Iceland ‘first Western European country to take this step,’ FM boasts
Iceland’s parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of recognizing the Palestinian territories as an independent state, the first Western European country to do so according to Iceland’s foreign minister.
The vote paves the way for formal recognition by the small north Atlantic island, which led the way in recognizing the independence of the three Baltic States after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.
“Iceland is the first Western European country to take this step,” Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson told Icelandic state broadcaster RUV. “I now have the formal authority to declare our recognition of Palestine.”
The Icelandic parliament decided by 38 votes in the 63-seat house to back a resolution allowing for the recognition of a Palestinian state within the borders of the Six-Day War of 1967.
”At the same time, parliament urges Israelis and Palestinians to seek a peace agreement on the basis of international law and UN resolutions, which include the mutual recognition of the state of Israel and the state of Palestine,” said the resolution, proposed by the foreign minister.
It also called on all sides to cease any violence and recalled the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
between this and telling the criminal british banks and government to fuck off, I think I’m falling in love with Iceland!
The grim truth is that wehumans are the cause of modern extinctions. How do we do it?
Extinction expert David Wilcove and his colleagues list five anthropogenic causes of extinction in the United States, in order of current importance: habitat destruction; non-native (alien) species; pollution; overexploitation; disease. (Worldwide, however, overexploitation is far more important than in the United States today.)
Here are a few examples of the ways humans cause extinction in each of these categories.
Habitat Destruction. We reduce, modify, degrade, or transform natural habitat upon which species depend by burning, agricultural clearing, logging, mining, grazing by domestic animals, preventing natural fire, damming rivers, dewatering rivers through irrigation diversion, drying up springs and streams through groundwater pumping, eliminating keystone species like beaver and prairie dogs whose activities create habitat for other species, and urban and suburban development. Furthermore, we fragment habitat—thereby disrupting necessary patterns of movement of many species—through the above activities and by building roads, clearing power-line rights-of-way, and driving vehicles.
Non-native (Alien) Species. As humans have spread into new lands, we have brought with us disruptive alien species that are generally well adapted to human disturbance and that outcompete native species, in part because their normal enemies, such as predators and diseases, are left behind. Such damaging invaders include plants and animals, both deliberately introduced species such as domestics or ornamentals, and accidentally introduced species such as weeds or pests. These non-native species include predators (cats, rats, pigs) and competitors (starlings, tamarisk, zebra mussels.
Pollution. Pollution, whether localized or global (acid rain, greenhouse gases), can poison the waters and soils that are habitat for sensitive species, or leach away needed nutrients. Global warming and atmospheric ozone depletion—major threats to life forms worldwide—are caused largely by air pollution.
Overexploitation. Hunting, fishing, trapping, collecting, and government “pest” eradication programs have caused the extinction of many species and seriously endanger others today.
Disease. As humans have spread around the world, we have brought exotic diseases with us. Global trade is spreading many new diseases. An exotic disease caused the loss of the American chestnut in the wild. The black-footed ferret was nearly wiped out by canine distemper, a disease not native to the Americas.
Ernst Mayr, perhaps the biological giant of the twentieth century, writes (2001):
Background extinction and mass extinction are drastically different in most respects. Biological causes and natural selection are dominant in background extinction, whereas physical factors and chance are dominant in mass extinction. Species are involved in background extinction, and entire higher taxa in mass extinction.
As the cause of today’s mass extinction, we humans are no longer just a biological phenomenon, but are now a physical factor equivalent to an asteroid or continental drift in radically changing biological diversity. We are not exterminating only individual species, but “entire higher taxa.”
The Three Waves of Extinction
We can see the Sixth Great Extinction occurring in three waves, each caused by new groups of humans armed with new technologies spreading over new lands. The First Wave, the Spread of Modern Humans, ran from 40,000 to about 3,500 years ago as skilled big game hunters first entered lands where Homo sapiens had not previously existed. It continued from 3,000 years ago until 200 years ago, as Stone Age farmers found previously unpeopled islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans. The Second Wave, the Spread of Europeans, began in 1500 and ended around 1970 as European colonial and then industrial civilization spread over the world. The Third Wave, Overpopulation and Globalization, began about 1970 as human population exploded and new technologies and business practices tied the world into one exponentially expanding agro-techno-economy.
In the First Wave, extinctions were caused mostly by hunting, and perhaps by fire-setting and introductions of dogs and diseases into areas that had not previously experienced them. The victims were primarily large mammals, birds, and reptiles on continents and islands. In the second phase of the First Wave, Stone Age farmers settled Hawaii, New Zealand, Madagascar, and other islands, and extinctions were caused by agricultural clearing, fire-setting, hunting, and introductions of dogs, rats, pigs, goats, and diseases into areas that had not previously experienced them. The victims were primarily birds and reptiles.
The Second Wave was caused by hunting with guns; large-scale fishing; massive habitat destruction by agriculture, forestry, and domestic livestock grazing; river damming and diversion; introduction of exotic predators, browsers, grazers, parasites, and diseases; and later by industrial pollution. Islands lost birds, giant tortoises, and small mammals. On continents, some birds, fish, and large mammals have been driven into extinction, but many more species of birds, freshwater fish, and large mammals have had their numbers drastically reduced to possibly nonviable remnants. In the oceans, sea mammals, shellfish, and many fish have been wastefully exploited so that their populations are mere shadows of what they were 400 years ago.
