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2010 November 3 | Activist News
Disobey

The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

greed3

U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

freedom-of-the-press

The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: November 3, 2010

Cluster Munitions Treaty Leaves US Behind

Truthout
November 3, 2010
By Marwaan Macan-Markar

Bangkok – A campaign to rid the world of cluster munitions has still to rope in the U.S. government, a major producer and stockpiler of the deadly payload, on the eve of a key global conference in Laos to ban its production and use.
The mixed messages that Washington has been sending are expected to hover over the historic cluster munitions conference to be held Nov. 9-12 in Laos, a poverty-stricken South-east Asian country still grappling with the legacy of the bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes four decades ago.
Thus far, there are little signs that a U.S. government delegation will be attending the meeting as observers.

“We are hoping they (the U.S. government) will send a delegation even at the last moment,” says Thomas Nash, coordinator of the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC), a global network of civil society groups that have thrown their weight behind the world’s newest disarmament treaty, the Cluster Munitions Convention.

“The U.S. government is well aware of the problem in Laos,” Nash told IPS ahead of the first international conference that follows the U.N. disarmament treaty’s coming into force in August 2010.
The inaugural meeting of the state parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as it is formally known, is expected to bring delegates from over 100 countries and activists from nearly 400 non-governmental organisations to the Lao capital, Vientiane.
Washington’s absence is of little surprise in light of the distance that the U.S. government has put between itself and this latest international law, which is meant to save lives that continue to be lost long after cluster munitions have been dropped.
“The U.S. did not directly participate, even as an observer, in the diplomatic Oslo Process in 2007 and 2008 that resulted in the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” reveals the ‘Cluster Munition Monitor 2010’, a report released in the Thai capital on the eve of next week’s meeting.

3 Iowa justices removed after gay marriage ruling

Associated Press
November 3, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa voters have voted to remove three state Supreme Court justices, siding with conservatives angered by a ruling that allowed gay marriage.

The vote Tuesday was the first time Iowa voters have removed a Supreme Court justice since the current system began in 1962.

The three who weren’t retained were Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and justices David Baker and Michael Streit. They were the only justices up for retention this year.

They were on the court of seven justices who unanimously decided last year that an Iowa law restricting marriage to one man and one woman violated the state’s constitution.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_iowa_court_gay_marriage

Additional Article

Conservative Iowa Church Tries to Oust Judges Who Voted to Legalize Gay Marriage

Alternet  
October 30, 2010
By Andy Kopsa

Church leaders are not allowed to endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit. Yet that is exactly what one Church is doing in Iowa.

In early September, Iowa’s Cornerstone World Outreach Church circulated a letter to hundreds of Iowa clergy urging them to join a crusade to oust three Iowa Supreme Court judges. The targeted judges are three of the seven who ruled unanimously in 2009 that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, legalizing gay marriage in the state. The remaining four aren’t up for retention votes in this election cycle.

Project Jeremiah 2010, launched by Cornerstone’s Rev. Cary Gordon as a pulpit electioneering campaign, calls on clergy to tell their congregations to vote “no” in the upcoming judicial retention vote.
The clergy letter wastes no time likening “secular fundamentalists” (the ACLU, Americans United, the unchurched masses) to Hitler:

Secular fundamentalists in the United States know the same thing that Hitler knew. The only thing that stands in their way of the total takeover of our American culture, the final removal of any mention of God from the public arena, and the shredding of the last remains of our Judeo-Christian value system, is the church of Jesus Christ.”

I contacted Gordon via email to see if we could talk about Project Jeremiah. He replied with a press release and a directive to use it as an interview. In the release he quotes Camille Paglia, references John Locke and an Iowa anti-sodomy law from 1857 as the reason the Iowa Constitution could not produce the “canard of ‘gay marriage.”


“I don’t think I have ever seen a more outrageous effort to politicize churches,” said Americans United’s Rev. Barry Lynn in a press release calling for an IRS investigation. Churches with tax-exempt status are prohibited from making political endorsements.

Full Article Here – http://www.alternet.org/story/148683/conservative_iowa_church_tries_to_oust_judges_who_voted_to_legalize_gay_marriage

Microlending in a War Zone

Truthout
November 3, 2010
By David Smith-Ferri

Bamiyan Diaries – Day Five
In a small storage shed at the edge of town, we watched as 14-year-old Sayed Qarim signed a simple contract agreeing to borrow and repay a no-interest, 25,000 afghani loan (roughly $555). Daniel from the Zenda Company, the loan originator, counted out the crisp bills and handed them to Qarim, who smiled broadly and shook hands. Qarim, whose family farms potatoes and wheat, plans to use the funds to purchase a cow and her calf. “There are great benefits of owning a cow,” Qarim explains. “Our family gets to use the milk and we can sell the calf for a good profit.”
No one walking by outside on the narrow dirt road would have known an important business transaction had just occurred, one that could in fact help a young man and his family gain economic traction and greater security. The transaction didn’t take place in a bank. No village leaders were present. Only a 14-year-old boy, the representative of a private business company and a witness. And while the signed agreement constitutes a business relationship, the Zenda Company sees it as primarily personal.

Qarim was recommended for a loan by Faiz and Mohammad Jan, two other young men who live in his village and who have themselves recently received and repaid loans. Following this recommendation, Zenda spent much time getting to know Qarim, meeting with him, assessing his knowledge, his resources (such as access to grazing land) and his character, answering his questions and describing to him his responsibilities as a borrower.

