Tag: United States

Aug 15

MSF: Another Hospital in Yemen Bombed By Saudi Arabia

Another hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has been bomb today in Yemen by a Saudi Arabian coalition armed with US weapons. Early reports by the international organization state that at least seven people have been reported killed and 13 injured. BREAKING: #Yemen MSF-supported hospital was hit by airstrikes at 15:45. We …

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Jan 12

US Backed Saudis Continue Targeting Hospitals in Yemen

The US funded Saudi Arabian coalition that has been bombing Yemen in the name of fighting terrorism has bombed several more hospitals and clinics since they destroyed a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in early December. On Sunday, Shiara hospital in Razeh District, where MSF has been working since November 2015, was destroyed resulting …

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Dec 04

Bombing Hospitals: The New Norm of War

In early October the medical facility run by Médecins Sans Frontières in Kunduz, Afghanistan was purposely bombed by the United States. Then, on October 26, the US backed Saudi bombed another hospital in Yemen that was run by MSF. A hospital run by international aid group Doctors Without Borders (referred to internationally in French as …

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Aug 17

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: The Cooperative Movement vs Capitalist Domination in the Global Economy

By Geminijen

I’ve been running around to various left conferences this spring and summer and everywhere I go the cooperative movement is touted as the potential savior of the global economy. Admittedly, cooperatives are only “a grain of sand on the beach” (to use a summer metaphor)when one views the entire global economy. At this point it is also not clear that the interest in a cooperative economy is not just a desperate hope that something  – anything – can save us from total economic catastrophe as capitalism seems to be in its last throes with levels of inequality that cannot be sustained.

Do cooperatives really have the potential to be a transition to another more fully progressive economic form that can replace capitalism? Or is it – as cooperatives generally have been – a temporary safety valve during depressions which disappear or are assimilated over time or a capitalist reform as capitalism regains its footing (i.e., the mines in England, the paper plants in the Northwest United States, the electric cooperatives in the Southwest United States).

Since the cooperative movement is currently the fastest growing movement for systemic economic change it deserves an overview of what it is and where its going –which I will attempt to do, in a very limited way.

I will briefly comment on the recent changes in the cooperative movement in:

1) Venezuela which has attempted to use coops as part of its transition to socialism;

2) In the Mondragon cooperative network which applies the cooperative principles in the capitalist system;

3) In the United States because it is in the belly of the beast of capitalism and as such has special problems, and

4) In Cuba which is using cooperatives to transition away from a fully socialist economy to a more mixed economy. (I will write a separate article on cooperatives in Asia or Africa as BRIC countries have unique problems, although India has a highly developed cooperative economy and China has the most cooperatives in the world.)

Aug 10

ACM: On attacks on women’s reproductive rights: budgets, no choices, and eugenics, oh my!

By NY Brit Expat

An incident at dinner in Italy during my vacation there and the subsequent discussion has driven me to prioritise this piece. Following a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant, one man decided that it was time for us to listen to his misogyny on women’s reproductive rights. I knew he was saying offensive things as the two English speakers at the table refused to translate what he was saying. Upon my insistence, he tried to speak in English, but what he was saying was so offensive I refused to believe he was saying it. I turned to my husband and the other English speaking friend and they shook their heads yes, that is what he was saying. This man argued that women have to the right to choice but if they get pregnant with a child they do not want, they must be forced to carry the child to term and to give it up for adoption. Those that know me would not be surprised at my angry response in which I spoke of women having the right of property in their own body, spoke of bodily autonomy and reminded him that we were not incubators, but human beings. I concluded by calling him a misogynist and telling him that this was not an opinion but hate speech.

Abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978 when Law 194 was passed. While not a perfect law, it was won after intense struggle by the women’s movement. This law not only guaranteed access to abortion, but access  to reproductive health care, contraception, and a whole range of rights for women and these were tied into public health provision. Like in the US (and this has been a failing in both countries), the conscientious objector clause has led to a decrease in the numbers of medical professionals willing to carry out the procedure on religious grounds (and in the US due to pressure from anti-abortion activists). So to hear someone (who is not religious) babbling this crap at me following dinner was way too much. So, who ruined dinner? Was it him or me?

This incident highlighted something that has become extremely obvious and this applies both to women’s rights and to racism. The days when someone who held these offensive positions knew to keep their mouths shut is long gone; instead they pose hate speech as opinion and demand their right to preach it.  Our response must be swift and strong so that these troglodytes are driven back to the primordial soup from which they have barely crawled out from.

