Saturday, December 10, 2011

Durban Brings Nothing Substantial - Except Assured Disaster

The countries of the world got together to do something about climate change and decided to do essentially - NOTHING!  A toothless agreement to limit carbon emissions emerged after China and the US agreed to some controls and a regrettably lame pact.

What is the news I’m going to take home to my flooded country?” Claudia Salerno, the lead negotiator for Venezuela, asked angrily. “This is nothing compared to the level of ambition that we require.”

China and India are dancing around the fact that they are anything but developing nations, and they don't want to limit CO2 emissions to the levels needed to prevent the global disaster that is coming.  Meanwhile the US is driven by competing ideologies and can't seem to accept the fact that climate change is happening and will get worse.

The whole global warming is a controversial theory is bullshit.  It is completely agreed upon by real scientists and it is happening every year,  this year alone saw 12 billion dollar+ weather disasters in the US along, almost twice the expected amount. 

I guess our world leaders are accepting that there is no agreement hey can come to and the poorer nations and coastal regions will just have to be destroyed.  A one meter rise in sea level which is predicted by 2050 if nothing is done will inundate most coastal areas of the world including New Jersey and New York.  But who cares about that?

Friday, December 09, 2011

Rick Perry has Another Ooops Moment!

Perry is a frigging idiot.  He agreed to an interview with a newspaper and he looks remarkably like Herman Cain.  He stumbles around the issue of prayer in schools and then mentions the 8 Supreme Court judges.  (there are 9) and wants an end to lifetime appointments.  That is in the Constitution not some law recently passed by Congress you dolt!

With luck this will be his last interview for a good long while.  

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Jon Stewart Exposes the Phony War On Christmas

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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A Date That Will Live In Infamy

Just a scant 9 years before I was born, our country experienced a wake up call that changed the world.  The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 assured American involvement in World War II. 

Recently there has been a lot of speculation as to who knew what when and if the attack could have been prevented.  This Monday morning quarterbacking ignores the fact that the Japanese were in negotiations with the US just prior to the attack and that they intended to deliver a formal declaration of war 30 minutes prior to the attack, but failed to meet the timetable on the diplomatic front. 

No matter, the fact was that the surprise attack spurred the US public into action and we jumped into the war with a vigor rarely seen before or since.

The final outcome of the attack was debilitating to the Pacific Fleet, but could have been worse.  A proposed third wave attack on fuel and munition supplies was not carried out and arguably that would have had a far greater effect than the loss of ships.  In the end, the words attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto were prophetic .

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

Today, many people compare the attack on the World Trade Centers to Pearl Harbor.  Though they were both surprise attacks and resulted in a great loss of life, the comparison is imprecise. 9-11 was an action carried out by a very small determined group of fanatics designed to terrorize our country and Pearl Harbor was a concerted peremptory attack designed to prevent the US from entering a conflict.  Ultimately, Pearl Harbor failed, it only motivated us to join the war and eventually defeat the Japanese and Germans.  9-11 succeeded in wreaking terror on the US and ultimately change our way of life and freedom.

As we commemorate Pearl Harbor, it is well worth considering the resolve our country experienced just after the attack.  We shared the sacrifice needed to commit to the war effort.  Everyone in the country pulled together and did something to help.  Had that kind of resolve and shared sacrifice been the result of 9-11 instead of the political manipulations and jingoism that followed we would have been far better off today.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton's Groundbreaking Human Rights Speech - Transcript

This is taken from the live transcript, sorry about the formatting.

