Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for April, 2013

Small government tyrants

Posted by Charles II on April 30, 2013

The state of Arizona has just told cities that they may not destroy guns purchased in gun buybacks (see here). They must sell them.

This is what “limited government” looks like when it’s run by the right. If they control the federal government, then they pre-empt the power of the states and of unions to rein in corporate power. If they control the states, then they pre-empt the power of the cities to govern themselves (and illegalize unions) and/or threaten to secede.

In other words, “limited government” really means tyranny administered by corporations and cranks.

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Posted in Republicans as cancer | 10 Comments »

Free Shaker Aamer, or Minds and Bodies Broken Along With Obama Promises

Posted by Charles II on April 29, 2013

Shaker Aamer, British citizen judged innocent, but held anyway

Image from DemocracyNow 4/29/13

Victoria Brittain: … And those 86 people [held as prisoners in Guantanamo] included this British resident, Shaker Aamer, who—having been cleared as innocent, everybody expected him to be released. The British government has also asked for him. But President Obama has not managed to release him.

why don’t they want Shaker back? I mean, why don’t you people want to send Shaker back? One theory is that because he has been a leading figure in all the hunger strikes and a leading negotiator between the American authorities and the prisoners, he’s a person with tremendous personality and power. He was educated in the United States. He comes from Saudi Arabia. He lives in Britain and has a British family. So he covers all the bases.

He had been living in Afghanistan with his young family, like Moazzam Begg—in fact, in the same house. And they had been building girls’ schools and digging wells. And it was as charity workers that they were there. And that’s completely uncontested by anybody. So, after being sold, he was then tortured…. At that moment after the American bombing, there was a proliferation of different armed groups who picked up these different people as a money-making enterprise.

, I find it very hard to see how he [presidential spokesman Michael Williams] can say, “We don’t hold people indefinitely,” when these people, like—I’ll take the example of Shaker and perhaps of another man, Fouzi Al Awda, a Kuwaiti man. These are people who have been held for 11 years. These are people who, everybody knows, pose no threat whatsoever. The Kuwaiti government has been asking for Fouzi for—since the very, very beginning. The very first court case against President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, Fouzi Al Awda was the correspondent. They cannot possibly say that the British government is not able to assure them that Shaker does not pose any threat of any sort. The British government—William Hague, himself, the foreign secretary, has said it over and over again. So, I think there’s a bit of economical with the truth going on there.

But last year on this day, she [wife Zinnira Aamer] wrote this amazing long poem called “Heart of Gold.” And—

AMY GOODMAN: Can you read it?

VICTORIA BRITTAIN: I can read a little bit of it. And I think it gives you an idea of the sweetness of the personality.

You are the roof over my head,
You are the shadow that can’t be lead,
You are my voice when the silence breaks,
Your hand I seek, your hand I hold,
Cause you have a heart of gold.

You show me light in the dark,
And you guide me when I am lost,
Your happiness is all I ask,
But your story remains untold,
Cause you have a heart of gold.

You know, it’s a very hard—sorry. But, you know, Zinnira, when she wrote that, she was in one of her up phases, and she was so pleased with the crafting of it, and she worked so hard on it to make it perfect to send to him. And she sends him photographs of the children and little stories and letters that the children write. But over these years, she has had some very serious breakdowns. And sometimes I’ve been with her when she’s been talking about wanting to go to paradise, because she has these bad dreams. Sometimes she dreams that Shaker’s dead. Sometimes she dreams that Shaker is divorcing her. And you have to reassure her over and over again, “The voices—don’t listen to the voices. You have to push the voices away.” And sometimes she can, and sometimes she can’t. And she’s had some sad periods in mental hospitals, and she has periods when she simply packs the kids into the car and goes off to stay with her aged parents, and they look after her until she recovers.

And some of the time, you know, she’s a great mom. She runs her little house. She takes the kids to school. She does extra teaching after school. And she’s a wonderful, warm, outgoing mom, only concerned about her children.

your officials say they’re not held indefinitely. But, you know, if it’s not indefinite, it’s definite. So, aren’t they going to say 11 years is enough?

