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Showing posts from November, 2013

A warehouse "slave" reports

People love Amazon and those other retailers (mainly on line) who spit out bargains for us all to buy.   Never mind the effect on "normal" retailers.    But worse, are the conditions of those working in these modern-day ginormous warehouses.

"Several months prior, I'd reported on an Ohio warehouse where workers shipped products for online retailers under conditions that were surprisingly demoralizing and dehumanizing, even to someone who's spent a lot of time working in warehouses, which I have. And then my editors sat me down. "We want you to go work for Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc.," they said. I'd have to give my real name and job history when I applied, and I couldn't lie if asked for any specifics. (I wasn't.) But I'd smudge identifying details of people and the company itself. Anyway, to do otherwise might give people the impression that these conditions apply only to one warehouse or one company. Which they do…

America's geo-political re-positioning

Keen observers of what is happening in and out of Washington will have detected a recent shift - not seismic, but significant nevertheless - in America's geo-political positioning.

"From the Middle East to the East China Sea, the last week’s events have offered a particularly vivid example of the much-heralded shift in foreign policy priorities under the administration of President Barack Obama.

Just four days ago, the U.S. and its P5+1 partners (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany) announced a historic agreement with Iran on its nuclear programme, an accord that many analysts believe could pave the way for an eventual strategic rapprochement between Washington and Tehran.

Predictably, the accord came under sharp criticism from Washington’s closest Mideast allies, especially Israel and its hawkish supporters here, as the latest and most worrisome example of Obama’s “weakness” and “appeasement” in dealing with Washington’s deadliest foes.

Just two days later, the…

Wherefore idleness!

Who has time to simply be idle?    As you kick off the weekend contemplate this op-piece in The New York Times on the lost "art" of idleness.

"Our struggle against the clock is ancient. As far back as the 2nd century B.C., the Roman playwright Plautus lamented, “The gods confound the man who first found out how to distinguish the hours!” as he railed against the city’s central sundial, which served to “cut and hack my days so wretchedly.” Thousands of years later, what would Plautus make of this ringing, dinging world full of productivity apps that hack ever deeper into our days and nights?

The clock rose to power conjointly with a mounting yearning for certainty and order, dividing time with increasing accuracy into neat units that could be accounted for, spent, saved or wasted. Yet, while our contemporary zeal to Get Things Done (GTD) might spur efficiency, it comes at a cost. What could be gained from a single day set free from the clock’s tyranny, one spent wandering …

Iraq's fraught future

Patrick Cockburn, veteran Middle East journalist, writing in "‘The near future of Iraq is dark’: Warning from Muqtada al-Sadr - the Shia cleric whose word is law to millions of his countrymen" in The Independent on the fraught situation in, and future of Iraq.    Well done George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard!

"The future of Iraq as a united and independent country is endangered by sectarian Shia-Sunni hostility says Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia religious leader whose Mehdi Army militia fought the US and British armies and who remains a powerful figure in Iraqi politics. He warns of the danger that “the Iraqi people will disintegrate, its government will disintegrate, and it will be easy for external powers to control the country”.

In an interview with The Independent in the holy city of Najaf, 100 miles south-west of Baghdad – the first interview Mr Sadr has given face-to-face with a Western journalist for almost 10 years – he expressed pessimism about the immediate pro…

Is that real food you are eating?

Be warned....    Anyone who values food, and what they eat, ought to be gravely concerned about what this piece "Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance" on truthout reveals.

“Control oil and you control nations,” said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s.  ”Control food and you control the people.”
Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations."
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"The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the wo…

What Constitutes a Family: Times are certainly changin'

This piece in The New York Times looks at what constitutes a family in the USA in 2013.  Times are certainly a changin'!  It's probably fair to assume that the American experience isn't all that much different to that in most other Western countries.  

"Yet for all the restless shape-shifting of the American family, researchers who comb through census, survey and historical data and conduct field studies of ordinary home life have identified a number of key emerging themes.

Families, they say, are becoming more socially egalitarian over all, even as economic disparities widen. Families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago — than even half a year ago.

In increasing numbers, blacks marry whites, atheists marry Baptists, men marry men and women women, Democrats marry Republicans and start talk shows. Good friends join forces as part of the “voluntary kin” movement, sharing medical directives, wills, even adopting on…

Obama seen in a true light as he pardons (?) turkeys

Turkey's predominate in the news today- certainly in the USA.     One has to wonder though.....

