What are journal impact factors?

The impact factor (IF) of an academic journal is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to recent articles published in the journal. It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals with higher impact factors deemed to be more important than those with lower ones.

Science 2012 Impact Factor 31.03

Nature 2012 impact factor 38.597

Since prestige refers to a person’s or in this case, an entity’s, perceived image or reputation, it’s highly subjective.

However, a concrete way of measuring these journals’ reputation might be looking at their impact factors. An academic journal’s impact factor reflects the average number of citations received by recently published articles in the journal.

In 2012 Science had an impact factor of 31.03 while Nature’s 2012 impact factor was 38.597.

 

Decline and Fall – Skyjacking Edition – 7/8/13

jack

It appears that someone in Washington called several government officials in Europe to force the landing of a jet carrying the President of Bolivia.  If that proves to be the case, the actions by all involved violate of the 2010 international protocol to help stop skyjacking.  The protocol, signed by all but a few nations, says:

“Any person commits an offence if that person unlawfully and intentionally seizes or exercises control of an aircraft in service by force or threat thereof, or by coercion, or by any other form of intimidation, or by any technological means.”  2010 Protocol Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Un-Lawful Seizure of Aircraft

Paranoia on Steroids

The president of Bolivia, Eva Morales, flew to Russia for an international energy conference.  His plane landed and stayed at Vnukovo International Airport while he was at the conference.   During the conference, Morales indicated that he would consider providing asylum for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.  However, he didn’t offer asylum or grandstand when he responded to a reporter’s inquiry.

Based on the forced landing of the Morales plane and the new  “Insider Threat” program to squash whistleblowers, the Obama administration obviously wants Snowden in the worst way.  The diplomatic requests mask a deeper sense of entitlement that turned into recklessness in this situation.

When the Morales plane left Russia, there was a refueling stop planned in Spain’s Canary Islands.  While in Austrian airspace, the Bolivian plan received word that Spain was withdrawing permission to refuel.  The aircraft quickly made landing requests to Portugal, Italy and France.  The word back was no permission to land.  With a need to refuel and no other options, a request was made to Austria and Morales landed in Vienna.

Once on the ground, Morales was confined to the Vienna air terminal for hours.  Bolivian officials insisted that the Austrians search the plane for Snowden.  An Austrian official walked through the plane but supposedly interrupted the search and left.  Austrian President Heinz Fischer said:

“The official was informed that the problem had been fixed and he saw at that point that the plane was empty… He did not look under the seats. There was no formal inspection, but no other person was found aboard.” Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Buenos Ares Herald, July 7

Guess what?  Snowden was not on the plane.

How did this happen?  Were these European countries so anxious to find Snowden, they acted in a way that broke international law and agreements?

Thanks to Matthew Schofield of the McClatchy News Foreign Staff, we know that someone contacted Spanish authorities and authorities in the other refusing nations with requests that the Bolivian plane not land on their territory (How the hunt for Edward Snowden, and bad information, stranded Bolivian president, Friday, July 5, 2013).  Schofield connected the dots on critical elements of this story.

The article quotes Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manual Garcia-Margallo who was interviewed after the incident:

“We were told that Snowden was inside. I can [only] work with the data they give me.  They said they were clear he was inside. … The reactions of European countries were because the information they gave us was that (Snowden) was inside.”  Spanish Foreign Minister Garcia-Margallo McClatchy, July 5 (Author’s emphasis)

That’s telling!  As Schofield points out, the foreign minister didn’t say who they were but let’s guess – an authorized, high-ranking member of the Obama administration.  Who else could make such a request and have it granted?

Also, the foreign minister’s statement implicates officials in the other three European countries.  How else would he know the information he claims to have received?

Is it an international conspiracy to violate protocols on skyjacking yet?

We also find out the obvious reason they thought Morales was on the plane and why that idea was absurd.  Schofield implied that they suspected that Morales’ comment about considering asylum meant both that he would grant it and that the president would sneak Snowden on the presidential aircraft for a getaway.

Maybe they celebrated a bit too much over the holiday weekend and watched an episode of Fox Entertainment’s 24.

What would Jack Bauer do?

If they had exercised the least bit of objective analysis, it would have been apparent that the Snowden-Morales escape scenario was extremely unlikely.

It was public knowledge that Snowden landed and was restricted to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on June 23.   President Morales’ plane landed and remained at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport prior to the Gas Exporting Countries Conference, which started July 1.  To believe that there was actionable intelligence to suspect Morales – Snowden getaway, you have to believe the following.  Snowden could: evade Russian security and leave Sheremetyevo airport; successfully travel the 35 miles across Moscow to Vnukovo airport; evade Russian security there; and, board the Morales plane.

The European countries and the individuals who encouraged them clearly violated the international conventions on skyjacking and the general diplomatic code based on a theory that was unlikely at best and, in reality, absurd.   The overwhelming desire to get Snowden seems to have blocked access to the facts of the situation.

These are the people who are protecting us against terrorist attacks.

Deeper Reasons for Them to Suspect Morales

The suspicions of the officials who encouraged this absurdity make sense, if we assume that the Obama administration was behind this, which, of course, they were.  If you’re sufficiently paranoid, it is easy to suspect others of doing what you do to them.

Evo Morales is a left wing Bolivian politician who was first elected president of Bolivian in 2006.  He leads a movement that incurred the hostility of Bolivia’s financial elite and apparently the United States government under both Bush and Obama.

The Bush administration’s hostility toward Morales included trade conflicts and claims that the administration backed the 2003 massacre of protesters associated with Morales.  According to Morales, the U.S. Embassy was behind a plot to kill him in 2009.  President Obama had to deny approving any assassination plots on a visit to South America.  Bolivia recently turned down any further aid from the United States and expelled U.S. aid personnel.

The administration knows what it has done and plans to do to Morales and the nation of Bolivia.  If you’re sufficiently paranoid, it makes perfect sense to suspect a constant desire for revenge on the part of those you victimize.  As a result, the many reasons to believe Snowden’s escape was nearly impossible made no difference.  The administration bypassed the facts altogether and went with the paranoid logic.  Of course he snuck Snowden on the plane!  He hates our guts!  Go get him.

While the deeper reasons theory makes sense, it could be as simple as this.  One of the many friends made by the administration in six years of drone killings and proxy wars may have injected an email into an Internet portals monitored by NSA and its European partners stating that Snowden was on the plane.

This is just another stop on the boulevard of lost dreams that represents out current political process.

END

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Image:  Wikipedia

Tropical Spring! One million hit the streets across Brazil

brazil3

Sparked by a public transportation fare increase in Sao Paolo a week ago, an estimated one million people showed up in cities across Brazil expressing  discontent with the limited opportunities they face and an indifferent government.

