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November 19, 2007

ICA newsletter, Week 8

This week:

• Two of the main candidates for the Democratic nomination clashed in a debate, over rumours over ‘scandalous information’ possessed by the Clinton electoral team about Barack Obama. This follows a row about planted questions in one Clinton rally in Iowa, and Clinton has been accused of not giving ‘straight answers to tough questions’ by Obama. So are the Democrats playing into the hands of the Republicans with infighting? And more generally how do we think the US electoral process is going to pan-out?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6297545.stm – Guide to the US electoral process
http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article2778923.ece – Quick guide to the candidates

• President Sarkozy is facing up to the first challenge to his Presidency in the form of striking public sector workers. Sarkozy was elected on a package of reforms, but the workers are striking over pension reforms. Sarkozy may be comforted by polls showing 55-60% of French opposing the strikes, but a poll in Liberation showed 79% believed that Sarkozy had failed to deliver on his central economic pledges. So is this a key moment in the Sarkozy economic project? And can a French President successfully stand-up to strikes?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2866153.ece

• Foreign Secretary David Miliband has suggested that the EU should expand beyond Europe, to include Russia, Middle Eastern and North African countries. He claimed that EU enlargement was ‘our most important tool’ for extending stability, seeing the EU less as a potential superpower and more as a bargaining chip in persuading countries to reform and adhere to global standards. So is an ever expanding EU feasible, given the anti-immigration feelings brewing in some sectors of many European countries? And would countries from the aforementioned regions actually wish to join the EU?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7095657.stm

Also in the news:

• Elephant football in Thailand – http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/video/2007/nov/19/elephant.festival
• Blondes make men act dumb – http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article2890531.ece
• Ahmadinejad dismisses dollar – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7101050.stm


October 31, 2007

Project for New American Century.

Today in the ICA meeting a member told us about the Project for a New American Century. It’s a think tank (set up in 1997) that aims to significantly increase US military spending and intervention in the world so to ensure US interests are promoted. On its foundation a statement of principles was a collection of signed supporters, below are a few of its signatories:

Jeb Bush: Governor of Florida (1999-2007) and George Bush’s brother.
Donald Rumsfeld: Secretary of Defense (1975-1977, 2001-2006).
Paul Wolfewitz: Deputy Secretary of Defence (2001-2005), President of World Bank (2005-2007).
Dick Chaney: Vice President (2001-).
Dan Quayle: Vice President (1989-1993).
Zalmay Khalilzad: Ambassador; Afghanistan (2003-2005), Iraq (2005-2007), UN (2007-).
Steve Forbes: CEO Forbes Inc (publishes Forbes magazine).


October 29, 2007

Two Americas?

America
The two maps here shows which states would have voted which way in the 2004 presidential elections. The first shows if only the votes of poor voters were counted, and the second if only rich people were counted; with blue signifying democrats. What we see is one of class warfare, the poor votes democrats and the rich votes republicans. However reading the newspapers gives the impression that America is fundamentally divided, since the 1960s, between liberal Vs Conservative line, such as in: Abortion, Gay marriages, War on terror, etc. Short term policies designed to divide the working classes so that the elite can control the economic agenda.

June 03, 2006

Starbucks @ Camp Delta

The action of some protestors in Brighton is documented in an Indymedia UK article, together with some photos.

They are protesting about the Starbucks outlet in the Guantanamo Bay military base. By being (willingly) present there they are showing compliance with the illegal detention without trial of the prisoners there, and upon knowing this, buying coffee at a Starbucks outlet can only be validating the crimes against humanity on the base.

Simple message: if you agree with me and think what's going on at Camp Delta is wrong (both legally and morally), don't buy Starbucks coffee.

As the above article says, "Please consider whether you want to support these crimes against humanity when you drink your coffee".

The same applies to McDonalds (naturally), Subway, Pizza Hut and KFC, all which, after a breif trawl on the internet, have outlets in GTMO.

(sorry…I could have written a more persuasive/eliquently written piece here, but I'm tired..)


