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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,139

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Michael Hintze revealed as funder of Lord Lawson's climate think tank


Michael Hintze revealed as funder of Lord Lawson's climate think tank

Michael Hintze is a Tory party donor and financially supporting former chancellor Nigel Lawson's climate sceptic thinktank.
Tuesday 27 March 2012

Michael Hintze financially supporting organisation that regularly casts doubt on the science and cost of tackling climate change

Michael Hintze, a leading Conservative party donor who runs the £5bn hedge fund CQS, has emerged as a financial backer of the climate sceptic thinktank founded by former chancellor, Lord Nigel Lawson.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation, launched by Lawson in 2009, regularly casts doubt on the science and cost of tackling climate change in the media and has called on climate scientists to show greater transparency, but has refused to reveal details of its donors. Leading Nasa climate scientist James Hansen calls it "one link in a devious manipulation of public opinion [regarding climate change]."

On Monday, Downing Street was forced to reveal that Hintze was among the leading Tory donors who were invited to privately dine with David Cameron at a "thank you" dinner following the general election in 2010. The revelation that Hintze, who has also donated £1.5m to the Tory party, is connected with climate change scepticism will be an embarassment for David Cameron, who has pledged to lead the "greenest government ever".


Wow! This, IMO, may be Obama's finest action (to date):

As one who has been bitterly depressed over drone strikes and immunity for war criminals and other related issues, I am REALLY impressed with this appointment. This is BIG! and I believe it will have a tremendously positive effect on our world. Thank you Mr. President!


Obama nominates educator as next head of World Bank

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's choice to lead the World Bank isn't the usual politician, lawyer or economist.

Jim Yong Kim, the White House's surprise nominee, is an educator, a doctor and an anthropologist who has waged a sometimes audacious campaign to improve the health of the world's poorest.

In the 1990s, defying skeptics, he found a cost-effective way to fight tuberculosis in the slums of South America. And he began a program to treat millions of Africans for HIV, that virus that causes AIDS.

Since 2009, the Korean-born Kim, 52, has been president of Dartmouth College.

"He's an outstanding choice," Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University economist who had been lobbying on his own behalf for the World Bank post, said in an interview.

"For the first time in the bank's history, it will have a president whose life mission is what the bank aims for: the elimination of poverty ... It's a brash decision which breaks the standard practice of going with a banker or a political insider."


Undocumented youth activists found 'not guilty' on all charges!


Undocumented youth found 'not guilty' on all charges
From a news release

CHICAGO — The six undocumented immigrants who were arrested last August 17, 2011 were found 'not guilty' of all charges. Nadia Sol Ireri Unzueta Carrasco (24), Fanny Lopez-Martinez (22), Jorge Mena (24), Arianna Salgado (19), and Carla Navoa (22) were facing State and City charges of blocking traffic, mob action, and reckless conduct. Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas declared that the prosecutors had not met their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and that therefore the protesters were found not guilty of all charges.

"I'm glad that we tested the system, as undocumented youth, and found community support," said Jorge Mena, a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an organizer with the Immigrant Youth Justice League. "However, Secure Communities is still being enforced and we need to continue bringing attention to how it is putting people into deportation proceedings and tearing families apart," he added.

The undocumented activists also expressed excitement over the court's decision, as well as frustration over the length of the proceedings. "While I'm excited that we were found not guilty, I was disappointed at how long the city and the state dragged it out without getting their information straight," said Mena. His comment is in reference to two separate occasions when police officers did not show up to court to testify, which led to continuances of the trial, as well as several changes and amendments to the charges.

On her part, Lopez-Martinez added, "After 7 months of court dates we won the case! After I heard the judge's decision I felt that not only our commitment and courage were recognized, but also our movement's cause," she explained.

This is the first action of civil disobedience by undocumented immigrants in the history of the U.S. where all participants have been declared 'not guilty.' The action took place as a collaboration between the local undocumented immigrant led organizations, the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), Nuestra Voz, and the Latin@ Youth Action League (L@YAL). The Chicago 6 were represented by Janine Hoft, a lawyer with the People's Law Office, which has also represented protesters from the Occupy Chicago, and other social justice movements.


Women on Afghan peace council say they are sidelined

(NO surprise here)

Women on Afghan peace council say they are sidelined


By Miriam Arghandiwal

KABUL | Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:01am EDT

KABUL (Reuters) - Women members of an Afghan government council charged with seeking reconciliation with the Taliban have been sidelined from main consultations and are trying to forge a united voice within the council, one of the members said.

