Paul Little: Isis an excuse to peek at us – Politics – NZ Herald News

Senator Joe McCarthy couldnt have done better. In 1950, he invented reds under the bed when he stood up before the Ohio County Womens Republican Club and said he had a list of more than 200 workers at the State Department who were “known Communists”.He had no such list, but the so-called wars on communism, terror and even drugs for that matter, have always depended for international support on fostering fear of attacks at home.Somewhere, McCarthys spirit was surely watching and smiling approvingly this week as John Key announced that up to 80 New Zealanders had links to Isil. Some call this organisation Isis, IS or even Daesh, but Barack Obama calls it Isil so thats what Ill be doing.I thought a third term in office might have seen the PM kick back a bit and treat the electorate as intelligent individuals, but not so. In answer to the question “How gullible does he think we are?” the answer is still “Incredibly”.

via Paul Little: Isis an excuse to peek at us – Politics – NZ Herald News.

Evo Morales’ victory demonstrates how much Bolivia has changed | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

… Morales’ election heralded much more than the arrival of the first indigenous person to the presidential palace. It marked the onset of a political revolution that has gradually seen Bolivia’s old political elites dislodged from power and replaced by representatives from the country’s indigenous peoples and popular classes.For this majority, the MAS government represents a safeguard against a return to the Bolivia of yesteryear, run by corrupt white elites. More than that, for most indigenous people and social movements, the MAS government is “their” government.This does not mean that the people have handed the MAS a blank cheque. Already on several occasions the MAS government has been forced to back-down on certain policies due to popular pressure.However, none of these protests have posed a fundamental challenge to the MAS’ overall vision for Bolivia, precisely because this vision is largely informed by the struggles and demands of the people themselves.Instead, these conflicts have primarily been disputes over how best to make this vision a reality.The MAS response to date has been to follow an approach of seeking dialogue and consensus, retreating where necessary, but always attempting to continue to drive the process forward towards its goal.Morales constantly sums up this approach using the Zapatista slogan “to govern by obeying”.It was this approach that enabled the MAS to come into the elections with the backing of the country’s main indigenous, campesino, workers and urban poor organisations and ensured its thumping victory.The failure of opposition forces and critics to recognise or accept the fact that a political revolution that has taken place and important economic transformations are underway explain why they are so far out of touch with the majority of Bolivian society.

via Evo Morales’ victory demonstrates how much Bolivia has changed | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

‘Cleansing the stock’ and other ways governments talk about human beings | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

To blot people out of existence first you must blot them from your mind. Then you can persuade yourself that what you are doing is moral and necessary. Today this isn’t difficult. Those who act without compassion can draw upon a system of thought and language whose purpose is to shield them – and blind us – to the consequences.The contention by Lord Freud, a minister in the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions, that disabled people are “not worth the full wage” isn’t the worst thing he’s alleged to have said. I say “alleged” because what my ears tell me is contested by Hansard, the official parliamentary record. During a debate in the House of Lords, he appeared to describe the changing number of disabled people likely to receive the employment and support allowance as a “bulge of, effectively, stock”. After a furious response by the people he was talking about, this was transcribed by Hansard as “stopped”, rendering the sentence meaningless. I’ve listened to the word several times on the parliamentary video. Like others, I struggle to hear it as anything but “stock”.

via ‘Cleansing the stock’ and other ways governments talk about human beings | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Paul Little: Flag debate shields dirty House – Politics – NZ Herald News

Sick of hearing about dirty politics? Me, too. During the campaign I started to take note of allegations that came to light after publication of Nicky Hagers book of the same name, but stopped because I was running out of bandwidth.To name a few, major and minor: possible involvement by Judith Collins in efforts to undermine the head of the SFO, which may or may not have been what led to her resignation; manipulation of figures over gang involvement in crime; the PMs apparent pre-knowledge of a private advertisement in the Press that put the Government in a favourable light; the extraordinary revelations made in Auckland Town Hall by the worlds top three whistle-blowers, Glen Greenwald, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, about our involvement in mass surveillance, overshadowed of course by the Kim Dotcom debacle.Then we learned Solid Energy had kept from the Pike River families news that the mine had been assessed as safe to enter a year ago, which, given the amount of time and effort the PM and senior Cabinet ministers had put into the issue, had serious embarrassment implications for the Government.At the very least, all this shows there is something wrong at the heart of the administration. This is not the New Zealand way of doing things. At whatever level this behaviour is known about and sanctioned, its eradication needs to come from the top to have any chance of restoring our faith in our most important institutions.One reason a lot of voters discounted the dirty politics revelations was that they were too much to absorb. Just as we got our heads around one piece of blatant cynicism another popped up to take its place. It was easier to dismiss it on the grounds that “all politicians do it”. Anyone who believes that clearly has no idea just how odious “it” is in this case.All politicians do it a bit, but not this systematically, cynically and extensively. It is impossible to know that and not be appalled.And although it suits the Government for you to believe so, “everybody” has not always done it. Any evidence to the contrary would be most welcome.And following the election, what has the Government done to allay our fears about the sort of culture it is using to run the country? It has said: “Hey, look over there — a new flag.”The most appropriate design for a new flag would be a plain red one, to ensure that the warnings of recent weeks are not ignored.The end of the election campaign must not be the end of efforts to restore faith in the integrity within limits, of course — no one is expecting miracles of our leaders.Lets hope we will be able to look back on September 20 and see it as the end of the beginning.