“It’s not really about the price anymore,” said Camila Sena, an 18-year-old university student at a Wednesday protest in Rio de Janeiro’s sister city of Niteroi. “People are so disgusted with the system, so fed up that now we’re demanding change.”  USA Today, June 20, 2013

Like the protests in Turkey over the past weeks, this is an urban phenomenon dominated by the young.  Many are college educated and under or unemployed.  For most, these are their first political protests.  They chafe at wasted public expenditures.  In Rio, for example, the government spend millions for an international soccer tournament while the people idle away with few if any prospects for meaningful employment or a future.  (Image: Brasilia June 20 Semilla Luz)

Public transportation fare increases have been rolled back in Rio, Sao Paolo, where the protests started, and other cities.  The crowds continued to grow.   Demands expanded from  fares to the general state of the economy and lousy governance.  This statement by Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes provides a clue to the indifference that the people see from the government:

“I come here after reflecting a lot on the topic, and I demonstrate that the twenty cents were not made with subsidies. We are going to suspend the increase that was implemented in the beginning of June. This concurs with the actions taken by the mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad. However, we warn that we will have a loss of at least R$200 million for the city and we will have to redefine our priorities.” Eduardo  Paes, Mayor Rio de Janiero, Rio Times, June 20

The Mayor’s city and country is going up in smoke, massive protests in a nation not accustomed to mass action, and he’s been “reflecting on the topic.”  What topic?  Fare increases.  It’s not about that anymore.  The mayor would know that were he paying attention.  Its about a lousy government that is indifferent to the people.  So what does he do.  He decreases fares and, at the same time,  warns that other public service projects will suffer. (Table right:  BBC)

The mayor doesn’t get it?  Politicians around the world don’t get it.

The mass action in Brazil, the sustained protests in Turkey, the union backed protests in Tahrir Square, and Occupy Wall Street — these are all public outpourings by those left out of the workplace; those facing a future of diminishing opportunities.  They know what their leaders are doing about it.  Nothing!

“No more future” is simply unacceptable.

END

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Photographs from last night by Semilla Luz)

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Brasilia June 20 Semilla Luz)

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Rio de Janiero,  June 20 Semilla Luz

 

 

 

Aleppo, Istanbul, and London

aleppo

The war in Syria went from a seeming quagmire to a conflict that may reach a dramatic climax with the coming battle for Aleppo, a city of nearly three million people that was once the commercial center of the nation.   Political leaders and events in two other cities, Istanbul and London, will play a central role in the outcome of the battle.  (Image)

The Syrian Army finished off final rebel resistance in the city of Qusayr last week fighting alongside the Lebanese group Hezbollah.  As a result, the rebel supply line from Lebanon is shut down and the major road from Damascus to Aleppo via Qusayr is open.  The road will serve the supply line for an attack to end rebel occupation of half of that city.

A victory by the Syrian military in Operation Northern Storm, its name for the Aleppo effort, will leave the rebels with very little in the way of major influence or meaningful territory.  From the start, the rebel strategy focused on urban warfare.  The various groups would have little chance of survival in a conventional battle with the Syrian Army.  With the shelter of cities and towns, the Syrian Army’s  advantage vanished allowing the rebels to carry on the conflict and prevail in key areas.

Damascus is under government control.  With a victory in Aleppo, the Syrian state would reclaim control of its two key population centers.  The United States – Russia sponsored peace conference scheduled for July would be an afterthought.

Two of the key supporters of the Syrian rebels are not in a position to provide much help the rebels in their attempt to hold their position in Aleppo.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is preoccupied with a raging protest movement focused on the PM and his policies.  The movement began and is centered in Istanbul, the nation’s largest city and world trade gateway.  Turkey took the lead in public opposition to the Syrian government in 2011.  Its southern border near Aleppo, particularly the city of Adana, served as the conduit for supplies and fighters from Persian Gulf oil states.

Siding with rebels was never popular in Turkey.  It is very unpopular now.  As certain as he may seem about every thing he says, Erdogan would risk a great deal through robust assistance to the rebels.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has a deep commitment to the Syrian rebels.  Cameron has steadfastly advocated for a lifting of European Union ban on the supply of weapons to the rebels.  The PM is limited by defections from his own party and a split cabinet, with one faction opposed to the supply of lethal assistance.   Oddly, Cameron maintains that it will take 18 months for the weapons supplies to spread among the rebels.

The battle for Aleppo will be decided long before the suggested 18 months is up.  The outcome could end the rebels as a viable force that justifies additional outside aid.

The Battle for Aleppo – July 2012 through May 2013

The rebels first attacked Aleppo in earnest in July 2012.   Prior to that rebels took control of large sections of the countryside around the city.  The attack originated from a cluster of towns to the north of the city near the Turkish border or with rebels embedded in Aleppo.  Foreign fighters and Syrian rebels were likely trained and supplied in the Turkish city of Adana, just across the Syria-Turkey border.   News of the Turkish base first surfaced in July 2012.

Whichever version of the attack is correct, one thing is for certain.  There was no civil insurrection in Aleppo by citizens of that city.  Nor did the attack come at the request by Aleppo’s residents.

Currently, the city is divided into three sectors controlled by the rebels, the Syrian military, and Syrian Kurds.   The rebels control the eastern sector and the countryside around the western sector, which is controlled by the Syrian military.  Two Kurdish groups control a smaller section of the city, the Salahaddin Brigade, which cooperates with rebels, and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, distant from both rebels and the Syrian military.

The successful rebel offensive in July resulted in control of a large portion of eastern Aleppo.   As the battles raged, Syrian Army troops faced a significant disadvantage.  Rebel control of the city of Qusayr and the Homs province cut off regular supplies and troop movements to support efforts in Aleppo.

aleppo situation 2013The fall of Qusayr changed all that.  The Syrian’s can now supply their military in Aleppo, knowing that the Lebanese rebel supply pipeline is closed.  In addition, the military has adjusted its fixed battle mindset for urban warfare into a more efficient approach and, of most significance; the Syrians are now allied with Hezbollah.  The two fighting groups proved to be a formidable combination.  After it was clear that Qusayr would fall, Hezbollah deployed 4,000 fighters to Aleppo for that battle.

Istanbul and London

Turks are protesting in 80 cities across the country.  The eruption of civil discontent started on May 31 when police assaulted protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.  What started as a protest of plans to change a major square in Istanbul has grown to a nationwide movement sustained since May 31.  The general themes have broadened to include the opposition to the autocratic rule of Prime Minister Erdogan, creeping religious rules restricting the public, and Turkey’s involvement to the conflict in Syria (see previously cited polling results).