"In what has been dubbed "America's dumbest tradition" - though God knows, with Black ThursFriday coming up, the competition is stiff - Obama today pardons one of two turkeys named Caramel and Popcorn, thus bringing the total of turkeys he has pardoned (10) to roughly the same number of human beings convicted of drug crimes he has pardoned (11) - that, despite his Administration's vow to "challenge that which is unjust" and reform an excessively punitive justice system, most notably its mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug crimes. Obama has in fact granted the fewest pardons of any modern president - including the law-and-order Nixon, who declared a war on drugs - with just 39 pardons and one commutation, or 0.01% of 5,371 applications, over 55 months, a paltry record leading one critic to call Obama "the unmerciful drug warrior." T…

A hollow invitation

As Israel seeks to upset the recent deal struck with Iran in relation to its development of a nuclear capacity, the so-called peace talks with the Palestinians are, seemingly, hobbling along.  The latest PR exercise of the Israelis PM has been to invite President Abbas to address the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.   But it's a hollow and empty gesture.......

"Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made what was presumably intended to sound like a historic peace gesture towards the Palestinians last week.

He invited Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to Jerusalem to address the Israeli parliament, echoing Menachem Begin’s invitation to Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, in 1977. That visit was the prelude to a peace agreement concluded the following year between Israel and Egypt.

Should Mr Abbas accept, it would pose a dilemma for his host. According to Israeli law, the right of foreigners to address the parliament is reserved to visiting heads of state.

As one Israeli co…

Spot on!

Credited to Steve Sack, Cagle Cartoons, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Media AWOL in reporting a "catastrophe of epic proportions"

The way we learn what is happening in the world, depends, bottom line, on where it is.   The USA, and principal countries of the world, attract enormous attention.    Quite out of proportion to its size, Israel does too.  How often does South America get some place in the news?   Not all that often.   We don't even hear the "voices" of Afghanis or Iraqis even if they are in the midst of a war.   And Africa?     It's almost a "lost" continent.        

A report on CommonDreams in "With Scant Media Attention, 'Human Catastrophe of Epic Proportions' Unfolding"provides a good example of the media bein AWOL in reporting something significant.

"A situation described as a "human catastrophe of epic proportions" is underway in the Central African Republic (CAR), yet has failed to garner widespread media attention.

On Monday, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson warned that the impoverished nation was "descending i…

Chelsie Manning's Thanksgiving Message

This is sure to stir up some people.    Manning is a hero/heroine - and ought to be judged and seen as such.    

He has "issued" a Thanksgiving Message - published in Time.

"I’m usually hesitant to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. After all, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony systematically terrorized and slaughtered the very same Pequot tribe that assisted the first English refugees to arrive at Plymouth Rock. So, perhaps ironically, I’m thankful that I know that, and I’m also thankful that there are people who seek out, and usually find, such truths.  I’m thankful for people who, even surrounded by millions of Americans eating turkey during regularly scheduled commercial breaks in the Green Bay and Detroit football game; who, despite having been taught, often as early as five and six years old, that the “helpful natives” selflessly assisted the “poor helpless Pilgrims” and lived happily ever after, dare to ask probing, even dangerous, questions.

Such people are oft…

The "deal" with Iran

Most countries seem to consider stitched up with Iran positively.....except Israel and Saudi Arabia.   But what does it all mean?     Two views.     That of Robert Fisk and Juan Cole.

First, Robert Fisk in The Independent:

"It marks a victory for the Shia in their growing conflict with the Sunni Muslim Middle East. It gives substantial hope to Bashar al-Assad that he will be left in power in Syria. It isolates Israel. And it infuriates Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Kuwait and other Sunni Gulf States which secretly hoped that a breakdown of the Geneva nuclear talks would humiliate Shia Iran and support their efforts to depose Assad, Iran’s only ally in the Arab world.

In the cruel politics of the Middle East, the partial nuclear agreement between Iran and the world’s six most important powers proves that the West will not go to war with Iran and has no intention - far into the future - of undertaking military action in the region. We already guessed that when – after branding Assad as y…

What "they" can learn from metadata

The authorities would have us believe that obtaining metadata doesn't really reveal all that much about the person snooped on.    No so, if what this piece on Slate tells us.   We have good cause to be concerned.   Very concerned!

