Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Greek radicals take over the airwaves

Fucking fantastic.

Greek protesters pushed their way into television and radio studios Tuesday, forcing broadcasters to put out anti-government messages in a change of tactics after days of violent street protests.

A group of about 10 youths got into the studio of NET state television and turned off a broadcast of a speech by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, station officials said. The protesters forced studio cameras to instead show them holding up banners that read: "Stop watching, get out onto the streets," and "Free everyone who has been arrested." No one was hurt, and no arrests were reported.

That's part of how you have to do it. Serious shit.

They're also still sticking it to pigs and people running the capitalist slaughterfest.

Police said 30 youths threw petrol bombs and stones at the riot police building, damaging seven cars and a police bus parked outside.

In Thessaloniki, riot police fired tear gas to disperse 300 youths throwing fruit and stones outside the city's main court complex. The disturbance followed a court decision that found eight police officers guilty of abusing a student following riots two years ago.

Overnight, arsonists attacked three Athens banks with petrol bombs, causing extensive damage.

The shit is crazy. In some years, we will have a better idea of what's going on right now, and has been for the last week and a half. That's a strange situation, isn't it? How long it takes to get things reasonably documented? All this shit's going on right now, but we can't really know about it. It's so obfuscated, not just by distance, but by the capitalist media. By the way, here's their full article.

Two trillion tons of land ice melted since 2003

but it will not move us. We're too busy staring at screens. Our heads, buried in digital sand. I guess we won't notice the world we made running us over then. It should be less painful that way. Here's an excerpt of the article laying out what has happened, as found on the Discovery Channel's site:

Scientists studying sea ice will announce that parts of the Arctic north of Alaska were 9 to 10 degrees warmer this past fall, a strong early indication of what researchers call the Arctic amplification effect. That's when the Arctic warms faster than predicted, and warming there is accelerating faster than elsewhere on the globe.

As sea ice melts, the Arctic waters absorb more heat in the summer, having lost the reflective powers of vast packs of white ice. That absorbed heat is released into the air in the fall. That has led to autumn temperatures in the last several years that are six to 10 degrees warmer than they were in the 1980s, said research scientist Julienne Stroeve at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.

That's a strong and early impact of global warming, she said.

"The pace of change is starting to outstrip our ability to keep up with it, in terms of our understanding of it," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centerin Boulder, Colo., a co-author of the Arctic amplification study.

Two other studies coming out at the conference assess how Arctic thawing is releasing methane -- the second most potent greenhouse gas. One study shows that the loss of sea ice warms the water, which warms the permafrost on nearby land in Alaska, thus producing methane, Stroeve says.

A second study suggests even larger amounts of frozen methane are trapped in lakebeds and sea bottoms around Siberia and they are starting to bubble to the surface in some spots in alarming amounts, said Igor Semiletov, a professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. In late summer, Semiletov found methane bubbling up from parts of the East Siberian Sea and Laptev Sea at levels that were 10 times higher than they were in the mid-1990s, he said based on a study this summer.

The amounts of methane in the region could dramatically increase global warming if they get released, he said.

That, Semiletov said, "should alarm people."

It won't.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Firebombing a Greek police station

is pretty serious. But hey, you get what you give, I guess.

Greek students announced fresh rallies Sunday after a night of violence during which hooded militants firebombed an Athens police station in fresh protests over the police shooting of a teenager.
About a hundred protesters attacked the police station Saturday night, next to the Exarchia district where 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos died from a police bullet eight days ago.

If the police are generally standing down and refraining from wanton violence at all like this corporate news article suggests, I wonder how much longer they will hold off. It seems like these street protests are growing and the country is falling apart while the government removes itself from the situation.

Oh, and destruction of corporate/government property is not violence.

A police source said youths hurled Molotov cocktails and set off fires at three banks near the Polytechnic. Protesters also targetted an environment ministry office, torching two luxury cars and blocking roads with blazing bins.

The fresh violence followed ceremonies marking the moment Grigoropoulos was killed, and signalled a deep-rooted protest movement that has united mainstream and radical youth.

Iraqi journalist whips his shoes at George Bush

He's pissed. Rightly so. The dude encouraged and presided over the ruining of his country.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Self-styled reporters continue to comment upon Greece

and construct a twisted reality for the outside world. All I really know is that people are still pissed and acting upon it in Greece and it's pulling pretty much the whole country in, in one way or another. Six days straight now. The capitalist media is really playing up this property destruction bit. That's a distraction. That's not what it's about. Anyway, they say this is what's going on now:

Student protesters pelted 20 police stations with rocks and bottles, overturned cars and blocked streets in central Athens on Thursday. Police responded with tear gas as sporadic violence persisted amid Greece's worst rioting in decades.
Good, go after the pigs. Fuck them. Give them some of what they've been distributing. It won't get too far; they'll almost always win in the end, but it's not about winning. It's about fighting. Still, the police aren't the real enemy. They're just the battlebots in the way of the enemy.

If people were doing this here, they would have been shot. Attacking a police station in the States, let alone doing so without deadly consequences, is nearly unfathomable.

Oh, and the Greek parliament held a moment of silence for the kid the police killed. That seems like a different world. People barely acknowledge that shit here. It doesn't make it past city councils, let alone to the national legislature. The police are so goddamn violent in this country.

In other, related news, demonstrations are spreading through Europe.

In Denmark, protesters pelted riot police with bottles and paint in downtown Copenhagen at a rally late Wednesday. Some 63 people were detained and later released.

And in Spain, angry youths attacked banks, shops and a police station in separate demonstrations in Madrid and Barcelona late Wednesday that each drew about 200 people.

Some of the protesters chanted "police killers" and other slogans. Eleven people — including a Greek girl — were arrested at the two rallies, and two police officers were lightly injured...

Elsewhere in Europe, more than 15 people occupied a Greek consulate in Berlin on Monday, hanging a banner out the window with the dead Greek teenager's name and the words, "Killed by the State." Youths clad in black appeared occasionally at a consulate balcony, exchanging chants with more than 50 protesters gathered on the street below.

About 100 people protested outside the Greek consulate in Frankfurt on Tuesday evening and minor violence was reported on the peripheries of the demonstration, including the breaking of a bank's window.

In Italy, a group of protesters gathered in front of the Greek Embassy in Rome on Wednesday and some turned violent, damaging police vehicles, overturning a car and setting a trash can on fire.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The current situation in Greece, according to self-styled reporters

It's still crazy. I don't really get what "self-styled anarchists" means, but I keep reading it over and over again in these Associated Press reports. Maybe they just keep revising the same article. Probably. I wish I could know what was going on there, as opposed to only the reality the capitalist press is constructing. I know there's IndyMedia and whatnot, but that shit's hectic.

Violence is nothing new in Greece's frequent demonstrations, where the right to protest is considered an intrinsic part of democracy. The student uprising in 1973 against the 1967-74 military dictatorship has gained near mythical status.

Despite general public grumbling, the occasional Molotov cocktail and tear gas volley during a protest march is considered normal. Groups of youths march under the black-and-red anarchist flag, with the gasoline bombs in their backpacks.

I don't really know much about Greek society, but I doubt it's as simple as Greece having a higher percentage of delinquents. There is always a portion of the population that is nihilistic in the sense that some people are looking to break shit for the sake of it, for no real purpose or gain. But to have something this prolonged, on this scale, it cannot be pure nihilism. This is anger. This is disaffection. This is alienation. These people are a lot less afraid at directing their anger at physical manifestations of repression than Americans.

I suspect, that as per usual, the capitalist press is taking incidents of wanton destruction and attributing it broadly, as an effort to delegitamize the actions, words and principles of so many thousands who have taken to the steets.

New York Police sodomize a 24 year old Brooklyn man, part 2

So now, despite earlier claims to the contrary, these pigs did quite a few things very wrong.

From the New York Times today:

A New York City patrolman used his baton to sodomize a man in a subway station, and two complicit colleagues helped him cover it up, the Brooklyn district attorney charged on Tuesday as he unsealed indictments against three police officers.

Using graphic detail, the district attorney described an attack that he said left the man, Michael Mineo, with a gashed anus and blood on his hands.

