Saturday, May 31, 2008
Violations Of Spirit & Intent - San Angelo Texas district court judge blocks sect parents from reuniting with kids despite State Supreme Court ruling
Also notable... 2 out of 3 foster children in the Texas 'Foster Care' system are being drugged.
NBC News, with a 10 minute report.
If you want the details on the type of incidents attributable to Texas CPS, more recent abuse incidents, child endangerments, and general mismanagement of a state agency needing to be federally investigated, it's all at "It's Almost Tuesday:
Checking In: Violations in Texas Foster Care
Posted on May 21, 2008 by Forever
Below I have compiled a sample of real violations within the foster care system in Texas. These facilities are in major metropolitan areas (ie Dallas/Ft.Worth, Austin, San Antonio areas) and they are listed here exactly as they are reported here by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
While we talk about foster care abuse that goes on, there is a little bit of a difference between saying the words “child abuse” and actually seeing a description of what real adults are doing (or not doing) to these children…. in the name of ‘protection’… and using tax payers money to-boot.
I plan on doing lists like these every once in a while… keep us checking in on Texas Foster Care facilities… checkin’ in on the children.
Standard Number 749.1521(4)
Standard Description: Medication Storage-Store medication covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act under double lock in a separate container
Technical Assistance Given: Yes
Several medications covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act were found in a locked box in an unlocked cabinet. The cabinet was in the foster mother’s office, which was also unlocked. These medications, therefore, were not kept under double lock at the time of inspection.
Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)
Standard Description:Verification Certificate specifies the ages and gender(s) of children for which the home is verified
Technical Assistance Given: No
The verification certificate at the home did not match the characteristics of the children placed. The certificate indicated the home was verified for children ages 10 to 17 even though a 7-year-old child was placed in the home.
Standard Number: 16102
Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected
Technical Assistance Given: No
A young foster child was sexually assaulted by an older child in the home. The older child was arrested for sexual assault.
More @ It's Almost Tuesday
Even the DISSENTING judges thought the state's handling of the situation bizzare: "Justice Harriet O'Neill for the dissenting group. "On this record, however, I agree that there was no evidence of imminent 'danger to the physical health or safety' of boys and pre-pubescent girls to justify their removal from the YFZ Ranch, and to this extent I join the Court’s opinion."
In Full @ ABA Journal
This is 'home sweet home' for the FLDS chidren
...and this is how the 460+ children were FORCIBLY taken from their homes by Texas state authorities
The Third Court of Appeals ruled last week that the agency had overstepped its authority by removing all of the children from the compound. On Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court agreed with that decision and ordered the CPS to return the children to their homes.SAN ANGELO -- A state district judge who had been ordered by two higher courts to send children from a polygamist sect back home refused Friday to sign an order that would have started the process of reuniting them with their parents."
The judge's unexpected move came after four hours of legal wrangling where it appeared some of the children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) would be going home as early as Monday.
Attorneys left the courtroom scratching their heads over Judge Barbara Walther's abrupt end of the hearing.
The sticking points centered on restrictions Walther added to an order that had been agreed upon among attorneys for Child Protective Services, the parents and the children.
Instead, Walther added additional restrictions...
In Full @ The Star-Telegram (Dead Link, NLA via google search)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
"The more stupid shit we do, like shooting up the Koran, the longer we'll be in this country," --Master Sergeant Joseph Kather, US Army reservistLetters From Iraq: From 'Charlie' to 'Haji'
Military officials say the soldier who had fired at the Muslim holy book has been removed from Iraq, though ISN Security Watch was unable to confirm this independently.
Following target practice with the Koran, US military commanders fear inflamed anti-American sentiment as the pattern of disrespect continues.
By Anna Badkhen in Baghdad for ISN Security Watch (27/05/08)
Before the US soldiers climbed into their Bradley fighting vehicles and took off for a two-hour street patrol in southwestern Baghdad, US Army Sergeant First Class Robert Keith had something to tell them.
"You go into a lot of houses," Keith told the young men standing in the dusty gravel before him. "Sometimes you're on your own. I hope you do the right thing."
He took a short pause and surveyed his troops, making sure they understood the importance of what he was about to say.
"If you pull out a Koran and shoot at it," he told them, "I'll kill you."
Keith was reacting to the latest incident that US military commanders here fear may inflame the anti-American sentiment in Iraq: A soldier from Keith's own 4-64 armor battalion of the Fourth Brigade, Third Infantry Division, used the Koran for target practice this month in the predominantly Sunni Baghdad suburb of Radwaniyah.
