Mexican police located a truck stolen on Monday which contained dangerous radioactive material the UN warned could be used to construct a “dirty bomb.” An official has said the container holding that cargo was found empty.
The vehicle was found close to where it was stolen outside of Mexico City as it was transporting cobalt-60 from a hospital in Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage center. Mexico’s nuclear safety director Juan Eibenschutz said radioactivity had been detected about a half mile (1 kilometer) from where the truck and container were located.
Valentin Casa can’t shake the recurring nightmares. And this day certainly isn’t helping.
The 36-year-old farmer looks on as forensic investigators unearth a pair of finger bones and two copper rings from a mass grave in the village of Huallhua on the eastern steppes of Peru’s Andes. The grave contains the long-buried remains of two women and 13 children, and Casa believes the bones and rings belonged to his mother.
As a boy 27 years ago, Casa watched from behind trees as soldiers and their paramilitary allies dismembered and killed his mother and other women and children left behind by fleeing Shining Path rebels. Civilians suspected of backing the rebels were hunted down and killed. Two weeks later, troops and their civilian confederates caught and killed men from Casa’s village, including his father, whose throat they slit.
"I drank my own urine to survive," Casa remembers after his mother was killed and he fled into the forest. In his recurring nightmare, Casa is chased by someone, he knows not who. He always awakens with a start, covered in sweat.
Teresa Vilchez, 52, says she still suffers occasional vaginal bleeding from a gang rape by soldiers in 1984 at the nearby Mollebamba barracks. Rebels killed her husband, she says, and soldiers killed her mother, who she says was disfigured in the customary way after being raped: Her breasts were cut off.
No one has been arrested or prosecuted to date for the crimes in Chungui — not a single soldier, rebel or civilian. The survivors are mostly on their own. Villagers say no one has received any mental health counseling. Vilchez has never seen a gynecologist.
Three decades later, this isolated corner of Peru is witnessing the biggest exhumation to date of victims of the nation’s 1980-2000 internal conflict. The worst of its carnage occurred on these hills between the Andes ridge and Amazon jungle.
"Everybody here is traumatized," Casa says as he watches the work underway. "Whoever says he isn’t is lying."
The killing fields are an 18-hour walk from the nearest road in a region known as “Oreja de Perro,” or Dog’s Ear. It is a place where health care, schools, police and other state institutions barely exist. There are no roads, electricity or phones. The hills are still patrolled by Shining Path rebels, and drug traffickers flaunt the state’s absence. Today’s Shining Path only numbers in the hundreds, taxes the cocaine trade and still has a reputation for cultivating local farmers.
Authorities in distant Lima have been painfully slow to dispatch teams to dig up the dead from a brutal conflict that, according to a 2003 truth commission report, claimed an estimated 70,000 lives. Just over half were slain by Maoist-inspired rebels, over a third by security forces, the commission found. In November, forensic anthropologists began their work in the Chungui district and expect to remove 202 bodies in all — mostly women and children. At least 1,384 people were killed in Chungui, which is slightly larger than Hong Kong geographically but has only 6,000 inhabitants. — Read More
(Photos Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP)
Nobel Prize Winner Visits the Proposed Energy East Pipeline in Ottawa
Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams spent a few days visiting Ottawa in October of 2013, during which time she made a special effort to reach out to local residents who would be impacted by the proposed Energy East pipeline that TransCanada wants to build through the city to ship tar sands crude from Alberta to New Brunswick.
For more information, please see http://tarfree613.ca
An excerpt, by Charles Johnson:
But “free market anticapitalism” is a term that raises eyebrows. Mainly because it doesn’t seem to make any sense. The reason I use it is because of the eyebrows it raises — not because I enjoy confusion or confrontation for its own sake, but because I think that existing ideas about the relationships between markets and capitalism are already confused, and that a superficial overlap in language tends to obscure the confusions that already exist. In particular, the term “capitalism” is used by almost all sides in economic debates as if it were obviously the ideal governing libertarian policy proposals, and is debated over both by nominal pro-”capitalists” and by nominal anti-”capitalists” as if it were perfectly obvious to everyone what it means.