Then, when Mr. Mineo screamed and later showed his hands, he was “ignored by the police officers,” said the district attorney, Charles J. Hynes. At one point, the officer who wielded the baton, Richard Kern, gave Mr. Mineo a disorderly conduct summons with an invalid date and threatened “that if he reported the circumstances to anyone, he would be arrested and charged with a felony,” Mr. Hynes said...

The grand jury heard from 20 witnesses, including three officers who were present during the encounter — at least two of whom cooperated with the authorities. The grand jury also reviewed forensic evidence, including DNA from Officer Kern’s baton that prosecutors said matched Mr. Mineo’s...

Officers Morales and Cruz, both 26, face charges that include hindering prosecution and official misconduct. Officials said that there was no evidence Officers Morales and Cruz assisted Officer Kern in the assault but that they knew what was happening, did nothing to stop it and helped conceal it. “Both Police Officers Morales and Cruz have been charged with a cover-up,” Mr. Hynes said. “In essence, they tried to make this thing go away."...

Then, said Charles Guria, an assistant district attorney, Officer Kern was seen shoving his retractable baton repeatedly between Mr. Mineo’s buttocks. Mr. Mineo was wearing low-slung pants, which had begun to slip down during the chase. Officer Kern’s act, Mr. Guria said, tore a hole in Mr. Mineo’s underwear, ripping his skin and causing him to bleed. Afterward, Mr. Mineo stood up and started yelling about his injuries.

He was taken to the police car, and Officer Kern asked him if he had been hurt.

Then, Mr. Mineo “reached down and showed proof he had been injured,” Mr. Guria said. “He reached into his pants and showed his bloody hands.”

Officer Kern gave Mr. Mineo a summons for disorderly conduct. The summons was defective, said the assistant district attorney; it said he had to appear in court in January 2008.

One law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said on Tuesday evening that the invalid date was an attempt to make sure that “no one would ever hear what the disorderly conduct was about, assuming it would be rejected” by the court, the official said...

And the one laughable moment:

Officer Kern left the courthouse a little while later and was rushed into the back seat of a waiting car. Reporters yelled questions, which he did not answer, and a spectator shouted: “You’re going to jail!”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An anthropocentric perspective of forests

"If the state loses its base of roughly 200 interconnected sawmills, pulp buyers and family-owned tree-cutting contractors, advocates say, who will be left to work in the woods to make them usable, beautiful and safe, and at what cost?"

  • Usable for whom, and for what? They serve plenty of use for the life within them.
  • The forests will be immeasurably more beautiful without industrialized human intrusions, decimation and attempts at domination.
  • Safe? For whom? The only way forests are unsafe are if you are stupid enough to build a house in a place that consistently burns and expect to be bailed out.

“Our fear is that we could lose our infrastructure — the base of knowledge and experience of working in the forest,” said Mary Sexton, the director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Once it's gone, nature benefits. Everything living in those woods wins. Forests know how to manage themselves quite well.

From a New York Times article on Montana's logging industry. Not surprising.

Greece - still going for the fourth day

Violence breaks out during Greek teen's funeral

ATHENS, Greece – Riot police are fighting running battles with mourners after the funeral of a teenager whose shooting by officers triggered Greece's worst rioting in decades.

Officers are making heavy use of tear gas to dispel dozens of youths throwing stones and sticks and setting trash cans on fire.

No injuries have been reported from the clashes, which started outside the cemetery and have spread to a nearby district.

Dozens of local residents have gathered on the streets, shouting at police to stop firing tear gas in the residential area

Some 6,000 people attended the funeral Tuesday, applauding as the 15-year-old's body was carried out of the church in a flower-covered white coffin.

In Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, police are clashing with self-styled anarchists after a protest march.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Police in Greece's second-largest city are clashing with self-styled anarchists following a new march to protest the fatal police shooting of a 15-year-old boy.

Mourners are clashing with riot police outside an Athens cemetery during the funeral of the teenager, whose shooting by officers set off three days of rioting across Greece.

In Thessaloniki, riot officers in fired tear gas to dispell some 200 youths who hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at police. An estimated 2,000 people took part in Tuesday's march through the center of the northern port city.

Rioters also attacked journalists covering the march and set trash bins on fire.

No injuries have been reported. Police say three suspected rioters have been detained.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blackwater mercenaries' violence revealed a bit more

From an Associated Press article:

"WASHINGTON – Blackwater Worldwide security guards opened machine gun fire on innocent, surrendering Iraqis and launched a grenade into a girls' school during a gruesome Baghdad shooting last year, prosecutors said Monday in announcing manslaughter charges against five guards."

Blackwater's got thousands of these guys, armed to the fucking teeth and ready to blow. They use them here too. A bunch of them went to New Orleans when Katrina hit and played war, and who knows where and what else they are up to. It's fucked. Thousands.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The government vs. Blackwater

The federal government of the United States finally threw something at those megapigs for hire, Blackwater Worldwide. Of course, they're not leveling anything at the company, just six individuals who, apparently unprovoked, shot up a bunch of random Iraqis in Baghdadlast year, killing 17, including children. I guess the government had to do something to save face and couldn't go along with Blackwater's repeated statements that everything that happened was justified.

Greek radicals don't fuck around

So different from here. Even people in the government are pissed off about this. A couple of ministers tried to resign over it. Seems like Europeans have a different relationship with the police; perhaps they are not so dominated as we are in this country. Then again, no one cares all that much when the police shoot people here.

The Greek police are prohibited from entering universities. Incredible.

Riots in 2 Greek cities after teen killed

ATHENS, Greece – Hundreds of youths angered by the fatal police shooting of a teenager rampaged through Greece's two largest cities for a second day Sunday in some of the worst rioting the country has seen in years.

Gangs smashed stores, torched cars and erected burning barricades in the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki. Riot police clashed with groups of mostly self-styled anarchists throwing Molotov cocktails, rocks and bottles. Clouds of tear gas hung in the air, sending passers-by scurrying for cover.

Rioting in several cities, including Hania in Crete and cities in northern Greece, began within hours of the death Saturday night of a 15-year-old shot by police in Exarchia. The downtown Athens district of bars, music clubs and restaurants is seen as the anarchists' home base.

Soon stores, banks and cars were ablaze.

The rioting was some of the most severe Greece has seen in years. The last time a teenager was killed in a police shooting — during a demonstration in 1985 — it sparked weeks of rioting. In 1999, a visit to Greece by then U.S. President Bill Clinton sparked violent demonstrations in Athens that left stores smashed and burned.

The two officers involved in Saturday's shooting have been arrested and charged, one with premeditated manslaughter and the illegal use of a weapon, and the other as an accomplice. They are to appear before a court Wednesday. They and the Exarchia precinct police chief have been suspended.

Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, whose offer to resign was rejected Sunday, has promised a thorough investigation.

"It is inconceivable for there not to be punishment when a person loses their life, particularly when it is a child," he said. "The taking of life is something that is not excusable in a democracy."

Police said the two officers involved claimed they were attacked by a group of youths and, when they confronted the youths, one fired three shots and the other threw a stun grenade.

Violence broke out again Sunday afternoon in Athens and Thessaloniki during demonstrations to protest the shooting. "Cops, pigs, murderers," protesters chanted.

Police said 24 policemen were injured in Athens in overnight riots that started Saturday, and another 13 on Sunday, while seven people were arrested and another 15 were detained.

As night fell, groups of youths, some masked and others wearing motorcycle helmets, set trash cans alight and overturned cars to erect burning barricades on streets around the Athens Polytechnic — which, like all universities, is protected by law from police intrusion. Some could be seen walking on the roof of the Polytechnic, taunting police.

Violence in the capital began to die down late Sunday, after several hours of running battles between police and rioters. In Thessaloniki, a large fire could be seen burning at the city's university.

A blurry video shot by a bystander that purportedly shows the shooting Saturday has been aired on Greek television and posted on the Internet. Two sounds that could be gunshots can be heard, but the image is too blurry and distant to show the events clearly.

Greece has seen frequent and sometimes violent demonstrations recently against the increasingly unpopular conservative government of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The opposition Socialists are now consistently ahead in opinion polls.

Dozens of stores in central Athens went up in flames or saw their storefronts smashed. At least two buildings were destroyed by fire, as was a Ford car dealership. Streets were littered with chunks of paving stones and rocks thrown at riot police, as well as shattered glass from storefronts and banks.

