We Americans spout bromides about freedom. Democracy campaigners in the Middle East have been enduring unimaginable tortures as the price of their struggle — at the hands of dictators who are our allies — yet they persist. In Bahrain, former political prisoners have said that their wives were taken into the jail in front of them. And then the men were told that unless they confessed, their wives would promptly be raped. That, or more conventional tortures, usually elicited temporary confessions, yet for years or decades those activists persisted in struggling for democracy. And we ask if they’re mature enough to handle it?
The common thread of this year’s democracy movement from Tunisia to Iran, from Yemen to Libya, has been undaunted courage. I’ll never forget a double-amputee I met in Tahrir Square in Cairo when Hosni Mubarak’s thugs were attacking with rocks, clubs and Molotov cocktails. This young man rolled his wheelchair to the front lines. And we doubt his understanding of what democracy means?
In Bahrain, I watched a column of men and women march unarmed toward security forces when, a day earlier, the troops had opened fire with live ammunition. Anyone dare say that such people are too immature to handle democracy?
From inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, RAN ally Ryan Harvey:
“Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside.”
From his Facebook page earlier today:
“Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’ Unreal.”
"A leaked manuscript by one of Sarah Palin’s closest aides from her time as governor charges that Palin broke state election law in her 2006 gubernatorial campaign and was consumed by petty grievances up until she resigned."
Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines. Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.
It’s time for us to stop lying to ourselves about this country. America is great in many ways, but on a whole host of measures — some of which are shown in the accompanying chart — we have become the laggards of the industrialized world. Not only are we not No. 1 — “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” — we are among the worst of the worst.
Yet this reality and the urgency that it ushers in is too hard for many Americans to digest. They would prefer to continue to bathe in platitudes about America’s greatness, to view our eroding empire through the gauzy vapors of past grandeur.
Republicans have even submitted a draconian budget that would make deep cuts into the tiny vein that is nonsecurity discretionary spending, cuts that would prove devastating to the poor and working class. At the very time that many Americans — and the very country itself — are struggling to emerge from a very deep hole, the Republican proposal would simply throw the dirt in on top of us.
This cannot be. Financing for education and social services isn’t simply about handouts to the hardscrabble, it is about building an infrastructure that can produce healthy, engaged and well-educated citizens who can compete in an increasingly cutthroat global economy.
One of President Obama’s new catchphrases is “win the future,” but we can’t win the future by ceding the present and romanticizing the past.
“LOS ANGELES (REUTERS).- Street artist Banksy’s first film “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is up for an Oscar — and it seems the subversive Briton may be waging an unorthodox awards campaign on the walls and billboards of Los Angeles.
Several examples of graffiti bearing the hallmarks of Banksy’s style and humor have turned up in areas of the city in recent days, including a Charlie Brown figure apparently bent on arson, and a cocktail-swigging Mickey Mouse.”
The new polluter-funded GOP House majority continues to dance with those that bought them – international oil companies, gas companies and coal companies, and the many front group organizations they spawn that further their interests.
As a result, the latest “slashing” of the US budget completely eliminates funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, with a cut that will have virtually zero effect on the federal budget. According to Climate Science Watch, the vote passed by a party-line vote of 244-179.
The IPCC synthesizes the most up to date available science on climate change to help the public and policymakers know the current state of the evolving science, in order to plan, mitigate and prevent the very worst effects of climate change with good smart policy that incentivizes a move to clean non-polluting energy to safeguard our future. Hardly controversial in a sane nation. And cost-effective.
The level of US funding has fluctuated, depending on the year, between about $5.6 million under Democratic congresses, down to about $200,000 during the last GOP congress, in the first six years of the Bush administration. The current level is $2.3 million from last year’s “split” congress (Pelosi House, but Minority Rule Senate – the 60 vote hurdle created a de facto “McConnell” Senate).
The IPCC will probably do fine with no funding from us.
The organization is able to achieve as much as it does because the thousands of scientists from around the world who work on the reports receive no direct compensation for their considerable time and effort drafting, reviewing and editing the summary documents. The IPCC summaries are updated every 3 or 4 years.
After noting the previous vote to de-fund the EPA’s ability to collect greenhouse gas data on polluters, Waxman said: “Now we’re being asked to de-fund the work of international scientists to learn about the threat.
The assumption seems to be that there is no threat, and therefore let’s not study it. I think that is not a wise assumption. This is a very shortsighted proposal to cut these funds.
It’s like putting our heads in the sand, denying the science, and then stopping the scientists from working – because they might come to a different conclusion from the Republican Party’s ideology, in believing that there’s no problem and therefore we don’t need to know anything about it”.
Indeed. The paltry cuts are not about cutting the budget.
De-funding the IPCC is no big saving. But that is not the point. Even $200,000 is too much to give an organization that collects and publishes findings decidedly at odds with the interests of the international polluter cartel that controls the US GOP.
[T]he poor are not directly reaching into your pocket and pulling out wads of cash to go buy such luxuries as food. You are, as are many, many of the working and non-working poor, paying taxes which then go to fund things such as food stamps, WIC, and/or other food programs. But the argument that the poor are “spending YOUR money” is so ludicrous it barely warrants an argument. Everyone pays into taxes somehow. Income tax, property tax, sales tax, taxes on phone service, gas tax, etc. etc. etc. and ideally, those all go to the related services and charges. Right. Just like the lottery pays for schools.
[…] Your tax dollars also fund social security. When someone of social security age buys food in a grocery store, do you inspect their purchases and glare at them for spending YOUR TAX DOLLARS (tm) on their food? Politicians are paid with your tax dollars. Do you side-eye them for spending YOUR TAX DOLLARS on their food?
“You pinhead… You self-centered self-righteous socialist out of control dangerous man-hating bitch. Shut your mouth. We might have bought into this crap in the 1960s because too many people were doing LSD. We’re not on LSD anymore — we need to start making sense.”—Glenn Beck, referring to Gloria Steinem as a “self-centered self-righteous socialist out of control dangerous man-hating bitch” (via reallyfoxnews)