Torture, America, and Accountability
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Thursday, June 11, 2009
Money Talks
Among the 17 senators who voted against Thursday's bill allowing the FDA to regulate tobacco are three Republicans who got the most campaign money from the tobacco industry. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky led the pack with $419,025; then came Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, who led the opposition, and Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
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A Kindler, Gentler Way to Blow the Tops off Mountains?
Rainforest Action Network on the Obama's EPA announcement regarding mountaintop removal: Mountaintop removal, the world’s worst strip mining, is unacceptable. Period. We don’t believe that MTR can be made “kinder and gentler”. Blowing the tops off of mountain ranges to harvest dirty coal harms the people and places of Appalachia, destroys the economic potential of the Appalachian region for clean energy opportunities and furthers the burning of climate killing coal. This is not a practice that needs to be reformed. It is a practice that needs to be abolished. Read more responses to the announcement here .
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UN Tells US Citizens: Get in the Streets!
At a meeting with Non Governmental Organizations in Bonn, the UNFCCC* Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer, had this to say to groups in the room: "The problem I have is that when we all get back home – it’s the potential losers that have the ear of the politicians and not the potential winners. Very big corporations who employ few people and have a modest contribution to GDP outweigh millions of small and medium enterprises who contribute billions. If you could get your members out on the street before Copenhagen that would be incredibly valuable. "
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The Seriously Questionable "Facts" about Recidivism
The latest "Fact Sheet" issued by the Department of Defense on Guantanamo detainees is "rife with errors, inconsistencies and inflated statistics," charges a report by the Seton Hall Center for Law and Policy. The claim – touted by the NY Times and then withdrawn – that 74 of 530 former detainees had "re-engaged in terrorist activities" proves wildly inflated; the number is closer to 13, though even that could be high.
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Green Growth
The first comprehensive study of U.S. clean-energy jobs shows the green economy grew 9 per cent, or 2 and half times faster than the overall economy, from 1998 to 2007 "despite a lack of sustained government support." The study by the non-profit Pew Charitable Trust found the green economy accounted for 770,000 jobs, with California leading in jobs and investments.
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Propaganda of Our Own Making
In response to the battle over the release of detainee abuse photos, Republicans have apparently launched a new spin-rich term: "terrorist propaganda photos." There seems to be some confusion on cause and effect here. From a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Boehner: "The American people...don't want politicians cutting deals behind closed doors to proceed in a slapdash, ad hoc fashion. Certainly not on important issues like bringing these detainees to the United States, or releasing terrorist propaganda photos."
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Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the ability of President Obama to influence African policy-makers when he visits in July: "Complexion helps."
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Starving At Guantanamo
"Guantánamo’s Hidden History: Shocking Statistics of Starvation,” a report for Cageprisoners , finds that 80 prisoners at Guantánamo, or one in ten, have weighed less than 112 pounds, and 20 have weighed less than 98 pounds, due to hunger strikes. With dozens still starving themselves – and facing painful force-feedings – and today marking the anniversary of the deaths of three long-term strikers, advocates worry more deaths will follow.
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The End of the Diving Board
James W. Von Brunn, the 88-year-old suspect in today's shooting at the Holocaust Museum, is an anti-Semitic white supremacist who once tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve board. In rambling writings he decried "the browning of America" and a Jewish conspiracy "to destroy the White gene-pool." Today's attack “shows that the cancer of hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism is alive and well in America,” said Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
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