"I understand the anger and the right to demonstrate it," Pavlopoulos said Sunday night. "What is inconceivable is the raw violence that undermines social peace and turns against the property of innocent people."

Violence often breaks out between riot police and anarchists during demonstrations in Greece. Anarchist groups are also blamed for late-night firebombings of targets such as banks and diplomatic vehicles.

The self-styled anarchist movement partly has its roots in the resistance to Greece's 1967-74 military dictatorship. The youths tend to espouse general anti-capitalist and antiestablishment principles, and have long-running animosity toward the police.

Poisoned pigs in Ireland

Here is a video from the BBC explaining the situation. (embedding is disabled for this video)

Here's a lesson to be learned: stop eating animals.

People act like they have no choice but to eat animals.

No matter what kind of diseases, sickness and death they get from it, no matter how much raising these animals for consumption annihilates the earth, they keep looking for ways around it instead of saying "fuck this" or even "I really need to rethink this."

Ireland recalls pork over dioxin contamination

Sat Dec 6, 2008 5:28pm EST

By Andras Gergely

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The Irish government ordered the food industry on Saturday to recall all domestically-produced pork products because of contamination with cancer-causing dioxin.

Ireland exported 368 million euros ($467 million) worth of pig meat in 2007, half of it to Britain, according to industry body Food and Drink Industry Ireland.

"This recall involves retailers, the hospitality sector and the Irish pig processing sector," the government said in a statement. "Preliminary evidence indicates that the contamination problem is likely to have started in September 2008."

Ireland had almost 1.5 million pigs as of June, the Central Statistics Office said.

Bacon and sausages can be found on most Irish breakfast tables while ham is a traditional food around Christmas.

Dioxins are contaminants that may be formed during combustion processes and can be present in industrial wastes, the government said.

Laboratory results of animal feed and pork fat samples obtained on Saturday confirmed the presence of dioxins, it said, with toxins at 80-200 times the safe limits.

The Irish Farmers' Association said the few affected farms had been isolated and the recall was a precautionary measure as the vast majority of products on the market were safe.

Fresh meat products from the unaffected farms will come on the market soon, IFA President Padraig Walshe said.

"There will be perfectly safe pig meat on sale to consumers I expect from the middle of the week," Walshe told public broadcaster RTE.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

America to the world: "Fuck you"

Hey look, we can still do whatever we want!!

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey [whose nomination as attorney general last year was threatened by his refusal to say whether he considered waterboarding to be torture] said Wednesday that he saw no need for President Bush to issue blanket pardons of officials involved in some of the administration’s most controversial counterterrorism policies.

Mr. Mukasey told reporters that there was “absolutely no evidence” that anyone involved in developing the policies “did so for any reason other than to protect the security in the country and in the belief that he or she was doing something lawful.”

The comments appeared aimed at tamping down speculation that Mr. Bush, before leaving the White House next month, might issue pre-emptive pardons to protect counterterrorism officials from legal jeopardy in the face of possible criminal investigations by the new Democratic administration.
Yeah. The torture-loving Attorney General made sure to let everyone know that the people running this country hold all their atrocities to be perfectly legal. Waterboarding, nudity, dogs, extreme temperatures, sensory deprivation, whatever. It's all in the rules, they say. Someone's gonna blow something else up, and the people running this country and the ones who put them there will be responsible. They won't tell themselves that though. And lots of other people will be responsible for not removing them from power, for letting them rule and for following their orders.

Animal exploitation is killing the planet

It's not really news, but the New York Times thinks it is. They published an article today detailing the skyrocketing growth of animal-based food industries, as well as those sub-industries that serve them.

Here are some highlights:

The trillions of farm animals around the world generate 18 percent of the emissions that are raising global temperatures, according to United Nations estimates, more even than from cars, buses and airplanes...

But such fledgling proposals are part of a daunting game of catch-up. In large developing countries like China, India and Brazil, consumption of red meat has risen 33 percent in the last decade. It is expected to double globally between 2000 and 2050. While the global economic downturn may slow the globe’s appetite for meat momentarily, it is not likely to reverse a profound trend...

Indeed, scientists are still trying to define the practical, low-carbon version of a slab of bacon or a hamburger. Every step of producing meat creates emissions.

Flatus and manure from animals contain not only methane, but also nitrous oxide, an even more potent warming agent. And meat requires energy for refrigeration as it moves from farm to market to home...

Producing meat in this ever-more crowded world requires creating new pastures and planting more land for imported feeds, particularly soy, instead of relying on local grazing. That has contributed to the clearing of rain forests, particularly in South America, robbing the world of crucial “carbon sinks,” the vast tracts of trees and vegetation that absorb carbon dioxide...

“I’m not sure that the system we have for livestock can be sustainable,” said Dr. Pachauri of the United Nations. A sober scientist, he suggests that “the most attractive” near-term solution is for everyone simply to “reduce meat consumption,” a change he says would have more effect than switching to a hybrid car...

Producing a pound of beef creates 11 times as much greenhouse gas emission as a pound of chicken and 100 times more than a pound of carrots, according to Lantmannen, the Swedish group...

And this, far and away, is the best line in the article:

Meat producers have taken issue with the United Nations’ estimate of livestock-related emissions, saying the figure is inflated because it includes the deforestation in the Amazon, a phenomenon that the Brazilian producers say might have occurred anyway.

Yeah, definitely, the rain forest would just be falling down, so it's a good thing there is an industry there to take up all that space that would have been wasted.

I have no illusions that this will move any significant portion of the population towards reducing meat consumption. No, everyone will keep doing what they were doing. Perhaps some will fret over how unfortunate this all is, but as a whole, humans will keep increasing their meat, milk and egg consumption, diligently building their own demise. I mean, what can you really do, right? We are a profoundly stupid species.

So don't let science and the health of the world in which we live get in the way of what you feel like doing. Go ahead, eat your way into oblivion. Their death will one day make ours.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's getting too loud for whales to talk

Some environmental groups and the United Nations just released a report documenting that whales and dolphins, who of course communicate through sound, are having their voices doused by industrial noise - ship engines, sonar tests (familiar), weapons tests, military exercises and seismic surveying activities.

Here's a quick summary:

That sound pollution — everything from increasing commercial shipping and seismic surveys to a new generation of military sonar — is not only confounding the mammals, it also is further threatening the survival of these endangered animals.

Studies show that these cetaceans, which once communicated over thousands of miles (kilometers) to forage and mate, are losing touch with each other, the experts said on the sidelines of a U.N. wildlife conference in Rome.

These people got together to try to fix what they are doing. Nice measure. Here's what they're talking about doing:

Measures suggested include rerouting shipping and installing quieter engines as well as cutting speed and banning tests and sonar use in areas known to be inhabited by the endangered animals.

I'm sure they mean well, but here are some thoughts:

  1. It's not ok to inflict this damage upon any animal, endangered or otherwise. There is nothing we, as humans, are doing that can justify the ruining of others' lives, even if we can't see them. We've got no fucking right.
  2. Keeping this behavior up will ensure that lots of animals will become endangered.

Unfortunately, there is an even bigger problem, one that has no quick-fix solution:

An indirect source of noise pollution may also be coming from climate change, which is altering the chemistry of the oceans and making sound travel farther through sea water, the experts said...

Other research suggests that rising levels of carbon dioxide are increasing the acidity of the Earth's oceans, making sound travel farther through sea water.

The study by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in the United States shows the changes may mean some sound frequencies [not the ones whales and dolphins use] are traveling 10 percent farther than a few centuries ago. That could increase to 70 percent by 2050 if greenhouse gases are not cut.

Yeah, yeah, so what? So they have to hear loud noises. Who doesn't, right? What's the matter with it?

Environmental groups also are increasingly finding cases of beached whales and dolphins that can be linked to sound pollution, Simmonds said.

Marine mammals are turning up on the world's beaches with tissue damage similar to that found in divers suffering from decompression sickness. The condition, known as the bends, causes gas bubbles to form in the bloodstream upon surfacing too quickly.

Scientists say the use of military sonar or seismic testing may have scared the animals into diving and surfacing beyond their physical limits, Simmonds said.

Several species of cetaceans are already listed as endangered or critically endangered from other causes, including hunting, chemical pollution, collisions with boats and entanglements with fishing equipment. Though it is not yet known precisely how many animals are affected, sound pollution is increasingly being recognized as a serious factor, the experts said.

