Quotable: Amy Katz on the falsities of the “free” market

“The problem is not the issue of personal choice–it’s the doctrine of personal choice. We are constantly being told that change begins with us, that only we can solve our own problems, that we are the authors of our destinies. I believe that these are, in fact, ideological statements, rooted in a free market aversion to collective action. To get ourselves through the next century, we will need to shake off the phantasm of an exclusively personal destiny and couple our individual choices with real, penalty-laden national and international environmental regulations. To get ourselves through the next century, we will need a collective privileging of human lives and futures over corporate profits.

“In other words, we need to make political change, something we can’t do as individuals. And something we can’t do without challenging, in a serious and uncomfortable way, the existing order. So yes, let’s change our lifestyles and reduce our personal impacts on the environment. It will help to nudge us closer to the world we want. But, at some point (and I would argue that point would be now), to prevent a global environmental breakdown, we are going to have to embark on a course of action that questions some of the fundamental tenets of our economic system.

“The logic of the market is destroying the planet. We will not save the planet by turning the free market on itself and buying hybrid cars. We will save the planet by forcing our governments to mandate real environmental regulations. We will save the planet by refusing to allow the requirements of the market to dictate our health, our preferences, our sense of reality and the course of our lives.”

–Amy Katz, editor of The Greenpeace Green Living Guide

Bzzzzzzzzzzzz–STING!!!

Remember all those stories about mysteriously dying honeybee populations? Looks like we’ve got the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder all figured out, kiddies. Or at least, one very unsurprising chief suspect:

Germany has banned a family of pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has suspended the registration for eight pesticide seed treatment products used in rapeseed oil and sweetcorn.

The move follows reports from German beekeepers in the Baden-Württemberg region that two thirds of their bees died earlier this month following the application of a pesticide called clothianidin.

“It’s a real bee emergency,” said Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeepers’ Association. “50-60% of the bees have died on average and some beekeepers have lost all their hives.”

Tests on dead bees showed that 99% of those examined had a build-up of clothianidin. The chemical, produced by Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of the German chemical giant Bayer, is sold in Europe under the trade name Poncho. It was applied to the seeds of sweetcorn planted along the Rhine this spring. The seeds are treated in advance of being planted or are sprayed while in the field.

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Festive Left Friday Blogging: Che’s back!

And he’s twice as big as ever:

Che's statue is unveiled in Argentina

Che would have turned 80 this year. That’s twice as old as he lived to be. So it makes sense that this statue, which will stand in his birthplace of Rosario, Argentina, is twice life-size.

Not, I hasten to add, that he wasn’t a towering figure in life, too.

“Autonomous” fascism in Bolivia

Aporrea reports:

Last Saturday, far-right groups attacked, punched and battered a group of peasants who had come to a stadium in the city of Sucre, where president Evo Morales was to deliver 50 ambulances and several thousand homes to local residents.

About 20 Quechua peasants were humiliated and forced to march semi-naked toward the central square of Sucre, where they were forced to kneel and chant slogans against President Morales.

These violent events left 27 wounded, according to local authorities.

Translation mine. A longer version of the day’s events, plus backgrounder, courtesy of IPS, can be read at Bolivia Rising.

Aporrea calls Sucre “the kingdom of the Ku Klux Klan in Bolivia”; a somewhat confusing take, since the ringleaders of this violence are not white but mestizo. It is difficult to tell them apart from their victims just by looking; I could only tell who was who by who was standing and who was kneeling; who was yelling triumphantly, and who was silent and miserable; who wore a shirt, and who did not. That’s not a whole lot of outward difference. And yet these mestizos identify more with their white ancestors than their indigenous ones, no matter how much their own appearance says otherwise. In Bolivia, it seems, your socioeconomic status is directly dependent on how much European blood you have. Which explains why the local white oligarchy hates the president so; he’s a full-blooded indigenous. In their eyes, he’s not a popular, elected leader; he’s just a dirty Injun.

Here’s Nick Buxton’s take, from Bolivia Rising:

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You can’t tell the truth–there’s a war on!

See, this is why I call CNN the Chicken Noodle Network:

Anderson Cooper is shocked, SHOCKED to learn that his fellow CNNer, Jessica Yellin, who worked for a time at ABC, was pressured by network execs during her ABC days not to do hard-hitting pieces on the war, the White House, and its scurrying cockroach inhabitants.

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This is what I call a hearing

FARCing hell!

I mean really. What else is there to say to this?


Laptop computers have become treasure troves of evidence for Colombian investigators probing crimes committed by far-right militias and leftist rebels.

So many Colombians were dismayed to learn that prison authorities didn’t immediately secure laptops and cell phones belonging to most of the 14 paramilitary warlords who were yanked from cells on May 12 and extradited to the United States to stand trial for drug trafficking.

The mishandled evidence has become a national scandal, and the prisons director only made matters worse when he told Colombia’s leading newspaper that he had no way of preventing the warlords from continuing to lead criminal networks from their cells.

Oh, I know. I know! How about bombing the fuck out of paramilitary encampments on the Venezuelan side of the border, where Manuel Rosales (the imperial stooge with whom Chavecito mopped the floor in the last presidential election) is said to be harboring them? Then, I’m sure, we can put to rest once and for all the question of whether there is actually such a thing as a bomb-proof laptop (which the whore media won’t ask).

And of course, we could also clean up a LOT of right-wing paramilitary narcoterrorist scum that way.

Oh, I know. I KNOW. It’s a modest proposal, but it will never happen. And we all know why.

Quotable: Barry Nolan on the myth of free speech

“In today’s America, speech is only ‘free’ when you are talking down to someone less powerful that you. Speak ‘up’ — and look out.

“In your work life, they can fire you, as I found out, for quietly saying something that is widely known to be true. Put a lid on it.”

Barry Nolan, who was fired for telling the awful truth about Bill O’Reilly at an awards banquet where the latter was undeservedly honored for being a professional liar

Let’s hear the anti-Chavez screamers explain this

From Aporrea, a little tidbit but a revealing one:


Against the editorial lines from Colombia and Venezuela that claim there is a “close” relationship between the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez Frias, Colombian senator Piedad Cordoba, and the FARC rebels of Colombia, Cordoba confirmed that neither she, nor the Venezuelan leader had known of the death of the historic leader of the FARC, Manuel Marulanda Velez.

“My attention has often been drawn to how they say here that we (Cordoba and Chavez) are the mouthpieces of the FARC, but neither Chavez nor I knew that Marulanda had died…until the last, he did things his own way, he died a natural death,” the senator said.

Translation mine.

Did you get that? Neither Cordoba nor Chavez knew that Marulanda had died until after the fact. They had to read about it in the morning papers, same as everybody else. Some “close relations”! I would think that if Chavez had known Marulanda wasn’t well, and he really was that close to him, he would have had him flown to Cuba for treatment, no?

This should lay to rest all the media drivel about Chavez financing and arming the FARC, too. Until someone (and not someone pointing to the Magic Laptop, either) can locate the whereabouts of a big chunk of money that disappeared from Venezuela and appeared in Colombia (a large arms cache, ditto), I think it’s safe to say that this latest media campaign against the left, like ol’ “Sure-Shot” Marulanda himself, has begun to push up the proverbial daisies.

May it rest in peace.

Dubya’s “populism”