Erdogan’s initial reaction to the protests was disdain calling the protestors “bums.”  When he left the country for a visit to North Africa, his Deputy Prime Minister apologized for the violent police reaction in the early protests and met with demonstrators.    When Erdogan returned, he was expected to calm things.  Instead he held rival rallies of his supporters telling crowds that the protestors were “drinking beer in mosques and insulting women wearing headscarves.”  These allegations risked pitting his party supporters against protestors in violent conflict.

There are three constituencies that openly oppose Erdogan: supporters of the secular model of rule in Turkey, the Alevi population, and the Kurds. All together, these three groups represent close to half of the total population.

A fourth, more dangerous opponent is Fethullah Gulen, leader of the powerful Hizmet movement, a moderate Muslim “state within a state.”  Gulen opposes Erdogan’s commitment to violence in Syria and the Prime Minister’s overbearing style of rule.  A clear abandonment of Erdogan would be devastating.

Erdogan alienated the military through the prosecution of several hundred military leaders for alleged plans for false flag terror operations against fellow Turks.  Yet he relies on the military to further his program by restraining the type of military coups that have toppled previous Turkish leaders.

Why would Erdogan risk his rule to intervene directly in Syria, particularly a battle about to be fought that could determine the outcome of the rebel assault on Syria’s government?  And, if he did, would the military cooperate?

There is no civil unrest beleaguering British Prime Minister David Cameron.  However, his insistence on providing weapons to Syrian rebels is costing him dearly.  Half of his cabinet came out in opposition to any military aid (although there has been covert aid for some time).   Eighty-one Conservative Members of Parliament wrote an open letter to Cameron opposing aid through weapons.   The members demanded a floor debate and vote on any aid package.

There are even comparisons to Cameron’s obsession with the Syrian violence with former PM Tony Blair’s fixation on invading Iraq.

Cameron’s main support on the Syrian project comes from his neoconservative cabinet members and their allies in the British version of the Federalist Society, known as the Henry Jackson Society.

The PM is isolated politically in his adamant support for aiding the rebels.  His ability to deliver is viewed as extremely limited.

Even if Erdogan acts without regard to his political future and Cameron has one, neither leader will be able to provide the time-critical delivery of what the rebels need to survive the furious onslaught by the Syrian Army and Hezbollah set to begin in the next hours or days.

Since the conflict began, in victory and defeat, the various factions of the Syrian rebels have complained bitterly about an absence of weapons and ammunition.   This may be one instance when their complaints are right on target.  If Operation Northern Storm succeeds, this may be the last request for weapons that the rebels make; or, at least the last request that anyone bothers to cover.

END

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She makes you sick, takes your money, then bumps you off

killer coalThat’s what Blythe Masters of JPMorgan does based on evidence from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and JPMorgan’s recent history. (Image: UCS)

Coal power is the leading source carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.  CO2 is the leading cause of climate change.  Once airborne, the man made filth sticks around for 2 to 20 centuries.  In addition, coal power is “a leading cause of smog, acid rain, and toxic air pollution.”

All that makes us sick reflected in a an annual health care price tag of $333 to  $500 billion in costs for heart and lung diseases, for example.  Tens of thousands die from those diseases eery year.

Guess which bank is one of the top financing sources for coal plants and mountain top removal?  JP Morgan.  That’s the same JPMogan that the FERC may go after (just like the Department of Justice went after those involved with torture).

It is clear that Blythe Masters, head of commodities trading and regulatory affairs at JPMorgan investment banking, and her Wall Street cohorts who finance and lobby for coal production do not play well with others.

Blythe Masters, is in big trouble.  The New York Times reported that a FERC report says that she lied to them about a deal and her expertise to squash state investigations.  According to the Times, FERC alleges that Ms. Masters and her crew made appear that “money-losing power plants” were “powerful profit centers.  Not good for investors.coas health costs

Who is Blythe Masters?

Masters is a key player and senior executive at JP Morgan.  She invented credit default swaps (CDS).  This risky derivative scheme supposedly provides investors protection against financial default by corporate entities. You don’t have to own one dime of stock in the corporation to buy protection, you just need the money.

The market size of CDS trading in 2012 was $27 trillion.  It involves mostly foreign trading.  The market is not regulated so all we can do is “take their word” on size and true risk.  The market looks more like a protection racket than a financial service.

CDC trading is followed by a significant increase in corporate bankruptcy according to a recent study.  Rather than providing protection, product marketing looks more like a protection racket.  Master’s invention was central to the 2008 financial crisis and CDS pose threats today.

We can debate the “great man/person” theory of history versus other causal factors all day long.  It won’t change the fact that JPMorgan’s Blythe Masters is one extremely influential and dangerous person.  She’s walking around free as a bird, spending her money, never touched by the great financial collapse she helped create in 2008.

Our social and political culture is starting to mirror the musical Chicago with one important exception.  Nobody ever gets arrested.  They bypass that step and move right to notoriety.

END

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The only public comment needed to reject Keystone XL

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Creative Commons

Any project that increases greenhouse gasses above expectations at this moment in history, particularly a substantial increase, must be determined an imminent danger to the national interest if the people living in the nation are an interest in this determination.

The United States Department of State called for public comments on construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  The deadline is April 22, 2013 — Earth Day.  Since Keystone is an international project, Secretary of State John Kerry has authority to decide on starting or ending the proposed conduit for toxic oil from the Alberta, Canada tar sands, across the United States, to the Houston area for refining.  From there, the oil goes straight to China.

Tar sands oil produces 17% more carbon dioxide per barrel than the average barrel of oil.  With China’s intense demand for fuel, the volume of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere will increase at a dangerous rate even beyond the current hazardous rate of pollution.  .

I’m not the only person making the arguments that follow.  A long list of eminent scientists stand opposed to the project.  My comment is likely shorter than theirs and it’s from an ordinary, concerned citizen.  Take a look and, if you agree, modify it or send it as is to keystonecomments@state.gov. Send your U.S. senators and congressperson a copy as well.

Coping with the outcome of climate change is an extremely serious challenge right now.

Why make it even worse?

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Comment on the National Interest Determination – Keystone XL Pipeline

The March 13, 2013 Keystone Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) specifies the influence of Alberta, Canada’s tar sands heavy crude oil on climate change.  Tar sands oil produces 17% more greenhouse gasses than the average barrel of oil. (1)  While the EIS assessed “Climate Change Effects on the Project,” the impact of increased greenhouse gasses on citizens of United States was not addressed.  This impact is the essence of any national interest determination that examines Keystone XL and similar projects.