The 70-member High Peace Council, which has been struggling to carve out a role in the negotiations since the assassination of its chief, Burhanuddin Rabbani, last year, has nine women.

While the women attend peace workshops and meetings both in the country and abroad, Gulali Noor Safi said they were not involved in making major decisions.

"We are trying to be involved in the peace process but in my opinion, most of the time we're not included in major discussions," she said.



Somehow, the Word ‘Peace’ Got Lost



Somehow, the Word ‘Peace’ Got Lost

by Cora Weiss • March 9, 2012

This essay was adapted from a speech that Cora Weiss, president of the Hague Appeal for Peace, a network of peace and justice groups, read as a panelist on the “Women, War and Peace” debate held during the 56th Commission on the Status of Women this month at the UN. The debate that Weiss spoke at, on March 1, showed a film, “Peace Unveiled,” about women in Afghanistan.

Who comes from a place where there has been violence or war?

I have enormous admiration and respect for the women of Afghanistan. I mourn with them for the loss of life, the wounded, the babies frozen to death in refugee camps, the destruction to their homes and communities. And I celebrate their determination to be at the peace table.

The question after so many years of war and waste is: When will we stop making war? When will the currency of foreign policy stop being weapons? When will be become exhausted from exhausting all nonlethal means of resolving conflict before resorting to violence? When will we implement the Charter of the United Nations, dedicated to preventing the scourge of war? When will women be at all the decision-making tables to prevent war and to design the peace?

Humanity has abolished slavery, colonialism, apartheid and the prohibition of women voting. Why can’t we abolish war?

We gather for the annual Commission on the Status of Women conference at this time of year because March 8 is International Women’s Day, voted by the General Assembly in 1975 to be the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

Somehow, peace has gotten lost.


Why the World Bank has no real intentions of reducing poverty


Why the World Bank has no real intentions of reducing poverty

The World Bank congratulates itself for slashing poverty, while global hunger soars. "It's a massive crime against humanity."

Joel ElliottMarch 22, 2012 06:26

WALTHAM, Massachusetts — It’s time for the World Bank to stop pretending significant progress is being made in reducing extreme global poverty. The self-congratulatory report it issued recently claimed it had achieved its stated goal of cutting global poverty in half. This was extremely misleading at best, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPOVCALNET/Resources/Global_Poverty_Update_2012_02-29-12.pdf

This goal (the first of the eight Millennium Development Goals) was originally announced as being to cut in half the total number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. When it became obvious that the economic policies of the Bretton Woods Institutions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and also the World Trade Organization would never allow for that to happen — because they were not intended to reduce global poverty, as will be explained — the UN General Assembly redefined the goal as being to cut in half the proportion of the global population of those living in extreme poverty. This redefinition enabled the World Bank to put forth the illusion of progress when none was actually occurring.

Thomas Pogge, Director of the Global Justice Program and a professor of philosophy at Yale University, is deeply skeptical both of the World Bank’s findings and its methodologies. In his 2010 book, Politics as Usual, Pogge argues that, besides the troubling redefinition of MDG1, the World Bank’s methods of calculating consumer price indices (CPI) and purchasing power parity (PPP) fail to count many people who actually are experiencing extreme poverty, which is defined as living on less than $1.25 a day.

“It’s a massive crime against humanity,” he said in an interview. “How can this be? How can people be less and less poor, and more and more people are hungry?”

The number of chronically undernourished as tracked by the United Nations increased from about 800 million in 1992 to 925 million in 2010, according to this UN report, and increasing food prices are likely to have pushed it much higher since.


Study leaves little doubt, ill-effects of toxic gases associated with oil and gas drilling


Colorado study assesses potential health risks of toxic gases associated with oil and gas drilling
Posted on March 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn

Pollution from oil drilling has potential health impacts.
Data leaves little doubt about ill-effects of toxic gases

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Just a few weeks after NOAA researchers revealed findings that oil and gas development leads to elevated levels of air pollution along the Front Range, a Colorado School of Public Health study shows that air pollution caused by fracking may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites.

“Our data show that it is important to include air pollution in the national dialogue on natural gas development that has focused largely on water exposures to hydraulic fracturing,” said Lisa McKenzie, Ph.D., MPH, lead author of the study and research associate at the Colorado School of Public Health.

The report is based on three years of air quality monitoring. It found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene. Benzene has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a known carcinogen. Other chemicals included heptane, octane and diethylbenzene but information on their toxicity is limited.

“Our results show that the non-cancer health impacts from air emissions due to natural gas development is greater for residents living closer to wells,” the report said. “The greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short-term, but high emission, well-completion period.”