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the united
nations. May I ask you to please turn off
your mobile phones. Thank you very much.
Ladies and gentlemen attention, please. We
have now closed the doors. May we ask you to
make available seats available by removing
your coats and bags so that people can scoot
to the inside of the rows. We have a few more
people coming in and there's a little delay
but we'll soon be starting. Thank you.
>> Ladies and gentlemen, now presenting the
United States Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton.
>> (Applause).
>> Good evening and let me express my deep
honor and pleasure at being here. I want to
thank director General Tokas and Ms. Widen
along with other ministers, ambassadors,
excellencies and UN partners. This weekend we
will celebrate Human Rights day. The
anniversary of one of the great
accomplishments of the last century.
Beginning in 1947 delegates from 6 continents
devoted themselves to drafting a declaration
that would enshrine the fundamental rights and
freedoms of people everywhere. In the
aftermath of World War II many nations pressed
for a statement of this kind to help ensure
that we would prevent future atrocities and
protect the inherent humanity and dignity of
all people. And so the delegates went to
work. They discussed, they wrote, very
revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of
hours. And they incorporated suggestions and
revisions from governments, organizations, and
individuals around the world. At 3:00 in the
morning on December 10, 1948 after nearly 2
years of drafting and one last long night of
debate the president of the UN General
Assembly called for a vote on the final text.
Forty-eight nations voted in favor, 8
abstained, none dissented and the universal
declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It
proclaims a simple powerful idea. All human
beings are born free and equal in dignity and
rights. And with the declaration it was made
clear that rights are not conferred by
government. They are the birth right of all
people. It does not matter what country we
live in, who our leaders are or even who we
are because we are human, we therefore have
rights. And because we have rights
governments are bound to protect them. In the
63 years since the declaration was adopted
many nations have made great progress in
making Human Rights a human reality. Step by
step, barriers that once prevented people from
enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full
experience of dignity and the full benefits of
humanity have fallen away. In many places
racist laws have been repealed. Legal and
social practices that relegated women to
second class status have been abolished. The
ability of religious minorities to practice
their faith freely has been secured. In most
cases this progress was not easily won.
People fought and organized and campaigned in
public squares and private spaces to change
not only laws but hearts and minds and thanks
to that work of generations for millions of
individuals whose lives were once narrowed by
injustice they are now able to live more
freely and participate more fully in the
political, economic and social lives of their
communities. Now there is still as you all
know much more to be done to secure that
commitment, that reality and progress for all
people. Today I want to talk about the work
we have left to do to protect one group of
people whose Human Rights are still denied in
too many parts of the world today. In many
ways they are an invisible minority. They are
arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed.
Many are treated with contempt and violence by
their fellow citizens while authorities
empowered to protect them look the other way
or too often even join in the abuse. They are
denied opportunities to work and learn, driven
from their homes and countries and forced to
suppress or deny who they are to protect
themselves from harm. I am talking about gay,
lesbian, bisexual and trance gender people.
Human beings born free and given bestowed
equality and dignity who have a right to claim
that which is now one of the remaining Human
Rights challenges of our time. I speak about
this subject knowing that my own country's
record on Human Rights for gay people is far
from perfect until 2003 it was still a crime
in parts of our country. Many Lateasha
Barbour Americans have endured violence and
harassment in their own lives and for some
including many young people bullying and
exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like
all nations, have more work to do to protect
Human Rights at home. Now raising this issue
I know is sensitive for many people and that
the obstacles rest on deeply held personal,
political, cultural and religious beliefs. So
I come here before you with respect,
understanding and humility. Even though
progress on this front is not easy we cannot
delay acting. So in that spirit I want to
talk about the difficult and important issues
we must address together to reach a global
consensus that recognizes the Human Rights of
LBGT. Some have suggested gay rights and
Human Rights are separate. But in fact they
are one in the same. Now of course 60 years
ago the governments that drafted and passed
the universal declaration of Human Rights were
not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT
community. They also weren't thinking about
how it applied to indigenous people or
children or people with disabilities or other
marginallized groups. In the past 6 years we
have come to recognize members of these groups
are entitled to the full measure of dignity
and rights because like all people they share
a common humanity. This recognition did not
occur all at once. It evolved over time and
as it did we understood that we were honoring
rights that people always had rather than
creating new or special rights for them. Like
being a woman, like being a racial religious
tribal or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not
make you less human. And that is why gay
rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are
gay rights. It is a violation of Human Rights
when people are beaten or killed because of
their sexual orientation or because they do
not conform to cultural norms about how men
and women should look or behave. It is a
violation of Human Rights when governments
declare it illegal to be gay or allow those
who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a
violation of Human Rights when lesbian or
transgendered women are subjected to so called
correctly rape or forcibly subjected to
hormone treatments or when people are murdered
after public calls for violence toward gays or
when they are forced to flee their nations and
seek asylum in other lands to save their
lives. And it is a violation of Human Rights
when life saving care is with held from people
because they are gay or equal access to
justice is denied to people because they are
gay or public spaces are out of bounds to
people because they are gay. No matter what
we look like, where we come from or who we
are, we are all equally entitled to our Human
Rights and dignity. The second issue is the