The EIS concludes that since nearly the same volume of Alberta tar sands crude oil will be transported to refineries without the Keystone XL pipeline, denying project approval would have only a marginal impact on tar sands oil production and, by implication, greenhouse gas emissions. (2)

Based on the explicit admission of 17% greater greenhouse gasses per barrel from Keystone XL, the Secretary of State must deny approval of the pipeline even if every single assertion in the Environmental Impact Statement stands up to challenges by opponents.

Why?

Any project that increases greenhouse gasses above expectations at this moment in history, particularly a substantial increase, must be determined an imminent danger to the national interest if the people living in the nation are an interest in this determination.

The EIS conclusion that since other methods of transport are available therefore Keystone XL has only a marginal impact on greenhouse gas emissions is tragically flawed logic.  How would we react if the Drug Enforcement Administration passed up an opportunity to shut down one of the nation’s largest meth labs because other sources of crystal meth would soon rise up to meet demand?

What impact will the 17% increase in greenhouse gasses have on the stability of the earth’s climate?  A 2 degree C increase in global temperature is the consensus limit before life in parts of the United States becomes intolerable due climate events. (3)(4)  Extreme climate events today will be tomorrow’s normal if that limit is exceeded. (5)(6)   The atmosphere can tolerate an additional 430 billion metric tons of carbon before breaching the 2 degree barrier.  Based on estimates that did not include Alberta tar sands oil, that limit will be reached in the summer of 2041. (7)

Complete extraction of Alberta tar sands oil will produce 198 billion metric tons of carbon above and beyond the original estimates — 46% of the total carbon left before the 2 degree tipping point is reached.  Just with today’s technology, 22 billion metric tons of carbon will be added to the total produced — around 5% of the remaining total.

The rate of climate change is accelerating. (8)   The 2 degree C target seems unrealistic providing an even stronger rationale to stop the toxic flow of Keystone XL.

 

Submitted by Michael Collins


(1) Department of State, Draft Supplemental EIS --Keystone XL Project, Executive Summary, March 2013, p. ES-15.
http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/205719.pdf
(2) Ibid. p. ES-15.
(3) Saeger, Richard, Persistent drought in North America: a climate modeling and paleoclimate perspective. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, July 2010.
http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/drought/#anthropogenic
(4) California Climate Change Center, Reports on the Third Assessment from the California Climate Change Center, July 31, 2012. http://climatechange.ca.gov/climate_action_team/reports/third_assessment/index.html
(5) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007.
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/figure-spm-7.html
(6) Barnosky, Anthony D et al., “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere,” Nature (June 7, 2012):  52–58. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/full/nature11018.html
(7) Myles, Allen R. et al., “Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillionth tonne,” Nature 458 (April 30, 2009):  1163-1166.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7242//full/nature08019.html
(8) Peters, Glen P., et al., “The challenge to keep global warming below 2 °C,” Nature Climate Change 3 (2013), 4–6
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n1/full/nclimate1783.html

The Genetically Engineered Food Protection Act

vilsackNot many people like the messes Congress makes but everybody should see how they’re made.

This article takes a close look at the legislation just passed by Congress and signed by President Obama allowing the Secretary of Agriculture to issue executive orders that bypass regulations, safety, and science for the purpose of speeding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered seeds (GE) and crops to market.  The way the law is written, Secretary Tom Vilsack can lift restrictions on GMOs for a set period and, it appears, do so without hindrance from the courts.

Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs), seeds, and crops  safe for human consumption?  How has the scientific testing of these seeds been conducted and what are the results?  Is there undue influence of the government and legislative process to fast track the delivery of GMOs to market?  Who benefits from that influence, if it is present, and how are the benefits derived?

There is a claimed scientific consensus that GMOs are safe for food production but there are detractors and the general public is wary.  Most of us have or are eating food from genetically engineered seeds and crops.  In the U.S., 88% of the maize and soybeans are from genetically modified seeds.  These seeds are called “green seeds” to ride the environmental band wagon.  They’ll solve world hunger too, according to some biotech advocates.  A review of studies on crop yields, however, shows that the impact of GMO’s the actual yield of crops is not significant.

There can be little doubt that the legislation neuters the principles of open law making and government and scientific requirements for distribution of GMOs and GE seeds and crops, legislation tucked away in the budget act just passed.

There is no doubt that a leader in corporate food technology, Monsanto, is well represented in the Obama administration.  In 2010, the president appointed Mark Taylor, former Monsanto Vice President and lobbyist, as the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety division.  That’s real influence.

The beneficiaries of this legislation are clear.  Whenever they come up with a very special Franken-gene, Monsanto, Lilly, etc., are off the hook and ready to roll without obstacles.  They just need a special order rubber stamped document  from the Secretary of Agriculture.  If he’s too busy, they’ll write it for him.

The following analysis of the specific legislation is important.  A review of the actual language shows how the turn of a phrase in a back room can make the U.S. government a partner in the furtherance of GMOs or any other product or service from an industry or group with the money and power to get things done.

The passage below is from the March 20, 2013 budget bill, the focus of controversy.  If you read the language marked in bold print as one statement, you get a sentence (of sorts) that says the Secretary of Agriculture “shall” issue regulations to override impediments (e.g., court rulings) to the distribution and marketing of GMO’s and genetically engineered crops.  The details of the linguistic slight of hand are explained after the passage.

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In the Senate of the United States,

March 20, 2013.

Resolved, That the bill from the House of Representatives (H.R. 933) entitled ‘‘An Act making appropriations for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes.’’, do pass with the following

AMENDMENTS:

Strike all after the enacting clause, and insert in lieu thereof:

SHORT TITLE  SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013’’.

Link:  http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20130318/BILLS-113hr933eas.pdf

8 SEC. 735.
In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.  Pages 78, 79

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TRANSLATION:  If the Secretary of Agriculture has lifted regulations on “measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects” (genetically modified seeds/organisms – GMO) and those have been struck down (“invalidated or vacated” likely by a court due to public hazard, safety issues, etc.) the Secretary shall (not may, can, or should) immediately deregulate and allow use of GMOs.  This will be consistent with 411(a) and 412 (c) of the Plant Protection Act below.  Section 412 (b), scientific justification made transparent, is not required as part of the deregulation.  This is a temporary mandate (“shall”) for the Secretary.  It has to be temporary since Congress and the president cant’ get away with permanently barring court action to protect the public or permanently denying scientific input.

