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Showing posts from December, 2007

2008: Year of the Frog

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will produce a cheesy statement of what I want to see in 2008 (capitalism, biofuels and frequent flying being out...ecology, social justice, home cooking and sharing in!)

But for the time being pop a cork to the year of the Frog...to be honest we need a whole ecosystem approach especially stopping habitats from being bulldozed (palm oil no thanks)

Frogs are lovely though are they not? The beauty above is one I guess you can lick to get high, a better alternative than hard drugs or synthetic magical compounds..

The giant monkey frog of Peru is known for its mind-altering skin secretions. Shamans in the Amazon rain forest have used this species in hunting rituals. Like other amphibians from around the world, the giant monkey frog is threatened by climate change and habitat loss. Photo by Rhett A. Butler


Scientists say that without quick action, one-third to one-half the world's frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians could disappear.

The coalition, dubbed "Amphibian Ark&quo…

Akbar Ganji on Iran, WMDs and human rights.

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Excellent report translated from Farsi from the key Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji on the socialist unity site...will the US attack Iran with nuclear weapons, unfortunately they could be just mad enough to do so.

Mobilising against war in Iran is essential...

Preventive wars are said to be critical wars of last resort, directed at a “gathering threat” that might in the future dramatically change the balance of power to the advantage of the enemy. There are fundamental doubts about the justifiability of preventive wars, but even if we accept that such wars are justifiable in exceptional circumstances, such circumstances do not exist today. Even if the Iranian government is trying to produce nuclear weapons—despite its claims to the contrary—expert assessments put that goal at least five years away. In the meantime the international community can use non-military options to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In the words of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s director-gener…

Stop the clear cutting of Woodlark Island for biofuel

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Well if it was all from the not so ample (or ample) arse of the Captain of the Earthrace who would complain, unfortunately the cheapest biofuel is from palm oil and the world is going through an orgy of forest destruction to get it. Everyday new reports come in of forests which are to be clear cut to make way for biofuel plantations, animals under threat and local people rioting to save their lives in the forests.

Papua New Guinea's government were up for the ethical politicians of the year 2008 award for their historic support for climate action...famously jeering the US delegation at Bali and shaming George Bush into support for climate action. Well they have blown their chance, tragically the PNG government have given the go ahead to log Woodlark Island for biofuel.

I am very pleased to have found the Rainforest Portal, there is more obviously to campaigning than sending letters, but the portal flags up all the current threats to rainforests and allows you to take action.

Here g…

General Strike in Pakistan

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I have been sent this eye witness report, I am not an expert on Pakistan although I do celeberate the sufi movement in the country which involves tens of millions, perhaps the majority of the country.

I would also like to blog on the green movement in Pakistan, if you are involved in the Pakistan environmental movement I would love to hear from you.

Any way this is a report from the Pakistan Labour Party on the aftermath of the killing of Bhutto protest sweeps the country:

Report from Pakistan: Benazir Bhutto assassination sparks mass protests
By Farooq Tariq

Farooq Tariq is General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan and Secretary of the Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (Peasant Coordination Committee).


December 29, 2007 (7am)—Pakistan has never seen so many people protesting in streets all over as been the case during the last two days. They were all united across Pakistan to condemn the brutal murder of Benazir Bhutto. The news was heard with a great shock and there was an immediate m…

Dogs in danger, coyotes under threat.

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I read in the New Scientist about a plan to kill coyotes 'who do $40 million worth of damage' in the US by poisoning them with chocolate...the black stuff kills pets but apparently our faster metabolism can deal with the nasty chemical compound, more here...'Just 240 grams of unsweetened dark chocolate contains enough methylxanthines to kill a 40-kilogram dog, about the size of a German shepherd.
Pest control...the real pests are cutting down the forests for biofuel! (not that I advocate poison as a conservation method even in the case of the government of Papua New Guinea).


My partner's dog tucked enthusiastically into the giant toblerone (which it got hold of while no one was looking) without any obvious ill effect...but your have been warned don't leave your dairy milk around for the pets. Also have a look in a report in Scientific America which is more cautious here

Alison sent me this (below)...thanks Alison....nasty world isn't it...can you believe using li…

The Iceman cometh: A reveiw of Cool It

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Lomborg is an unusual climate sceptic because he believes humans are contributing to global warming. In fact, he accepts most of the science behind the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But - and here is the twist - he does not believe that science justifies the degree of concern expressed by the panel and many others. from here

Lomborg believes by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, "probably we can save about 0.06 bears per year." Seriously. As we'll see, Lomborg suffers from an inability to even imagine the possibility of thresholds or tipping points, beyond which irreversible and catastrophic change occur.




