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October 3, 2013 05:35 PM

Bill Maher talks about Jerry Brown and California's lack of Tea Party influence, serving as hope for a nation dragged down by outdated conservative thinking. "We don't give a shit about the NRA," says Maher.

October 3, 2013 10:52 AM

Nathan Schneider is author of the just-released book Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. He was the first reporter to cover the planning meetings that led to Occupy Wall Street and wrote about it for Harper’s MagazineThe Nation, and The New York Times. Here is a quote from his new essay "The Government Shutdown — an Anarchist Dream?"

 

In his complaints against the wing of the Republican Party that engineered the present government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid derided his opponents as “Tea Party anarchists.” It’s hard to decide who should be more annoyed — the Tea Party or the anarchists. In any case, Reid’s remark is revealing of how the long tradition of anarchist philosophy has been thrown under the bus of U.S. political discourse, then rolled over, then dragged along in mangled form so as to be pointed at when doing so seems expedient.

 

Many may be surprised, for example, that actual anarchists aren’t necessarily rejoicing over the U.S. government’s latest form of self-annihilation. What they see taking place is a transfer of power from one kind of oppression, by a government that at least pretends to be democratic, to another that has no such pretensions. They point out that the shutdown won’t stop the NSA from spying on us, or police from enforcing laws in discriminatory ways, or migrant workers and nonviolent drug users from being imprisoned at staggering rates. The parts of government that the shutdown strips away are among those that bring us closer to being a truly free, egalitarian society: food assistance to ensure that everyone can eat, health care that more people can afford, and even public parks, where some of our greatest natural treasures are held in common. Meanwhile, ever more power is being handed over to corporations that are responsible only to their wealthiest shareholders.

 

Historically, the so-called libertarians of the Tea Party and anarchists have common roots. The origins of both can be traced to certain freedom-seeking strands of the Enlightenment  — including thinkers like Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson, as well as ones not normally taught in U.S. classrooms like William Godwin and Peter Kropotkin. It’s an oddity that in the U.S., the main current of libertarian thought has been twisted and inverted into a kind of monstrous stepchild. Rather than seeking an end to all forms of oppression, our libertarians want to do away with only the government kind, leaving the rest of us vulnerable to the forces of corporate greed, racial discrimination, and environmental destruction. The legacy of one firebrand Russian émigré, Emma Goldman, has been traded for that of another, Ayn Rand. The result is that, in this country, what was once the mainstream of libertarian thought — socialist, democratic anarchism — has become so forgotten that the word “anarchist” can be mishandled for the sake of a congressional jab.

 

This quote is courtesy of the Institute for Public Accuracy, www.accuracy.org

September 4, 2013 01:16 PM

From the Institute for Public Accuracy today:

Eryl Nassruns the Anthrax Vaccine blog and recently wrote:

Only seven nations are not parties to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Israel and Myanmar (formerly Burma) signed but failed to ratify the 1993 agreement. Five other nations failed to sign it: Syria, South Sudan, North Korea, Angola and Egypt.

Nations who are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention agreed to destroy all their chemical weapons by May 2012, but most have failed to meet that deadline, including the United States. Furthermore, it is by no means certain that all nations possessing chemical weapons declared them, so information on existing stocks of such weapons is incomplete.

Had the 189 nations who are members of the OPCW complied with the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention's required destruction of chemical weapons, there would be many fewer such weapons available for transfer and use. Unfortunately, the 2007 deadline for complete destruction was missed, as was the (final) extension to 2012 missed. So the U.S. and other nations are not in compliance with their responsibility and promise to destroy all their chemical weapons by last year.

So when Obama says that we know Syria's Assad has chemical weapons, Assad could be saying the same thing about us!"

See: "U.N. Chief Urges Full Chemical Disarmament by 2018," which notes: "The United States presently intends to wrap up destruction of its chemical arms by 2023."

Jacqueline Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, which focuses on weapons of mass destruction. They just released the briefing paper "The Rush to Bomb Syria: Undermining International Law and Risking Wider War," which states:

It is hard to see how breaking solemn undertakings to most of the countries in the world by neglecting treaties and principles of international law that the United States has agreed to will either bolster U.S. 'credibility' or enhance respect for international law. ...

International law provides no exception for the ad hoc use of force by states in cases involving the actual or possible use of prohibited weapons, such as chemical weapons, by states with which they are not at war. Standing alone, the allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government do not provide a legal basis for military action by any non-party to the conflict. 

Unilateral punitive strikes justified as a defense of the global norm against chemical weapons are unlikely to actually protect Syrians or others against use of chemical weapons and other attacks, may do little to reinforce the norm or even undermine it, and could lead to a significant increase in the level of violence throughout the region. 

There are viable international ways and means to respond to the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria that should be vigorously pursued before the use of force is considered.

 

Stephen Zunes is professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco and said today:

Syria, when it had a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council in 2007, introduced a draft resolution to create a weapons of mass destruction zone for the entire Middle East, but the United States blocked it.

Zunes notes that this would have included addressing Egypt's chemical weapons and Israel's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. 

He recently wrote the piece "The U.S. and Chemical Weapons: No Leg to Stand On," which states:

The first country to allegedly use chemical weapons in the Middle East was Great Britain in 1920, as part of its efforts to put down a rebellion by Iraqi tribesmen when British forces seized the country following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. According to Winston Churchill, who then held the position of Britain’s Secretary of State for War and Air, 'I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.'

September 2, 2013 01:22 PM

Citizens from Congressional District 4 will attempt to meet with the offices of Rep. Peter DeFazio, Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley at 11 am Tuesday, Sept. 3, at their district offices at the U.S. Courthouse, 405 East 8th Ave.

“Activists are extremely concerned that the U.S. is about to enter yet another illegal, immoral aggressive war of choice, but are also outraged by the lack of communication from Congress,” reads a press release today from Leah Bolger, a U.S. Navy veteran and one of the organizers.

“When I called the offices of my elected officials, I was stunned to be told by staff that they didn’t know what position they (DeFazio, Wyden and Merkley) were taking,” says Bolger. “There is nothing on their respective websites, we’ve seen no op-eds or press conferences. It is completely unacceptable that these three have taken no position on an issue as serious as war.”

August 29, 2013 04:38 PM

Bill Moyers asks if change within the system is still possible.

August 29, 2013 02:04 PM

Eugene could use something like this downtown.

August 27, 2013 02:17 PM

Eileen Fonseca and Mark Hubble at the opening of Opportunity Village, talking about how this project can serve as a model for other communities.

August 20, 2013 09:01 AM

August 19, 2013 04:45 PM

August 14, 2013 09:56 AM

August 12, 2013 10:57 AM

August 9, 2013 03:44 PM

One of several YouTube videos on Gupta's statements on pot.

August 9, 2013 01:18 PM