By Kamran Nayeri, July 15, 2013
Since I wrote this column 99 posts ago, much has happened in our world including the following:
Global warming: In early May, carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere reached the 400 parts per million mark. Scientists estimate that the last time carbon dioxide was in such high concentration was probably 2-4 millions years ago. Combine this fact with another: carbon dioxide concentration was at about 280 ppm before the English Industrial Revolution. In just over two hundred years, fossil fuel-driven capitalist industrialization has added 120 ppm more.
If the present trend continues, we will reach a tipping point beyond which global warming become self-sustained through feedback loops, a mortal danger for much of life on Earth.
And still the governments of the world, in particular those of the United States and other rich countries have not taken any serious steps to stop and reverse this trend. Recently announced Obama policy initiatives--even if they are implemented--will be woefully too little too late and designed to change the mix of fossil fuels used in favor of natural gas but not to replace them.
Upheavals in Turkey, Brazil and Egypt: All three countries are geopolitically important. Brazil and Turkey are industrializing economies. In each case a substantial part of the population has become alienated from the government and taken early steps in self-activity and self-organization. Notably, two Turkish unions, including DISK with a history of labor militancy, staged national strikes in support of the protests. In Brazil a once day general strike was declared last week. The tacitly backing by the United States of the military coup in Egypt was supported by many who were part the mass movement that brought down the Mubarak regime. Egyptian liberals, like their counterpart elsewhere in the world, are split between loving the military for rescuing them from the Islamic government of president Mosri and wanting to disassociate themselves from the coup's repressive measures including media censorship. The future of Egypt will depend on the the capacity of the working people to forge their own organizations and on that basis a government of workers and peasants.
The Edward J. Snowden revelations: The “democratically elected” governments in the United States have intervened, invaded and occupied other countries under the pretext of democracy, freedom and human rights. Edward Snowden's revelations showed that the National Security Agency (SNA) has been spying on everybody in the U.S. as well as many foreign governments (including close "allies") and organizations and individuals. There are sixteen different federal “intelligence” agencies in the U.S. In 2010, the Washington Post reported that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations conducting “intelligence” activities in the United States. Seventy percent of the budget for “intelligence” go to private companies who are subcontractors of the federal “intelligence” agencies. Snowden was a subcontractor for Booz Allen, one of such subcontractors. While he lacked a college degree his annual salary was $200,000. The constitutional "separation of powers" has been subverted by the creation of a special secret court that rubber stamp government spying and a docile legislature. Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have come to the defense of the Obama administration’s dragnet. Meanwhile, we have been reminded that the U.S. spying on its citizens did not begin with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The government has been quietly collecting information on everyone’s mail by photocopying and archiving any piece of mail for everyone for the past four decades. It is estimated that currently that amounts to 160 billion photocopies.
Recent accelerated leaking and whistle-blower activities by Julian Assange and Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and now Edward Snowden shows two different interlocking factors. The widespread availability of technology makes it easier for the government to spy on its citizens. Given the crisis of capitalist system governments are more likely to spy in their citizens. The result is massive government dragnets that far exceeds anyone’s fantasy while maintaining the “democratic” and “liberal” facade of the Western capitalist societies. Recently, Le Monde exposed French government’s spying on its own citizens.
No Justice for Trayvon Martin: As feared, the jury found George Zimmermann not guilty in the killing of the 17 year old black teenager Trayvon Martin. The jury believed Zimmermann’s claim that he shot Martin point-blank in the heart in self-defense. Never mind that the 28 year old Zimmermann was armed and the 17 year old Martin was not. Never mind that it was Zimmermann who "profiled" Martin when the teenager was returning home from shopping candy and pursued him. Never mind that he continued to pursue Martin even after the police told him not to do so. At some point the two came face to face, a struggle ensues, Zimmermann pulled his gun and shot Martin in the heart.
The jury returned the not guilty verdict given the Florida law of Stand Your Ground--drafted by a conservative group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the National Rifle Association (NRA). A version of this is on the books in two dozen States. It gives a gun owner the right to shoot with impunity when he/she decided he/she is in danger of “death or great bodily harm.” It is the gunman who decides when and how to shoot--in Zimmermann’s case it was shoot to kill.
Thousands have protested the Florida verdict. Racism backed by the law continues to exists in the United States.
Gay marriage: The twin Supreme Court rulings in the United States has now sanctioned gay marriage to proceed in States that have such laws. This has enabled gay and lesbian couples to enjoy legal protections similar to those heterosexual couples have enjoyed in about 1/3 of the U.S. population (the rest reside in States that do not yet have gay marriage laws). Other countries have legalized gay marriage. These are historic advances for human rights worldwide. For centuries in patriarchal class societies gay people have been suppressed--there existence unknown or denied. The advances for gay people helps humanity to move forward to embrace still another part of the “other,” section of society who we have shunned. The main driver of the legal advances for gay rights is public awareness and acceptance of homosexuality. Let this enlightened spirit encompass all otherness whether in humanity or in nature. Beauty of the world and indeed life itself lies in diversity.
There have been 99 posts since my last communication (nos. 1000 to 1099 inclusive). Posts on ecocide (16), global warming/climate change ( 15), and science (13) predominated. There were 16 posts on Cuba and 10 posts on food/agriculture. There were nine posts on animals and six on nature. Eight posts dealt with ecosocialism. Other topics covered were human and non-human animal rights, imperialism and war, and art. There were two posts written by two of the readers--these come under the heading” “From Readers:...”
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Hot links for the past 99 posts follow:
|Assistant Editor Bogie|
Since I wrote this column 99 posts ago, much has happened in our world including the following:
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- Forward on Climate Rallies: A Good Beginning
- India's Rice Revolution
- New York's Victory Against Big Gas
- How human Language Could Have Evolved From Birdsong
- Big History: The History of Our World in 18 Minutes
- Cuba Under Raul Castro: Economic Reform as Priority?
