Saturday, December 22, 2007

Disaster Capitalism in New Orleans

Naomi Klein

The final showdown over New Orleans public housing is playing out in dramatic fashion right now. The conflict is a classic example of the "triple shock" formula at the core of the doctrine.

- First came the shock of the original disaster: the flood and the traumatic evacuation.

- Next came the "economic shock therapy": using the window of opportunity opened up by the first shock to push through a rapid-fire attack on the city's public services and spaces, most notably it's homes, schools and hospitals.

-Now we see that as residents of New Orleans try to resist these attacks, they are being met with a third shock: the shock of the police baton and the Taser gun, used on the bodies of protestors outside New Orleans City Hall yesterday.

Democracy Now!: The Battle to Save New Orleans Housing

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lakota Sioux Declare Sovereign Nation Status

Washington D.C. – Lakota Sioux Indian representatives declared sovereign nation status today in Washington D.C. following Monday’s withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States Government. The withdrawal, hand delivered to Daniel Turner, Deputy Director of Public Liaison at the State Department, immediately and irrevocably ends all agreements between the Lakota Sioux Nation of Indians and the United States Government outlined in the 1851 and 1868 Treaties at Fort Laramie Wyoming.

Argus Leader

Headed by leaders of the American Indian Movement, including activist, actor and Porcupine resident Russell Means, the group dropped in on the State Department and the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa this week seeking recognition for their effort to form a free and independent Lakota nation. The group plans to visit more embassies in the coming months.

The new nation is needed because Indians have been "dismissed" by the United States and are tired of living under a colonial apartheid system, Means said during a news conference held at Plymouth Congregational Church in northeast Washington. He was accompanied by a bodyguard and three other Lakota activists - Gary Rowland, Duane Martin and Phyllis Young, all of South Dakota.

"I want to emphasize, we do not represent the collaborators, the Vichy Indians and those tribal governments set up by the United States of America to ensure our poverty, to ensure the theft of our land and resources," Means said, comparing elected tribal governments to Nazi collaborators in France during World War II.

The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.

Lakota Freedom Delegation

friday reads

The Department of Justice is investigating whether a former intelligence officer illegally disclosed classified information in interviews he gave on how the CIA interrogated a suspected senior al Qaida member.

A series of court decisions this week supporting voting rights advocates in Florida and Arizona may bode well for more open and accountable elections in 2008.

During the next hurricane in Texas, evacuees may be subject to criminal background checks.

After protesters skirmished with police inside and outside New Orleans City Hall on Thursday, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a federal plan to demolish a vast swath of public housing.

Death by Spreadsheet: A 17-year old died just hours after her health insurance company reversed its decision not to pay for a liver transplant that doctors said the girl needed.

The World's Top Executioners: China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, The United States (hat tip BlondeSense)

With millions more foreclosures likely, it’s a good bet that homeownership will be lower at the Bush administration’s end than it was at the start.

Comparative Planetology: An Interview With Kim Stanley Robinson

Almost half of common European birds are heading towards "continental extinction", a new report warns today.

The Story of Stuff (hat tip Seeing the Forest)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

thursday reads

The Justice Department delayed prosecuting a key Republican official for jamming the phones of New Hampshire Democrats until after the 2004 election, protecting top GOP officials from the scandal until the voting was over.

Hugh's List of Bush Scandals

Wired: FBI Agents Skip Court Orders to Spy on Cellphone Users

Ken Richey to Be Freed After 20 Years on Ohio's Death Row

The Republican 2008 Plan Is Revealed

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

The Republican Senate minority today filibustered an omnibus budget bill, setting a modern-day record for blocking the most legislation during a congressional session. A new report released today by the Campaign for America's Future details the 62 times conservatives have used the filibuster to block legislation (or force modification of bills) in the first session of the 110th Congress. In just the first year of this two-year Congress, their use of the filibuster in the Senate topped the previous record, reached during the entire 107th Congress.

Scott Horton: What the Jamie Leigh Jones Case Teaches Us and Just Another Day for the Department of Justice

All Spin Zone: Who is Really Running Congress? Vince McMahon??

Attack of the Killer Parasites (via Boing Boing)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

wednesday reads

Bush Lawyers Discussed Fate of C.I.A.Tapes

At least four top White House lawyers took part in discussions with the Central Intelligence Agency between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy videotapes showing the secret interrogations of two operatives from Al Qaeda, according to current and former administration and intelligence officials.