The shooting of Islam's holy book was the latest publicized illustration of US forces' disregard of Iraqi, and Muslim, culture. The most infamous episode of disrespect during the five-year war saw US soldiers torture Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison.
But degrading treatment of Iraqis is commonplace among US troops, who typically refer to traditional dishdasha shirts as "man-dresses," and use the word "haji" as a derogatory term to refer to Iraqis the way US soldiers in Vietnam called Viet Cong fighters "Charlie."...
Friday, May 23, 2008
As War Crimes Continue, Admiration On Capitol Hill Grows For General Petraeus... Upbeat on Destruction Of Iraqi Society And Culture
Analysis: Petraeus upbeat on Iraq
May 23, 2008 at 10:56 AM
By MELISSA SCHMITT
WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) -- Gen. David Petraeus told an admiring Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that the improving security situation in Iraq will likely allow him to recommend further U.S. troop reductions this fall, beyond the planned drawdown to about 140,000 in July.
Petraeus, currently the commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and now nominated by President Bush to take over as head of U.S. Central Command, appeared before the senators for a confirmation hearing. But the gathering quickly turned from his job qualifications to a progress report on Iraq.
His comments were markedly more optimistic than his last update to the committee only six weeks ago.
Petraeus reported that recent attempts by Iraqi security forces to secure parts of the nation -- including Basra, Mosul and the sprawling Shiite slum known as Sadr City in Baghdad -- with diminished U.S. military involvement have proven successful.
The general also said the U.S.-backed central government was enjoying more support among the Iraqi people,"
In Full @ UPI
Here's one of the 'Iraqi people' he obviously hasn't asked:
"Those civilians include people like Zahara Fadhil, a 10-year-old girl with a tiny frame and long brown hair. Relatives said she was wounded by a missile on April 20 at approximately 8 p.m. in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City. The U.S. military said it fired a Hellfire missile in Zahara's neighborhood at that time, targeting men who were seen loading rockets into a sedan.How, you ask, did THAT happen to this child?
Her face drained of color and her legs scarred by shrapnel, Zahara spoke haltingly when asked what she thought of U.S. troops.
"They kill people," she said. Lying in bed, she gasped for air before continuing.
"They should leave Iraq now."
The reason the Pentagon MIGHT be able to allow a 'drawdown' to 140,000 troops is:
In Iraq, a Surge in U.S. Airstrikes
In other words, We can't really carpet bomb Baghdad, Mosul etc like we did to VAST INHABITED AREAS of Vietnam...
We NEED the infrastructure this time...
But we can commit the high tech, tailored-for-urban-warfare equivalent of that war crime.
Military Says Attacks Save Troops' Lives, but Civilian Casualties Elicit Criticism
Footage: Hellfire Airstrikes Over Sadr City
Since clashes broke out in eastern Baghdad in late March the U.S. Army has fired more than 200 hellfire missiles in Baghdad, killing over 251 people. A pilot describes his experiences.
By Ernesto Londoño and Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, May 23, 2008; Page A10
CAMP TAJI, Iraq -- From an Apache helicopter, Capt. Ben Katzenberger's battlefield resembles a vast mosaic of tiny brown boxes.
"The city looks like a bucket of Legos dumped out on the ground," the 26-year-old pilot said. "It's brown Legos, no color. It's really dense and hard to pick things out because everything looks the same."
He uses a powerful lens to zoom in on tiny silhouettes, trying to identify people with "hostile intent" among hundreds of ordinary citizens in Baghdad.
In recent weeks, Katzenberger and other pilots have dramatically increased their use of helicopter-fired missiles against enemy fighters, often in densely populated areas. Since late March, the military has fired more than 200 Hellfire missiles in the capital, compared with just six missiles fired in the previous three months.
The military says the tactic has saved the lives of ground troops and prevented attacks, but the strikes have also killed and wounded civilians, provoking criticism from Iraqis...
In Full (4 Pages) @ The Washington Post
Thanks For Stopping By
Thursday, May 22, 2008
In Honor Of National Tap Dance Day - The Senator "Wide Stance" Larry Craig Bathroom Stall 'Bobble Foot'
"According to a Saints press release about its Larry Craig bobble foot day, "It doesn't matter if your tapping style is done with a 'wide stance.'"