A British charity worker who poses no threat to anyone, picked up because some thugs wanted to make a few dollars, sold and tortured, held for 11 years, on hunger strike and being tortured by forced feedings, his wife and children suffering daily along with him.

The best guess is that Aamer is being held punitively because he has been an inspiration to other prisoners; presumably if they break him, they imagine other prisoners will be cowed… though what advantage this would be to the United States is unclear.

President Obama has the legal authority to release Aamer.

What is wrong with the United States of America, that we hold and torture innocent people?

Posted in crimes, Guantanamo, wrong way to go about it | 2 Comments »

Filabot: 3D Printing For All While Recycling Plastics

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 28, 2013

So you think that 3D printing is pretty cool, my friend? How about 3D printing that let you use clear food container film and other seldom-recycled plastics as feedstocks?

That’s what Filabot does:

Filabot is a desktop extruding system, capable of grinding various types of plastics, to make spools of plastic filament for 3D printers. Not only is it user friendly, but it is also environmentally friendly. The Filabot can process things such as: milk jugs, soda bottles, various other types of plastics, and bad prints, to make new filament for a future print. Filabot will bring the real power of sustainability to 3D printing, allowing for a one stop shop to make anything.

What sorts of plastics can Filabot turn into filaments? Hard and soft plastics alike, from food tray film to Legos and water pipes.

I can see a municipality investing in this as a way to deal with all the non-#1-and#2 plastic waste that up to now had been too expensive to recycle.

Filabot is being funded largely by Kickstarter and other means of crowdsourcing. If you want to get in on the ground floor, go here: http://filabot.com/supporters.php

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Filabot: 3D Printing For All While Recycling Plastics

Scoring the Media on Coverage of the West Fertilizer Explosion

Posted by Charles II on April 28, 2013

All roads lead to Charles and David.

Hugh Kaufman of the EPA in an interview with FAIR

HK: I think the worst [coverage] was the New York Times. The New York Times claimed that the company notified EPA that they had 270 tons of this explosive ammonium nitrate, but they did not notify EPA of that. In fact, they told EPA that the facility posed no fire or explosion hazard. The New York Times did not say that, and I think that’s probably the biggest problem.

Interestingly, Texas is a Republican state — a red state — and in fact, many of the leaders want to secede from the union, and they despise EPA — they want the EPA abolished. And yet the Republican newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, has probably has the best environmental coverage of the case, which makes it very ironic to me.

CS: You also pointed to Reuters.

HK: Reuters did a piece where they implied and stated that EPA and OSHA do not have authority to regulate the facility or this ammonium nitrate, and that’s totally false. Again, you have the Reuters and the New York Times taking the public off the scent. Of course, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox — none of the cable channels are covering the details. The only cable channel I’ve seen that mentioned the fact that this is law-breaking and they lied to EPA was on the Young Turks on YouTube.

CS: I think it’s still on Current TV too.

HK: Is it still on Current, yeah? And the Wall Street Journal has done very good coverage too. So you’ve got the Wall Street Journal on the right, Dallas Morning News on the right and Current on the left, doing the good coverage, and everybody in the middle doing no coverage or bad coverage. By the way, MSNBC did one good thing. They put on their website the sheet the company gave to the state of Texas that identified they did have 270 tons of the explosive material, so that was a good thing.

HK: Reuters did a piece where they implied and stated that EPA and OSHA do not have authority to regulate the facility or this ammonium nitrate, and that’s totally false. Again, you have the Reuters and the New York Times taking the public off the scent. Of course, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox — none of the cable channels are covering the details. The only cable channel I’ve seen that mentioned the fact that this is law-breaking and they lied to EPA was on the Young Turks on YouTube.

CS: I think it’s still on Current TV too.

HK: … You know who the largest owner of fertilizer business in the world is?

CS: I think you’re going to tell me.

HK: The Koch brothers.

These are the guys who want to buy the LAT and the Chicago Trib, so that their voice can be heard.

Posted in corruption, environment, impunity, koch brothers | 1 Comment »

Lots Of Good News On The Solar Power Front

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 27, 2013

Check out these links:

Microgrids in India

US Senators Re-Introduce MLP Act to Level Playing Field for Renewable Energy

Anonymous Donors Fund Solar Projects Across the U.S.