A Doctor on Transvaginal Ultrasounds


Guest Post: A Doctor on Transvaginal Ultrasounds

March 20, 2012 By John Scalzi 548 Comments

A friend of mine is a physician who wants to speak about transvaginal ultrasounds but whose position makes it precarious to speak publicly about it. So I’m letting this doctor borrow my site for an entry to speak anonymously on the matter. Obviously, I will vouch for the doctor being a doctor and being qualified to speak on the subject.

Where Is The Physician Outrage?

Right. Here.

I’m speaking, of course, about the required-transvaginal-ultrasound thing that seems to be the flavor-of-the-month in politics.

I do not care what your personal politics are. I think we can all agree that my right to swing my fist ends where your face begins.

I do not feel that it is reactionary or even inaccurate to describe an unwanted, non-indicated transvaginal ultrasound as “rape”. If I insert ANY object into ANY orifice without informed consent, it is rape. And coercion of any kind negates consent, informed or otherwise.

In all of the discussion and all of the outrage and all of the Doonesbury comics, I find it interesting that we physicians are relatively silent.

After all, it’s our hands that will supposedly be used to insert medical equipment (tools of HEALING, for the sake of all that is good and holy) into the vaginas of coerced women.

Fellow physicians, once again we are being used as tools to screw people over. This time, it’s the politicians who want to use us to implement their morally reprehensible legislation. They want to use our ultrasound machines to invade women’s bodies, and they want our hands to be at the controls. Coerced and invaded women, you have a problem with that? Blame us evil doctors. We are such deliciously silent scapegoats.

It is our responsibility, as always, to protect our patients from things that would harm them. Therefore, as physicians, it is our duty to refuse to perform a medical procedure that is not medically indicated. Any medical procedure. Whatever the pseudo-justification.

It’s time for a little old-fashioned civil disobedience.

Here are a few steps we can take as physicians to protect our patients from legislation such as this.


Israel hearts Iran, Online campaign challenges tensions between the two countries.

Israel hearts Iran, Online campaign challenges growing tensions between the two countries.


Amid growing tensions between Israel and Iran, two Israeli graphic designers have created a Facebook campaign aimed at challenging the warmongering rhetoric, as first reported by +972 magazine.

Ronnie Edri and Michal Tamir designed an emblem that reads, “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We <3 you” and now dozens of Israelis have added it to their Facebook photos. The campaign also spurred the creation of similar emblems by Iranians.

Here are some examples of the online campaign:

Bold Progressives! stand with them


I'm in..


AboutProgressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) and its over 850,000 members nation-wide believe in fighting for bold progressive change. It’s not enough to agree with us on the issues we champion — heroes in Congress and candidates on the campaign trail that we support also believe in fighting for these values.

Founded in 2009 by Adam Green, a former MoveOn online organizer and Democratic party communications worker, and Stephanie Taylor, former MoveOn and SEIU organizer, the PCCC has been at the forefront fighting for progressive change ever since.

The Nation magazine awarded PCCC “Most Valuable Campaign” of 2011. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz calls PCCC “the top progressive group in the country.”

Some issues our members have taken on include:

•fighting to save the public option as part of health reform
•championing real net neutrality to keep the Internet open and free
•pressuring President Obama to let the Bush tax cuts expire
•supporting Elizabeth Warren to successfully set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
•helping keep Keith Olbermann on the air
•and fighting to preserve our social safety net and prevent cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
In addition to issues, we help bold progressives campaign, get elected, and bring the fighting spirit with them to Washington. We endorse bold candidates, help them run efficient and effective campaigns, raise money for them, and give volunteers the opportunity to help these campaigns succeed.

So far, our members have done great things for candidates, like:

•helping Bill Halter make tens of thousands of phone calls and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to take on Blanche Lincoln on the Arkansas Senate Democratic Primary
•making over 1 million phone calls in our Call Out The Vote program with Democracy for America in 2010 for candidates such as Raul Grijalva, Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold, Joe Sestak, and more
•endorsing our first candidate of 2012, Eric Griego, and helping him raise money to win in New Mexico’s 1st district
•helping draft Elizabeth Warren to run for Senate in Massachusetts in 2012 by raising over $450,000 and engaging tens of thousands of potential donors and volunteers
•and endorsing a slate of bold progressives for Congress in the 2012 election

George Clooney in handcuffs protesting human rights abuses in Sudan


George Clooney in handcuffs protesting human rights abuses in Sudan. Join him by taking action: http://bit.ly/xd954d— in Washington, District of Columbia.
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