The phrase “measures designated to mitigate of minimize potential adverse environmental effects” is, it seems, tied to the term “biological control mechanisms” in the Plant Protection Act below.  This link is to a USDA decision to approve a Monsanto “biological control mechanisms” – genetically engineered corn.  (USDA approval of Monsanto corn: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/aphisdocs/04_12501p_pea.pdf)

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REFERENCED REGULATIONS ABOVE “411 (a) and 412 (c)”:  These sections of the Plant Protection Act are referenced in the amendment on the Secretary’s powers.  Section 411 (a) specifies who can import “any plant pest” unless authorized to do so “in accordance with” regulations.  But the first phrase, “Except s provided i subsection (c)” [411] lets the Secretary off the hook for any existing regulations by granting him the power to simply declare an exception and allow “any plant pest” in the country.  The legislation just passed takes science out of the equation as indicated by the exclusion of section 412 (b) concerning scientific input.   Note that subsection (b) requires  that regulations are “based on sound science and are transparent and accessible.”  The Secretary of Agriculture “shall”, by the new law just passed, abrogate the scientific requirement tied to regulation in this instance.

411. <> REGULATION OF MOVEMENT OF PLANT PESTS.

(a) Prohibition of Unauthorized Movement of Plant Pests.–Except as  provided in subsection (c), no person shall import, enter, export, or  move in interstate commerce any plant pest, unless the importation,  entry, exportation, or movement is authorized under general or specific  permit and is in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may  issue to prevent the introduction of plant pests into the United States or the dissemination of plant pests within the United States.[Referenced in Senate bill]

(c) Authorization of Movement of Plant Pests by Regulation.–(1) Exception to permit requirement.–The Secretary may issue regulations to allow the importation, entry, exportation, or movement in interstate commerce of specified plant. [Added 3/29]

SEC. 412. [(a) and (c)] <> REGULATION OF MOVEMENT OF PLANTS, PLANT PRODUCTS, BIOLOGICAL CONTROL ORGANISMS, NOXIOUS WEEDS,ARTICLES, AND MEANS OF CONVEYANCE.

Link:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-106publ224/html/PLAW-106publ224.htm

    (a) In General.–The Secretary may prohibit or restrict the  importation, entry, exportation, or movement in interstate commerce of  any plant, plant product, biological control organism noxious weed,  article, or means of conveyance, if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the introduction into  the United States or the dissemination of a plant pest or noxious weed  within the United States.

  (b) Policy.–The Secretary shall ensure that processes used in  developing regulations under this section governing consideration of import requests are based on sound science and are transparent and accessible.

  (c) Regulations.–The Secretary may issue regulations to implement  subsection (a), including regulations requiring that any plant, plant  product, biological control organism, noxious weed, article, or means of  conveyance imported, entered, to be exported, or moved in interstate commerce–[Referenced in Senate bill]

 What are they up to?

They’re doing this because they can and because the move benefits the huge  biotech agribusiness companies.  However, it looks a lot like they want to do this soon; when there’s a need to bypass regulation.  Why would they want to do that now or the near future?  Maybe there’s some hot product the corporate food industry wants to get to market in a hurry, so important they cant fool around with courts and studies of scientific safety.

There is too much exposure and bad publicity associated with this to make the move a typical example of legislative dominance.  There’s something up.  We’ll find out soon enough given the ubiquitous presence of corn and soy throughout the manufactured foods we eat everyday.

END

This article may be reposted with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

Edited 3/29

 

Killer Keystone XL Spiked by the People in Washington, DC

In front of the White House

(Washington, DC 1/17)  The nation’s capital hosted over 40,000 citizens assembled to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  The crowd urged President Obama to bring to reality his lofty words on climate change in the inaugural address just days ago.  By stopping the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the president would deal a blow to the rogue energy companies who, by their actions, are ready to sacrifice everything to transport oil from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands, across the United States, for refinement in Houston, Texas and shipment to China.

The broader concern of the gathered citizens and march sponsors, 350.org, and the Sierra Club, represents the existential issue of our time.  We need to get very real, very soon on the manifest threat to the earth’s climate posed by fossil fuels and the threat to the human species embodied by insane ventures like the Canadian tar sands project.  The verdict of science is clear.  As leading climate scientist James E. Hansen said, the full exploitation of tar sands oil and use by China, or any nation, is “game over for the climate.”

Citizens gathered at the Washington Monument, where speakers outlined the last chance scenario for reversing climate change.  While nowhere near the entire solution, stopping the Keystone XL pipeline offers the biggest win in the war for survival.  Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, opened the program with the demand that President Obama live up to his campaign rhetoric and stop the pipeline from crossing the Canadian border.  That action would devastate the corporate partnership of Enbridge, TransCanada, and the other vultures seeking to profit at the expense of everyone else.  Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, argued that the coal and oil industries are on the run.  He cited energy use estimates for Texas, Colorado, and other states that show 30% of energy needs will be met by alternative fuels.  Brune chained himself to the White House fencing February 14 in the Sierra Club’s first sanctioned act of civil disobedience in 120 years.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) told the crowd that this is our time to stop the tragedy of allowing the filthiest energy source in the world to cross our borders.  There were representatives from the Latino and Africa American communities plus officials from Canada’s First Nations peoples in Alberta and British Columbia.  Chief Jackie Thomas and Crystal Lamemon spoke eloquently about the need for cross cultural, multinational alliances.  The struggles of native peoples in Alberta near the tar sands mining and the British Columbia transit path were graphically detailed.

The 40,000 gathered then marched from the monument to the White House, where they gathered and sent their message to the president — do not approve this pipeline.  The most common chant from the crowd was, Hey Obama, we don’t want no climate drama.

Dangers Posed by the Full Exploitation of Canadian Tar Sands and Other High Risk Fossil Fuel Resources

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen [asphalt], contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.”  James E. Hansen, PhD, head of NASA Institute for Space Studies

The least controversial estimate of human tolerance for increases in carbon dioxide was set at 565 billion additional GtCO2 (Gigatons of carbon dioxide) released into the atmosphere.  Once that limit is exceeded, the climate will be sufficiently damaged to produce a regular parade of climate catastrophes.  The crises will be more frequent and intense due to storms, floods, droughts, and the loss of arable farm land, famine, and disease.  These calamities will accelerate human suffering and death.  The shortages in food and the disruptions to economies are the essential ingredients for riots, civil war, regional, and world wars.

The general consensus is that there remains oil, coal and other fuel deposits that if burned would emit 2,795 GtCO2 into the atmosphere.  That’s five times the outside limit leading to global disaster.