DOE Selects Four Pilot Projects for Military Drop-in Biofuels Development

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Comments Off on Lots Of Good News On The Solar Power Front

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on April 26, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 4 Comments »

The decline of American influence: Venezuelan case study

Posted by Charles II on April 25, 2013

Mark Weisbrot, The Guardian, via t/o

Washington’s efforts to de-legitimise the [Venezuelan] election mark a significant escalation of US efforts at regime change in Venezuela.

But the Obama team’s effort failed miserably. On Wednesday, the government of Spain, Washington’s only significant ally supporting a “100% audit” reversed its position and recognised Maduro’s election. Then the secretary general of the Organisation of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, backed off his prior alignment with the Obama administration and recognised the election result.

It was not just the left governments of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and others that had quickly congratulated Maduro on his victory; Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti and other non-left governments had joined them. The Obama administration was completely isolated in the world.

Washington’s clumsy efforts also helped highlight the election as an issue of national sovereignty, something that is deeply cherished in the region.

The opposition representative on the national electoral council, Vicente Díaz, acknowledged that he had “no doubt” that the vote count was accurate.

I don’t expect my government to do something because it’s right or to abstain from doing it because it is wrong. But when they do something wrong in a way that damages even the greedy self-interest of the nation, then that government does not deserve to be in power.

Right now, Venezuela and all of Latam is giving us the finger.

Posted in election theft, Venezuela | 5 Comments »

The dissipation of the Pax Americana

Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2013

Reuters, in The Guardian:

China will build a second, larger aircraft carrier capable of carrying more fighter jets, the official Xinhua news service has reported, quoting a senior officer with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

China is also building up other forms of military hardware, including a stealth fighter jet believed to be capable of landing on a carrier, drone aircraft and nuclear submarines.

China is alone among the original nuclear weapons states to be expanding its nuclear forces, according to a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Japan will respond, I suspect, by amending its peace constitution to repeal Article 9 which is the basis for restricting its spending on military to 1% of GDP.

Japan is also, in my opinion, engaging in a trade war with China by devaluing the yen. Of course, China may be engaging in proxy war using North Korea. Both sides are unwise to escalate tensions. They would do better to work to ensure adequate petroleum supplies to the region and not worry so much about which economy gets the proceeds.

Posted in China, Japan | 5 Comments »

A good deed from an unexpected corner

Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2013

Jim Jelter, Marketwatch:

SAN FRANCISO (MarketWatch) — General Electric Co(GE)’ financial unit, GE Capital, is cutting off lending to guns shops, according to a report Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal that cited letters sent by the company to several gun shop owners. “Industry changes, new legislation and tragic events” led GE Capital to reexamine its policies on financing firearms, spokesman Russell Wilkerson told the Journal.

Things are changing, and this change is good.

Posted in gun issues | 1 Comment »

Tribune Co. Reporters Horrified At Koch Takeover Prospect

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 23, 2013

How much do the Tribune Company reporters and other writers fear the prospect of a Koch Brothers Takeover? They’d prefer Rupert Murdoch.

Seriously:

Chicago Tribune columnist Page compared his feelings about a potential Koch purchase to the response of legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko when Rupert Murdoch bought the Chicago Sun-Times in 1984; Royko quickly quit the Sun-Times for the Tribune.

“A reporter asked him what he thought of the purchase,” Page recalled, adding that Royko said a Murdoch paper “isn’t something a respectable fish would want to be wrapped in.”

But Page says there is something worse than having Murdoch purchase his paper: “My personal feeling is I would much rather have Murdoch buy the Tribune than the Koch Brothers.”

He’s not alone. Another newsroom veteran at the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, FL, agreed that Murdoch would be a more welcomed owner than the Kochs.

“The difference between Murdoch and the Koch brothers, Murdoch is a known entity, the Koch brothers are a mystery,” the staffer said.

“Of all the prospects that are out there,” explained one Times reporter, “the Koch Brothers are at the bottom of the list.”

Murdoch, as vile as he is, comes from a newspaper family and loves newspapers. The same cannot be said of the Kochs, aho are likely to turn the papers of the Tribune Company into versions of the Washington Times.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

 
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