question of whether homosexuality arises from
a particular part of the world. Some seem to
believe it is a western phenomenon and
therefore people outside the West have grounds
to reject it. Well in reality gay people are
born into and belong to every society in the
world. They are all ages, all races, all
faiths, they are doctors and teachers, farmers
and bankers, soldiers and athletes and whether
we know it or whether we acknowledge it, they
are our family, our friends and our neighbors.
Being gay is not a western invention. It is a
human reality. And protecting the Human
Rights of all people gay or straight is not
something that only western governments do.
South Africa's constitution written in the
aftermath of apartheid protects the equality
of all citizens including gay people. In
Columbia in Argentina the rights of gays are
also legally protected. In Nepal the supreme
court has ruled that equal rights apply to
LGBT citizens. The government of Mongolia has
committed to pursue new legislation that will
tackle discrimination. A luxury only wealthy
nations can afford, in fact in all countries
there are costs to not protecting these
rights. In both gay and straight lives lost
to disease and violence and the silencing of
voices and views that would strengthen
communities and ideas never pursued by
entrepreneurs who happen to be gay. Costs are
incurred whenever any group is treated as
lesser or the other whether they are women,
racial or religious minorities or the LGBT.
Former president Mogi pointed out recently
that for as long as LGBT people are kept in
the shadows there cannot be an effective
public health program to tackle HIV and AIDS.
Well that holds true for other challenges as
well. The third and perhaps most challenging
issue arises when people site religious or
cultural values as a reason to violate or not
to protect the Human Rights of LGBT citizens.
This is not unlike the justification offered
for violent practices toward women like honor
killings, widow burning or female genital
mutilation. Some people still defend those
practices as part of our cultural tradition
but violence towards women isn't cultural,
it's criminal. Likewise with slavery, what
was once justified as sanctioned by God is now
properly revialed as an unconscionable
violation of Human Rights. In each of these
cases we came to learn that no practice or
tradition Trumps the Human Rights that belong
to all of us. And this holds true for
inflicting violence on LGBT people,
criminalizing their status or behavioral,
expelling them from their families and
communities or explicitly accepting their
killing. Of course it bares noting that
rarely our cultural and religious traditions
and teachings actually in conflict with the
protection of Human Rights. Indeed our
religion and culture are sources of compassion
and inspiration toward our fellow human
beings. It was not only those who justified
slavery who leaned on religion it was also
those who sought to abolish it and let us keep
in mind that our commitments to protect the
freedom of religion and to defend the dignity
of LGBT people emanate from a common source.
For many of us religious belief and practice
is a vital source of meaning and identity and
fundamental to who we are as people and
likewise for most of us the bonds of love and
family that we forge are also vital sources of
meaning and identity and caring for others is
an expression of what it means to be fully
human. It is because the human experience is
universal that Human Rights are universal and
cut across all religions and cultures. The
fourth issue is what history teaches us about
how we make progress toward rights for all.
Progress starts with honest discussion. Now
there are some who say and believe that all
gay people are pedophiles, that homosexuality
is a disease that can be caught or cured or
that gays recruit ourself to become gay. Well
these notions are simply not true. They're
also unlikely to disappear if those who
promote or accept them are dismissed out of
hand rather than invited to share their fears
and concerns. No one has ever abandoned a
belief because he was forced to do so.
Universal Human Rights include freedom of
expression and freedom of belief. Even if our
words or beliefs democrat great the humanity
of others. While we are each free to believe
whatever we choose we cannot do whatever we
choose, not in a world where we protect the
Human Rights of all. Reaching understanding
of these issues takes more than speech. It
does take a conversation. In fact it takes a
constellation of conversations in places big
and small and it takes a willingness to see
stark differences in belief as a reason to
begin the conversation, not to avoid it. But
progress comes from changes in-laws. In many
places including my own country legal
protections have preceded not followed broader
recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching
effect. Laws that discriminate, validate
other kinds of discrimination, laws that
require equal protections reinforce the moral
impairtive of equality and practically
speaking it is often the case that laws must
change before fears about change dissipate.
Many people Trumen, we saw how he strengthened
our social fabric in ways even supporters of
the policy could not foresee. Likewise some
worried in my country that the repeal of don't
ask, don't tell would have a negative effect
on our armed forces. Now the marine Corp.
says his concerns were unfounded and that the
marines have embraced the change. Finally
progress comes from being willing to walk a
mile in someone else's shoes. We need to ask
ourselves, how would it feel if it were a
crime to love the person I love? How would it
feel to be discriminated against for something
about myself that I cannot change? This
challenge applies to all of us as we reflect
upon deeply held beliefs. As we work to
embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity
of all persons and as we engage with those
with whom we disagree in the hope of creating
greater understanding. A fifth and final
question is how we do our part to bring the
world to embrace Human Rights for all people
including LGBT people. Yes LGBT people must
help lead this effort as so many of you are.
Their knowledge and experiences are invaluable
and their courage inspirational. We know the
names of brave LGBT activists who have
literally given their lives for this cause and
there are many more whose names we will never
know. But often those who are denied rights
are least empowered to bring about the changes
they seek. Acting alone minorities can never
achieve the majority's necessary for political
change. The rest of us cannot sit on the
sidelines. Every time a barrier to progress
has fallen it has taken a cooperative effort
from those on both sides of the barrier. The
fight for women's rights the support of men
remains crucial. The fight for racial
equality has relied on contributions from
people from all races. Combating or
antiSemitism is a task for people of all
faiths. And the same is true with this
struggle for equality. Conversely when we see
denials and abuses of Human Rights and fail to
act that sends the message to those deniers