In a follow-up discussion on the way to the car park, I told my English speaking friend what just passed the British parliament as part of the Welfare Bill. I told him that the Tories are changing the nature of the social welfare state which covered all women (child-tax credits, child benefits) to only cover the poor and working class. And then I told him about the limits to benefits only to 2 children in the future. I explained that the former made it easier to eliminate benefits totally (why should taxpayers take care of the working class – employed and unemployed — after all?). I explained the latter policy was a form of eugenics and was a neo-Malthusian policy. While he agreed with the former (he is a mainstream neoclassical after all), he was horrified at the latter (maybe because he has 5 children and has benefited from receiving benefits in several countries to help with covering the costs for all his children).

 photo 7af76752-8ad4-4f0c-85d0-028a5271ac7b_zpshgbyomvq.jpg

When women talk about reproductive rights and justice they are not only speaking about women’s rights to not have children. This is an essential part of reproductive rights: the right to choose not to have children, to have access to birth contraceptives abortion and voluntary sterilisation. But we are also speaking of the right of women to have children and to determine when and how many. This right has been most often denied to working class women, disabled women and to women of colour. Sterilisation abuse and forced usage of birth control against working class women, disabled women and women of colour is part of a long-term agenda of eugenics and neo-Malthusianism.

Wealthier white women fought for the right to not have children and to choose when they had them and to demand sterilisation without the consent of their husbands. Eugenics law that promoted the “betterment of the human race” by forcing wealthier white women to have children also led to laws that demanded the use of birth control to access welfare benefits and forced sterilisation for working class women. These laws have been the tools of choice against working class women, women of colour and disabled women and have been used to prevent their choosing to have children and to limit the numbers that they had. In the US, to this day, eugenics laws are still on the books to be used against disabled women; Buck vs Bell (1927) in which the Supreme Court ruled that compulsory sterilisation of the unfit did not violate the Due Process Clause of the US constitution.  This endorsement of negative eugenics has not been repealed and still stands as US law. So to say that to leave things of the past in the past doesn’t really hold up as these things of the past tend to revive. After all, patriarchy is still strong and these arguments are not only a position of patriarchy but of the bourgeoisie that does not feel the need to humour women in their bizarre beliefs that they, not the family, not the church and not the state control their own bodies.

Mar 05

Ukraine Crisis

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

If you’ve turned on your television, the radio or read any on line news, you know there was a revolution in the Ukraine that overturned the government of Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych refused to step down, even after he was removed by the Parliament and a warrant for his arrest was issued for the deaths of protesters when the police used snipers to kill unarmed demonstrators in Kiev. Yanukovych disappeared showing up in Russia where Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the deposal of Yanukovych an unconstitutional coup d’etat, On Friday, Putin sent troops into Ukrainian Peninsula of Crimea and blockading the Black Sea deep water port of Sevastopol. The UN Security Council met at the New York City headquarters yesterday and NATO will meet for the second time in three day in Brussels at the request of member nation Poland that shares a border with Ukraine.

Crimea crisis: Putin rules out war but will use force ‘as last resort’

• We will not go to war with the Ukrainian people, says Putin

• Claims ousting of Ukrainian president was ‘coup d’état’

• Yanukovych ‘still legitimate head of state’

• Pro-Russian troops and Ukrainian soldiers in tense standoff

Vladimir Putin ruled out war with Ukraine on Tuesday, but also reserved the right to use force “as a last resort” days after his forces took control of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

Breaking his silence for the first time since the revolution in Ukraine toppled Viktor Yanukovych, Putin denounced the takeover as an unconstitutional coup d’etat, insisted Yanukovych was still the legitimate head of state, although he declared him politically dead, and said he would not recognise presidential elections being held in Ukraine at the end of May.

Putin emphasised that Russia had no intention of invading Ukraine, or of annexing territory. But he also kept his options open by claiming Yanukovych had written a letter asking for Russian help.

It appeared that Putin was also seeking to send signals to the west, keen to ward off growing US-led pressure for sanctions against his regime and to sow divisions among the Europeans who are economically much more engaged in Russia than the Americans.

He also warned that sanctions were a two-way street that would effect those applying them.

Kerry, Arriving in Kiev, Offers $1 Billion in Loan Guarantees to Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine – In a demonstration of support for Ukraine’s fledgling government, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived here on Tuesday with an offer of $1 billion in American loan guarantees and pledges of technical assistance, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday.

The purpose of the loan guarantee is to support Ukraine’s efforts to integrate with the West and to help offset the reduction of energy subsidies from Russia, which has challenged the new government’s legitimacy and occupied the Crimean Peninsula.