These are not controversial claims.  In fact, the limit of 500 million tons of additional CO2 in the atmosphere may be too high.  Without any question whatsoever, we face a reckoning with the chemistry and physics of climate change.  For a more in depth review, see these reports. (reference?)

There are climate change deniers that challenge reality.  Their work doesn’t make it into scientific journals because the deniers are not doing science; thus they lack evidence to justify their claims.  They are part of a well-funded public relations campaign to raise doubts about the clear and present danger facing people everywhere.  These pseudo scientists publish in an online Potemkin Village of energy-industry-sponsored association journals that, for all appearances, look just like real scientific journals.  Bigh quality graphics and environmentally friendly trade names cannot cover the poverty of evidence and arguments served up in this toxic brew of disinformation.

The relentless effort to put lipstick on the pig of climate change denial is aided by the major media organizations which claim there are two sides to every story.  Really?  Following this logic, we would have seen stories like, “Hurricane Katrina – Tragic disaster or chance to form lasting relationships?” or “Famine in Africa – Lost lives or population control?”

Obama’s Decision

This president was first elected with the promise of ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars  and reviving a collapsed economy with a true unemployment rate of over 20% (when you actually count those unemployed).  Many expected that the crooks that collapsed the economy through their reckless scheming would face legal action or, at the very least,  stop receiving bonuses with our tax dollars for their greed and stupidity.  We all know how well that worked out.

Obama’s reelection had more to do with his hapless opponent, Mitt Romney, who made mistake after mistake.  The election looked closer than expected and then we saw the mega storm, Sandy just before Election Day. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed of the president arguing that Obama was, the more likely of the two candidates to take “immediate action” on climate change.  Obama is, indeed, no Mitt Romney.  But since the election, the president’s effort on climate change is another matter.

Where’s the national or international crash project to conserve energy, clean up current CO2  sources, and develop alternatives? Did we all miss something?

Where was the rousing rhetoric from the inaugural address over the past four years?  Where was the public education required to bury the climate change deniers once and for all?  Don’t the people have the right to know the truth?

It is safe to assume that the president’s concern for the environment is enhanced to semi-believable only in the face of his opposition, the climate change deniers and those in the financial and corporate elite who bankroll that operation.  Obama, at best, is dispassionate about the perils of climate change and, at worst, cynical.  There is no evidence over the past four years that the president sees any urgency to act.

Some reasons why the president may approve the pipeline

Obama wanted to nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State.  Ms. Rice was holding an array of stocks and investments in the Alberta tar sands digging and pipeline related companies.  Surely, Obama was informed of this fact.  As Secretary of State, Rice would have held the final recommendation on the project since it is an international effort.

Obama has no core belief system.  He was antiwar but then decided to take years to appear to shut down Iraq.  He got NATO to wage a war of aggression in Libya.  The administration has fostered a civil war in Syria that has so far failed only because the Libyan formula for regime change wasn’t allowed by the United Nations.  He’s for civil rights but has drones killing people, including U.S. citizens, around the world.  He’s pro labor but failed to do anything for union rights.

Why should it be any different on the environment?  It hasn’t so far.

Obama doesn’t want to take the political hit for losing the jobs that Keystone XL might provide.  He has done little to confront the massive unemployment rate and this might get him in some trouble.

At the start of this debate, Obama said that the tar sands oil would be exported to China somehow even if he blocked the U.S. transit route.  Why not get some jobs for citizens if it’s going to happen anyway, Obama led us to believe.

There are a number of reasons and indicators that Obama will nix the deal.

President Obama received open letters supporting pipeline approval from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate with signature totals of 145 and 53 respectively.  That’s a less than that 33% of House members and a little over 50% of the Senate.  These are not overwhelming numbers for public letters.  That represents the opportunity to stick it to his most rabid opponents in the House and Senate and solidify the public majority for environmental progress.

When the tar-sands-friendly Susan Rice was nixed for Secretary of State, the president nominated then Senator John Kerry.  Kerry was not nominated based on a pro-environment record but, as the secretary, he has the final say on approving the Keystone XL pipeline since it originates in Canada and transits the U.S.  (One would think that EPA would make the decision but, after all, this is Washington, D.C.)

Kerry has a generally pro-environment position and seeks to appear that way when he’s not.  With his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the secretary of state wrote This Moment on Earth, an argument for pro-environment policies and an appreciation for activists and innovators working for clean energy.  Kerry is no candidate for membership in the Earth Liberation Front but he’s a lot closer to environmental awareness than the volatile Susan Rice and his new boss.

Obama may move out of his grandiosity enough to realize that he can’t tap dance around the issue of climate change any longer and hope to survive his presidency with the support of a large, ardent faction of environmentally aware citizens.  This is a litmus test, a gut-check that will determine how millions will see the president.  He survived past wavering on vital issues due to the atrocious nature and policies of his opposition.   This time, the decision is all his.  There will be no crazy Senators threatening a filibuster or delaying legislation.  The buck stops right in the middle of the president’s desk.

Sadly, there shouldn’t even be a decision to make at this point.  This decision should have been preempted by an announcement sometime after his first election.  Obama could have outlined the threat climate change poses to people everywhere.  He could have buried the deniers with the force of science and strong arguments.  And he could have let everyone know that failure to take climate change seriously was suicide for those alive in 15 to 20 years and an act of assault and battery against others who will suffer due to the willful, nihilistic, deranged notion that we can continue with business as usual in our treatment of the environment and our policy-making process.

It’s not a matter of Earth in the balance.  The earth will survive, no matter what we do.  The real issue is making every effort humanly possible to save the environment in order to maintain a livable habitat for human beings.  If we’re fortunate enough to have more time, then there is no excuse for delay on the obvious decision on this and other urgent efforts.

The Keystone XL pipeline must be rejected today.  The overwhelming, indisputable truth about the dangers of climate change must be revealed with great urgency.  The game playing and lying need to stop right now.  Anything less is beyond comprehension and beneath contempt.

END

Special thanks to Pam Burbul for the photographs and to Jillian for her help comments.

This article may be reposted with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

The Money Party

 

 

 

Harry "the rat" Reid Torpedoes the Hagel Nomination

Michael Collins
Harry Reid
Hagel’s confirmation has become a memorable battle, in part because many of his opponents are strongly pro-war while always having avoided themselves the kind of sacrifice Hagel exhibited.  Andrew Kreig, Justice Integrity Project

Senate Democratic Majority Harry Reid is a rat of epic proportions.  He was the only member of the Democratic majority who voted against cloture on the filibuster now in place by Senate Republicans.  Reid earned his latest rat tail for two acts against the citizens of this country.  First, of course, is the vote against cloture, thus allowing the Republicans to block the Hagel nomination.  Reid was forced into this vote by parliamentary rules which Reid himself created.  Before that, Reid assured the survival of the filibuster by refusing to curtail the odious process when he wrote the rules for this session of the Senate.