Bjorn Lomborg, the great skeptical environmentalist, has an unusual position on climate change. Unlike the Marlboro men and women he does not deny the science behind the IPCC report and with such a prominent opponent of the green movement saying that climate change is occuring, the deniers seem defeated.

What he does argue, to simplify, is that …

Debal Deb: At last a real green!

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It's time we reconsidered the existing paradigm of development. The world has been talking about sustainable development. But as one of India's leading ecologists, Debal Deb, says: "It is common understanding among natural scientists that if development means unlimited growth in production and consumption of materials, sustainable development is an oxymoron. That's because unending growth of anything in the universe is impossible - except perhaps the universe itself."


The paradigm is marked by 'free market' rightest who ignore environmental problems even global warming and proclaim the demand for 'liberty', forgetting the corporations fence us all in, what liberty when Ayn Rand's boys and girls sell their butts to giant power magnets...not much!

The alternative is an environmentalism of you guessed it corporations, where environmental 'solutions' like carbon trading and biofuels are used to maintain super profit and Al Gore becomes the…

Bhutto killed

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Chilled to hear while blogging the forest item that Benazir Bhutto has been killed, I guess the Pakistan secret service with their long links with Islamic fundamentalism have a murky hand in this.

How tragic for the people of Pakistan and how depressing that all we hear about Pakistan is bloodshed, fundamentamentalism and US backed dictatorship.

Election rallies seem to be regular targets in the country...also a good illustration that al-Qaeda is more of a danger to ordinary citizens in Pakistan, than you and I or the tube.

Uganda's rainforests to be axed for biofuel

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So the captain of the Earthrace has liposuctioned the fat from his ample arse to run his biofuel boat (I think he got the idea from Fight Club)...however the reality is that forests will be cut and energy crops grown on them massively reducing the rich biodiversity of the forests.

Earthrace is a tawdry way of legtimising the destruction of our beautiful planet for speed, mobility and corporate goals.

In Uganda the President has announced planes to cuts the forests to grow sugar cane to produce biofuel.

all very Vietnam rhetoric..we had to destroy the Earth to save it.

The real need for a localised economy, good public transport and more use of the net rather than driving more and more is ignored...the needs of the great car economy are literally more important than global ecology.

My challenge to all the would be green politicians is that they should oppose enclosure and work to protect the forests, the people and animal species

In Gramscian terms the modern Prince i.e the political agent o…

Earthrace: Sink the biofuel nightmare!

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The only hemp in the boat is in the floor of the wheelhouse (for no other reason than this is where there is the least stress and was the ideal place to put this novelty and totally pointless adition). The ice-cream containers were donated by a school near the boat yard where Earthrace was built and were used as containers to keep small amounts of epoxy resin in as the boat was being fabricated. They are not part of the boat.


Had this from Martin...thanks Martin!

Biofuel from used chip fat is one thing but biofuel is about the dominance of palm oil, a crop which kills the rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia, is the number one threat to Orang Utans and shifts forest dwelling people off of their land.

There is blood in the tanks...very proud the Green Party of England and Wales opposes biofuel...corporate non solution of choice to climate change.

PRESS ALERT


PROTEST ABOUT THE EARTHRACE BOATS CLAIM TO BE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY


On December 27th 2007 at 2.30pm, swimmers and a land-based team…

Death of a radical economist

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Sad to hear that Andrew Glyn has died. He certainly would have provided useful analysis of the apparently mounting evidence for likely economic recession.

This is from an interview with Rob Hoveman courtesy of Socialist Review, Rob left the SWP as part of the RESPECT fallout recently, bumped into him with Hiliary Wainwright at the RR conference. Credit to both SWP and Rob for running this interesting interview.

Andrew Glyn was in the 1970s the main economist working with the Militant tendency who have know evolved into the Socialist Party (in the UK).

Wiki oracle says


I am intrigue to find that he was also a supporter of that staple of Green Party economic policy the basic income scheme...via this rather critical review of his 2006 book 'Capitalism Unleashed' here.

Capitalism cannot survive without every increasing growth, which is one of the reasons it is unsustainable, yes it is innate exploitative and yes there are alternatives...however we need to ask the difficult question…

Save the Woodhead Tunnel

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Do they give a toss...probably not!

Save the Woodhead Tunnel//Climate Change Demonstration
1pm Saturday 12th January 2008
bike//walk//drive//

A chance for a low carbon rail link between Manchester
and Sheffield
will be forever lost due to the National Grid's plans
for the Woodhead
Tunnel. The Government could and should stop this plan
now.

Demonstrate at Woodhead Tunnel, Woodhead, Glossop.
Accessible by car from the A628 or by walking or
cycling from Hadfield
Station (6 miles along the Transpennine Trail).

