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Tommy Johnson - Canned Heat Blues
“For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.”
-- Noam Chomsky
News and Opinion
Gaza’s Health Crisis and Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity
Israeli air strikes for the past 6 days have killed over 100 Palestinians in Gaza, many of them women and children; one strike deliberately targeted a media building that Israeli government knew to house journalists. Medics announced Monday that they are running out of key medicines (Gaza is under Israeli blockade). Military strikes are also interfering in the delivery of medical and other aid by international organizations in the Strip. ...
A WHO spokesman reported Monday that injured individuals showing up at Gaza hospitals had “dramatically increased in the last 24 hours”. Some 700 have come to hospital, 252 of them children. Nurses at Shifa Hospital, who work 12-hour shifts, say that the injuries they are seeing are unprecedented. One said, “It’s very hard now, with many injured people coming every hour. Women and children outnumbered men, especially with the new wave [of attacks] targeting houses and civilian buildings.”
Since small homemade rockets coming out of Gaza in 2012 had killed no Israelis before the Israeli Air Force started bombing the Gaza Strip last week, there is no doubt that Israel is engaged in a disproportionate use of force and a reckless disregard for the well-being of civilian non-combatants in its own occupied territory. Israeli army spokesmen claim they are precisely targeting only Hamas paramilitary personnel and blame Hamas for hiding among non-combatants. However, it is the Occupying power’s responsibility to do due diligence in ensuring the safety of the occupied population, and if Israeli pilots don’t have a clear shot at an enemy combatant, they simply should not take it.
Israel mulls Gaza truce as death toll tops 100
Israeli leaders Tuesday discussed an Egyptian plan for a truce with Gaza’s ruling Hamas, reports said, before a mission by the UN chief to Jerusalem and as the toll from Israeli raids on Gaza rose over 100.
The early morning talks came as the UN Security Council hit deadlock on a statement on the conflict with the United States saying it opposed any action that undermines efforts to reach a ceasefire.
Ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle — the Forum of Nine — held lengthy talks over whether to agree to a ceasefire or expand the air and naval campaign into a ground operation, but no decision was announced, Israeli public radio reported.
Gaza Ceasefire to Be Decided in Cairo, But Will Washington Rein In Israeli Occupation, Blockade?
"We heard, just in the last couple of days, from the Israeli Defense Minister who said directly, this effort could not have been concluded without the generous and consistent support of the American administration led by President Obama.
I think that’s the most important thing for those of this in the U.S. to keep in mind. This is something where the United States has made clear that it is giving Israel carte blanche to use U.S.-made weapons — we’re talking about f-16’s, we’re talking about Apache helicopters, we’re talking about armored Caterpillar bulldozers, we’re talking about drones — most of which are produced in the U.S., purchased with our tax dollars, in violation, in this use, of U.S. laws, specifically the Arms Export Control act that makes it illegal to use U.S. arms in an illegal way. For example, in maintaining an illegal occupation, in violating the Geneva conventions, etc."
Hamas: Outcome of talks to halt violence could come today
An outcome of talks to halt violence between Israel and militants in Gaza could come as early as Tuesday, a Hamas spokesman said.
"It's in the hands now of the Israelis," Osama Hamdan, Hamas spokesman in Beirut, told CNN. After negotiation efforts by Egypt, "It's in the hands now of the Israelis. I think the Egyptians are waiting for some support, promised support, from the United States in order to make an end for that. So we expect to have an outcome of this issue today as President Morsy has said."
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy said earlier, "The travesty of the Israel aggression on Gaza will end in a few hours."
Israel did not immediately confirm any plans to halt military actions, a response to numerous rocket attacks from militants in Gaza that have long plagued Israel.
Israel Is Dropping Leaflets Telling Gazans To Evacuate Their Homes And Gather In 'City Center'
Reports from Gaza have Israel dropping leaflets advising residents to evacuate their homes and, using specific roads, make their way to Gaza City Center, BBC reports.
This in the wake of last night's advisement that anyone leaving their home would be targeted.
Black Report: Craziness on Three Continents
"I just got back from Ecuador, invited by the government of Ecuador to speak about antitrust, and fly in, and randomly there is a banking crisis, except the weirdest banking crisis I've ever seen. The four largest banks of Ecuador were trying to cause a banking crisis. They were upset that the government was going to have an excess profit tax and to cap executive compensation. So they emailed every depositor in Ecuador a message that said basically, we think that this may cause the bank to fail and maybe you should stage a run. ... This is all to pressure the government to withdraw the legislation. And the four biggest banks control about 85 percent or 90 percent of the banking market in Ecuador."
Obama in Southeast Asia to Solidify Military, Economic Empire
President Barack Obama on Sunday kicked off a tour of three Southeast Asia countries meant to further an "Asia pivot" military and economic strategy that will solidify the US empire in that part of the world.