As the consummate insider, there is little doubt that Reid knew about the likely Hagel choice for Defense before he made his decision on the filibuster rules.  Crafty, isn’t he. (Image: DonkeyHotey)

What’s with this guy?  The opposition to Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense comes from the warmonger supporters of the national security state.  On this nomination, they got their marching orders from the pro-Israel at any cost fanatics who worship at the shrine of endless war.  Absent Hagel’s even handed view of U.S. Middle East policies and interests, his nomination would have been approved about the same time as that of new Secretary of State John Kerry. 

The war mongers are naked before the public.  Andrew Kreig, head of the Justice Integrity Project noted:

“Hagel’s confirmation has become a memorable battle, in part because many of his opponents are strongly pro-war while always having avoided themselves the kind of sacrifice Hagel exhibited. Hagel, from modest means in Nebraska, was seriously wounded two times in Vietnam after enlisting with his brother, Thomas. They were not only a rare combination of siblings in the same combat unit, but they also saved each others’ lives.” Andrew Kreig, February, 14

Chuck Hagel offers a unique perspective on defense.  He’s not an armchair warrior.  He enlisted and served in Vietnam with distinction.  He learned the deadly serious nature of war, a lesson not forgotten.  Hagel started his own business and, unlike the plutocrats who run the country, he is a self-made success.  His financial inheritance was limited but clearly, he acquired a strong work ethic. Hagel served in the Senate and openly questioned the greatest foreign policy disaster in U.S. history, the illegal invasion of Iraq.  In addition, unlike the warmonger right wing Republicans, Hagel has a history of strong support for our soldiers both by opposing the reckless use of the military which leads to deaths and injuries and by supporting the care for injured soldiers once they return home from foreign adventures.

Harry Reid, on the other hand, is the epitome of just about everything that’s wrong with our political process.  The senator from Nevada led the Democrats from one failure to another as both majority and minority leader.  He showed his true hostility toward the people by supporting the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill that stacked the deck against tens of millions who have been victimized by Wall Street and the big banks.  Reid was happy to support the evisceration of the Constitution whenever he had the chance.   His string of losses to the forces of privilege and greed would put the old Washington Generals to shame.

Elitists who mock the wisdom of the people fail to note that the vast majority of citizens see our current political situation with clear vision and unassailable judgment.  Only 14% approve of Congress with an overwhelming 77% stating their disapproval.  If you own or work for a business of any size and 77% of the public disapproves of your products and services, you know that your headed out of business very soon  It makes sense.  People won’t do business with you.  However, due to the rigged game of U.S. politics, we are stuck with the biggest collection of incompetents imaginable, people we’ve identified as losers again and again over the past years; but, people we’re stuck with, nonetheless.

The sad lesson is this.  Members of Congress don’t care.  They don’t have to.  It’s all a rigged game.  Those with the deepest pockets offer legal bribes in all forms to members of Congress and those members vote the party line, that would be The Money Party line — that all inclusive party with its Democratic and Republican wings that exists solely to serve the interests of the super wealthy and powerful, at the expense of the people.

END

This article may be reposted with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

The Money Party

 

 

 

"It is about time to stop lying to us and treating people like imbeciles."

Speech by Laurent Louis – Posted by Michael Collins

“It is about time to stop lying to us and treating people like imbeciles.”

Laurent Louis

Tearing Down the Empire Project:  This speech represents a moment of extreme truth for the NATO powers. The United States, Great Britain, France and the lesser powers have been throwing their weight around Asia and Africa without regard to the norms of civilized behavior Their drill includes attacking countries that pose no threat to any NATO member; engaging in ruinious sanctions as a negotiating tool; threatening war; and, engaging in military actions as a matter of routine. Laurent Louis, a Belgian MP and crusader for human rights, spoke to parliament and laid out the truth behind naked aggression and the lies that justify it. Michael Collins
(Originally found at Kenny’s Sideshow)

============

LAURENT LOUIS, MP: Thank you, Mr President. Dear Ministers, dear Colleagues.

Belgium is indeed the land of surrealism.

This morning we learned from the media that the Belgian army is incapable of fighting some extremist soldiers having radical Islamist beliefs existing within its own ranks but who cannot be dismissed for lack of legal means.

However, at the same time, we decide to help France in its war against “Terror” by providing logistical support for its operation in Mali. What wouldn’t we do in order to fight against terrorism outside our borders? I just hope we took care not to send for this anti-terrorist operation, in Mali, these much talked about Belgian Islamists soldiers!

I seem to be joking, but what is going on in the world today does not make me laugh at all. It doesn’t make me laugh, because without any doubt, the leaders of our Western countries are taking the people for imbeciles with the help and support of the Media which are nothing more today than an organ of propaganda of the ruling powers.

Around the world, military actions and regime’s destabilization are becoming more and more frequent. Preventive war has become the rule.

And today, in the name of democracy and the fight against terrorism, our states grant themselves the right to violate the sovereignty of independent countries and to overthrow legitimate leaders.

There has been Iraq and Afghanistan, the wars of the American lie. Later, came Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, where thanks to your decisions, our country has been “first in line” to participate in crimes against humanity, in each case overthrowing progressive and moderate regimes and to replace them with Islamist regimes, and – isn’t it weird ? – Their first act was to impose Sharia law.

This is exactly what is currently happening in Syria where Belgium is shamefully funding the arming of the Islamist rebels who are trying to overthrow Bashar Al Assad. Thus, in the midst of economic crisis, as more and more

Belgians can no longer house themselves, feed, heat and cure themselves – Yeah, I can hear what a filthy populist I am – well, the Minister of Foreign Affairs decided to offer the Syrian rebels nine million Euros!

Of course, they’ll try to make us believe that this money will be used for humanitarian purposes … one more lie! And as you can see, for months, our country is only participating to put in place, Islamic regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. So, when they come and pretend to go to war in order to fight against terrorism in Mali, well… I feel like laughing. It’s false!

Under the appearance of good actions, we only intervene to defend financial interests in a complete neo-colonialist agenda. It makes no sense to go to help France in Mali in the name of the fight against Islamic terrorism when – at the same time – we support the overthrow of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad by Islamist rebels who want to impose Sharia Law, as was done in Tunisia and in Libya.

It is about time to stop lying to us and treating people like imbeciles.

