Avaaz – Australia: the next great hope for climate


Carbon pricing forces the worst polluters to reform and generates revenue for green projects. This win-win measure has already come to Costa Rica, Denmark and Sweden. If Australia is next, will it eventually become a mainstream global environmental policy?

Our choice for the new generation: a green future or a dim future.

Noam Chomsky on Adam Smith _ Invisible Hand – americanfeud.org [www.keepvid.com].mp4


Adam Smith’s invisible hand does not drive the market toward optimal solutions – it drives capitalists to invest close to home where they can keep an eye on their money. Along with Keynes and just about every other economist, Smith is frequently misunderstood and misrepresented by those with a policy to sell.

Tomgram: David Bromwich, George W. Obama? | TomDispatch


Useful reminders of a bygone age…

On 21 January 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order ‘requiring that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility be closed within a year.’ No ifs, no buts, just closed. CNN called it ‘a clean break from the Bush administration.’ On the same day he hailed a ‘new era of openness’: ‘every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known,’ said he. Then along came Wikileaks.

Nope. Obama campaign poster, from Anthony Baker on Flickr.

Young Russians splash out £75,000 on Champagne and avoid paying – Telegraph


Everything about this story is obscene. A club frequented by the Italian prime minister charges 900 euros for a bottle of champagne. Eight young people get through 90 bottles of the stuff in one night. They leave without paying the bill.

When will our fascination with the rich and famous turn to disgust? When will we overturn this system which allows wastrels to prosper while hard-working people live in slums?

Spray it around: champagne at 900 euros a bottle.

Is it time to treat Syria like Libya? | Poll | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk


As I write, Tripoli and the Gaddafi regime appear to be falling. Was it worth all the bloodshed to bring about a change of regime and ‘freedom’, at least for some? More than 5,000 people have died in Libya during the uprising (40% more than in the 9-11 attacks), with thousands more wounded. There has also been great destruction of property and material waste.

Whether it was worth it in Libya may suggest whether the international community should intervene in Syria, which is the subject of this poll. There are parallels, as the undemocratic Assad regime uses its military against civilians, just as in Libya. But there are also key differences: President Assad is not employing his jets, so a no-fly zone would make little sense; he is said to be at odds with other key politicians, who are possibly more hawkish than he is; and the Russians have a naval base in Syria, complicating matters with the UN Security Council.

So, not an easy question to answer. Whichever way this poll goes, Syria’s elite will be watching with horror as they see the Gaddafi regime crumble. But NATO’s debt-ridden member governments will need to think hard before using more taxpayers’ money on foreign engagements.

Latakia, Syria: attacked by ground troops and gunboats.

Ceasefire between Israel and Gaza ends weekend of violence – The Irish Times – Mon, Aug 22, 2011


For Israel, perhaps the post-Mubarak Egypt can be a better partner for peace than some had feared. After all, the discredited Hosni Mubarak had little clout with the Palestinians while the new Egypt has moral authority. Hence the ceasefire brokered between Hamas and the Israeli regime.

Of course, this latest spark should never have been allowed to start a fire. The initial attack on Israeli soldiers should have been dealt with as a criminal issue. When the perpetrators fled to Egypt, this could have been dealt with between the two countries. Instead, Egyptian policemen died, Israel fired missiles into Gaza and Gaza fired missiles into Israel. A recipe for escalation.

Had the RAF bombed Dublin every time the IRA committed an atrocity, there would not be peace in Northern Ireland today.

Egyptians protest against Israel following the deaths of three of their policemen.

A Lesbian Couple Saved 40 Kids in Norway – Global – The Atlantic Wire


First the Norwegian terrorist is not Muslim, and now the heroes of the hour are not heterosexual. This news might have shaken Christian conservatives to the core, had it not been filtered out of their news-feeds.

Survivors of the Breivik attacks in Norway.