But really the term has a lot of different shades of meaning, which are distinct from each other, and some of which are even mutually exclusive. And as often as not it seems that debates about “capitalism” involve more than one of them being employed — sometimes because each person is talking about a different thing when she says “capitalism,” but they think that they are fighting about a common subject. And sometimes because one person will make use of the word “capitalism” in two or more different senses from one argumentative move to the next, without noticing the equivocation. At the expense of oversimplifying a very large and tangled literature,  there are at least four major definitions that have been attached to the term:
- Free Enterprise. This is a relatively new usage (coming mainly from libertarian writing in the 1920s-1940s). “Capitalism” has been used by its defenders just to mean a free market or free enterprise system, i.e., an economic order — any economic order — that emerges from voluntary exchanges of property and labor without government intervention (or any other form of systemic coercion). This is the meaning that is almost surely most familiar to those who spend much time reading libertarian economic writing; it is offered as, more or less, a stipulative definition of the term in Friedman, Mises, et al.
- Pro-Business Political Economy. “Capitalism” has also been used, sometimes by its opponents, and sometimes by beneficiaries of the system, to mean a corporatist or pro-business economic policy — that is, to active government support for big businesses through instruments such as government-granted monopolies, subsidies, central banking, tax-funded infrastructure, “development” grants and loans, Kelo-style for-profit eminent domain, bail-outs, etc. Thus, when a progressive like Naomi Klein describes government-hired mercenaries, paramilitary torture squads or multigovernment financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank, as examples of the political economy of “disaster capitalism,” capitalism here must mean something other than markets left free of major government intervention. Rather, this is the state intervening, with a very heavy hand, to promote the interests of a particular class of economic players, or promoting a particular form of economic activity, as a matter of policy. This second meaning of capitalism is, of course, mutually exclusive with the first meaning — state-driven corporatism necessarily consists of projects funded by expropriated tax dollars, or regulations enforced from the barrel of a gun, and so to be a “capitalist” in the sense of a free marketeer means being an “anti-capitalist” in the sense of opposing the corporate state, and being “pro-capitalist” in the sense of state “growth” policy means coming out against “capitalism” in the sense of genuinely free markets.
- The Wage-Labor System. “Capitalism” has also been used to refer to a specific form of labor market, or a distinctive pattern of conditions facing ordinary working people — one in which the predominant form of economic activity is the production of goods or the performance of services in workplaces that are owned and managed, not by the people doing the work on the line, but by an outside boss. In this third sense, you have capitalism when most workers areworking for someone else, in return for a wage, because access to most of the important factors of production is mediated through a business class, with the businessmen and not the workers holding legal titles to the business, the tools and facilities that make the shop run, and the residual profits that accrue to the business. Workplaces are, as a result, typically organized in hierarchical fashion, with a boss exercising a great deal of discretion over employees, who are generally much more dependent on keeping the job than the boss is on keeping any one worker. (This sense is most commonly seen in Marxian writing, and in older writing from the radical Left — including a great deal of pro-market writing from Anarchists such as Benjamin Tucker and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.)
- Profit-Dominated Society. Finally, the term “capitalism” is very often used (outside of the debating circles of libertarian economists, this is in fact probably the modal use of the term) loosely to mean something like the commercialization of everyday life — that is, a condition in which social interactions are very largely mediated through, or reshaped by, overtly commercial motives, and most or all important social and economic institutions are run primarily on a businesslike, for-profit basis.
It’s important to note, then, that while “capitalism” in the first two senses — that of the freed market, and that of pro-business politics — are mutually exclusive, “capitalism” in the latter two senses areconceptually independent of the political oppositions involved in the first two senses of the term. In concept, a fully free labor market might develop in any number of directions while remaining a free market — you might have a market dominated by big corporations and traditional employer-employee relationships; or you might have worker co-ops, or community workers’ councils, or a diffuse network of shopkeeps and independent contractors; or you might have a pluralistic mish-mash of all these arrangements, without any one of them clearly dominating. (The most likely outcome will depend in part on pre-existing patterns of ownership, the strength and direction of people’s preferences, the direction of entrepreneurial innovation, etc. etc.) Similarly, interventionist states might intervene either against, or in favor of, “capitalism” in the latter two senses — when states adopt heavy-handed “growth” policies and prop up corporate enterprise, they are attacking the free market, but they may very well be entrenching or expanding workplace hierarchy, concentrations of economic ownership, or commercial motives and activities, at the expense of other patterns of ownership, or other forms of peaceful activity, that might be more common were it not for the intervention.