Gun violence

Writing about web page http://woundedinamerica.org/

I'll just leave some interesting facts from this site:

During the 20th century more Americans were killed by gun violence within the U.S. than died from combat wounds, disease, and accidents in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnamese War, and the Gulf War combined. (National Center for Health Statistics and the Department of Veteran Affairs)
Gun violence is one of the leading causes of death for American Blacks, Hispanics, Native Indians, male youth, and white males between the ages of 15–64 years.

And also from the Indymedia article that referred me to the site:

Firearm homicide was the number one cause of death for American Black men ages 15–34 and the leading cause of death for all Black Americans 15–24 year olds.

Oh, but wait..I forgot, the "right to bear arms" trumps the lot.

The question to ask is, how many more people have to die?


May 31, 2006

Won't somebody think of the children!!!

Writing about web page http://www.fox9.com/news/investigators/story.asp?1653685

I found this page as I was wondering round the internet and thought that it deserved being put up. Fox is running a story about how the evil PSP is practically FORCING our dear, sweet, innocent children to look at porn. I know – moral outrage all around. I've never heard of "the internet" before so I was glad that they helped me understand that children can:

"use [the PSP] to capture pornographic images out of thin air"

I better not be breathing this air. Still at least someone is taking charge, one no good punk (a child of 14 years) took this depraved filth into school!!! still, the intrepid local authorities were on hand to safe guard the children:

" Last month a 14–year old boy in Bismark, North Dakota got caught bringing porn into school on his PSP. The local authorities decided to make an example of the boy and charged him with a felony."

Yep, the highest category of offense. And I say good – if they didn't do this the parents might have had to sit down with their child and explain to him why his behavior wasn't appropriate and maybe even discipline him themselves!


Al Gore, talking sense. Naturally some in the US disagree..

There's an interview with Al Gore in the Guardian today, which I confess I haven't read. Instead I saw the cover story concerning it.

In it, it seems that Al Gore, contrary to popular belief, and indeed contrary to himself in 2000, is quite passionate. Many of you will probably know of the film he is releasing about climate change, 'An Inconvenient Truth' (here's the trailer ).

Alas, for all his good work, he's gonna be up against it as the right–wing 'crazies' start mobalizing against him. According to the Guardian article, "A series of television advertisements, launched by a thinktank called the Competitive Enterprise Institute, argue that carbon dioxide emissions are a sign of American productivity and progress."

Hmmm, if any of you find these adverts, you might want to post them here. They could be quite good for a bit of black humour.

Edit: I actually found them quite sharpish..here's the best one:
"Carbon Dioxide: They call it pollution, we call it Life" High Low

There's a couple more, which can be found here.


May 30, 2006

Controversy and 911

I watched this film the other day on the recommendation of Scott. The basic idea is that 911 was planned by, and carried out by, the American government. The guy makes some compelling arguments but for me the most interesting thing was to see all the people who were in the building at the time talking about all the smaller explosions inside the WTC from the lower floors and how the destruction looked, sounded like and acted like a controlled demolition. It does certainly make you feel like it was planned from the inside at the highest levels.

It's worth pointing out that I have read testimony from people who were at the pentagon on the day who said that it smelt like airplane fuel… I guess it's up to you and who you believe.

The film is over an hour long but it is well worth watching it. You can download it from google videos; just click the download button on the right side of the page. see link below: link.


Never mind George, you're only breaking laws passed by a representative government anyhow..

This may in fact be old news, and I may in fact be overusing the blog on its first day, but hey, I'm nothing if not enthusiastic.

According to the Boston Globe, Bush has quietly asserted his right to breach more than 750 laws as commander–in–cheif of the military..

Hmmm, well probably just small bureaucratic laws to streamline the administration. Slightly worrying, but nothing to get our knickers in a twist…

Alas, no. Included is the law passed that bans torture. That's right! In one of these presidential "signing statements", George declared that he personally can order torture if he "believes" it will prevent a terrorist attack or in order to protect that bland notion of national security.

The article says the president has not vetoed any bill that has passed through congress, but instead has lavish signing ceremonies and heaps praise onto whoever wrote it. And then,...

"after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" — official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law."

Examples of these "signing statements" can be found here

One example caught my eye:

March 9: Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.

Bush's signing statement: The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations.

If anything you've got to admire the audacity.


Comedian at White House Dinner Gala crucifying Bush in his own way

link

enjoy! one of the funniest speeches!


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