The accounts indicate that the involvement of White House officials in the discussions before the destruction of the tapes in November 2005 was more extensive than Bush administration officials have acknowledged.

Those who took part, the officials said, included Alberto R. Gonzales, who served as White House counsel until early 2005; David S. Addington, who was the counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney and is now his chief of staff; John B. Bellinger III, who until January 2005 was the senior lawyer at the National Security Council; and Harriet E. Miers, who succeeded Mr. Gonzales as White House counsel.

Firedoglake: Disappeared Into Secret Pakistani and US Prisons

A white separatist group planning a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Jena is suing the town, claiming officials are violating the Constitution by asking participants not to bring firearms, changing the parade route by one block and requiring the posting of a bond.

Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish guerrillas yesterday, as the US warned against any action that could further destabilise the region.

David Byrne and Thom Yorke on the Real Value of Music and
David Byrne's Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars

Quote of the Day: "After 10 full years inside the GOP, 90 days among honest criminals wasn't really any great ordeal."

In a case that could affect passengers delayed on planes at airports nationwide, an industry trade group is challenging New York's law requiring airlines to provide food, water, clean toilets and fresh air to passengers stuck on the ground for more than three hours.

What do you get when the Beatles cover Led Zeppelin?
The Beatnix - "Stairway to Heaven"

Found this video over here

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

tuesday reads

Abu Zubaydah was:

A) A high-ranking Al Qaeda operative who largely confounded U.S. interrogators with his literary and tactical genius until they submitted him to waterboarding and other forms of torture. After that, he provided key information that likely preempted future attacks.

B) A low-ranking and mentally ill Al Qaeda operative who provided valuable information under gentle questioning, but whose confessions made under torture were useless. Much of the threat information he provided was "crap."

A is the CIA's version (and the President's). B is the FBI's. And in today's Washington Post, Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus walk through the competing profiles. Zubaydah, remember, was one of the two detainees whose interrogations appeared on the destroyed CIA tapes.

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
In Opposition to the Flawed FISA Bill

Thank You to Senator Dodd.

Scott Horton: Obligations Ignored

Cases in which police, prison guards and other law enforcement authorities have used excessive force or other tactics to violate victims' civil rights have increased 25% (281 vs. 224) from fiscal years 2001 to 2007 over the previous seven years, the department says.

Monday, December 17, 2007

monday reads

Dodd, FISA and the Filibuster — How It’s Going To Go Down and What You Can Do
Electronic Frontier Foundation Action Alert
Letter submitted for Dodd's filibuster

British leave behind murder and chaos in Basra.

Turkey yesterday launched the biggest attack on Iraq since the US invasion in 2003, sending more than 50 warplanes to bomb suspected Kurdish insurgent bases inside Iraqi territory,

A Political Prisoner in the First World

Paris police tear down tents for the homeless

An attempt to build a Christmas encampment for the homeless on the banks of the river Seine was swept away by police before the startled eyes of tourists at the weekend.

A homelessness action group, which generated worldwide attention a year ago by pitching an encampment of red tents in the centre of Paris, attempted an even more spectacular coup on Saturday morning.

Scores of red, "two second", all-terrain tents were erected along the quays of the left bank of the Seine opposite the Notre Dame cathedral. As tourists looked on, police moved in en masse – using tear gas at one stage – to sweep away the homeless people and their supporters.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

sunday reads

Glenn Greenwald: The Lawless Surveillance State

Sign up to support Congressman Wexler's call for Cheney Impeachments Hearings

bu$h wants power over JAG promotions

The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House's policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism.

The administration has proposed a regulation requiring "coordination" with politically appointed Pentagon lawyers before any member of the Judge Advocate General corps - the military's 4,000-member uniformed legal force - can be promoted.

Scott Horton has more on the politicizing of the military.

Forget about sea levels rising as glaciers and polar ice melt, and increasing water temperatures affecting global weather patterns. As the oceans absorb more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, they're gradually becoming more acidic.

Steven D: The Op-Ed the Liberal Media Rejected

Jon Swift: When Steroids Are Banned, Only Cheaters Will Have Steroids

"Mexicans!! Tonight we dine in ... SAN DIEGO!!!!" (via Dave Neiwert)