- Maize Was Key in Early Andean Civilization, Study Shows
- Book Review: Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present
- Study of Ice Age Bolsters Carbon and Warming Link
- CONTINUUM: A Documentary
- Germs Are Us
- Report Blames Climate Change for Extremes in Australia
- Sixty Percent of African Elephants Were Killed from 2002 to 2011
- The Feminization of Farming
- The Therapeutic Smell of Trees
- Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years
- Big History Resources
- From Readers: Why the Need for Sustainable Society
- Monarch Migration Plunges to Lowest Level in Decades
- Ron Finley: A guerrilla gardener in South Central LA
- The Winter of the Monarch
- Climate Change Will Force Billions More Into Poverty, Warns UN
- Obama Proposes New Renewables Research
- Earliest Snapshot of the Universe Produced by Planck
- The 2013 International Permaculture Congress
- Cuban Reforms and Afro-Cuban Reality
- A Critique of the Ecosocialist Manifesto of the Parti de Gauche
- Antibiotics, the Meat Industry, and Super Bugs
- Same-Sex Marriage: What We Can Learn from Nature
- Living Off-the-Grid Is Possible, But It’s Not Enough to Fix Climate Change
- Study Links 2011 Quake to Technique at Oil Wells
- Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice: A Call to Action
- Roberto Zurbano Is Demoted after Criticizing Racism in Cuba in an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times
- Zurbano and “The New York Times”: Lost and Found in Translation
- Monkeys Can Coordinate, Study Finds
- New York: An Ecosocialist Conference
- Forgotten by the World: The U.S. Torture Chamber in Guantánamo Bay
- Color-Changing Hare Can't Keep Up With Climate Change
- Millions Face Starvation as the World Warms, Scientists Say
- Venezuela Forces Cuba's Pace of Change
- How Cubans' Health Improved When Their Economy Collapsed
- From Readers: Should We Be Afraid of Wolves?
- Alfredo Guevara Valdés, 87, Steward of Cuban Cinema, Dies
- Monkeys Are Adept at Picking Social Cues, Research Shows
- Harvard Medical School Plans to Close Primate Research Lab
- New York Ecosocialist Conference Charts Path Toward ‘System Change Not Climate Change’
- Cuba's Pending Debate on Racism
- Three Years Later: Corexit Dispersants Worsened Gulf Oil Spill
- The Climate Space and the Future of the Climate Justice Movement: An Interview With Pablo Solon
- New York Ecosocialist Conference Charts a Course Forward
- Cuba Demands U.S. Must Shut Guantanamo Bay Prison and Base
- Roberto Zurbano: The Country to Come: and My Black Cuba? The Original Article as Submitted to the New York Times
- Help Lynne Stewart's Fight Against Cancer and for Her Freedom
- Plants 'Talk' to Plants to Help Them Grow
- Rich Countries Drag Feet at Climate Talks
- Cuban Five: René González Renounces His U.S. Citizenship to Remain in Cuba
- Synthetic Biology: Dreaming of Trees Aglow at Night!
- United National Antiwar Coalition: U.S./Israel Hands Off Syria!
- Foundations for the Consolidation and Action of an Ecosocialist Network
- A Critique of James Hansen's Proposal to Stop Global Warming
- Cubans March Against Homophobia in Havana
- How Austerity Kills
- Cuba: British and Canadian Businessmen to Go on Trail for Corruption
- Global Warming: How Much Will the Temperature Rise?
- Global Warming: Rulers Maneuver to Exploit Now Accessible Arctic Riches
- Who Would Kill a Monk Seal?: A New Threat to Endangered Species
- Drought and Civil War in Syria
- Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust
- A Black Mound of Canadian Oil Waste Is Rising Over Detroit
- Review of Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience, a book by David Theodoropoulos
- Germs R Us: A Biological View of the Self
- Cuba Lifts Ban on Energy-Hogging Appliances
- Whales Freed from Fishing Gear May Still Die a Slow Death
- Cockroaches Evolve to Avoid Glucose Used in Traps
- Masters of War by Bob Dylan: On the Occasion of Memorial Day in the United States
- Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food
- U.S. Women on the Rise as Family Breadwinner
- Manly Sweat Makes Other Men More Cooperative
- Shell and the Arctic Oil Rush
- London: Confronting the Climate Crisis Conference
- Bolivia: Amid Gas, Where Is the Revolution?
- Karl Marx, Radical Environmentalist
- Greeley, Colorado, Population 93,000 Is Ringed by about 20,000 Oil And Gas Wells
- A British NGO Is the Victim U.S. Embargo Against Cuba
- Fish Nets Kill Large Number of Sea Birds
- Cuba Wakes Up to Costs of Climate Change Effects
- Reading Marx in Tehran
- Why Closely Related Species Do Not Eat the Same Things
- 54% of Pregnant Women Use Insecticides That Are Harmful to the Fetus, Spanish Study Shows
- Follow the Money: GMO Scientists and Monsanto Receive the World Food Award
- Obama's Fracked-up Climate Strategy Will Guarantee Global Warming Disaster
- Obama's Policy: How Much Change on Climate Change?
- Letter from Lynne Stewart: Disappointed but Not Devastated
- Behind Lynne Stewart's Denial of Compassionate Release
- Cuba's Non-Farm Co-ops Debut This Week Amid Move Toward Markets
- Over 30 Million Bees Found Dead In Elmwood Canada
- More Evidence for Multiple Origins of Farming
- Slowly, Cuba Is Developing an Appetite for Spending
- Climate Change Deniers Using Dirty Tricks from 'Tobacco Wars', Expert Says
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