The United States will also send technical experts to help Ukraine’s national bank and finance ministry, provide advice on how to fight corruption and train election monitors to help establish the legitimacy of Ukraine’s coming election.

As Prime Russian Trading Partner, Germany Appears Crucial to Ending Crisis

In the face of the diplomatic maneuvering over how to confront a bellicose Russia in Ukraine, one country appears to hold the key to any long-lasting entente: Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse and one of Russia’s primary trading partners.

Whether it is importing fuel from Gazprom or selling Mercedes-Benz to billionaire oligarchs, trade with Russia has played an important role in Germany’s emergence as an economic superpower over the last decade. Germany is now heavily reliant on Russia for its energy needs, importing more natural gas from Russia than any other country in Europe.

But Germany’s enhanced status on the world stage – combined with the end of the commodity boom and the onset of economic stagnation in Russia – has also shifted the balance of power. Some analysts argue that it is Russia that has the most to lose if economic sanctions are ever imposed.

This dynamic could offer insight into the role that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, will play in any negotiations with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.

Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University and Ray McGovern, activist and former senior CIA analyst joined Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! to discuss the crisis and who is provoking the unrest.

Russia is vowing to keep its troops in the Ukrainian region of Crimea in what has become Moscow’s biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War. Ukraine’s new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said Russian President Vladimir Putin had effectively declared war on his country. Concern is growing that more of eastern Ukraine could soon fall to the Russians. Earlier today, Russian troops seized a Ukraine coast guard base in the Crimean city of Balaklava. On Sunday, the new head of Ukraine’s navy defected to Russia



Transcript can be read here

Jan 11

Hot, Hot, Hot

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported that 2012 was the warmest year on record since it started keeping records in 1895, eclipsing 1998 by 1ºF.

The 1°F difference from 1998 is an unusually large margin, considering that annual temperature records are typically broken by just tenths of a degree Fahrenheit. In fact, the entire range between the coldest year on record, which occurred in 1917, and the previous record warm year of 1998 was just 4.2°F.

The year consisted of the fourth-warmest winter, the warmest spring, second-warmest summer, and a warmer-than-average fall. With an average temperature that was 3.6°F above average, July became the hottest month ever recorded in the contiguous U.S. The average springtime temperature in the lower 48 was so far above the 1901-2000 average – 5.2°F, to be exact – that the country set a record for the largest temperature departure for any season on record. [..]

With 34,008 daily high temperature records set or tied the year compared to just 6,664 daily record lows – a ratio of about five high temperature records for every one low temperature record – 2012 was no ordinary weather year in the U.S. It wasn’t just the high temperatures that set records, though. Overnight low temperatures were also extremely warm, and in a few cases the overnight low was so warm that it set a high temperature record, a rare feat. [..]

Not alarmed yet? Australia is not only experiencing its hottest Summer but its also on fire.

Australia Climate Change? New Colors Added To Forecast Maps To Track Potential Record Heat

Austrlia Temperature Map

Click on image to enlarge

Right now, things are pretty hot in Australia. So hot, in fact, that meteorologists Down Under have added new, never-before-used colors to temperature maps in anticipation of record-breaking heat.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology amended its interactive weather chart Tuesday, adding the colors deep purple and pink to indicate a temperature range of up to 54 degrees Celsius, or 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous range had capped at 50 Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

The change was based on one weather prediction model that forecasts temperatures to climb above 50 Celsius early next week.

The all-time hottest temperature recorded in Australia was 50.7 Celsius on Jan. 2, 1960 at Oodnadatta Airport in South Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

According to the current model, the forecast for next Monday will bring a “Tasmania-sized” area of heat in excess of 50 degrees to South Australia.

50ºC is 122ºF. That’s hot. Too hot.

Australian heatwave puts south-east on alert as wildfires burn out of control

by Alison Rourke, The Gusardian

Fire service issues ‘catastrophic’ warnings in New South Wales with temperatures expected to breach 45C in coming days

A record-breaking heatwave and high winds across south-eastern Australia have produced some of the worst fire conditions seen in the country, with blazes destroying thousands of hectares of land (video) and threatening properties, but – so far – sparing lives.

Emergency teams fought more than 130 fires across New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, on Tuesday, with at least 40 burning out of control. Fires also continued to burn in Tasmania, after blazes at the weekend destroyed more than 20,000 hectares of land and dozens of properties. [..]

The NSW rural fire service issued “catastrophic” fire warnings for four areas in the state – the most severe fire warning level.

“The word catastrophic is being used for good reason,” the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, said on morning television. “So it is very important that people keep themselves safe, that they listen to local authorities and local warnings. This is a very dangerous day.”

Alarmed after the NOAA report, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a new climate bill.