More info: savethewoodheadtunnel.blogspot.com

Golden Compass: Anti-Narnia

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Well as I said went to see the Golden Compass with my kids last saturday and I can't say it was the best thing we have ever seen, Beowulf was better for a start and I think post The Lord of the Rings trilogy you can have enough vaguely mythic entertainment.

Still good fun and a nice treat to take children too. I guess the main political message is its comment on 'gyptians' whose boat yard was modelled on the Jehrico boat yard which is under threat so that developers can build luxury blocks of flats on it....enclosure, enclosure, enclosure, the walls go up at their command, as usual. At least Philip Pullman the author of 'Northern Lights' from which the Golden Compass is adapted has been protesting about this issue.

Is it anti-religious? If religion is defined as the practice of hierarichal organisations who will surpress science to maintain their rule, well then yes. And the obvious target of this Richard Dawkins style childrens' epic, a kind of anti-narnia, …

Salaam Bethlehem..last few days

had this from Palestine Solidarity...


UK Tour: Riding Lights' play "Salaam Bethlehem" until 21st December

08 December 2007

UK Tour: Riding Lights play "Salaam Bethlehem"

"Pray for us, visit us, tell our story,"-


Riding Lights Theatre Company does just that!




Visit the website: http://www.ridinglights.org


In May 2006 Riding Lights Theatre Company, a professional touring company noted for their eclectic range of productions, visited the dwindling Palestinian Christian community in Israel. Their visit was supported by Lightline Pilgrimages with the aim of the visit being not to find new routes to the Middle East peace process but simply to hear the remarkable stories of some very remarkable people whose message was simple 'Pray for us, visit us, tell our story.'




From this visit Riding Lights' latest play Salaam Bethlehem was born.




'It's 2006 in Bethlehem and life is getting harder for the Mansour family. While dwindling numbers of tourist…

Homo Consumens

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I was going to blog a bit on the virtues of disobedience and thought of Erich Fromm who was an inspiring ecosocialist writer before the term was coined, famous for his books like To Have or To Be?

Neil Clarke of course had an excellent Comment is Free on him here.

found this passage on the web but it is better on the evils of a society obssessed with consumption, rather than consuming we are consumed by the addictive system...

Well something else to chat about next time David Cameron phones....seriously I think all sorts of unlike people can see that every increasing economic growth...does not neatly increase prosperity, is ecologically suspect and diminishes 'happiness'.

Cameron has argued:

It's time we admitted that there's more to life than money, and it's time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB - general well-being," Cameron will say.

"Well-being can't be measured by money or traded in markets. It is about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality…

Green Tory Coalition

I have obviously rejected this as well...but curious to be asked!

Greens need to ally with Parties who oppose unfettered free market policies, which means we are likely to be pretty lonely...while I support the confidence and supply deal with the SNP and Scottish Greens, too much of a Trump Salmond love in could put this under threat.

Conservative support for Trident and war in Iraq are just two of dozens of policies that would count them.

Surprised though how many people in other political parties beat a path to our door, obviously we are having an effect!

Kennedy rejects deal here.

Still spooky to have Cameron on the phone....do I get a conference invite, soon it wont be just the left, I really will have spoken to every political party outside the far right!

Boycott Israeli goods

“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
- Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949
Boycott Israel
Please continue to protest the supermarkets mislabeling of stolen goods
One way in which the supermarkets attempt to misinform consumers who would boycott Israeli product is to mislabel produce sourced from Israeli settlements. Waitrose admit that they label all produce from the occupied territories as 'Produce of West Bank',Goods carrying this label are almost certainly settlement goods not Palestinian goods. In a recent ITN report Sainsbury and Tesco's, when confronted about this, admitted 'mistakenly' mislabelling settlement produce in the past and undertook to label settlement produce ' West Bank ' in the future. Labelling settlement produce ' West Bank ' misleads the consumer and denies them the choice between Palestinian goods (of which there are almost none) and…

Tommy Sheridan arrested for perjury, SNP/ Trump 'smells'

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Tommy has now been charged according to the BBC..watch this space for further details.

The beeb say:

Former Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan has been charged with perjury in connection with a police inquiry, his solicitor has confirmed.
The investigation came following Mr Sheridan's defamation case against the News of the World.

Mr Sheridan, 43, had earlier been detained in Edinburgh and a search of his Glasgow house carried out.

His lawyer, Aamer Anwar, confirmed to BBC Scotland that he had been charged but would be released.

Mr Sheridan was driven to Edinburgh's Gayfield police station on Sunday, after he was detained by police officers outside a radio station where he had been presenting his Citizen Tommy talk show.



While this stuff is good for gossip even if proven, I am more shocked by the SNP love in with Donald Trump who wants to build his mega golf complex on a site full of wildlife.

Trump deal 'smells of sleave' also from BBC

Big ugly motored by cash wins most times?