"As Professor Edward Felten, director of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, explains in a declaration filed in that phone records case, our metadata in fact tells the government a lot more about us than we might realize, especially when different types of metadata are aggregated together. Consider calls to single-purpose hotlines: NSA collection of our metadata means the government knows when we’ve called a rape hotline, a domestic violence hotline, an addiction hotline, or a support line for gay teens. Hotlines for whistleblowers in every agency are fair game, as are police hotlines for “anonymous” reports of crimes. Charities that make it possible to text a donation to a particular cause (say, Planned Parenthood)…

Calling the NSA in for support?

Credited to Daryl Cagle

Afghanistan: The occupation Part II

If this isn't an occupation or a continuation of Americans being on the ground, it is hard to think how it ought to characterised.     The details now published of the ongoing relationship between the US and Afghanistan lead to the inevitable conclusion that Part II of the occupation will start in 2014 when the troops "leave" the war torn country.   And just look at America's financial commitment.

"Meet the new occupation: same as the old occupation! Or pretty much: not as many troops, not as many dead and wounded every week, but still. In the new US-Afghanistan accord—which may or may not be ratified early next week by President Hamid Karzai’s Loya Jirga, and which may or may not be signed until some in mid-2014—the United States will be able to maintain as many as nine military bases in Afghanistan. In addition, American troops and US contractors can go in and out of Afghanistan without visas. And neither the troops nor the contractors will be subject to Afghan…

Time to call a halt to this....and support the independents

Anyone who is interested in the delivery of news should be alarmed not only by the ever-diminishing world of newspapers (or the shrinking journalists being employed by newspapers), but the concentration of the media in an ever-increasing smaller group of corporations.

This banner from Information Clearing House - an American based blog - spells things out clearly.   The more reason to support independent bloggers and online newspapers.


A timely alert.....or is that really a warning?

Two pieces dealing with something the world ignores at its peril.     One can't leave people with no jobs and financial security without risking upheaval of one sort or another.    Governments need to take heed of history.

"American political dysfunction looks pretty bad — but just take a look at what’s going on across the Atlantic. A poisonous wave of right-wing, neo-fascist parties is emerging in response to the continent’s ongoing austerity and hugely ineffectual policy response to the resulting jobs crisis.

The U.S. could be headed in the same direction if the austerity-pushers have their way. Europe is a case study in what happens when mainstream parties on both the right and the left fail to deliver relief to the people. Extremists seize the opportunity to assert themselves, and things get ugly very fast.

Bringing countries together in the European Union was supposed to make violent nationalist conflict a thing of the past. Member countries were supposed to prosper econom…

JFK

Credited to Nick Anderson, truthdig

Going, going and almost gone

The powers that be meet here, there and everywhere - seemingly endlessly - and do nothing about climate change, whilst in the real world there are more and more incidents almost certainly attributable to changes in our climate.    Here is but one good example of what is happening "out there.   Politicians, everywhere, are you listening?

"Kiribati is a flyspeck of a United Nations member state, a collection of 33 islands necklaced across the central Pacific. Thirty-two of the islands are low-lying atolls; the 33rd, called Banaba, is a raised coral island that long ago was strip-mined for its seabird-guano-derived phosphates. If scientists are correct, the ocean will swallow most of Kiribati before the end of the century, and perhaps much sooner than that. Water expands as it warms, and the oceans have lately received colossal quantities of melted ice. A recent study found that the oceans are absorbing heat 15 times faster than they have at any point during the past 10,000 year…

A mere 90 companies worldwide responsible for nearly two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions

More than a revealing piece in The Guardian on which companies - a mere 90 worldwide - produce almost two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide since the beginning of the industrial age.

"The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a "crucial step forward" found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been published in the journal Climatic Change.

"There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."

Half of the estimated emissions were…

No Big Mac for junior = "incapable" parent

Only in America!

"For one Manhattan dad, a trip to the Golden Arches will never be the same again. It goes like this: David Evan Schorr just wanted a nice one-on-one meal with his 5-year-old son, whom he sired with his now ex-wife, Bari Yunis Schorr, vice president of fancy members-only shopping site Rue La La. Schorr wanted to treat his son at their "usual restaurant" on October 30th, but the tyke "demanded to be taken to McDonald's," a request denied by a health-conscious father who thought his son was "eating too much junk food." And then, the discipline quandary faced by all parents: kowtow to a screaming brat or stick to your guns. Schorr chose the latter, to his peril, as it would turn out.

According to the Post, the tot tattled to mom, who in turn demanded Schorr submit to a forensic examination by UES shrink Marilyn Schiller as part of their ongoing custody battle. According to a lawsuit filed by Schorr, the shrink declared him "wholl…

Bah to climate change initiatives

One can only despair.....   CommonDreams reports in "Collapse? Wealthiest Nations Accused of Sabotaging UN Climate Talks" on the ill-fated conference in Warsaw.