Oh right, that. Killing them. Even if you don't give a fuck about dolphins and whales dying, remember that ecosystems are complex chains and you cannot simply remove one part of it. There are dire consequences, things that cannot be predicted.

However, governments seem ready to take action, said Nick Nutall, a spokesman for the U.N. Environment Program...

Not the United States, of course. The people running this country are actually taking anti-action. The Supreme Court just agreed with the United States Navy that all the sonar testing they can muster up has never hurt a single creature. So smart again with those "no proven links" statements/lies.

Thoughts of the future

The last few days, I've been taken by the thought that, if the planet survives long enough, and people survive long enough, our species will come to regard consuming animals, particularly in this current hyper-exploitative, industrialized manner, as many people now view smoking. It was not too long ago when people were inundated with advertisements and science that told them that smoking was not just safe, but could even be good for you. Watch here:

Right. Well, most people at least know now that smoking is definitely not good for you. I don't think anyone really challenges this notion. Sure, tobacco companies still lie and say that tobacco isn't addictive, but I don't think anyone really takes it seriously. People know that this happens after a while:Now about animals. There is so much information forced upon us, telling us how beneficial it is to consume animals. What does eating them do for you? Everything, they say. Energy, strong bones, nice hair, muscle mass, etc. They don't tell you that dosing hard on animal protein and animal calcium, like we're supposed to do, like the standard American diet commands, gives you osteoporosis. They don't tell you about how you couldn't have high cholesterol if you only ate plants. Cholesterol is produced in livers, and that's it. Unless you have a malfunctioning liver, you will absolutely not be able to raise your cholesterol level through a plant-based diet. It's funny, because they sell you fish oil as a natural way to lower cholesterol, but you only got it through your excessive, gluttonous consumption of flesh, milk and eggs. And that lower risk of heart disease and cancer, why were they raised in the first place? A lot of it has to do with diet.

They love telling you that all the growth hormones and antibiotics in their products are safe, that there are "no proven links" between consuming those substances by way of others and health problems, but how could this be true? Especially when people eat animal products to such a degree. The most recent USDA figures put meat intake at 195 pounds per person, per year, milk at 23 gallons per person, per year, and cheese at 30 pounds per person, per year. But no, eat on, they say. You will be fine. How? How could you possibly be eating so many extra chemicals and drugs and face no effects? It's simple - you do. However, the animal exploitation industries buy bullshit science, just like tobacco companies have, and straight up lie to people so that the people running them can rake in money. I doubt there has ever been a study to prove links between getting shot in the face and dying, but there is no need. It's obvious. Think about it.

So yeah, I've been thinking in the last few days that people will, in the not too distant future, look back upon this period of industrialized mega slaughter as a shameful one, where they were not so unwillingly duped into believing that they could eat however they like (watch that fat content!), eating whatever they like, as well as whatever shit is poured into their troughs, with no real negative outcomes. And I'm just talking about the personal health effects on individual humans. The environmental devastation, and yes, devastation is absolutely the word, wrought by these enforced practices is something I will deal with separately, even though they are wholly linked.

But then again, maybe people, as a species, are too fucking stupid to catch on, too self-destructive, too self-indulgent to really make a change. Smoking works here again. People know it degrades their lives, they know it kills them, but 45 million people in this country smoke, and over 1.3 billion worldwide. Nearly one quarter of the world chooses to do something that gives them no benefits, has no basis in nature, and produces only negative outcomes. Why should I expect them to choose differently when it comes to their diets? An industrial crash will force them, but I know not when that will come. Even this is an absurd dream, I don't care; dreams needn't be realistic.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving is here

Time to eat a bigger dead animal, that you had someone else kill for you so you can feel removed from the violence of it, than normal. It needn't be so.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eat your dog

Do it. Five good reasons.

Peter Singer on California's Proposition 2

From Newsweek. Here's the original, if you want it. Proposition 2 is the ballot initiative that successfully banned factory farming, or at least as it's currently practiced.

The Rights Of Animals

California voters have put the animal-rights movement squarely in the mainstream. Will we all soon be vegans?

Peter Singer

The notion that animals should have rights was widely ridiculed when it was first advocated in the 1970s. Now it is getting more respect. The movement has gained tens of millions of adherents and has already persuaded the European Union to require that all hens have room to stretch their wings, perch and lay their eggs in a nest box, and to phase out keeping pigs and veal calves in individual crates too narrow for them to walk or turn around. And earlier this month Californians voted 63 percent to 37 percent for a measure that, beginning in 2015, gives all farm animals the right to stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs. The state's 45 major egg producers will have to rip out the cages that now hold 19 million hens, and either put in new and larger cages with fewer birds or, more likely, keep the birds on the floor in large sheds. California's sole large-scale pig-factory farm will also have to give all its pigs room to turn around.

Pressure on other states to grant the same basic freedoms may prove irresistible. Many people see this movement as a logical continuation of the fight against racism and sexism, and believe that the concept of animal rights will soon be as commonplace as equal pay and opportunities for women and minorities. If that happens—and I believe it will—the effects on the food we eat, how we produce it and the place of animals in our society will be profound.

If this sounds radical, so did suffrage and civil rights a few decades ago. The notion that we should recognize the rights of animals living among us rests on a firm ethical foundation. A sentient being is sentient regardless of which species it happens to belong to. Pain is pain, whether it is the pain of a cat, a dog, a pig or a child.

Consider how widely humans differ in their mental abilities. A typical adult can reason, make moral choices and do many things (like voting) that animals obviously cannot do. But not all human beings are capable of reason, not all are morally responsible and not all are capable of voting. And yet we go out of our way to claim that all humans have rights. What, then, justifies our withholding at least some rights from nonhuman animals? Defenders of the status quo have found that a difficult question to answer.

If animals do have rights, what rights would those be? The most basic right any sentient being can have is for his or her interests to be given equal consideration. After that, things get more complicated. Some advocates think that all animals have a right to life. Others give more weight to the lives of beings such as chimpanzees, which are capable of understanding that they have a life, and of having hopes and desires directed toward the future. The movement's supporters agree that the way we treat animals now, as test subjects and factory-farm products, is flagrantly wrong.

If society were gradually to accept animal rights, it would spell dramatic changes. Some people might accept humanely raised meat, eggs and dairy products, if the animals had good lives, living outdoors in social groups of a size natural to the particular species. But this would most likely prove to be an interim stage. As the demand for animal products dwindles, the meat industry would breed fewer chickens, turkeys, pigs and cattle. Eventually the only remaining beef cattle, sheep and pigs would be small herds preserved so that we can take the grandchildren to see what these once abundant animals look like. Factory farming—for meat, eggs or milk—would disappear. If we are to continue to eat meat, we'll have to rely on scientists who are now trying to grow meat in vats. When they succeed, it will be the real thing, grown from animal cells, not a soy-based substitute, and it might even be indistinguishable from the meat we eat now. But since it would involve no animals, and hence no suffering or killing, there will be no ethical objections.

Milk and cheese are no easier than meat to reconcile. Cows will not give milk unless they are made pregnant each year, and if the calves are left with their mothers, there won't be much milk for humans. The separation of the cow and her calf causes distress to both. Hens are not so concerned about the removal of their eggs, and genuinely free-range hens appear to have a good life, but male chicks have to be disposed of, and no commercial egg producer allows hens to live beyond the point at which their rate of laying declines. That's why animal-rights advocates today tend to be vegans.

Where animals are now used for research, we must find alternatives. In Europe, cell and tissue cultures have already replaced some product testing of live animals, and that will increase dramatically once harmful research on animals is put ethically out of bounds. Research using animals may not cease entirely, but in a nonspeciesist world it could continue only under the same strict ethical safeguards that we use for research on human subjects who can't give their consent.

Our greatest difficulty in respecting other species may lie in our quest for land. The animal movement forces us to consider that land we do not use is the habitat of other sentient beings, and we must do what we can to allow them to continue to live on it, including limiting our own population growth. Even wilderness presents a problem. Are humans ethically bound to prevent animals from killing other animals? To contemplate interfering with the workings of ecosystems would be presumptuous, at least for now. We will do better to concentrate, first, on lessening our own harmful impact on our domestic animals.