The Third Wave has just begun. Its agents of extinction are those of the other waves, but now the human population explosion—from about 10 million 10,000 years ago to over seven billion today—and a globalized agro-techno-economy spread over the whole Earth threaten everything from the last megafauna to plants to insects to coral reef ecosystems.
In 40,000 years, fully modern humans have spread across the Earth three times, with devastating consequences for the rest of life.
While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.
Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.
The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.
I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?
The answer on why now is nothing more than election season politics. The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor.
But there is a way to stop this dangerous legislation. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is offering the Udall Amendment that will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power. The Udall Amendment will make sure that the bill matches up with American values.
In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”
The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.
In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention.
The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown. That is an extreme position that will forever change our country.
Yes, another example involving repeat offenses. But again, another example in which those offenses should not even exist.
You will note in the article that she even paid back the value of the foodstamps, but that wasn’t good enough. Instead, she will be sentenced to three years in prison, and will probably lose permanent custody of her children in the process.
There’s a fair argument to be made here about whether she was exposing her children to harm through her drug use. We don’t know the facts of her drug history with enough specificity to say whether that’s the case. But insomuch as it relates to her sentence, it is irrelevant: she’s not going to lose her kids because she’s a bad mother. She’s going to lose her kids because she’s being incarcerated for three years.
It could also be argued that her sentence isn’t a function of her drug use, but the fact that she lied, repeatedly, on government documents. Filing a false instrument can be a pretty serious offense. But the fact remains that she would not have felt compelled to lie but for her prior drug convictions. And given the abysmal employment prospects of convicted felons, she didn’t really have much of a choice. How does it make sense to brand convicts as felons, destroy their earnings potential, and then also make it illegal for them to receive public assistance when they inevitably fall into poverty as a result? What choice did she reasonably have? The criminal law has literally set this woman up to fail. And it is our drug laws specifically that put this woman between a rock and a hard place, with her kids stuck in the middle. This isn’t the kind of position we should be putting people in, least not for the sake of the children involved.
“A revolution isn’t a gala dinner. It cannot be created like a book, a drawing or a tapestry. It cannot unfold with such elegance, tranquility and delicacy. Or such sweetness, affability. Courtesy, restraint and generosity. A revolution is an uprising, a violent act by which one class overthrows another.”—Theo reading a Mao Tse-Tung quote from the film The Dreamers
New York City Rent Strike in 1907: In 1907, in response to rising rents due to housing shortages 10,000 families in lower Manhattan went on rent strike. One of the primary organizers was 16-year-old Pauline Newman, housewives and women working in the garment industry….
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) (which includes: Capcom, NVIDIA, Disney Interactive Studios, Epic Games Inc, Microsoft, Konami, SEGA, Warner Bros., etc.)
Fender Musical Instrument Company
Ford Motor Company
Gibson Guitar Corp.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Johnson & Johnson
Juicy Couture, Inc
Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.
Lexmark International, Inc.
Liz Claiborne, Inc
Lucky Brand Jeans
Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA)
New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.
NHL Enterprises, L.P.
Nintendo of America Inc.
Peavey Electronics Corporation
Perry Ellis International
Philip Morris International
Ralph Lauren Corporation
Reebok International Ltd.
Rolex Watch USA Inc.
Rosetta Stone Inc.
The Estee Lauder Companies
The McGraw-Hill Companies
The Timberland Company
The Walt Disney Company
Tiffany & Co.
Time Warner Inc.
Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Universal Music Group
Vibram USA, Inc
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
Zumba Fitness, LLC
Yeah, so basically if you were hoping to boycott supporters of these acts, just don’t buy anything at all. And don’t do anything for entertainment. Oh, and for God’s sake, don’t get sick.
Nevermind the pissant little companies on this list you’ve never heard of. What’s worrisome is the giants, like Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, and Intel. Companies who hypocritically thrive off the open nature of the internet—an internet where it’s not a felony to post an animated GIF from a tiny fraction of your favorite film, or record you and a friend lipsyncing Nicki Minaj. The internet has exploded because of these seemingly trivial freedoms—the freedom to mess around and create interesting stuff. Experimentation without fear of federal imprisonment leads to some pretty awesome stuff. Stuff that’s then used with the very software and equipment these SOPA backers sell. So it’s not just that they’re supporting an awful censorship law—these BSA cronies are biting the hands that feed them.
“NEW YORK — Among the hordes of Occupy Wall Street protesters, Frances Goldin stands out: the 87-year-old literary agent and activist has a tuft of purple hair and carries a sign that reads, “I’m 87 and mad as hell.”
She may not look like the typical Zuccotti Park demonstrator, but Goldin, who has demonstrated for the rights of the disenfranchised for decades, believes in the mission to close the income equality gap and to promote social justice.
“I’ve been arrested nine times for civil disobedience; I want to be arrested 12 times,” Goldin said Thursday. “And I was sure I’d be arrested today, but the cops were determined because of the bad publicity for them, to not arrest an 87-year-old woman.”
“I said [to an officer], ‘What if I socked you in the eye?,’ and he said, ‘I’d give you a free shot,’” Goldin said. “‘Well, what if I kneed you in the groin?,’ and he said, ‘No, you’re not going to get arrested!’”~More from MSNBC Thanks to Epic
“When a baby comes into the world, its hands are clenched, right? Like this?” He made a fist. “Why? Because a baby, not knowing any better, wants to grab everything, to say the whole world is mine. But when an old person dies, how does he do so? With his hands open. Why? Because he has learned his lesson.” “What lesson?” I asked. He stretched open his empty fingers. “We can take nothing with us.”—Mitch Albom (via mohsinaat)