On Sunday, May 25 the first 2500 fans through the gates at Midway Stadium will receive a Saints bobble foot in honor of National Tap Dance Day and in tribute to all their toe-tapping friends and fans from around the nation who may ever have set foot in Minneapolis-St. Paul… even for just a change of planes. The one-of-a-kind collector’s item depicts a restroom stall and a bobble foot peaking out from underneath.Read it all, in it's full wide standing glory
Monday, May 19, 2008
International Law Portfolio - He "Looked Into It"... Quote of the day From Colombia's Defense Minister
Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos was asked yesterday exactly why 60 of his soldiers crossed the border into Venezuela over the weekend:“I looked into it and they were not doing anything”
H/T to Great Moments in Investigating (BoRev.Net)
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Un-Holy War Chronicles - US sniper in Iraq used Koran for larget practice, writes offensive graffiti
"An American sniper has been sent home from Iraq for using a copy of the Koran for target practice at a shooting range near Baghdad, the US military says."
He was unnamed, but was reportedly a staff sergeant in a sniper section.
US military spokesman Colonel Bill Buckner said the incident was "both serious and deeply troubling", but stressed it was an "isolated incident and a result of one soldier's actions".
The US army's commander in Baghdad, Major-General Jeffery Hammond, made a personal apology to local Sunni Arab leaders in Radwaniya, CNN reported.
On arrival, he was met by hundreds of protesting tribesmen.
The military presented the elders with a new copy of the Koran.
Thanks For Stopping By
Friday, May 16, 2008
Blatant Media Lies Department - Interpol’s Report Confirms that the Supposed FARC Computers **Were** Manipulated
El Pais (Spain, IHT/NYT affiliation) “Interpol Certifies that the FARC Computers Were Not Manipulated,” (with the subtitle: “Police Organization Says the Laptops Belonged to Raúl Reyes.”)From the Interpol Report they speak of...
"The verification of the eight seized FARC computer exhibits by INTERPOL does not imply the validation of the accuracy of the user files, the validation of any country’s interpretation of the user files or the validation of the source of the user files."BoRev's resident pundit put it this way:
I don’t know how you all have been spending your weekend, but mine’s been kind of busy. Between getting a haircut, rebuilding my hard drive, and those intermittent, rage-filled, computer-related screaming jags, I’ve been reading that Interpol report from the other day.
And you know what’s weird about it?
A BIG H/T to machetera.wordpress.com and igc.org
“FARC” computers go back to the future!
May 16, 2008
Look what Interpol found on the “FARC” computers!
- 2,110 files with creation dates ranging between 20 April 2009 to 27 August 2009
- 1,434 files which show as having been last modified between 5 April 2009 and 16 October 2010
Wait! Computer dates aren’t set in stone by the immutable Atomic Clock in Denver? But that would mean…
(The parts of the report they’ve not wanted to emphasize)
Carlos Martínez/Pascual Serrano - Rebelión
Last March 1, the Colombian Army attacked a FARC camp in Ecuadoran territory. The army supposedly captured three laptops, three flash drives and two external hard disks. And it must be said “supposedly” because said evidence was not obtained under established police or judicial procedures, but rather through military aggression in a foreign country, making any evidence obtained thereby illegal and unusable in any judicial procedure.
In order to give validity to this “evidence,” the Colombian authorities asked Interpol to produce a report certifying the “authenticity” of the archives contained in the equipment. Yesterday, March 15, the report was made public; a reading of which, calls attention to the following conclusions:
First, a reference is made to “data classified as ULTRA SECRETO” (Page 20 of the report) when part of the data was already published in the El País newspaper.
The most important is that the report itself acknowledges in its “Finding 2b” (Page 30) that the Colombian authorities manipulated the computers and storage devices and that “Access to the data contained in the eight FARC computer exhibits…did not conform to internationally recognized principles for handling electronic evidence by law enforcement.”
The study commissioned by the Colombian government acknowledges that:
“Direct access may complicate validating this evidence for purposes of its introduction in a judicial proceeding, because law enforcement is then required to demonstrate or prove that the direct access did not have a material impact on the purpose for which the evidence is intended.”
For example, further on in the document, Interpol says that:
“The operating systems of the three seized laptops all showed that the laptops had been shut down on 3 March 2008 (at different times, but all three prior to 11:45 a.m., the time of receipt by the forensic computer examiners of the Colombian Judicial Police). The two external hard disks and the three USB thumb drives had all been connected to a computer between 1 and 3 March 2008, without prior imagine of their contents and without the use of write-blocking hardware.”