"One hundred and thirty two of the world's poorest and less-developed nations, including the G77 nations and China, walked out of the UN climate talks in Warsaw on Wednesday, accusing the wealthiest nations, such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the EU states of sabotaging what little hope for progress there remained at this year's international summit.

Harjeet Singh, a spokesman for ActionAid Internatonal, called the continued willingness of the wealthiest (and most polluting) nations to sacrifice the low-lying islands nations and poor countries that are the least responsible for but most vulnerable to climate change an insult to the spirit of the UN talks.

"The US, EU, Australia and Norway remain blind to the climate reality that's hitting us all, and poor people and countries much harder,&quo…

It's all there in the fine print

An "interesting" question posed in this op-piece "Fine Print: Questions about security and privacy" in The Washington Post.

"Two interesting questions came up last week, both related to national security.

The first concerns what is more invasive for Americans: The National Security Agency storing all American telephone toll records for the past five years — and available for possible checking if called by an overseas phone linked to terrorists — or Facebook employing users’ profile pictures, locations and other personal information in advertising?

I ask because there seems to be an intensifying disconnect between the public and the government, and several issues involve national security.

Government distrust is a key factor in that disconnect, which isn’t new to anyone who lived through the Vietnam War, Watergate and Iran-contra, or more recently the invasion of Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Adding to the issue is the public’s lack …

A law which calls for repeal - immediately!

File this in the bizarre department.

"Wolfgang Büche was amazed this month when a watercolor seized by the Nazis from the small museum in this eastern city, where he is the curator, reappeared, part of a vast trove uncovered in a Munich apartment.

But his excitement at seeing the work, “Landscape With Horses,” a possible study for a 1911 painting by the German Expressionist Franz Marc, was tempered by one fact he called “irrefutable”: The 1938 law that allowed the Nazis to seize it — and thousands of other Modernist artworks deemed “degenerate” because Hitler viewed them as un-German or Jewish in nature — remains on the books to this day.

The German authorities say they believe that 380 works confiscated from German public museums under the Nazi-era law may be among the more than 1,200 paintings, lithographs and drawings found stashed away in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive 80-year-old son of a Nazi-era art dealer.

The law’s existence renders slim the likelihood tha…

One big hand in the cookie jar...to which add effrontery, hypocrisy and gall

The hypocrisy, effrontery and gall, is rather breathtaking.....especially as almost each day there comes a revelation of a multi-billion settlement with a broker or finance house for one infraction or another relating to the GFC.    The Nation reports....

"With budget negotiations on the horizon, a buzz is building around Social Security, from Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats calling for an expansion of benefits to The Washington Post arguing that seniors must be sacrificed for the good of the “poor young.”

Two of the biggest players in the debate are largely behind the scenes: Business Roundtable and Fix the Debt, corporate lobbies that use deficit fear-mongering to sell benefit cuts. These groups are made up of CEOs of America’s largest corporations—people with retirement accounts that are more than 1,000 times as large as those of the average Social Security beneficiary.

Each of the 200 executives of Business Roundtable has retirement savings averaging $14.5 million, accordin…

The best, and worst, places to be born

Interesting piece from The Washington Post detailing, from a report by The Economist, the best, and worst, places in the world to to be born.


"If you came into the world today and could pick your nationality, there are at least 15 better choices than to be born American, according to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The firm looked at 80 countries, scoring them across 11 variables to determine "which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead." The results, mapped out above, are both surprising and not.

The study incorporates hard data on facets such as economic opportunity, health standards and political freedoms; subjective "quality of life" surveys; and economic forecasts for 2030, when an infant born today would be entering adulthood. Even gender equality, job security (as measured by unemployment data), violent crime rates and climate are taken into account.

Here's some of what I fou…

The real face of no health insurance cover in the USA

Stephanie Sautter, the subject of this iconic photo for Occupy, has died. During the three months it took her to get insurance for treatment, her aggressive breast cancer spread to her lymph nodes.  Such is health care in America. RIP.
From: CommonDreams


Trauma all round

Politicians are quick to send troops into battle.    The consequences are rarely considered.    Just think of George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard and their headlong rush into battle in Iraq and Afghanistan - and then, based on blatant lies!

Consider this....