Sarah Palin Pardons Turkey - While others killed behind her


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Baby turkeys

Sixty-six baby turkeys got pretty lucky recently. Someone rescued them from their torture death sentence in a factory farm and brought them instead to Farm Sanctuary, where they will be loved for the sentient beings they are, not their taste. They're just sixty-six of the 45 million who will be killed and eaten for Thanksgiving, and of the 270 million killed and eaten over the course of this year. How did they know they were from a factory farm? Easy.

When they arrived at Farm Sanctuary, Bubbles and the others had already been mutilated. Industry workers used a high-intensity infrared light to debeak the birds and microwave radiation to remove the ends of their toes. These techniques are used on today’s commercially-raised birds and delay amputation of the beak and toes until weeks later when the appendages erode and fall off. While some had already suffered the loss of these precious body parts, others still had their beaks and toes intact; however, they too fell off during the birds’ first days at the shelter, leaving wounds that caused terrible pain as they tried to eat and walk. To prevent infection, we cleansed the exposed areas daily, and thankfully, most of the poults have now begun to heal.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Killing whales with sound

The Supreme Court said it's fine for the United States Navy to maim and kill an untold number of whales on a permanent, recurring basis. The Navy does this, and has been doing this for over forty years, through sonar training exercises. Exercises. Yup.

The groups say that sonar can be as loud as 2,000 jet engines, causing marine mammals to suffer lasting physical trauma, strandings and changes in breeding and migration patterns. They contend that courts are perfectly capable of weighing the competing security and environmental concerns.
No matter though:

Chief Justice Roberts took a different view. Courts, he said, quoting a 1986 decision of the justices, must “give great deference to the professional judgment of military authorities” in making decisions about personnel, training and priorities.

He cited an observation, made by President Theodore Roosevelt in a 1907 message to Congress, that only “practice at sea, under all the conditions which would have to be met if war existed,” can guarantee a prepared Navy.
When you think about it, the court has a good point - they're just whales.

For the environmental groups that sought to limit the exercises, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “the most serious possible injury would be harm to an unknown number of marine mammals that they study and observe.”
People believe and live as though they can do whatever they want, that they have accountability to nothing. They can take and take, they can destroy, that if something is possible, then they should do it.

This isn't just about whales. We live, today, through annihilation. Our lives are predicated upon destruction. Destruction of life, both human and non-human, destruction of quality of life, both human and non-human, extinction of life, both human and non-human. This is one of the more glaring examples of totally wanton destruction. Fucking careless, deliberate. The people who run these programs would, and have, directly ruin people in the process if there weren't so many laws, and it hadn't become so expensive through lawsuits and bad publicity.

"An explanation is what we want. We want to know how things could get so fucked up, how things could get so out of hand. So many times we have waited on others to stand up for us and act on what we believe is so fucked and wrong with our generation. I know we are all so angry. I know I am so fucking angry..."

Friday, November 7, 2008

A new president, new hate unleashed

Here are some hate crimes from around the country in the last four days, all directly in response to people electing Barack Obama as president. Please take note that none of them occurred in the traditional "South." Two in the Northeast, or Up South, and one in Texas, which is its own confusing mess.

Staten Island - a seventeen-year-old young Liberian man was beaten with bats by four white males, in a car, with concealed faces, yelling "Obama" at him.

Waco, Texas - among other things, some white people hung a noose from a tree at Baylor University in response to Barack Obama's win.

Hardwick, New Jersey - some white people burned a six foot cross on a Cuban/Indian family's front lawn, after stealing their homemade celebratory Obama victory banner.

I'm so much more eager and ready to burn this fucking country down than I was a week ago.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear gay people,

We hate you.




Who's moving forward again? Where's the unity? If there was a ballot initiative against gay people yesterday, it passed. Arizona - gay marriage banned. Arkansas - gay couples banned from adopting children. California - gay marriage banned. Florida - gay marriage banned.

Arizona and Arkansas collectively voted for John McCain. California and Florida collectively voted for Barack Obama. All four voted to enshrine anti-gay sentiments in their constitutions. Obama decidedly won in California, barely won in Florida, and McCain dominated him in Arkansas and Arizona.

Just as many people voted for a president in California as voted one way or the other on the gay marriage ban. Obama won California 61% to McCain's 37%, but the gay marriage ban passed by 52% to 48%. Yes to a black president, no to gay people enjoying their lives and having the same rights as others? What the fuck?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New York Police sodomize a 24 year old Brooklyn man

for smoking weed. Weed that he didn't even have when they caught him and brutalized him, ripping his asshole with a nightstick or whatever they used. And then they didn't arrest him, releasing him with a summons. He promptly went to the hospital, and now the Brooklyn District Attorney's office is investigating after internal affairs, of course, cleared all four offending pigs.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A quote from Ian Mackaye:

"I’d eat a piece of meat just as soon as I’d eat a piece of shit."

Right on, sir.

I found this two-part interview in Satya while looking for a picture of the man for the previous post.
He always makes for an interesting read.

Records from Ian Mackaye

I had this dream the other night that I was in Washington, DC and Ian Mackaye decided, in what I assume was a move of anti-materialism, that he was going to be giving away his record collection. I went over to his house, locked up my bike and went inside. There was a long line outside and he was only letting a few people in at a time. First come, first serve. In an effort to be fair, he was only letting people take eight records or so and was watching us. The floor of his house was nothing but records. Crates and boxes of records, almost all LPs. Luckily, where I dug in housed the Wipers discography and right next to it, I found most of the Propagandhi records, including several that do not exist (it was a dream, you know?). Ian got pretty upset in the midst of all of this and had to leave, but held strong with his commitment to rid himself of his records.

John McCain's daughter is a "punk"

"The only way to be punk rock anymore is to be conservative." The Ramones are her favorite band.


Here is the interview in its entirety.

The whole thing is horseshit. Fucking hell. Some highlights - the National Organization for Women endorses Sarah Palin (which is not true) and Sarah Palin "represents feminism at its finest level."

Oh, and here's the traitor woman dumbfuck support-women-vying-for-positions-of-power-no-matter-what Los Angeles NOW chapter president making her endorsement:

"America, this is what a feminist looks like." Yeah, wow.

The idiot robots to whom she's speaking jeer her for mentioning that she's a Democrat, despite the fact that she is there solely to talk up Sarah Palin and is STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HER. They are such reactionary trained seals that they can't even listen to her finish her endorsement for their symbol puppet woman. "Democrat." "BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" Fuck all of you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scary Halloween stories by Corona

I've been hearing this advertisement on the radio recently for Corona beer, in which the announcer delivers "scary Halloween stories" or something of that kind, where it's supposed to be light-hearted and funny. Here's a common one I don't think they'll be sharing:

"This guy got drunk and raped me."


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Genoa, Italy: July 21st, 2001

I found a lengthy, profoundly disturbing article the Guardian published a few months back detailing how vicious Italian pigs are. In this case, we are talking about how they behaved at the anti-G8 protests in July of 2001. This is obviously not a case of a few bad apples, as so many would like to believe. This goes from the streets to the prisons to the infirmary up to the high government. It's fucked. These pigs are so out of control and so violent that a bunch of them got brought up on federal charges. Seven years later, fifteen of them got convicted, but as it usually goes, they will not be doing a day in jail.

It's strange to see different arms of the state at war with one another like this. That doesn't really happen in this country. Pigs do what they want and never pay. Maybe they aren't as vicious, at least not on a wholesale basis. I know the police are totally fucked here. I know they kill, torture and maim. It's just that I'm not aware of so many of them being so violent for so long in one place at one time. I mean, for fuck's sake, they shot a protester in the face and killed him, ran him over several times, leaving him to die in the street. I don't think there has been mass police violence like this in America since the late 60s, early 70s, when they were going after Black Panthers and other Black Liberation groups. Maybe MOVE in the 80s. Whatever the case, it's fucked.

The pictures above are from someone's flickr account I found randomly.

White people, who preface statements with assurances of not being racist, actually are racist

From a piece on the NPR website about the presidential race in York, Pennsylvania:

"I don't want to sound racist, and I'm not racist," Moreland says. "But I feel if we put Obama in the White House, there will be chaos. I feel a lot of black people are going to feel it's payback time. And I made the statement, I said, 'You know, at one time the black man had to step off the sidewalk when a white person came down the sidewalk.' And I feel it's going to be somewhat reversed. I really feel it's going to get somewhat nasty."