That is, the Colombian Army used and modified the archives contained in the computers, USB memory and hard disks, before delivering them to the Colombian police.
For example, on page 31, the report says:
“83. Seized exhibit 26, a laptop computer, showed the following effects on files on or after 1 March 2008:
- 273 system files were created
- 373 system and user files were accessed
- 786 system files were modified
- 488 system files were deleted
The report says that user documents (Word and the like) are authentic, because they were not modified between March 1 and the date of the examination, however, the same report acknowledges the limits of this statement because in Exhibit 31, there are:
- 2,110 files with creation dates ranging between 20 April 2009 to 27 August 2009
- 1,434 files which show as having been last modified between 5 April 2009 and 16 October 2010
It concludes that “these files were originally created prior to 1 March 2008 on a device or devices with incorrect system time settings. (Page 33)
What this means is that any user changing the time on the operating system can create a document with any date they please, either a prior or even a future one.
It must be stressed that in regard to the forensic conclusions, the report literally says:
Without revealing the content of the data, INTERPOL can state the following with regard to the user files contained in the eight seized FARC computer exhibits:
- 109 document files were found on more than one of the exhibits
- 452 spreadsheets
- 7,989 e-mail addresses
- 10,537 multimedia files (sound and video)
- 22,481 web pages
- 37,872 written documents (such as Word documents, PDF files, text format documents)
- 210,888 images
Of the above, 983 files were found to be encrypted. (Page 27)
In other words, nowhere in the seized computers is there a reference to them containing emails. Remember that the reports from El País referred to emails and published the files under the headline “Emails captured from Raúl Reyes computer.” Therefore, where did they get those emails? Or did they simply not exist in the seized computers?
Finally, the report concludes (Page 35 and beyond) with seven pages dedicated to recommendations to police in member countries, telling them how electronic evidence should be treated, recommendations that were probably made because this case serves as an example to police for how not to collect information technology (IT) evidence. The only way in which one might ensure the authenticity of documents contained in IT archives is to obtain them under judicial direction and from the outset, when they come into custody of jurisdictionally independent authorities; doing forensic testing on only one exact copy of the contents of the hard disks and memory.
As it is, Interpol’s own report only casts more doubt on the origin of the computer archives published by El País in order to attack Venezuela and Ecuador.
This has also been pointed out by the U.S. academics Miguel Tinker-Salas, Professor at the University of California (Pomona) and Forrest Hylton, Professor at New York University (NYU), who warned that the information found in the computers said to be those of Raúl Reyes, had been misused by the Colombian government and Interpol.
Miguel Tinker-Salas, an expert on Latin American subjects, indicated that there are number of politically motivated misinterpretations assigned to the contents of the computers. “One must recall that Interpol can only say whether manipulation took place. But it cannot say whether the elements it found are original and it cannot certify the information.” Moreover, he pointed out the problem inherent in the fact that the report was disseminated from Colombia, since this demonstrates that Interpol is defending the interests of Álvaro Uribe’s government, supported by the United States.
Forrest Hylton, of NYU, expressed the need for the contents to be verified by an institution with a greater degree of independence. “It’s likely that the computers did survive the Colombian bombing, but the problem is that we don’t know anything more, nor how they were treated,” he said.
The reality is the Colombia did manipulate the FARC computers. The media, the Colombian government and Interpol’s managers have stressed the elements that interest the media who headline their reports, “Interpol Finds Documents Sourcing From Raúl Reyes’ Computer to be Authentic,” or “Police Agency says Venezuela Financed the FARC” (El País).
The most eloquent evidence that these headlines are lies is that the Interpol report, in order to ensure its impartiality, was done by IT technicians who don’t speak Spanish and didn’t have a political understanding of what the files said.
That’s what one report said: “The experts come from outside the region and didn’t speak Spanish, which helped eliminate the possibility that they might have been influenced by the contents of the data they were analyzing.”
A report from an IT technician who doesn’t understand Spanish cannot possibly say that Venezuela financed the FARC, because s/he wouldn’t have understood a single word of what the files said.
The media misrepresentation has continued while the Interpol report summary says:
The verification of the eight seized FARC computer exhibits by INTERPOL does not imply the validation of the accuracy of the user files, the validation of any country’s interpretation of the user files or the validation of the source of the user files.