Tommy Sheridan arrested

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Tommy Sheridan former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party arrested, from the Herald...this one will run and run, set ups from the establishment have been common, think of the constructed Arthur Scargill mortgage affair and Galloway forgery found in Iraq linking him to payments for Oil (a false document aimed at attacking him as an opponent of the war).

If we go back a little further let us not forget the strange case of Victor Grayson

Grayson threatened to expose Gregory in 1920 when he announced: 'This sale of honours is a national scandal. It can be traced right down to 10 Downing Street and to a monocled dandy with offices in Whitehall. I know this man and one day I will name him.' Grayson disappeared soon after that. He was last seen being taken into a house owned by Gregory. His body was never found, but most historians reasonably conclude that Gregory had him murdered.


Equally the left have had their corrupt souls as well...still shows if you have one charasmatic figure …

Dr Wall's diary

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Post 800 from me.

A day off of politics cooking with my kids and watching 'The Golden Compass' distracted by the fact that one of the characters seemed to be played by Toby Abse.

Fuel protest does not seem to have had an impact, in Essex, another protest consisted of a single pensioner. Well OK last week I went on a biofuel protest with three other people but the fuel blockade gets a bit more tabloid support than most of my projects.

Cooking the vegan Christmas Pudding by the way, revisionist that I am I suspect the cake may have an egg in it, well readers here is a challenge mail me with your vegan recipes and I will test them.

Vegan Christmas Pud, its the high brandy content that matters....recipe here...use it every year.

You get a good flame with a bit of vodka poured on top when it comes to the day...

Here is the recipe I have open sourced from, although I go for something higher proof than sherry:

Christmas Pud (Vegan Family Recipe)

12oz/350g sultanas

4oz/120g glace cherries, ha…

Bolivia: Resist the right wing

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Dear friend,

Ahead of the declaration on autonomy set for this weekend by a number of provinces in Bolivia opposed to the progressive government of Evo Morales and its ambition to share that country's wealth more equally, please find an article from this week's New Statesmen that looks at what is going on in that country.

Please circulate.

Lee
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Bolivia's splitters
Hugh O'Shaughnessy

Published 13 December 2007

Evo Morales' opponents are pushing to break free of him and his pesky drive for a better deal for the country’s poorest, the indigenous peoples, writes Hugh O'Shaughnessy

Bolivia’s white and near-white minority have been content to lord it over the Aymara and Quechua majority for nearly five centuries and see no reason to change.

And certainly not now, just when the money is beginning to flow in from oil and gas exports. Just when a traditionally bankrupt country has a balanced bud…

fuel demonstration by Green Party

Location: Fawley Refinery, SO45 1TX

Date: Saturday 14th December 2007

Time: 12:00 noon


Fawley Refinery Demonstration
Fuel taxes are needed to combat climate change

The Green Party are to demonstrate at Fawley Refinery main entrance (SO45 1TX) on Saturday December 14th 2007, starting at 12 noon, to counter the fuel protesters who plan to be at refineries on the same day. These fuel protestors are chiefly hauliers and farmers who want cheap fuel prices to continue.



Fuel taxes not only serve to dissuade people from excessive vehicle use, but can provide money for effective public transport and renewable energy projects to help fight climate change, if they are invested properly. Some taxes, such as this, are fully justified and may need to be higher. We must reduce our fossil fuel usage and also encourage the development of alternative fuels. Over-use of fossil fuels is a major cause of climate change and pollution, and our current dependency upon them cannot be sustained as the finite na…

English Collective of Prostitutes

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Increasing numbers of people have been pressing for an end to the criminalisation of prostitution. Together with the Royal College of Nursing, Women Against Rape, National Association of Probation Officers, church people, residents from red light areas, anti-poverty campaigners, drug reformers and others, we have formed the Safety First Coalition. But the government continues to target sex workers and increase criminalisation.

More from English Collective of Prostitutes here

Article from Socialist Unity here

Barack Obama ahead?

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Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House suffered a serious setback yesterday when her main Democratic rival, Barack Obama, took a poll lead for the first time in New Hampshire, a key early state.


I think for the moment I am continuing to back Cynthia McKinney partly on the shallow ground that I have met her and she is a nice person!

Obviously if Nadar gives it a go I may consider backing him, I don't think he is green enough or red enough, however he is a stunning speaker and is the one person who can really articulate some kind of basic radical ideas into the horrible right wing arena which is US politics (by and for billionaires).

An Alice Walker run would be good, Green Party intervention is vital because the Democrats remain pro war and pro corporations and essentially pro climate change.

Vote splitting, well a huge number of voters don't, the Democrats have in the past lost elections without anyones help and we do need some radical ideas in US politics, it frankly …