Now that the transaction is complete, Qarim is required to send a picture of the cow and her calf as “proof” that the money was used as agreed. In addition, Hakim, another Zenda Company representative living in Bamiyan, who is fluent in Dari, the local language, will visit Qarim periodically. Along with Faiz and Mohammad Jan, he will try to provide whatever support Qarim needs to succeed.
Eighteen months ago, Mohammad Jan borrowed funds to purchase a cow and her calf. Three times in the 
intervening months, he has fattened the cow, raised the calf, sold them and used the money from their sale to purchase another cow and calf. He has repaid the loan in full and netted a profit thus far of nearly 7,000 afghanis. Faiz has been equally successful, using borrowed funds to purchase lambs; he repaid his loan, took out another and now owns ten sheep and two goats, prized locally both for their meat and for their fleece.
Zenda Company’s small business loan program has evolved gradually through trial and error in Bamiyan and Hakim, a Singaporean medical doctor and ex-pat living now in an outlying village, is central to its success. Hakim (a name given to him by local people which means “learned one”) originally came from Singapore to Quetta, Pakistan, on the Afghanistan border, where he worked for two years with Afghan refugees. “I essentially lived within a refugee settlement and I was treated as a local.”
While there, however, Hakim wanted to do more than treat the symptoms of war. Six years ago, he came to Bamiyan as a development worker with an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). Today in Afghanistan, NGOs involved in development work are as thick as wheat stalks in a field and their presence and operation has a significant impact in the country. But Hakim found that “the NGOs, too, have problems. 
They hold all the aid power, because they have all the money.” Because of this, says Hakim, despite their intentions, despite their mission, despite even their best efforts, international NGOs in Afghanistan often have a colonial relationship with Afghan communities, encouraging dependence rather than local initiative and sovereignty.
And then there is the intractable question of results. As one Afghan person told us, “The world says it is helping us. Where is this help? None of it reaches the people who need it. Here in Afghanistan it has been going on so long that we have to joke and laugh in order to manage our anger and disappointment.”
Seven months ago, Hakim left his position with the NGO. When he first arrived in Bamiyan, he was invited to visit and later to move into a small village. “The villages are very conservative. The only way to enter the community, even for a visit, is to be invited.”
Hakim has been in the community now for six years, living as people in the village do, eating only what people in the village have to eat. Like a member of the family, he participates in work. “I help in the fields, too,” he says with a self-effacing laugh, “but I’m not very good at it. I cannot work nearly as long or as fast as others.

Labor Dept. Asks Court To Close Massey Mine In Ky.

NPR
November 3, 2010

By Howard Berkes and Robert Benincasa

The Labor Department took an unprecedented step against a Kentucky coal mine Wednesday, asking that a federal judge shut it down immediately to protect the lives of those who work there. In filing for a preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court, the government cites persistently dangerous conditions in Massey Energy’s Freedom Mine No. 1 in Pike County. The action — the toughest enforcement action available to federal regulators — would shut down the mine until safety hazards are addressed and Massey Energy demonstrates it can operate the mine safely.

The Freedom Mine employs about 130 miners and was cited for safety violations more than 700 times this year alone.

The move is viewed by mine safety experts as one response to the deadly explosion in April at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.  Twenty-nine mine workers died in that tragedy, which has triggered civil and criminal investigations.

For 33 years, the agency has had the authority to take mining companies to federal court when they have serious and persistent safety violations. But this “injunctive relief” section of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act has not been invoked until now.

Full Article Here – http://m.npr.org/story/130596700

Federal Reserve to print billions of dollars in massive shadow stimulus

AFP
November 2, 2010

The Federal Reserve’s policy-setting panel began a crucial two-day meeting Tuesday, poised to cast aside its long-held reluctance to micro-manage the economy in a bid to avoid a lost decade of growth.
The central bank’s open market committee (FOMC) is expected to approve massive stimulus spending not seen since the depths of the economic crisis.

At the conclusion of the meeting Wednesday, the Fed is expected to announce it will resume the large-scale purchase of long-term US bonds — essentially printing billions of dollars — in the hope of boosting a weak recovery.

While the Fed took similar measures during the crisis, it is unprecedented when the economy is not teetering on the edge of collapse, raising protests from some Fed members who fear it is unnecessary and will fuel long-term inflation.

Critics of the policy argue that although the recovery is painfully slow, markets should be allowed to do their work. They also worry that if the policy fails the Fed’s credibility will be wrecked.

“I think that this will quite possibly be the worst mistake by the Fed in a generation,” said Stephen Stanley of Pierpont Securities.

But supporters argue that the Fed is failing in both of the prongs of its dual mandate, with unemployment and inflation both at unsustainable levels and must act.

Since Fed chairman Ben Bernanke first suggested the possibility in late September, and confirmed it in
October, markets and most economists have penciled in another round of quantitative easing (QE) as a solid bet.

Goldman Sachs analysts and others predicted the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee would start with a purchase of about 500 billion dollars in Treasury bonds.

The Fed already has poured in more than 1.5 trillion dollars to spark a recovery.

The FOMC meeting opened Tuesday in the thick of hotly contested congressional and local elections nationwide.

President Barack Obama’s Democrats are poised to lose seats in Congress to Republicans, who oppose the administration’s massive stimulus spending that dragged the economy out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, but ran up sky-high deficits doing it.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/federal-reserve-print-billions-dollars-massive-shadow-stimulus/