Moreland says she doesn't think all black people will "want payback." "I'm not talking about you, and I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the people that are out on the street looking for trouble. Putting a black man in the White House — and if he gets there, he gets there; I'm going to live under his presidency and everything. And I'm still going to be friends with anybody black that wants to be my friend and everything. But I really feel there's going to be a time of adjustment. I really feel it. I hope I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong."

Leah Moreland will have just as many black friends, which is zero, after the election as she does now. Fact.

Friday, October 24, 2008


in a tux.

My sister got married.

McCain volunteer not robbed, not mutilated: just turns out she's racist and crazy

True story. A twenty-year-old white woman, not incidentally a volunteer for John McCain's presidential campaign, made up a story in which she was robbed, beaten and mutilated by a black man, whose support for Obama motivated his excessive, and completely fictitious violence. As it turns out, she was not robbed, she was not beaten and "believes" she cut the backwards "B" into her own cheek. There was no confrontation with a 6'4" black man. Just a bunch of hatred in her head.

Police: McCain volunteer made up robbery story

PITTSBURGH – A McCain campaign volunteer made up a story of being robbed, pinned to the ground and having the letter "B" scratched on her face in a politically inspired attack, police said Friday.

Ashley Todd, 20-year-old college student from College Station, Texas, admitted Friday that the story was false and was being charged with making a false report to police, said Maurita Bryant, the assistant chief of the police department's investigations division. Police doubted her story from the start, Bryant said.

Todd, who is white, told police she was attacked by a 6-foot-4 black man Wednesday night. She now can't explain why she invented the story, Bryant said.

Todd also told police she believes she cut the backward "B" onto her own cheek, but she didn't explain how or why, Bryant said.

Todd initially told investigators she was attempting to use a bank branch ATM when the man approached her from behind, put a knife with a 4- to 5-inch blade to her throat and demanded money. She told police she handed the assailant $60 and walked away.

Todd told investigators that she suspected the man then noticed a John McCain sticker on her car, became angry and punched her in the back of the head, knocking her to the ground and telling her "you are going to be a Barack supporter," police said.

She said he continued to punch and kick her while threatening "to teach her a lesson for being a McCain supporter," police said. She said he then sat on her chest, pinned her hands down with his knees and scratched a backward letter "B" into her face with a dull knife.

Todd told police she didn't seek medical attention, but instead went to a friend's apartment nearby and called police about 45 minutes later.

The Associated Press could not immediately locate Todd's family.

Bryant said somebody charged with making a false report would typically be cited and sent a summons. But because police have concerns about Todd's mental health, they are consulting with the Allegheny County District Attorney.

Todd remained in custody, and police were preparing to charge her with making a false report to police.

"We had some serious cases going on, and this wasted so much time," Bryant said. "Our detectives have been working through the night just to verify the information we suspected was false from the beginning."

Todd worked in New York for the College Republican National Committee before moving two weeks ago to Pennsylvania, where her duties included recruiting college students, the committee's executive director, Ethan Eilon, has said.

Eilon declined to comment on the investigation Friday or to help The Associated Press contact Todd.

Earlier Friday, police said they had found inconsistencies in Todd's story. They gave her a lie-detector test, but wouldn't release the polygraph results. Investigators also said bank surveillance photos did not back up the woman's initial story of being attacked at an ATM.

Police interviewed Todd after she contacted police Wednesday night and again on Thursday, Bryant said. They asked her to come back Friday, ostensibly to help police put together a sketch of the man. Instead, detectives began interviewing her.

"They just started talking to her and she just opened up and said she wanted to tell the truth," Bryant said.

Bryant said it doesn't appear that anyone else put the woman up to the false report.

Police suspected all along that Todd might not be telling the truth, starting with the fact that the "B" was backward, Bryant said.

"We have robbers here in Pittsburgh, but they don't generally mutilate someone's face like that," Bryant said. "They just take the money and run."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"A mammoth garbage pit in the Pacific"

There are actually two. That's just the one closer to America. Here is a story from the San Francisco Chronicle, published last year.

Some highlights:
  • "The so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a stewy body of plastic and marine debris that floats an estimated 1,000 miles west of San Francisco, is a shape-shifting mass far too large, delicate and remote to ever be cleaned up, according to a researcher who recently returned from the area."
  • "Charles Moore, the marine researcher at the Algalita Marina Research Foundation in Long Beach who has been studying and publicizing the patch for the past 10 years, said the debris — which he estimates weighs 3 million tons and covers an area twice the size of Texas — is made up mostly of fine plastic chips and is impossible to skim out of the ocean."
  • "'The Garbage Patch is not a solid island, as some people believe,' Moore said. Instead, it resembles a soupy mass, interspersed with large pieces of junk such as derelict fishing nets and waterlogged tires — 'an alphabet soup,' he called it."
  • "The plastic moves just beneath the surface, from one inch to depths of 300 feet, according to samples he collected on the most recent trip, he said."
  • "By Moore's estimation, the 'floating landfill' is also simply too far from land to conduct any meaningful cleanup operation. It's about 1,000 miles west of California and 1,000 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands — a week's journey by boat from the nearest port. It swirls in a convergence zone located about 30 to 40 degrees north latitude and 135 to 145 west longitude."

Like I said, that's just the one closest to America. If you examine the two together and the updated research in this article, it's much more horrifying. For example:
A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting "soup" stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" or "trash vortex", believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: "The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States."

Yeah, sweet.

Here's what the whole thing looks like:

Humans have got no right. I don't think discussions of ethics and philosophy will sway our species though. The title of that graphic just above is pretty right on, huh? That's the human motto, really.

Raising animals for human consumption is the largest generator of greenhouse gases

Not so green. In case you missed hearing about this when it came out, here is a report from the United Nations detailing just how destructive, above any other cause, raising animals so that humans may consume them is. Oh, and they forgot a remedy - cease/severely curtail your consumption of animals.

Livestock a major threat to environment
Remedies urgently needed

29 November 2006, Rome - Which causes more greenhouse gas emissions, rearing cattle or driving cars?


According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.

Says Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of the report: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.

Long shadow

The global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector. It provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40 percent to global agricultural output. For many poor farmers in developing countries livestock are also a source of renewable energy for draft and an essential source of organic fertilizer for their crops.

But such rapid growth exacts a steep environmental price, according to the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow –Environmental Issues and Options. “The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level,” it warns.

When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

And it accounts for respectively 37 percent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.

Land and water

At the same time herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20 percent of pastures considered as degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the drylands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification.

The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution, euthropication and the degeneration of coral reefs. The major polluting agents are animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops. Widespread overgrazing disturbs water cycles, reducing replenishment of above and below ground water resources. Significant amounts of water are withdrawn for the production of feed.

Livestock are estimated to be the main inland source of phosphorous and nitrogen contamination of the South China Sea, contributing to biodiversity loss in marine ecosystems.

Meat and dairy animals now account for about 20 percent of all terrestrial animal biomass. Livestock’s presence in vast tracts of land and its demand for feed crops also contribute to biodiversity loss; 15 out of 24 important ecosystem services are assessed as in decline, with livestock identified as a culprit.


The report, which was produced with the support of the multi-institutional Livestock, Environment and Development (LEAD) Initiative, proposes explicitly to consider these environmental costs and suggests a number of ways of remedying the situation, including:

Land degradation – controlling access and removing obstacles to mobility on common pastures. Use of soil conservation methods and silvopastoralism, together with controlled livestock exclusion from sensitive areas; payment schemes for environmental services in livestock-based land use to help reduce and reverse land degradation.

Atmosphere and climate – increasing the efficiency of livestock production and feed crop agriculture. Improving animals’ diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, and setting up biogas plant initiatives to recycle manure.

Water – improving the efficiency of irrigation systems. Introducing full-cost pricing for water together with taxes to discourage large-scale livestock concentration close to cities.

These and related questions are the focus of discussions between FAO and its partners meeting to chart the way forward for livestock production at global consultations in Bangkok this week. These discussions also include the substantial public health risks related to the rapid livestock sector growth as, increasingly, animal diseases also affect humans; rapid livestock sector growth can also lead to the exclusion of smallholders from growing markets.

Troops I can support

The ultimate traitors. Sent to war, realized what was happening, came back rejecting their hero status and endeavoring to end the war.