I point all this out, not because I intend to spend a lot of time on semantic bickering about the Real Meaning of the term “capitalism,” or because I think that (say) the disagreements between libertarians and progressives can all be cleared away by showing that one of them is using “capitalism” in the first sense, while the other is really using “capitalism” in the second, third or fourth. Rather, I think the distinction is worth making precisely in order to avoid semantic bickering, and thus to get clear on where the areas of substantive disagreement, and the best topics for productive argument, actually are. A lot of time to get to the real argument you first need to be willing to say, “OK, well, I see that you are complaining about ‘capitalism’ in the sense of the corporate status quo, but that’s not what I mean to defend. What I’m defending is the free market, which is actually radically different from the status quo; no doubt you disagree with that too, but for different reasons; so let’s get on with that.”
"Paying high tax rates doesn’t stifle job creation at the country’s biggest, most profitable companies and low tax rates seem to be more correlated with job losses, according to a new report from the Center for Effective Government."
GOP “creators” talking point DEAD.
While the politics of the healthcare law and immigration debate play out this week, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., are quietly working out the details of a possible two-year long budget agreement. This would be significant because it would avert the thr &
While the politics of the healthcare law and immigration debate play out this week, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., are quietly working out the details of a possible two-year long budget agreement.
This would be significant because it would avert the threat of another government shutdown and allow both sides an opportunity to “regain some trust,” according to a Democratic aide.
What could a deal look like?
Details are being kept purposely vague, but sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations have sketched out the following details:
- The two-year deal that would cover fiscal year 2014 and 2015.
- It would set the top line budget number for both years. That’s important because it’s what the appropriations committees will work with when they decide how to fund the government after they ensure the government is funded.
- That top line budget number would be in the neighborhood of appropriating $967 billion to $1.058 trillion each year. Possibly in the $990 billion dollar range, though the specific dollar amount in not yet known.
The deal seeks to limit the impact of sequestration by finding other areas of government to raise revenues. Ryan and Murray are exploring things like new airline fees or the sale of broadcast spectrum owned by the government to help offset the $967 billion cap on government spending put in place because of sequestration.
The supposed deal would also give various government agencies more leniency in how the implement aspects of the sequester.
When will this happen?
It will be the will of House Speaker John Boehner to determine if the deal is done by the Dec. 13 deadline.
Both sides tell NBC News that they are “optimistic” at this point that they can get it done before that date. The Senate is gone this week and Murray left her district to come back and work, a sign of progress.
It could be announced as early as the end of this week or as late as the middle of next week. Once announced, it would most likely go on an expedited path through both chambers and onto the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature.
Also, since the current short-term government funding measure expires on Jan. 15, they have some time to work out the kinks.
As has been the case in recent Washington spending fights, nothing is for sure until a final agreement is reached.
Will the House GOP support it since it increases spending?
Some hardliner fiscal conservatives will most likely vote against any bipartisan bill because they won’t like moving from the $967 billion number.
But if Ryan’s finger prints are on it, it will pass the House just fine as he is still very much seen as the fiscal leader of the Congressional Republicans.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia (via The Huffington Post)
Lizabeth Campbell, Maplecroft’s head of Societal Risk and Human Rights (via The Huffington Post)
Ukraine’s three former presidents on Wednesday made an unexpected joint show of support for mass protests against the government’s decision to reject a historic pact with the EU.
The move piled pressure on President Viktor Yanukovych as his government tried to stamp out the biggest protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution by warning demonstrators they could be held criminally responsible.
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Read our 5 facts about the minimum wage.
you can now purchase a destroy capitalism banksy print from walmart
A case of the pot calling the kettle black?
Last year, Patriot Majority (a leading liberal political nonprofit) railed against the Koch brothers and other conservative financiers for secretly funding leading dark money organizations. However, the group saw explosive growth in its own 2012 finances and has provided virtually no clues about where that money came from.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), (via The Center For Media And Democracy)
Ontario Activists Protest Tar Sands Pipeline By Locking Themselves to Machinery
Published on Dec 4, 2013
Protests escalate against Enbridge Line 9 pipeline as government of Ontario refuses to conduct environmental assessment