El País headlined its report from Maite Rico and Pilar Lozano, “Interpol Certifies that the FARC Computers Were Not Manipulated,” with the subtitle: “Police Organization Says the Laptops Belonged to Raúl Reyes.”
On the other hand, in passing supposed contents of the computers that implicated Venezuela and Ecuador through the filter of a friendly press, Colombian authorities showed the world that they were more interested in criminalizing these governments than in allowing judges and security forces to work. If they’re so interested in transparency, it would be good to know what information the FARC had about paramilitary crimes and the members of the Uribe administration implied in paramilitarism.
Surely there were was plenty of that in the hundreds of gigabytes that are said to be contained in the disks.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.
Original Spanish @ www.rebelion.org
Thanks For Stopping By
Saturday, May 10, 2008
"The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates...because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public." - October 2, 1988, LWV trustees statement, issued by unanimous vote.
The Disinformation Age - Part I
By Carlton Meyer
A common computer adage is “garbage-in, garbage-out”; i.e. putting bad data in a computer produces bad information. This same rule applies to humans. It doesn’t matter if people are educated, intelligent, and logical. They will make bad choices if fed bad information. This happens frequently in American elections because voters are misled by a continual flow of disinformation. Ask any American which country provides the world’s best health care. Very few can provide an informed guess, yet most will exclaim that the United States has the best health care system. This is far from the truth, yet years of corporate advertising, corporate sponsored news programs, and speeches from corporate sponsored politicians have spread this disinformation. Even educated elderly people will parrot the line that socialized medicine doesn’t work, although they eagerly use the government’s Medicare program.
A frequent example occurs when seemingly intelligent Americans state that the media is "left-wing," as though CBS and CNN are run by hippies living in a flophouse.
The American media is owned and controlled by billionaires, who have many other corporate interests. They have little concern for working Americans. This should be obvious, yet these billionaires hire television and radio commentators to complain the media is "left-wing." It is in their interest to keep viewers ignorant and distracted by threats, like terrorists and liberals. American writer H. L. Mencken recognized this decades ago when he wrote: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
This problem worsened as the American news media no longer attempts to report facts that disturb viewers in order to boost their ratings. Fox News leads the way by hiring young models to deliver happy news or titillating stories about missing children. Walter Cronkite often notes that there are no anchormen anymore, just news readers.
Those attractive faces on television do not write or even edit news stories like he did. They read teleprompter news written by people who are part of network entertainment divisions.News is designed to entertain Americans, not to inform them...
In Full @ WarandPeace.Ru (Was: Sanders Research, dead link)
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Today's US Election News - Zawahiri endorses McCain Plan For Iran; McCain seeks Endorsement of Catholic-Haters; 8% Percent of Pakistanis Back McCain
Nevertheless, this is too funny to let slide out of a false sense of Buffalo pride.
My perhaps unpublished 2nd try at commenting on Genocide follows.
Zawahiri endorses McCain Plan to Bomb Iran; McCain seeks Endorsement of Catholic-Haters; 8 Percent of Pakistanis Back McCain
Senator John McCain, who seeks endorsements from haters of Roman Catholics, is alleging that Hamas has "endorsed" Barack Obama. He darkly suggests that this means something.
It is a despicable, dirty campaign trick. Who do you think the Ku Klux Klan will be endorsing? And if the Grand Dragons plump for McCain, does that tell us anything about McCain except that he is pasty faced? You can't logically read off anything at all from an unsolicited endorsement.
Actually it occurred to me to ask who is endorsing McCain in the Muslim world.
Well, it turns out that al-Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri has declared that he is actually on McCain's side in wanting to destroy Iran. Al-Zawahiri is hurt that McCain keeps confusing hyper-Sunni al-Qaeda with radical Shiism: "Ayman al-Zawahiri said al-Qaeda wants to see the destruction of Iran - a Shiite nation battling the terrorists . . . "The dispute between America and Iran is a genuine struggle, and the possibility of the US striking Iran is real," al-Zawahiri said. . ." Al-Zawahiri hopes that the US struggle with Iran will destroy the latter and weaken the former, putting al-Qaeda in a position to administer the coup de grace.
In essence, al-Zawahiri is endorsing McCain's plan to "bomb, bomb, bomb/ bomb, bomb Iran."