Sanders announced the bill a day after federal officials reported that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the lower 48 states, smashing the record set in 1998 by a full degree Fahrenheit.

The bill from Sanders would create a “transparent fee on greenhouse gas emissions from the biggest polluters,” his office said in a brief summary.

“After the hottest year on record and extreme weather disturbances such as Hurricane Sandy, we must take strong action to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and move toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” said Sanders, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I intend to introduce legislation in the Senate to do just that.” [..]

Environmentalists are pressing President Obama to take tougher steps using his administrative powers, including establishment of first-time carbon emissions standards for existing power plants.

Sanders’ plan also aims to boost green energy development and nix tax incentives for oil companies.

Not just the US but countries around the world need to take action to curb carbon emissions. The Unites States should be taking the lead and setting the example.

Feb 23

Khameini’s position on nukes

When you lay seige to a nation, making wild accusations about their intent to build and use nuclear weapons (all without providing the slightest evidence, even admitting that none of it is true!), you should listen to what the victim has to say on the subject before threatening them with nuclear annihilation.  I’m pretty sure Obama will NOT be supplying a point-by-point rebuttal.

Anyway, Khameini addresses some key issues on the nukyoolar question:

The Supreme Leader’s View of Nuclear Energy

Good and evil use of knowledge

If advanced knowledge were at the disposal of a perfect and moral nation, it would be a source of blessings. If modern weapons were at the disposal of a wise and perfect nation, they would not pose any dangers. The situation will always be like this. They produce atomic bombs – just as what the Americans did at the end of the Second World War and the tragedy that they caused for the people of Japan. Similarly, the nuclear disaster in one of the Soviet Union’s nuclear power plants led to the death of a large number of people. If something bad comes out of nuclear technology, it is all because of the unrestrained power of the superpowers. If the power of the arrogant US government is restricted in the world, nuclear threats will decrease automatically.

The word atom is associated with the progress of human knowledge, but unfortunately it is equally associated with the most hideous event in history and the greatest genocide and misuse of the scientific achievements of humanity. Although many countries have taken action to manufacture and stockpile nuclear weapons – which in itself can be considered a preface to committing crimes and is a serious threat to global peace – there is only one government that has committed a nuclear crime so far. Only the government of the United States of America has waged an atomic war against the oppressed people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an unfair and inhumane war.

(more below)

Aug 17

The Economic Bad News Just Keeps Coming

Cross Posted from The Stars hollow Gazette

The robust economy of Germany is starting to feel the effects of the economic crisis of its partner nations in the Eurozone and is showing signs of drastic slowing

Growth in the German economy slowed sharply between April and June and was weaker at the start of the year than previously thought, figures show.

The (German) economy grew by just 0.1% in the quarter, according to figures from the national statistics office. Growth in the eurozone as a whole also slowed.

Germany had been driving the economic recovery in the eurozone.

The figures come as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy begin crunch talks.

The two leaders are discussing ways to solve the eurozone debt crisis that has threatened to engulf Italy and Spain and has sparked turmoil on global stock markets.

Figures also released on Tuesday showed that eurozone economic growth slowed to 0.2% in the second quarter, down from 0.8% in the previous three months.

The slow down has had its effect on markets in Europe and early trading in the US:

The news led European indexes lower. Germany’s DAX fell 2.6 percent, the FTSE in Britain was 1.3 percent lower, and in France the CAC 40 was down 1.9 percent.

In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 80.68 points, or 0.70 percent, at 11,402.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 11.02 points, or 0.91 percent, at 1,193.47, and the Nasdaq composite index was down 26.38 points, or 1.03 percent, at 2,528.82.

“German G.D.P. data is the catalyst this morning that got us off to a bad start,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vt.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France were to meet later Tuesday to discuss measures to contain Europe’s fiscal crisis. A joint news conference was scheduled at noon E.D.T.

Another component of the down turn is the idea of issuing bonds backed by all Eurozone nations to ease the crisis has been poo-pooed by both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy but they may have no other choice:

The euro bond concept is gaining traction among economists and other outside experts like George Soros, the billionaire investor, as a way of preventing borrowing costs for Italy and Spain from rising so much that the countries become insolvent, an event that could destroy the common currency.

Debt issued and backed by all 17 members of the euro zone, euro bond proponents say, would be regarded as ultrasafe by investors and could rival the market for United States Treasury securities. The weaker euro members would benefit from the good standing of countries like Germany or Finland and pay lower interest rates to borrow than if left to face investors on their own.

“It may well be in order to calm markets right now,” said Jakob von Weizsäcker, an economist for the German state of Thuringia who has proposed a way to structure euro bonds so that countries would be encouraged to reduce their debt.

