05/03/2012 archive

Blame Canada

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Dennis Kucinich: We Are Not Exiting Afghanistan — We Are Staying

Yesterday, the president announced that the U.S. signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan, committing the United States to the country for a long time to come. The agreement addressed the transition to Afghan-led security forces by 2014. Human and monetary costs to the U.S. will continue to skyrocket.  [..]

America has been lulled to sleep by the mind-boggling elongation of a war seven thousand miles away. The plain fact is we are not exiting Afghanistan, despite the appearances that the White House is trying to create. We are staying. Have we learned nothing from 10 years of quagmire? It is time to bring our troops home safely and responsibly.

Bryce Covert: The Recovery Is Really Good at Creating Bad Jobs

Indicators of the economic recovery weren’t stellar this quarter: consumer and business spending seem to have slowed down, making analysts nervous. Not to mention news out of Europe that the UK and Spain have slid back into recession. Yet it was just last month that a rosy jobs report from the Labor Department touting the addition of 227,000 jobs made some optimistic that we were finally about to experience a real recovery.

But that glow of returning job security isn’t necessarily going to shine on everyone, even if the recovery really does take hold. A report out on Monday from the International Labor Organization took a look at not just how many jobs are being created but perhaps an even more crucial question: What kinds of jobs are being created in the aftermath of the recession? And the answer isn’t heartening.

Howard Fineman: Mission Accomplished?

WASHINGTON – Where is the “Mission Accomplished” banner?

There was no aircraft carrier in Kabul and President Barack Obama wasn’t wearing a jumpsuit when he landed there in secret. But his drop-in on the one year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden was the most dramatically political photo-op by a president in a commander-in-chief role since President George W. Bush landed in a jet on the S.S. Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. [..]

We may have signed a new deal with Karzai, and the American troops are on their way out, though perhaps 20,000 will stay for a decade or more.

What exactly have we accomplished there? That’s a deeper question, but it’ll have to wait until after Osama Week.

Henry A. Giroux: Violence, USA: The Warfare State and the Brutalizing of Everyday Life

Since 9/11, the war on terror and the campaign for homeland security have increasingly mimicked the tactics of the enemies they sought to crush. Violence and punishment as both a media spectacle and a bone-crushing reality have become prominent and influential forces shaping American society. As the boundaries between “the realms of war and civil life have collapsed,” social relations and the public services needed to make them viable have been increasingly privatized and militarized.(1) The logic of profitability works its magic in channeling the public funding of warfare and organized violence into universities, market-based service providers and deregulated contractors. The metaphysics of war and associated forms of violence now creep into every aspect of American society.

Bill Boyarsky: Organizers, Not Occupiers: The Young People Working in the Shadows of a National Movement

By chance, the revelation of how Apple evades millions of dollars in taxes broke three days before May Day, when workers of the world traditionally protest such injustice.

Although the Apple practices aren’t illegal, the dodging of taxes on revenue generated, to a large extent, by low-wage Chinese workers, was a perfect introduction to this year’s May 1 observance, highlighted by the Occupy movement’s call for strikes and demonstrations around the country. The goal: Protest corporate domination of an economy being pulled downward by growing income inequality and intractable unemployment.

Genetically Modified Food

Scientists send open letter to anti-GM protesters pleading with them not to destroy ‘years of work’

Charlie Cooper, The Independent

Wednesday 02 May 2012

Scientists working on a new generation of genetically modified crops have sent an open letter to anti-GM protesters pleading with them not to destroy “years of work” by attacking their research plots.

The pheromone exuded by the new strain of “whiffy” wheat is naturally produced by “frightened” aphids as a warning signal to deter other aphids. However, activists claim that the wheat contains an artificial gene “most similar to a cow” and that open air trials represent an “imminent contamination threat to the local environment and the UK wheat industry”.

Matt Thomson, from Take the Flour Back, told The Independent yesterday that action against the Rothamsted site would go ahead as planned.

“The concerns that we have are not addressed in this letter,” he said. “The way that Rothamsted have publicised this trial has been patronising. This wheat contains genes that are not naturally occurring.” Mr Thomson said that the allegation about cow genes in the wheat had come from comments made by a Rothamsted scientist.

CA: Genetically Modified Food Labeling Initiative Likely to Make the Ballot

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Wednesday May 2, 2012 12:28 pm

If approved, the initiative would require food that is sold at retail outlets to be labeled if it contains ingredients that have been genetically engineered. The information would be included below the product’s ingredient list.  The measure would not require such labeling for foods that are not packaged or food prepared for immediate consumption, i.e. at restaurants.  The campaign claims there are already 50 other countries, including those in the European Union, that require similar labeling.

This initiative could easily have implications well beyond California, given the incredible size of the California market. Roughly 12% of the country lives in the state. It is possible companies will not want to deal with the added cost and difficulty of doing two different labels, one for California and one for the rest of the country.  As a result they might start labeling the presence of genetically engineered food all over the country.  Either way, expect an intense battle if this initiative qualifies for the ballot.

CT Needs Immediate HELP To Pass A Mandatory GMO Labeling Law: Time Is Running Out (email)

Institute for Responsible Technology

Monday, April 30, 2012 6:45 PM

The CT GMO labeling bill is still waiting to be called by the Connecticut House Legislature.  We deserve the right to know what foods contain GMOs so that we may have the ability to choose whether or not to feed GMOs to our families.  If CT HB 5117, the mandatory GMO labeling bill, is not called for a vote before May 9th, the bill will die.  Righttoknowct.org needs YOUR help to get this bill passed.  Regardless of what state you live in,  HB 5117 will affect you! If CT can lead the way for GMO labeling legislation, other states will follow.  If this bill is defeated, it will deter other states from attempting to pass similar legislation and the Biotech industry will have yet another victory.

Right To Know CT will be holding a rally at the Capitol building in Hartford this Friday, May 4th, from 11:30 to 1:00.  If you live in a neighboring state, your presence at the rally is encouraged.

Good German

The Jose Rodriguez lesson

Perhaps it’s a bad idea to trust the executive branch to wield the most extreme powers in the dark, with no checks

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 09:44 AM EDT

As I noted last week – and as Pierce elaborated on – the real scandal from the Jose Rodriguez book tour is that the Obama DOJ has protected him and his fellow criminals from all forms of accountability. Yesterday, Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein issued a statement about his 60 Minutes interview matter-of-factly stating that his order to destroy videotapes “illustrates a blatant disregard for the law.” Yes, obviously it does: and that’s what makes the DOJ’s refusal to prosecute him so corrupt. Of course, Executive Branch officials, even when it comes to most egregious crimes, are beyond the rule of law when it comes to actions they take as part of U.S. Government policy.

On This Day In History May 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 3 is the 123rd day of the year (124th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 242 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1919, Pete Seeger, folk singer, activist, environmentalist was born in NYC.

On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.

In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”. Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation. To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.

My Little Town 20120502: Mr. Reid

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

The bulk of the story is concerned with the little town of Gull Lake, Alberta, Canada.  There is some background first, so please bear with me.  First of all, this is a rare post in this series that contains a considerable amount of profanity.  There was no way to tell the story properly without it.

Second, I did not know this man.  I saw him only once at a restaurant in Gull Lake.  He certainly made an impression, though!