Then, it turns out that 8 percent of Pakistanis support McCain. 30 percent support Hillary Clinton, and she leads in this Muslim country over Obama (13%). But surely it is Pakistani liberals who are favoring Hillary, the sort people who supported Benazir Bhutto.
So which Pakistanis are supporting McCain?
Presumably the conservative Muslims who can't accept the leadership of a woman....
Then, Professor Cole goes on to cover the background of some of John McCain's more 'ardent' U.S. supporters:
But lets consider the people from whom McCain has actively sought an endorsement. Many of them seem to engage in a lot of hate speech against Catholics, Muslims and others.
John McCain's spiritual guides:
John Hagee, whose endorsement John McCain actively sought, compares the Roman Catholic Church to Hitler and depicts it as drinking the blood of the Jews through history:
John McCain praised Rod Parsely as a spiritual guide; he is caught on camera below:
Parseley accuses the federal government of enabling a genocide against African-Americans.
That's where I attempted to comment, on the casual dismissal of the charge of genocide against African Americans, no matter WHAT the accuser's political background.
I second anonymous' comment in regard to Parsley's statement about Planned Parenthood & Margaret Sanger AND I also am here to say the genocide continues, with more than 40% of male African Americans having been incarcerated in their lives (over 90% of California's prison population is African American and Latino), chemical warfare on their communities in the form of Heroin and Crack Cocaine, much of it imported into the US over the years with the witting or unwitting (I'd be glad to state which I think, but one post on this has already been 'moderated') assistance of the US military and CIA... cf. "The French Connection" Heroin pipeline from the "Golden Triangle" of SE Asia to Marseilles France with the PUBLICLY KNOWN assistance of US Special Forces and the CIA, to the US communities of color in the sixties.
Who would believe that it ever even slowed down since then... and now, the dismemberment of their communities en masse... cf. New Orleans Katrina "reconstruction" (gentrification) and the mass forced relocation of the people who live on 'Hurricane Alley" along the Mississippi coast.
Pardon my analysis...
...but sometime I think we're all actors in an American B Movie
...and we would have much rather had John Wayne...
Y' All know darn well we would have rather had John Wayne than any of the cast of blindly US policy supporting characters currently feeling 'presidential'.
In Full, with videos, at Informed Comment
Thanks For Stopping By
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
It's Not JUST Oil Companies Making A "Killing" - Multinationals making billions in profit from food crisis
Multinationals making billions in profit from food crisis
World Development Movement director calls earnings ‘immoral’
Giant agri-businesses are enjoying soaring profits as a result of the world food crisis that is driving millions of people towards starvation, British newspaper The Independent reported on Sunday.
The report quotes World Bank figures that 100 million more people are facing severe hunger this year, saying that some of the world’s richest food companies are making record profits.
Monsanto reported last month that its net income for the three months up to the end of February 2008 had more than doubled from the same period in 2007 — from $543 million to $1.12 billion.
Cargill’s net earnings soared by 86 percent from $553 million to $1.030 billion over the same three months, and Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest agricultural processors of soy, corn and wheat, increased its net earnings by 42 percent in the first three months of this year, from $363 million to $517 million.
Similarly, the Mosaic Company, one of the world’s largest fertiliser companies, saw its income for the three months ending February 29 rise from $42.2 million to $520.8 million, on the back of a shortage of fertiliser. The prices of some kinds of fertiliser have more than tripled over the past year as demand has outstripped supply. The Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that 37 developing countries are in urgent need of food. Food riots have broken out in several nations.
Immoral: The report quotes World Development Movement Director Benedict Southworth as calling the escalating earnings and profits as ‘immoral’. daily times monitor
Source: Daily Times - Pakistan
Thanks For Stopping By
Monday, May 5, 2008
Disabled Homeless Vietnam Vet
Santa Cruz California
H/T Stan @ Feral Scholar, who comments:
for the legalization of the “demon weed”
5th May 2008, 11:13 am by Stan
For those who don’t think this is serious, or that some of us would just like to have a legal joint now and again… you are half wrong. Prison, the attendant ruination of lives, and billions of dollars spent harrassing harmless pot smokers is very serious. And it would be nice to have a few joints now and again that didn’t cost a paycheck. I won’t even mention cannibus is a seriously useful medicinal herb.
The linked commentary says pretty much all of it… except how we can unite more people to strike down this cruel and idiotic prohibition.
Will Pot Ever Be Legal in This Schizoid Country?