"In the United States, America's commander in chief has paid tribute to his nation's veterans. Since 2001 official figures show more US soldiers have died from suicide than in combat - a horrific toll of 22 veterans commit suicide every day. A new documentary called 'Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1' highlights the attempt to save former soldiers from self-harm. "

See full report here.

And then there is this - "A Trail of Tears" on TomDispatch and "The military's hidden mental health crisis: spousal trauma" on AlJazeera America.

"Combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) takes a severe toll on spouses. A New England Journal of Medicine study that analyzed medical records of …

Middle East: Real talk is essential!

"Second, Israel at its worst, is devouring Palestinian farms and homes in the West Bank in ways that are ugly, brutal, selfish and deceitful, so much worse than its supporters will ever admit. Third, Israel lives in a dangerous region — surrounded by people who hate it not only for what it does but for what it is, a successful Jewish state — but its actions matter, too. It can ameliorate or exacerbate Arab antipathy."

Not written by a rabid anti-semite or anti-Zionist, but none other than basically Israel booster Thomas Friedman. 

With Israel pounding a path to other countries to try and persuade them to not fall for any sort of deal with the Iranians - an increasing likelihood - in his latest op-ed piece in The New York Times, Friedman strongly urges US Secretary of State Kerry to speak with the Israeli PM and to sort things out for once and for all time in the ongoing mess, certainly between the Palestinians and Israel, and beyond in the Middle East.    In the meantime all …

Australia's PM, Hannah Arendt, refugees and responsibility

The Australian PM goes to Sri Lanka and acknowledges past human-rights infractions but, essentially, sweeps them under the carpet for seemingly political and expedient reasons.     The Australian Government has even announced a gift of 2 patrol boats to Sri Lanka.   Meanwhile even the Brit PM accuses Sri Lanka of having committed human rights abuses - as has the UN.

Good enough?  Not all says Jeff Sparrow in an excellent analysis in an op-ed piece in The Guardian.

"The writer Hannah Arendt noted how, during the refugee crises of the 1930s, the treatment received by those fleeing repression was determined, even when they escaped, by their oppressors.

 Those whom the persecutor had singled out as scum of the earth—Jews, Trotskyites, etc.—actually were received as scum of the earth everywhere,’ she wrote. ‘[T]hose whom persecution had called undesirable became the indesirables of Europe.

Arendt provides a useful framework to think about Tony Abbott’s extraordinary statement in Sri Lank…

At first-hand with asylum seekers

We read about the hazards of those seeking asylum and the risks they take to do so - and oft times the tragedy that befalls them - but all credit to a journalist from The New York Times and a photographer for actually being on board a boat which started out in Indonesia headed for Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.    Christmas Island "belongs" to Australia but has been excised as part of Australia for the purposes of those seeking asylum in Australia.   Yep, it's part of Australia - but not!


"Our destination was an Australian territory, more than 200 miles across the Indian Ocean, called Christmas Island. If the weather is amenable, if the boat holds up, the trip typically lasts three days. Often, however, the weather is tempestuous, and the boat sinks. Over the past decade, it is believed that more than a thousand asylum seekers have drowned. The unseaworthy vessels are swamped through leaky hulls, capsize in heavy swells, splinter on the rocks. Survivors someti…

The plight of educated and jobless youth in Europe

The plight of young people in Europe unable to get a job is a festering sore that Governments will need to address, and quickly, if civil unrest isn't to occur.    When references are being made to unemployment figures akin to those of the Depression you know there is a real problem afoot.

This piece "Young and Educated in Europe, but Desperate for Jobs" from The New York Times explains things in personal and graphic terms....

"Alba Méndez, a 24-year-old with a master’s degree in sociology, sprang out of bed nervously one recent morning, carefully put on makeup and styled her hair. Her thin hands trembled as she clutched her résumé on her way out of the tiny room where a friend allows her to stay rent free.

She had an interview that day for a job at a supermarket. It was nothing like the kind of professional career she thought she would have after finishing her education. But it was a rare flicker of opportunity after a series of temporary positions, applications that …

Justice!!!.......American style!

So much for so-called justice in the USA!