and an abusers that they won't suffer for
their actions so they carry on. But when we
do act we send a powerful moral message.
Right here in Geneva the international
community acted this year to strengthen a
global consensus around the Human Rights of
LGBT people. At the Human Rights Council in
March 85 countries from regions called for an
end to criminalization and violence against
people because of their sexual orientation and
gender identity. At the following session of
the council in June South Africa took the lead
on a resolution about violence against LGBT
people. The delegation from South Africa
spoke eloquently about their own experience
and struggle for human equality and its
indifficult visibility. When the measure
passed it became the first ever UN resolution
recognizing the Human Rights of gay people
worldwide. In the organization of American
states this year the interAmerican commission
on Human Rights created a unit on the rights
of LGBT people, a step toward what we hope
will be the creation of a special Republican
tore. We must get more support for the Human
Rights of the LGBT community. To the leaders
of those countries where people are jailed,
beaten or executed for being gay I ask you to
consider this. Lip by definition means being
out in front of your people when it is called
for. It means standing up for the dignity of
all your citizens and persuading your people
to do the say. Leadership also means ensuring
that all citizens are treated as equals under
your laws because let me be clear. I am not
saying that gay people can't or don't commit
crimes. They can and they do. Just like
straight people. And when they do they should
be held accountable. But it should never be a
crime to be gay. And to people of all nations
I say supporting Human Rights is your
responsibility too. The lives of gay people
are shaped not only by laws but by the
treatment they receive every day from their
families, from their neighbors. Eleanor
Roosevelt said these rights start in the small
places close home. The streets where people
live, the schools they attend, the factories,
farms and offices where they work. These
places are your domain. The actions you take,
the ideals you advocate can determine whether
Human Rights flourish where you are. And
finally to LGBT men and women worldwide let me
say this. Wherever you live and whatever the
circumstances of your life whether you are
connected to a network of support or feel
isolated and vulnerable, please know that you
are not alone. People around the globe are
working hard to support you and to bring an
end to the injustices and dangers you face.
That is certainly true for my country and you
have an ally in the United States of America
and you have millions of friends among the
American people. The Obama administration
defend the Human Rights of LGBT people as part
of our comprehensive Human Rights policy and
as a priority of our foreign policy. In our
emphasis, our diplomats are raising concerns
about specific cases and laws and working with
a range of partners to strengthen Human Rights
protections for all. In Washington we have
created a task force at the state department
to support and coordinate this work and in the
coming months we will provide every embassy
with a tool kit to help improve their efforts
and we have created a program that offers
emergency support to defenders of Human Rights
for LGBT people. This morning back in
Washington president Obama put into place the
first U.S. government strategy dedicated to
combating Human Rights abuses against LGBT
persons abroad. Building on efforts already
under way at the state department and across
the government the president has directed all
U.S. government agencies engaged overseas to
combat the criminalization of LGBT status and
conduct to enhance efforts to protect
vulnerable, LGBT refugees and asylum seekers
to ensure Na our foreign assistance promotes
the protection of LGBT rights. To enlist
international organizations in the fight
against discrimination and to respond swiftly
to abuses against LGBT persons. We are
launching a global equality fund that will
support the work of civil society
organizations working on these issues around
the world. This fund will help them record
facts so they can target their advocacy, learn
how to use the law as a tool, manage their
budgets, train their staffs and forge
partnerships with women's organizations and
other Human Rights groups. We have committed
more than $3 million to start this fund and we
have hope that others will join us in
supporting it. The women and men who advocate
for Human Rights for the LGBT community in
hostile places, some of whom are here today
with us, are brave and dedicated and deserve
all the help we can give them. We know the
road ahead will not be easy. A great deal of
work lies before us. But many of us have seen
first hand how quickly change can come. In
our life times attitudes toward gay people in
many places have been transformed. Many
people including myself have experienced a
deepening of our own convictions on this topic
over the years as we have devoted more thought
to it, engaged in dialogues and debates and
established personal and professional
relationships with people who are gay. This
evolution is evident in many places to
highlight one example, the dell devilly high
court decriminalized in India. Writing ' if
there is one tenant that can be said to be an
underlying theme of the indian constitution it
is inclusiveness. There is little doubt in my
mind that support for LGBT Human Rights will
continue to climb. Because for many young
people this is simple. All people deserve to
be treated with dignity and have their Human
Rights respected no matter who they are or
whom they love. There is a phrase that people
in the United States invoke when urging
ourself to support Human Rights. Be on the
right side of history. The story of the
United States is the story of a nation that
has repeatedly grappled with intolerance and
inequality. We fought a brutal civil war over
slavery. People from coast to coast joined in
campaigns to recognize the rights of women,
indigenous peoples, racial minorities,
children, people with disabilities,
immigrants, workers, and on and on and the
March toward equality and justice has
continued. Those who advocate for expanding
the circle of Human Rights were and are on the
right side of history and history honors them.
Those who tried to constrict Human Rights were
wrong and history reflects that as well. I
know that the thoughts I've shared today
involve questions on which opinions are still
evolving as it has happened so many times
before, opinion will converge once again with
the truth, the immutable truth that all
persons are created free and equal in dignity
and rights. We are called once more to make
real the words of the universal declaration.
Let us answer that call. Let us be on the
right side of history for our people, our
nations and future generations whose lives
will be shaped by the work we do today. I
come before you with great hope and confidence
that no matter how long the road ahead we will
travel it successfully together. Thank you
very much. (Applause).