via Paul Little: Flag debate shields dirty House – Politics – NZ Herald News.

Peoples Climate Mobilisation – Join – 350

In September, heads of state are going to New York City for a historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history.To make this moment count, we need to act — together.All around the world, people will be coming together for a weekend of historic action on climate change. Our collective demand is for Action, Not Words: take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet.Find a Peoples Climate Mobilisation event near you and join.Want to host an event? Click here.Find an event near you:City/ZIP/Postal & CountryShare on FacebookTweetLINK:

via Peoples Climate Mobilisation – Join – 350.

Obama Is Responsible for the Protests in Ferguson—but Not in the Way You Think | The Nation

The people of Ferguson and those in solidarity with them took to the streets within a context of racial repression broader than just one horrific shooting. Between 2005 and 2012, African-Americans have been killed by white police officers at the rate of nearly twice a week. In the month preceding Brown’s slaying, police in this country killed at least four unarmed black men. And in a state like Missouri, African-American drivers are the targets of 92 percent of vehicle searches conducted by police, even though illegal items are found in less than 25 percent of these searches.

The fact that Barack Obama is the president of the United States is the most tangible daily reminder that black people are full citizens of the United States, endowed with the same inalienable rights as their fellow Americans, and capable of exerting their political will to bring forth the political and policy outcomes they prefer. President Obama is the contemporary embodiment of the astonishing possibilities of black citizenship. He can be faulted—or rather credited—with helping ignite the refusal of black citizens to be relegated to second-class status in the wake of Brown’s slaying.

via Obama Is Responsible for the Protests in Ferguson—but Not in the Way You Think | The Nation.

How the Harper Government Committed a Knowledge Massacre | Capt. Trevor Greene

Scientists are calling it “libricide.” Seven of the nine world-famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans [DFO] libraries were closed by autumn 2013, ostensibly to digitize the materials and reduce costs. But sources told the independent Tyee in December that a fraction of the 600,000-volume collection had been digitized. And, a secret federal document notes that a paltry $443,000 a year will be saved. The massacre was done quickly, with no record keeping and no attempt to preserve the material in universities. Scientists said precious collections were consigned to dumpsters, were burned or went to landfills.Probably the most famous facility to get the axe is the library of the venerable St. Andrews Biological Station in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, which environmental scientist Rachel Carson used extensively to research her seminal book on toxins, Silent Spring. The government just spent millions modernizing the facility.Also closed were the Freshwater Institute library in Winnipeg and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. Johns, Newfoundland, both world-class collections. Hundreds of years of carefully compiled research into aquatic systems, fish stocks and fisheries from the 1800s and early 1900s went into the bin or up in smoke.Irreplaceable documents like the 50 volumes produced by the H.M.S. Challenger expedition of the late 1800s that discovered thousands of new sea creatures, are now moldering in landfills.Renowned Dalhousie University biologist Jeff Hutchings calls the closures “an assault on civil society.”

via How the Harper Government Committed a Knowledge Massacre | Capt. Trevor Greene.

The Harper Government Is Expanding Their Surveillance Policy to Treat Every Protester as a Potential Threat | VICE Canada

In a push that sees Canada move one step closer to a state where being constantly watched, catalogued, and data mined is the norm, the Conservative government recently decided to expand its public surveillance policy to include all protests and demonstrations. The Government Operations Centre sent an email to all federal departments that requested information on even the most mundane social movements. The email then leaked to Postmedia news and opposition parties are now crying afoul, calling the plan a clear blow to democratic freedom.NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison believes the government’s play is a smack in the face of basic democratic rights and freedoms. Though he doesn’t feel we’ve quite moved into a Big Brother state in Canada, he says this issue is proof that the country is undoubtedly heading in that troubling direction under the strong arm of the Harper Conservatives.

via The Harper Government Is Expanding Their Surveillance Policy to Treat Every Protester as a Potential Threat | VICE Canada.