The time has come to tell the truth. Arming the Islamist Rebels, as Westerners have, in the past armed Bin Laden, that friend of the Americans before they turned against him, well, the western countries are taking the opportunity to place military bases in the newly conquered countries while favoring domestic companies.

Everything is therefore strategic. In Iraq, our American allies have put their hands on the country’s oil wealth. In Afghanistan, it was its opium and drugs always useful when it comes to make lots of money pretty quickly. In Libya, in Tunisia, in Egypt, or then again in Syria, the aim was – and is still today, to overthrow moderate powers, to replace them with Islamist powers who very quickly will become troublesome and who we will shamelessly attack pretending once again, to fight terrorism or protect Israel.

Thus, the next targets are already known. Within a few months, I bet that our eyes will turn to Algeria and eventually to Iran.

To go to war, to free people from an outside aggressor, is noble. But to go to war to defend the interests of the USA; To go to war to defend the interests of big companies such as AREVA; go to war to put our hands on gold mines, is not at all noble and reveals our counties to be attackers and thugs!

No one dares to speak, but I will not shut up! And if my battle makes me look like an enemy of this system that flaunts the Human Rights in the name of financial, geo-strategic and neo-colonialist interests, so be it!

Flaunting and exposing this regime is a duty and makes me proud. And honestly, I apology for my low class speech, but I say fuck you all, the so-called do-gooders, both left and right-wingers or from the center who are today licking the boots of our corrupted powers and who will be pleased to ridicule me.

I say fuck you all, leaders who are playing with your bombs as kids do in a playground! I say fuck you, you who pretend to be democrats while you are nothing more than low class criminals.

I don’t have much respect neither for the journalists who have the audacity to label the opponents as mentally retarded while basically, they know very well that these opponents are right.

Finally, I despise, at the highest point, those who believe they are the kings of the world and who are dictating their laws, because I AM on the side of truth, the side of justice, the side of the innocent victims of looting at all cost. And it is for this reason that I have decided to clearly oppose this resolution that is sending our country to support France in its neo-colonialist operation.

Since the beginning of the French operation, the lie was established. We are told that France is only answering the call for help of a Malian president. We almost forget that this president has no legitimacy and that he was put in place to ensure the transition following the coup of March 2012. Who supported this coup d’état? Who started it? For whom is this president of transition actually working? This is the first lie!

The French president, François Hollande dares to pretend to wage this war to fight against the jihadists who threaten (ohhhh do you realize!) who threaten the French and European territory! But what an ugly lie! By taking this official argument, while taking the opportunity to frighten the population increasing the terror alert level, implementing the Vigipirate plan our leaders and media are demonstrating an unimaginable outrage!

How dare they use such a point while France and Belgium have not hesitated to arm and support Jihadists in Libya and that these same countries continue to support these jihadists in Syria.

This pretext is a coverup to strategic and economic purposes. Our countries are no longer in fear of appearing inconsistent because everything is done to hide it. But the inconsistency is apparent. It is not tomorrow that you’ll see a Malian citizen commit an act of terrorism in Europe. No! Not unless we suddenly create one so we can justify this military operation.

Haven’t we created September 11 after all, to justify the invasions, arbitrary arrest, torture and massacre of innocent populations? Thus, to create a Malian terrorist is no big deal!

It must not be very complicated for our bloodthirsty leaders.

Another pretext used these recent months to justify military operations, as the protection of human rights. Ah! This pretext is still used today to justify the war in Mali. But yes! We have to act, otherwise the evil Islamists will impose Sharia law in Mali, stoning women and cutting the thugs’ hands off.

Oh! The intention is truly noble. Noble and salutary for sure. But then why is it – Good Lord – why is it that our countries have contributed in Tunisia and Libya to the accession to power of Islamists who have decided to apply this Sharia Law in these countries which were, not so long ago, still regarded as modern and progressive? I invite you to ask the young Tunisians who have launched the revolution in Tunisia, if they are happy with their current situation? This is all hypocrisy.

The purpose of this war in Mali is very clear. And since no one talks about it, I WILL. The purpose is to fight against China and allow our American ally to maintain its presence in Africa and the Middle East. This is what guides these neo-colonialists operations.

Sirte - Libya

And you will see, when the military operation will be over, France will, of course, keep its military bases in Mali. These bases will be a benefit to the Americans as well. And at the same time, as has always been the case, western corporations will put their hands on juicy contracts that will once again deprive re-colonized countries of their wealth and raw materials.

So let’s be clear, the primary beneficiaries of this military operation, will be the owners and shareholders of the French giant AREVA who has been trying for years to obtain a uranium mine in Falea, a town of 17,000 inhabitants located at 350 km from Bamako.

And I don’t know why, but my little finger is telling me that it won’t take long before AREVA will eventually exploit that mine!

I don’t know, it’s an impression I have. It is therefore out of question that I would take part to this mining colonialism, this modern times colonialism.

And for those who doubt about my arguments, I sincerely invite them to learn about the wealth of Mali.

Mali is a major producer of gold, but recently it has been recently designated as being a country that offers a world-class environment for the exploitation of uranium. How strange!

One step closer to a war against Iran, it is obvious.

For all these reasons and in order to not fall into the traps of lies they are tending us, I’ve decided not to give my support to that intervention in Mali.

Therefore, I will vote against it. And by doing so, I’m being consistent since, I never supported in the past our criminal interventions in Libya or in Syria, and so being the only MP in this country to defend the non-interference and the fight against obscure interests. I really think it is about time to put an end to our participation to the UN or NATO and get out of the EU if Europe, instead of providing peace, providing peace becomes a weapon of attack and destabilization of sovereign countries submissive to financial rather than human interests

Finally, I can only urge our government to remind the President Hollande the obligations resulting from the Geneva Conventions regarding the respect of prisoners of war.

Indeed, I was shocked to hear on television from the mouth of the French President that his intention was to “destroy” – I say “destroy” – Islamist terrorists.

So, I do not want the qualification to be used to name the opponents to the Malian regime – it is always convenient today to talk about Islamic terrorists- to be used to circumvent the obligations of any democratic state in terms of respecting the rights of prisoners of war.

We expect such a respect from the Fatherland of Human Rights. In conclusion, Let me emphasize how lightly we decide to go to war.

First, the government acts without any consent from the Parliament. It appears that it has the right to. It sends equipment, men to Mali. The Parliament subsequently reacts and when it responds, as today, well, this institution happens to be composed of only 1/3 of its members. Much less if we speak of the French speaking MP’s.

It is therefore a guilty lightness which does not really surprises me, coming from a Parliament of puppies, submitted to the dictates of political parties. Thank you.

(Translation: Geraldine Feuillien)

From Kenny’s Side Show

 

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