By Steven Wishnia, AlterNet
Posted on May 1, 2008
Marijuana occupies a bizarrely paradoxical place in American culture. Its use is widespread, commonplace among the young and ubiquitous in popular culture. Yet it remains highly illegal, and talk of legalization is usually deemed political suicide.
Here are five signs that pot should be legal soon -- and five reasons why it probably won't.
1. Pot is indelibly a part of the cultural mainstream. The stoner comedy Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay grossed $14.6 million in its first weekend, making it the second most popular movie in the country. Most pro basketball players blaze, according to sources as diverse as the ganjaphile Mavericks player Josh Howard and the anti-drug ex-Knick Charles Oakley. And on April 20, thousands of revelers turned out at the University of Colorado and the University of California at Santa Cruz to celebrate the 4/20 herb holiday.
As of 2002, notes Keith Stroup, legal counsel with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 47 percent of American adults had smoked marijuana at some time in their lives, according to a CNN/Time poll. By today, he adds, "it is likely there are more living Americans who have smoked marijuana than who have not. Approximately 26 million Americans smoked marijuana just in the last year. All of these people know it did not cause them any real harm and that it did not keep them from having a successful life and career."
2. Increased medical acceptance. In February, the American College of Physicians, the second-largest medical organization in the country, urged the federal government to move cannabis out of Schedule I, the category for drugs with no legal medical use, "given marijuana's proven efficacy at treating certain symptoms and its relatively low toxicity." The group also strongly urged legal protections for doctors who prescribe cannabis and patients who use it.
Last year, more than 3,000 articles on cannabinoids were published in scientific journals. These have explored their possible uses for a host of ailments, from easing the pain of arthritis to inhibiting the growth of brain tumors.
The development of vaporization technology -- pricey devices that heat cannabis to a point where the THC can be inhaled, but don't incinerate the plant matter -- has eliminated one of the main reasons for doctors to be uncomfortable about the medical use of cannabis: that smoke contains toxic compounds. "Vaporization of THC offers the rapid onset of symptom relief without the negative effects from smoking," the ACP noted.
3. A federal decriminalization bill was introduced last month. HR 5843, sponsored by Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Tex., would eliminate federal penalties for possession of less than 100 grams or for the nonprofit transfer of less than one ounce between adults. The bill is the first decriminalization measure introduced in Congress since the early 1980s.
4. The state budget crunch. With the recession battering their treasuries, many states are taking a second look at the price of incarcerating thousands of drug prisoners. Legal cannabis would eliminate the costs of arresting, prosecuting and jailing cannabis users, growers and dealers, and could be a major new source of tax revenue -- especially in states like California, where it is estimated to be the most valuable cash crop. And cannabis farming could revive rural economies, whether by hemp production in the Great Plains or marijuana cultivation in Appalachia.
5. There are no rational arguments against legalizing cannabis under regulations similar to those for alcohol. I've been covering drug issues for almost 20 years (and smoking the green since? Well, I went to Woodstock when I was 14, you do the math), and I haven't heard any. The most common, the "gateway theory" and the idea that today's pot is so much stronger than Woodstock-era weed that it's essentially a different drug, are based on distortion and misinformation. They aren't even valid rebuttable presumptions like "abortion is murder," "the government should not interfere with the free market by regulating rents," or "the U.S. government had to depose Saddam Hussein by any means necessary." And the "send a message to the children" argument is akin to espousing the resurrection of Prohibition because legal alcohol encourages underage drinking.
On the other hand, I strongly doubt that cannabis will become legal in the near future, for the following reasons...
In Full @ Alternet
Also See: Introducing...... Police States For PotHeads: U.S. to dispatch drones to hunt pot over California - McClatchy
Saturday, May 3, 2008
In Anticipation Of The '08 US Presidential Election And It's Outcome (Again)... A Message from John Cleese (Monty Python) to the people of the US
Message from John Cleese to the people of the country formerly known as the "United" States Of America
In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (excepting Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new prime minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ize will be replaced by the suffix ise. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to Acceptable levels. (look up vocabulary).
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.
You will relearn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen.
4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.
6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.
8. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
9. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) - roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.
10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters.
Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
13. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
14. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 21% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.
15. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
16. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
17. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 PM with proper cups, never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; strawberries in season.
Thank you for your co-operation.
Related @ Technorati: Comedy, George W. Bush, Humor, John Cleese, Monty Python, Satire, U.S. Domestic Policy, U.S. Foreign Policy
Thanks For Stopping By