One of the robot pigs quit on the spot. Facing the prospect of gassing "heroes," he realized he had dedicated his life to being a piece of shit. He couldn't handle it, so he put down his tear gas gun and walked away. The IVAW recruited four new members from the Denver Police Department that day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Civic Doodie

Before rushing off to the polls this November to cast a vote either for The Past, or the Slightly Less Distant Past, consider the bounds of your moral responsibility.

If you cast a vote and therefore pseudo-legitimize somebody's power - are you in part responsible for the outcome of their actions? Actions possible because of said power?

Now, your average Joe Sixpack might say:

"Hey, Write Back Soon... You mean I'm partly responsible for shooting that guy in the face on that hunting trip?"


Read/watch/listen along as Sarah Palin implies, just one shade short of explicitly stating, that Barack Obama is a socialist

insane. Socialism? Again, not interested in defending Obama here. The point is that these people are so far right, or at least act like it, that they are in space. Socialism, wow. He's the same money-loving Christian capitalist as she, duh. Socialism, Main Street, mavericks, Joe the Plumber, reform, energy-producing state, blah blah blah, it's all nothing. Nothing.

Transcript of Palin interview with CNN

(CNN) -- Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin spoke Tuesday to CNN's Drew Griffin. It was her first interview with the network. Here is the transcript.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks with CNN's Drew Griffin Tuesday.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks with CNN's Drew Griffin Tuesday.

CNN: You seemed to be very much on your game. You get huge crowds. Even bigger crowds than [Republican presidential candidate Sen.] John McCain. Why is that?

Sarah Palin: I think it's what I'm representing and what the message is and that is true reform of government that is so needed, and having a representative of someone who has a track record of showing that, yeah, you can, you can do this, you can reform, you can put government back on the side of the people, you can fight corruption. You can actually take steps towards helping our nation become energy-independent and all those things that we're talking about. I think that more and more Americans are realizing that, well, good, we have a candidate who has actually done some of those things and it's not just, talkin' the talk, she's gonna tell us how she's done this.

CNN: Let's talk about some of that, because, I mean, two months ago, it was all about who you were, where you were from and Wasilla, Alaska. I think, now it's just the economy. And you are the only person in this race with executive experience, who's taken over governments as mayor and governor. What will you do, day one, to tell the American people, things are changing for the better?

Palin: You know, that's a good point about that experience and we don't like to toot our own horn so we don't, I don't talk about my experience that much in terms of years in office or in positions that have been executive experience but, I have, I do have more experience than [Democratic presidential candidate Sen.] Barack Obama does. You know, he had served for his 300 days before he became a presidential candidate and that wasn't in executive office, of course, but, as an executive, working with John McCain, we will take on the special interests and we will clean up Wall Street and some of the abuse of the power in Washington, D.C., also to first and foremost get government back on the side of the people, and, we do this economically speaking here, by cutting taxes, not increasing them, allowing our small businesses and our families to keep more of what they earn, and produce so that they can reinvest according to their priorities. Not politicians' priorities and special interests' priorities. Our small businesses, keeping more of what they earn, that allows them to create more jobs, they're gonna be hiring more people, that gets our economy going. That's what has happened in the opportunities that I've had in executive positions as mayor, manager, and as governor. It works. Reining in government growth, recognizing government certainly plays appropriate roles in building infrastructure, providing tools for our families, for our businesses, but then government kinda getting outta the way as you have great oversight making sure that there isn't the corruption and the abuse, but government, I think get outta the way and let the private sector do what it does best.

CNN: Yeah, but, I mean we're in a crisis right now.

Palin: We are.

CNN: And the plans that you mention take time, you have to go through Congress. If you guys win, you'll both most likely be working with a Democratic Congress. It's gonna be a slow process. What I'm trying to find out from you -- from John McCain as well, day one, people want a difference, to make a difference in the economy, as we're seeing daily, swings in the stock market, houses going foreclosed on --

Palin: Mm-hmm. Well, day one, you bring in everyone around that table, too, you bring in the congressional leadership, and, assuming that there will be, certainly, Democrats, at that table, that's good, too, these are gonna be bipartisan approaches that must be taken, I have that executive experience also having formed a cabinet up there in Alaska that, you know, we've got independents and Democrats and Republicans whom I have appointed to our administrative positions to that, we have the best of ideas coming together in order to best serve the people. John McCain, too, he's been known as the maverick to take on his own party when need be, to reach over the aisle and work with the other party also. Now, Barack Obama has not been able to do that, he's gone with, what is it, 96 percent of the time with Democrat leadership. Not having that, I think, ability or willingness to work with the other side. So as an executive, we need to create that team that is full of good ideas and not let obsessive partisanship get in the way, as we start taking the measures to shore up our economy, which already Congress is working on with the rescue package, with some of the bailout packages, the provisions in there that can work, too, but it's gonna take everybody working together.

CNN: Will you and John McCain appoint Democrats to cabinet positions?

Palin: I don't know why you wouldn't, if they, if these Democrats are best suited to serve, and if they will not let obsessive partisanship get in the way of just doing what's right with a team effort, and support of the president to get this economy moving, and to win these wars, to meet these great challenges, I wouldn't have as my litmus test a party affiliation.

CNN: Yeah. Uh, Joe the plumber?

Palin: Yeah.

CNN: Socialism, it's come up on the campaign trail now.

Palin: Sure.

CNN: Governor, is Barack Obama a socialist?

Palin: I'm not gonna call him a socialist, but, as Joe the plumber had suggested, in fact he came right out and said it sounds like socialism to him and he speaks for so many Americans who are quite concerned now, after hearing finally what Barack Obama's true intentions are with his tax and economic plan, and that is, to take more from small businesses, more from our families, and then redistribute that according to his priorities. That is, that is not good for the entrepreneurial spirit that has built this great country. That is not good for our economy, certainly it's not good for the opportunities that our small businesses should have, to keep more of what they produce, in order to hire more people, create more jobs. That's what gets the economy going. So, finally Joe the plumber and as we talked about today in the speech, too, he's representing, you know, Jane the engineer and Molly the dental hygienist and Chuck the teacher and, and all these good, hard-working Americans who are, finally, were able to hear in very plain talk the other night, what Barack Obama's intentions were to redistribute wealth.

CNN: Do you think his intention though, if not a socialist, is to move away from capitalism, true capitalism?

Palin: Well, anyone who would want to increase taxes at a time like this, especially with economic woes that are adversely affecting all of us, anybody who would want to do that to take more from businesses and our families, and then dole those dollars out according to their priorities, that, that is not a principal of capitalism.

CNN: Some are saying we're already moving towards socialism with the bailout, the banking industry investment that this government has made, that John McCain and Barack Obama have signed on for. What is your views on that and yet another possible supplement to the income of Americans.

Palin: We cannot start moving closer and closer to socialism. That will destroy the entrepreneurial spirit in America. That will punish hard work and productivity, and that work ethic that we try to instill in our children so that they will know that they can be rewarded for their productivity, for their hard work. We cannot move in that direction, that it should be so concerning for any American voter to consider that perhaps there are some who would like us to go there. Now, as for the economic bailout provisions and the measures that have already been taken, it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in playing an appropriate role to shore up the housing market to make sure that we're thawing out some of the potentially frozen credit lines and credit markets, government did have to step in there. But now that we're hearing that the Democrats want an additional stimulus package or bailout package for what, hundreds of billions of dollars more, this is not a time to use the economic crisis as an excuse for reckless spending and for greater, bigger government and to move the private sector to the back burner and let government be assumed to be the be-all, end-all solution to the economic challenges that we have. That's what's scaring me now about hearing that the Democrats have an even greater economic bailout package, but we don't know all the details of it yet and we'll certainly pay close attention to it.

CNN: On its face are you against that?

Palin: On its face, I want to make sure that this is not being used by the Democrats as a time for bigger government, more dollars being taken from taxpayers to bail out anybody, any entity that's been engaged in corruption, in self-dealing, in greed, there on Wall Street or in D.C. that has adversely affected Main Street, so, on its face, I, what we're gonna need to know more about what the Democrats have in mind for this additional bailout.

CNN: You know, as, you're a fiscal conservative.

Palin: Yes.