If Corporations Are People, Then Halliburton Needs to Be Locked Up

Evidence has come to light that Halliburton intentionally destroyed evidence in the BP spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  In a federal court Monday, BP accused Halliburton of erasing the evidence that they used sub standard procedures when cementing the well that blew out spilling millions of gallons of oil into the gulf.

The destroyed records include computer modeling of the project and cementing procedures. 

So my question is this, if the Supreme Court treats corporations like individuals, then if Halliburton is convicted of destroying evidence, shouldn't the CEO and President go to jail for the crimes they (Halliburton as an individual) committed?

Give me one reason this shouldn't apply, and if not then lets set things straight, corporations are legal constructs, not individuals.  Enough of this foolishness.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Newt Gingrich Reiterates That The Poor Are Lazy

My guess is Newt Gingrich has never known a genuinely poor person in his life.  I do, and all of the ones I know work their asses off.  Some hold down two jobs and work longer hours that I ever have, yet they are scraping by.

In Newt's imaginary world, the poor are poor because they are lazy and have bad work habits.  His answer, fire janitors and hire school kids to do janitorial work. Excuse me? 

First, there are Child Labor Laws, and secondly, does he thing training poor kids to be janitors is any kind of answer to the pressing problems of poverty in America?  Additionally, though we see little of a janitor's work, they do a whole lot of things needed to keep a school working, not just pushing a broom.

Why not fire the bank executives and hire school kids to do their job.  I suspect in some cases a bright teenager could do a better job of running a company than the Bozos that steer Bank of America and other mega-corps into financial hot water.

Newt's incredible ignorance is here on CBS.  Maybe his name is really his IQ?  The same as a newt!