26.2.04

Hidden Scandal #539,947

"[Former Cabinet member Clare Short], who resigned as international development secretary following the campaign to topple Saddam Hussein, said in a radio interview Thursday morning that she had read transcripts of [Kofi] Annan's (the UN Secretary-General) conversations.
'The UK in this time was also getting, spying on Kofi Annan's office and getting reports from him about what was going on,' she told the BBC.

'I have seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations. In fact I have had conversations with Kofi in the run-up to war thinking 'Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying.''
Asked explicitly whether British spies had been instructed to carry out operations within the United Nations on people such as Kofi Annan, she said: 'Yes, absolutely.'
When asked if such actions were legal, she said: 'I don't know. I presume so. It's odd.'

Short was one of two Cabinet members to resign in protest against Britain's participation in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Robin Cook, a former foreign secretary, resigned as leader of the House of Commons before the campaign began."

CNN

25.2.04

Global Warming

Even the Pentagon is starting to sound more pessimistic than me...hopefully Cuba won't get flooded or anything.

'The Pentagon's planning scenario says that global warming "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern." It declares that "future wars will be fought over the issue of survival rather than religion, ideology or national honour."
It envisions the need to turn the US and other rich western countries into "fortresses," armed against an angry tide of people displaced by rising sea levels or unable to grow food, and running for their lives.
The report doesn't hem and haw the way the White House does. It doesn't speak in tortured sentences to suggest that the scientific community isn't convinced. It hasn't been proof-read and edited by Exxon/Mobil. It says it plain:
"Rather than decades or even centuries of gradual warming, recent evidence suggests the possibility that a more dire climate scenario may actually be unfolding."
The report was commissioned "to develop a plausible scenario for abrupt climate change that can be used to explore implications for food supply, health and disease, commerce and trade, and their consequences for national security."
Here's the "plausible scenario" that the Pentagon envisions:

"By 2005 the climatic impact of the shift is felt more intensely in certain regions around the world. More severe storms and typhoons bring about higher storm surges and floods in low-lying islands such as Tarawa and Tuvalu (near New Zealand). In 2007, a particularly severe storm causes the ocean to break through levees in the Netherlands making a few key coastal cities such as The Hague unlivable. Failures of the delta island levees in the Sacramento River region in the Central Valley of California creates an inland sea and disrupts the aqueduct system transporting water from northern to southern California because salt water can no longer be kept out of the area during the dry season... As glacial ice melts, sea levels rise and as wintertime sea extent decreases, ocean waves increase in intensity, damaging coastal cities. Additionally millions of people are put at risk of flooding around the globe (roughly 4 times 2003 levels), and fisheries are disrupted as water temperature changes cause fish to migrate to new locations and habitats, increasing tensions over fishing rights."

The Pentagon foresees fishing wars between Spain and Portugal. Pakistan, India, and China - all armed with nuclear weapons - skirmish at their borders over refugees, access to shared rivers, and arable land. Bangladesh becomes uninhabitable. Drought hits the American breadbasket. Britain's weather begins to resemble Siberia. India, South Africa, and Indonesia are ripped apart by civil war.
And ultimately, the report forecasts a decrease in the planet's human carrying capacity, leading to sharp reductions in the world's population due to starvation, disease, and war. '

Greenpeace

22.2.04

One of the Lesser-Known Presidential Candidates

"Mary Alice 'Mal' Herbert is 68, a retired school teacher, a widow, a mother, and the daughter of a Methodist minister. Originally a Republican, she became a socialist by the 1960s in response to 'the patriarchal capitalist hierarchy of my own country.' Herbert has also been a frequent candidate for state office in the 1980s and 1990s under the banner of the Liberty Union Party, a democratic socialist and feminist party active only in Vermont. In 1996, for example, she was the LU nominee for Governor against Howard Dean. Her campaign strategy in those years was simply 'to make pithy statements' in speeches and Letters to the Editor. She originally entered the 2004 race as the designated runningmate of one of Brown's more leftist rivals for the Presidential nomination (Eric Chester). Chester lost the nomination to Brown, but Herbert won the VP nomination at the SPUSA national convention. She also wants to use the nomination as a platform for advancing her views on feminist socialism."

the 2004 Socialist Party-USA Presidential Candidate

5.2.04

The 28th Amendment to the Constitution

On Wednesday, President Bush slammed the Massachusetts court ruling on gay marriage, and various conservative groups said that the White House had assured them that the president would support in full a possible amendment to the Constitution which would define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. While Bush has not specifically said that he will support the change, he, his advisors, and various other conservative and Christian groups closely intwined with the White House have all said the question is not “of if, but when.” Bush, in his State of the Union address several weeks ago, made a remark directly addressed to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts-
"If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process."
Even though ever since the 2000 campaign Bush has attempted to position himself as a moderate on social issues, this issue, proclaims Karl Rove, is more important. Rove is fanatically bent on attracting the four million conservative Christians who, he says, did not go to the polls in 2000. Of course, the presence of this group cannot be reliably determined at this time, but Rove is desperate for them anyway. As the brain of Bush, so to speak, he thinks that this will be a polarizing issue in 2004 and that Bush needs to go ahead and officially lay claim to his fascist, closeminded crown.

Current House Bill
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the Constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

This current House bill, sponsored by Representative Marilyn Musgrave, Republican of Colorado, will pass, certainly by this November. It is doubtful if any Democrats will attempt to stand up to it, except perhaps Ted Kennedy. The Democratic presidential candidates- or, rather, those that are left- will all be very ambiguous on the issue and do their best to waffle. A mass homosexual exodus to Quebec seems doubtful, and instead, the case will be tied up in the courts for the next several years, with the ACLU vs. John Ashcroft. If the current selection of judges stays on the Supreme Court, the amendment really could go either way. However, if any of the so-called liberals on the Court resign or are assasinated by an evangelist, the spot or spots will be filled quickly by hardcore Fascists, leading to the passage of the twenty-eighth amendment to the Constitution. My opinion, of course, is that the government of the United States of America guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all its citizens that are not charged with a felony. If freedom eventually is to lead to the moral downfall of the United States, then so be it. I will laugh from my cabin in Canada.

New York Times