On the “bright side”, there is Nouriel Roubini:

.Karl Marx was right that globalization, financial intermediation, and income redistribution could lead capitalism to self-destruct

Now a combination of high oil and commodity prices, turmoil in the Middle East, Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, eurozone debt crises, and America’s fiscal problems (and now its rating downgrade) have led to a massive increase in risk aversion. Economically, the United States, the eurozone, the United Kingdom, and Japan are all idling. Even fast-growing emerging markets (China, emerging Asia, and Latin America), and export-oriented economies that rely on these markets (Germany and resource-rich Australia), are experiencing sharp slowdowns.

Until last year, policymakers could always produce a new rabbit from their hat to reflate asset prices and trigger economic recovery. Fiscal stimulus, near-zero interest rates, two rounds of “quantitative easing,” ring-fencing of bad debt, and trillions of dollars in bailouts and liquidity provision for banks and financial institutions-officials tried them all. Now they have run out of rabbits.

Fiscal policy currently is a drag on economic growth in both the eurozone and the United Kingdom. Even in the United States, state and local governments, and now the federal government, are cutting expenditure and reducing transfer payments. Soon enough, they will be raising taxes.

Jul 04

It seems strange . . . .

(cross-posted at firefly-dreaming)

that as the nation commences its celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence:  

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. – Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. – And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

– John Hancock

New Hampshire:

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:

Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:

William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:

Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:

William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:

Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

that we have continually retrogressed back to the point that necessitated the Declaration of Independence in the first place!

Hard to say “Happy 4th of July!”  But have a good day anyway!  

May 06

The Osama Bin Laden File

The National Security Archive at George Washington University has been releasing numerous Government documents and reports the past couple of days on bin Laden, our Government as related to him and that region especially Pakistan. The criminal cronies, both in and out of the Government at the time they took over from the Clinton administration to 9/11 and beyond have been coming out of the closet, including their talking heads, trying to justify their policies, especially as to torture, illegal by our laws and the international laws we help establish, that they should share in the take down of bin Laden or should receive the glory from.

Frankly they’re raising more questions by their tactic, questions that have been there the whole past decade some being answered with hard evidence that has leaked out and coming from the Iraq War Inquiries.

If their torture tactics, which caused greater damage to the soldiers sent into these two theaters in blowback, worked so great Why were they not taking any little leads, like the one the press keeps running to and following them to establish better intelligence?

Why, after greatly increasing the billions sent to Pakistan that that country wasn’t much much more involved in seeking out bin Laden and al Qaeda?

Why did bush stop the Tora Bora operation?

Why did bush admit he rarely thought about bin Laden?

And one real big question, Why were they seeking to take down Saddam and talking about doing so before 9/11, on 9/11 and directly after 9/11, leading to abandoning Afghanistan to fester and grow and destroy Iraq and it’s people?  

May 01

92% of Americans prefer Swedish distribution of wealth.

The mal-distribution of wealth in the United States is at all time highs.  A 2005 study conducted before the largest financial theft in history showed that (1) Americans overwhelmingly prefer a fairer distribution of wealth, and (2) they don’t know how badly wealth is currently distributed.  Here’s the pdf.

The study’s 5,522 participants were randomly selected from a panel of one million people, and were representative of adult Americans in terms of sex ratio, incomes, political leanings (Bush vs. Kerry voters), and geography.  Each participant was given the same definition of wealth:

“Wealth, also known as net worth, is defined as the total value of everything someone owns minus any debt that he or she owes. A person’s net worth includes his or her bank account savings plus the value of other things such as property, stocks, bonds, art, collections, etc., minus the value of things like loans and mortgages.”

Participants were then given a preference test using unlabeled pie charts showing different distributions of wealth across five quintiles.

Americans Prefer Sweden

For the first task, we created three unlabeled pie charts of wealth distributions, one of which depicted a perfectly equal distribution of wealth. Unbeknownst to respondents, a second distribution reflected the wealth distribution in the United States; in order to create a distribution with a level of inequality that clearly fell in between these two charts, we constructed a third pie chart from the income distribution of Sweden (Figure 1).2 We presented respondents with the three pair-wise combinations of these pie charts (in random order) and asked them to choose which nation they would rather join given a “Rawls constraint” for determining a just society (Rawls, 1971):

“In considering this question, imagine that if you joined this nation, you would be randomly assigned to a place in the distribution, so you could end up anywhere in this distribution, from the very richest to the very poorest.”

Here are the results of the pair-wise preference tests (with labels now added to the graphs):

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