At a meeting in Cambodia on Friday, US Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta confirmed the US commitment to "increas(ing) the size and number of exercises that we participate in the Pacific with our Southeast Asian partners, and we are devoting new funding to this goal."
Salon reports that Obama also solidified the economic aspects of the Asia pivot — the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership that critics argue would "extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement."
The economic policy has been "shrouded in secrecy ...(and) would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate," according to the Electronic Frontier Federation.
Obama's junket also met with criticism from human rights groups who focused on the hypocrisy of his offer of "the hand of friendship" in Cambodia and Thailand, where human rights abuses continue—and amid US support of Israel in its ongoing assault on Gaza.
Moody’s joins American banksters howling for austerity - downgrades France’s credit rating
Moody’s credit rating agency has stripped France of its coveted AAA rating and declared that the country’s economic outlook remains “negative”.
In what will be a severe blow to Socialist president François Hollande, the agency said it was reducing the country’s rating from AAA to AA1, claiming France’s ability for economic growth was being hampered by “structural challenges” including its lack of competitiveness, high unemployment, public debt and market rigidity.
It said it was not confident Hollande’s government could – or would – introduce the necessary structural reforms and spending cuts to improved its rating in the medium term and expressed concern over France’s exposure to risks from other ailing eurozone countries.
Moody’s decision follows Standard & Poor’s downgrading of France’s rating a notch in January.
Judge orders Hostess to go into mediation with workers’ union
Troubled Twinkie maker Hostess Brands and the unions representing its striking workers agreed to start mediation hearings on Tuesday at the urging of a bankruptcy court judge.
Management at the Twinkies and Wonder Bread manufacturer sought permission to liquidate the company on Monday, but was urged by the judge to mediate in private. Mediation will begin on Tuesday. If talks collapse, lawyers for Hostess will be back in court to seek approval to shut down the 82-year-old company.
Hostess filed for bankruptcy for the second time in January and had been negotiating cuts with its unions. Those talks fell apart last week as the company’s management blamed the union, and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Makers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) union in turn blamed mismanagement. The union also balked at a fresh round of pay cuts it said would cut wages by 27-32%.
Record-setting storm pounds Pacific Northwest
A storm carrying hurricane-level winds and heavy rain tore through parts of the Pacific Northwest on Monday, leaving residents in both Washington and Oregon fighting both flooding and widespread power loss.
In Seattle, 2.14 inches of rain fell on the city throughout the day, nearly doubling the previous record high for the area, and causing dozens of accidents, The Seattle Press-Intelligencer reported. And another 13 inches of rain were recorded in the western part of the state, according to The Seattle Times.
KOMO-TV reported that authorities in King County, where Seattle is located, had tallied 66 accidents related to the weather by 4 p.m., while mudslides in the northern part of the city caused train service between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, to be canceled. And winds as high as 114 mph were recorded in Naselle, Washington, along the state’s southern coast.
Exxon's Offshore Oil Leak in Nigeria, "Worst Ever" in String of Many
A leaking ExxonMobil offshore facility in Nigeria is causing a "miles long" oily slick coating precious fishing waters "in a film of sludge," Reuters reports.
A journalist visiting Nigeria's Akwa Ibom state reported seeing a "rainbow-tinted oil slick stretching for 20 miles from a pipeline that Exxon had shut down because of a leak a week ago."
"This is the worst spill in this community since Exxon started its operations in the area," said local fisherman Edet Asuquo. "The fishermen cannot fis
Water Industry Outlook: 'The Time Is Ripe' for Water Privatization
Survey from water industry insiders shows hedge funds, private equity positioning to benefit from increasingly scarce resource
The privatization of the nation's water industry is set to explode in the next five years, according to the findings of a recent survey.
WeiserMazars LLP, a New York-based tax and advisory services firm, detailed the findings in its first annual U.S. Water Industry Outlook. With water scarcity growing WeiserMazars sees water rights and access to water fees increasing ... therefore attracting the interest of private equity and hedge funds, who can capitalize in the takeover of the public good.
Though "negative public perception" has blocked some water privatization efforts, tax increases needed to increase revenue for aging water infrastructure has been unpopular, and semi-privatizations are being enacted.
In next three to five years, most survey respondents -- 71% -- thought there would be a "significant amount of acquisitions of small sized utilities by larger investor owned utilities."
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.What's Happenin'
A Little Night Music
Willie Brown - Mississippi Blues
Stefan Grossman - Mississippi Blues
Tommy Johnson - Big Road Blues
Willie Brown - Ragged And Dirty
Tommy Johnson - Cool Drink of Water Blues
Willie Brown - Future Blues
Tommy Johnson - Big fat mama blues
Willie Brown - M & O Blues
Tommy Johnson - I Want Someone to Love Me
Willie Brown - Make Me a Pallet on the Floor
Tommy Johnson - Morning Prayer Blues
Tommy Johnson - Maggie Campbell Blues
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