Example 1:

"This past August, the Lafayette-based IND Monthly published  a story about a 54-year-old man named Bill Winters, incarcerated at a medium-security prison in Epps, Louisiana. Winters, who is black, was arrested in June 2009, after he drunkenly entered an unlocked oncologist’s office on a Sunday morning, setting off a security alarm. When police arrived, he had rummaged through a desk drawer, and was in possession of a box of Gobstoppers candy. Winters was convicted of simple burglary a week before Thanksgiving, and given a seven-year prison sentence—hardly a slap on the wrist. But a few days later, the prosecutor in his case, Assistant District Attorney Alan Haney, sought additional punishment for Winters, under the state’s habitual offender law. Based on his record of nonviolent offenses, which went back to 1991 and ranged from cocaine possession to burglary, the trial court resentenced Winters to twelve years without any chance…

Western forces depart Afghanistan. And then?.......

From "We Had One Enemy; Now We Have Three’—A Conversation With Malalai Joya of Afghanistan - US forces used the plight of Afghan women to justify war—but twelve years later, women are still suffering" onThe Nation:

"In 2003, Malalai Joya was the 25-year-old director of a clinic and orphanage in Afghanistan’s Farah province. She was not a scheduled speaker at a national convention on the post-invasion future of the country, but she took the mic anyway and delivered an electrifying address. Noting the warlords in attendance, she asked: “Why would you allow criminals to be present here?” Two years later, she became the youngest person elected to the Afghan Parliament. Two years after that, having refused to scale back her criticisms, she was booted from her post. An advocate for women’s rights, secularism and nonviolence, Joya argues that neither the warlords who kept her country in despair during the Soviet era nor members of the Taliban should be any part of its governmen…

They asked for it!

J P Morgan attempts to go mod and utilise social networking.    Not a good idea for that sort of company and where it sits....

"Annals of Obliviousness: The brilliant minds at J.P. Morgan came up with the idea of a question-and-answer session on Twitter using the hashtag #AskJPM, evidently unaware that everybody hates them. Hilarity ensued. Some samples: "As a  young sociopath, how can I succeed in finance?" "How can a company spend $100,000,000 per day on legal expenses and not be a criminal enterprise?" "Can I have my house back?" "Is it true that, while you don't always spit on poor people, when you do, you have perfect aim?" "Did you have a specific number of people's lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?" and "Where do babies come from?" After the insults started streaming in, JP Morgan "cancelled" the Twitter session, evidently unaware that you can't canc…

No values (Christian or otherwise) in evidence

We all know that there is an ongoing issue around the world how best to address the problem of asylum seekers.

Australia has taken an especially harsh approach - most of which is contrary to international law.  The country also has a new PM and Immigration Minister, both of whom are quick to highlight their values, Christian and otherwise.    If they do have the values they espouse, they are clearly not evident in the absolutely disgraceful situation detailed below.    They, and their Government, stand roundly and loudly condemned!

"An asylum seeker who was moved off Nauru to give birth is being locked up for 18 hours a day in a detention centre in Brisbane while her week-old baby remains in hospital.

The case of Latifa, a 31-year-old woman of the persecuted Rohingya people of Myanmar, has shocked churches and refugee advocates. She was separated from her baby on Sunday, four days after a caesarean delivery, and has since been allowed to visit him only between 10am and 4pm in Brisb…

An Aussie looks over the US health-care system

Whichever way you look at it the US health-care system is appalling - and to think that they are almost manning the barricades to stop the introduction of Obamacare, whatever its deficiencies.     In a piece on truthout, An Aussie looks over the US "system" and, rightly, ponders how such a wealthy country like America can have such a dysfunctional health-care system.

"These days, most people would say that an adequate standard of living includes readily available health care of a proper standard, that "health care delayed is health care denied." Most people would also expect that citizens of a wealthy country should be able to expect better health care than the benighted citizenry of a poor country. So it comes as something of a shock to learn that the United States, which spends almost 50 percent of the world's total health expenditure, ranks way down on most health statistics. Let's start with the World Bank Health Indicators, which show that, in 2009…

One outcome of a merger of airlines

Credited to Signe Wilkinson

Secrecy...at its worst

Of course the Americans and Brits would not want the exchanges between 2 war criminals - aka George Bush and Tony Blair - leading up to the Iraq made public.   No surprise there!    More importantly, why should the public not know what led to the ill-fated war.    More lies to be exposed by our reading the exchanges between an illiterate and chameleon?

"If the U.S. gets its way, the world will never know the details of top-level discussions between George W. Bush and Tony Blair that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

An exclusive report released Thursday by The Independent reveals that the White House and U.S. State Department have launched a fierce battle against the release of a four-year government-ordered investigation into the lead-up and aftermath of British participation in a war now widely viewed in the UK as a catastrophe.

The inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, is believed to take aim at the official version of events, including misrepresentation of Iraq intelli…