CNN: As a fiscal conservative, I'm looking at the McCain proposals. And all of them seem to involve heavy amounts of government money, or government involvement, whether it be home mortgages or propping up the banking industry. I mean, are you square with that?

Palin: I beg to differ with that, because what McCain has talked about with shoring up the home mortgage market also to make sure that we, we're gonna have a level playing field here. He's not asking for an additional hundreds of billions of dollars, he's saying, OK, with the $700 billion that his colleagues and he there in Congress have already approved, let's make sure that the priority is, we're gonna help the homeowners who had been kinda sucked into the wrong mortgage, and that was via predatory lenders taking advantage unfortunately and exploiting too many Americans. He's saying let's take the dollars that are already there and let's best use them. Let's, he's not saying, more, more, more government intervention and more dollars. He's saying, let's best use the dollars that have already been approved.

CNN: What is your role going to be as vice president?

Palin: Well, we've talked a lot about that, John McCain and I have, about the missions that I'll get to embark on if we are so blessed to be hired by the American people to work for them. It's gonna be government reform, because that is what I've been able to do as a mayor and as a governor. You take on the special interests and the self-dealings. Yep, you ruffle feathers and you have the scars to prove it afterwards, but you have to take that on to give the American people that faith back in their own government. This is their government and we gotta put it back on their side. So, government reform and energy independence, can't wait to work on that. That's been my forte as the governor of an energy-producing state and as a former chair of the energy regulator entity up there in Alaska. So, look forward to that and that's a matter of national security and our economic prosperity opportunities. That though, too, the other mission that John and I are anxious for me to lead on is helping our families who have children with special needs, ushering in that spirit to Washington, D.C., where we saw, we're gonna give every child a chance and a good educational opportunity will be provided. That's gonna be a matter, too, of prioritizing the federal dollars that are already there and making sure that every child is given opportunity.

CNN: Yeah. Governor, you've been mocked in the press. The press has been pretty hard on you, the Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above.

Palin: Who wrote that one?

CNN: That was in the National Review, I don't, have the author.

Palin: I'd like to talk to that person.

CNN: But they were talking about the fact that your experience as governor is not getting out. Do you feel trapped in this campaign, that your message is not getting out, and if so who do you blame?

Palin: No, I'm getting my message out right now, through you and with you, Drew, to the American people who are watching CNN, and I appreciate this opportunity. No, you know that, I am obviously an outsider of the Washington elite and of the conventional, I think, media, targets or media characters that have been a part of this for years and, I think that is fine, that is good for the American electorate to understand. They have a choice here in our ticket of having the experience and the reputation that comes with John McCain as being the patriot and the maverick in the Senate, you take that and you combine it with a team member who is new and fresh with new ideas, new vision, new energy that needs to be infused into Washington, D.C., with that commitment to clean it up in D.C. Put government on the side of the people and fight hard for Americans. You have that, that combination and I think that some in the media, maybe in The National Review, they don't know what to make of that, they're like, gee, she's, you know, where'd she come from, surely, you know, it should be our job I think they assume is to, pick and, and be negative and, and find things to mock and, that's just I guess part of the political game, I guess. But we're very committed and focused and moving forward between now and November 4, getting that message out to the American people that our plan to get this economy back on the right track, and to win the wars, put government on the side of the people. It's the right thing to do, and, I think we have the right message, despite the mocking that comes our way.

CNN: Governor, our time is very short and I must ask you just two questions, one is on [Palin's former brother-in-law, Alaska State Trooper Mike] Wooten, if there's one thing that's followed you negatively --

Palin: Tasergate, right, right,

CNN: You call it Tasergate,

Palin: We sure do.

CNN: Troopergate, whatever. The Branchflower Report said you were perfectly in your right, to fire [Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt] Monegan.

Palin: Right.

CNN: But also found out that you violated the ethics. Was it a mistake to allow your husband to use your office to try to pressure the troopers to fire Mr. Wooten.

Palin: Not at all because A, that, the trooper who had tasered his kid and had, you know, made death threats against my family and said he was gonna bring the governor down and all that. My husband did exactly, I think, what any sensible, reasonable father, husband would do who was concerned about their family's safety.

CNN: But was it a mistake to allow him to use the governor's office to that extent?

Palin: Not when you look at other governors' track records when they had their spouse as for instance [former Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski] had his spouse as his top adviser, and she was in meetings, she was in the office so, you know, kinda, of a double standard here. But what Todd was what any reasonable husband and father would do. He followed the instruction of the Department of Public Safety's own personal security detail that is our personal protection. They asked Todd, you have a problem with this state trooper, he is a threat, you need to take that to the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Todd did exactly that and then of course, he got clobbered for it, now in the media because there's a misunderstanding of what he's done. Our Department of Law in Alaska has right there on its Web site -- it said, if you have a problem with an Alaska state trooper, the paragraph says, you go to the Commissioner of Department of Public Safety and you share that concern with him. That's what Todd did. So no, I don't think that it was an abuse of power of my office at all. And I was very thankful that that report cleared me of any illegal dealings or anything else. I replaced the commissioner because he was not doing the job that I expect of my cabinet members. That is, you serve the Alaskan population up there. Of course he's a cabinet member who was assigned to do that, to the best of our team's ability and you have a lotta energy, you fulfill the vision that we have laid out for you, and he wasn't doing that and that's why he was replaced.

CNN: Governor, if in two weeks you're not elected, do you come back at the top of the ticket in 2012?

Palin: I'm concerned about and focused on just the next two weeks, Drew, and again getting that message out there to the American public. Thankfully, too, the American public is seeing clearer and clearer what the choices are in these tickets. I think, some revelation just occurred, not just with Joe the plumber but revelation occurred with [Democratic vice presidential candidate] Joe Biden's comment the other night that, he telling his Democratic financial donors saying that, he said mark my word, there's gonna be economic, and, or international crisis he said, if Barack Obama is elected, because he will be tested and he said there are four or five scenarios that will result in an international crisis with an untested presidential candidate in Barack Obama and -- first I think we need to thank Joe for the warning there. But, Joe's words there I think, can shed some light, too, in terms of the contrast you have in the tickets. John McCain is a tested leader. He has gone through great adversity. He has the scars to prove it. He has shown his true leadership. It hasn't just been all talk, and Joe Biden's comments there about an untested, as he had said in the primary, unprepared candidate to be president, I think was very telling.

CNN: Have you guys been briefed on any scenario like this?

Palin: On the four or five scenarios, that, well, who knows what Joe Biden was talking about, you know? It, all you have to do, though, is look back at Obama's foreign policy agenda and you can assume what some of those scenarios may be. As he considers sitting down and talking to [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad or [former Cuban President] Fidel Castro or [North Korean President] Kim Jong Il, some of these dictators, without preconditions being met, essentially validating some of what those dictators have been engaged in, that could be one of the scenarios that Joe Biden is talking about is, as a result of that, that proclamation that he would meet without preconditions being met first. That could be a scenario that results in a testing of our country, and, the four or five other scenarios that he's talking about, I don't know, I hope that Joe Biden will explain it.

CNN: I guess we have to wrap it up.

Palin: Yes.

CNN: I mean I could go on with you forever.

Palin: So could I, on that one especially.

CNN: [LAUGHS] I mean, did Joe Biden get a pass?

Palin: Drew, you need to ask your colleagues and I guess your bosses or whoever is in charge of all this, why does Joe Biden get a pass on such a thing? Can you imagine if I would've said such a thing? No, I think that, you know, we would be hounded and held accountable for, what in the world did you mean by that, VP presidential candidate? Why would you say that, mark my words, this nation will undergo international crisis if you elect Barack Obama? If I would've said that you guys'd clobbered me.

CNN: You're right. [LAUGHTER] You're right. Can I ask one more question?

Palin: Sure, good.

CNN: You've talked about America. And certain parts of America, that are maybe more American than other parts of American, Are there?

Palin: Ehhh, I don't want that misunderstood. No, I do not want that misunderstood. You know, when I go to these rallies and we see the patriotism just shining through these people's faces and the Vietnam veterans wearing their hats so proudly and they have tears in their eyes as we sing our national anthem and it is so inspiring and I say that this is true America, you get it, you understand how important it is that in the next four years we have a leader who will fight for you. I certainly don't want that interpreted as one area being more patriotic or more American than another. If that's the way it's come across, I apologize.