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The Rag Blog: Climate Change- Ten Times Faster than Predicted

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The Rag Blog: Climate Change : Ten Times Faster than Predicted.

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NOTE: The massive leak of methane from the Gulf of Mexico well collapse will increase the rate even further

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Written by chinarose

June 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm

NO SHOCK DOCTRINE for HAITI! The US owes Haiti Billions of $$$ in Reparations

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Haiti: A Creditor, Not a Debtor

By Naomi Klein, The Nation, February 11, 2010

If we are to believe the G-7 finance ministers, Haiti is on its way to getting something it has deserved for a very long time: full “forgiveness” of its foreign debt. In Port-au-Prince, Haitian economist Camille Chalmers has been watching these developments with cautious optimism. Debt cancellation is a good start, he told Al Jazeera English, but “It’s time to go much further. We have to talk about reparations and restitution for the devastating consequences of debt.” In this telling, the whole idea that Haiti is a debtor needs to be abandoned. Haiti, he argues, is a creditor—and it is we, in the West, who are deeply in arrears.

Our debt to Haiti stems from four main sources: slavery, the US occupation, dictatorship and climate change. These claims are not fantastical, nor are they merely rhetorical. They rest on multiple violations of legal norms and agreements. Here, far too briefly, are highlights of the Haiti case.

§ The Slavery Debt. When Haitians won their independence from France in 1804, they would have had every right to claim reparations from the powers that had profited from three centuries of stolen labor. France, however, was convinced that it was Haitians who had stolen the property of slave owners by refusing to work for free. So in 1825, with a flotilla of war ships stationed off the Haitian coast threatening to re-enslave the former colony, King Charles X came to collect: 90 million gold francs–ten times Haiti’s annual revenue at the time. With no way to refuse, and no way to pay, the young nation was shackled to a debt that would take 122 years to pay off.

In 2003, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, facing a crippling economic embargo, announced that Haiti would sue the French government over that long-ago heist. “Our argument,” Aristide’s former lawyer Ira Kurzban told me, “was that the contract was an invalid agreement because it was based on the threat of re-enslavement at a time when the international community regarded slavery as an evil.” The French government was sufficiently concerned that it sent a mediator to Port-au-Prince to keep the case out of court. In the end, however, its problem was eliminated: while trial preparations were under way, Aristide was toppled from power. The lawsuit disappeared, but for many Haitians the reparations claim lives on.

§ The Dictatorship Debt. From 1957 to 1986, Haiti was ruled by the defiantly kleptocratic Duvalier regime. Unlike the French debt, the case against the Duvaliers made it into several courts, which traced Haitian funds to an elaborate network of Swiss bank accounts and lavish properties. In 1988 Kurzban won a landmark suit against Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier when a US District Court in Miami found that the deposed ruler had “misappropriated more than $504,000,000 from public monies.”

Haitians, of course, are still waiting for their payback–but that was only the beginning of their losses. For more than two decades, the country’s creditors insisted that Haitians honor the huge debts incurred by the Duvaliers, estimated at $844 million, much of it owed to institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. In debt service alone, Haitians have paid out tens of millions every year.

Was it legal for foreign lenders to collect on the Duvalier debts when so much of it was never spent in Haiti? Very likely not. As Cephas Lumina, the United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt, put it to me, “the case of Haiti is one of the best examples of odious debt in the world. On that basis alone the debt should be unconditionally canceled.”

But even if Haiti does see full debt cancellation (a big if), that does not extinguish its right to be compensated for illegal debts already collected.

§ The Climate Debt. Championed by several developing countries at the climate summit in Copenhagen, the case for climate debt is straightforward. Wealthy countries that have so spectacularly failed to address the climate crisis they caused owe a debt to the developing countries that have done little to cause the crisis but are disproportionately facing its effects. In short: the polluter pays. Haiti has a particularly compelling claim. Its contribution to climate change has been negligible; Haiti’s per capita CO2 emissions are just 1 percent of US emissions. Yet Haiti is among the hardest hit countries—according to one index, only Somalia is more vulnerable to climate change.

Haiti’s vulnerability to climate change is not only—or even mostly—because of geography. Yes, it faces increasingly heavy storms. But it is Haiti’s weak infrastructure that turns challenges into disasters and disasters into full-fledged catastrophes. The earthquake, though not linked to climate change, is a prime example. And this is where all those illegal debt payments may yet extract their most devastating cost. Each payment to a foreign creditor was money not spent on a road, a school, an electrical line. And that same illegitimate debt empowered the IMF and World Bank to attach onerous conditions to each new loan, requiring Haiti to deregulate its economy and slash its public sector still further. Failure to comply was met with a punishing aid embargo from 2001 to ’04, the death knell to Haiti’s public sphere.

This history needs to be confronted now, because it threatens to repeat itself. Haiti’s creditors are already using the desperate need for earthquake aid to push for a fivefold increase in garment-sector production, some of the most exploitative jobs in the country. Haitians have no status in these talks, because they are regarded as passive recipients of aid, not full and dignified participants in a process of redress and restitution.

A reckoning with the debts the world owes to Haiti would radically change this poisonous dynamic. This is where the real road to repair begins: by recognizing the right of Haitians to reparations.

[And we’re not even mentioning HAARP here…]

Haiti: The Politics of Rebuilding

See also: “Asking Bush and Clinton to ‘Help Haiti’ is Cruel Mockery”

and

US Toxic Waste Poisons Haiti: Clinton, The Dems & Duvalier Dump on Haiti

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SnowManGeddon: Climate Change Rears Its Head in D.C.

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Written by chinarose

February 8, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Submedia’s PreLube to the Olympic Resistance

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A Call for an Earth Insurgency: Start Today

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EARTH MEANDERS: Ecological Overshoot: Climate, Inequity and Corruption

By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Earth Meanders come from Earth’s Newsdesk

We must hold onto our humanity as we collapse and renew ourselvesA call for reluctant Earth revolutionaries to unite and slay the economic growth machine consuming ecological being.
A disease is ravaging Earth as ever more people, consume ever more, destroying natural ecosystems that are our shared habitat. In a few short centuries the violent, expansionist and deeply ecologically unsustainable Western mindset has become virtually universally accepted. The meaning of life is more, ever more of everything, at the expense of a finite biosphere. The emptiness of such a vacuous worldview is revealed through changing climate, devastating human inequities and an irredeemably corrupt economic system.

More than just a climate crisis, humanity is facing profound over-population and injustice that are spurring dozens of inter-related ecological and social crises. Billions suffer as their basic human needs go unmet, while billions more gorge themselves. Forests, prairies, streams, rivers, estuaries, wetlands, lakes, soil, oceans, air and all the rest are all life’s flesh and blood. Humanity, Earth and kindred species have entered the late stage condition of ecological overshoot — whereby our cumulative demands upon ecosystems exceed their life-giving capacity and cause them to collapse.

We are eating creation. Hardly anyone is thinking or acting at the necessary scale to avert global ecological Armageddon. Market based solutions are pervasive with corruption and inequity. Nothing we do is going to maintain an affluent life, as it is now for some. Widespread economic decline will certainly accompany abrupt climate change and global ecosystem collapse; indeed, it has begun. If existing political systems are unable to deal with the inevitable collapse of the growth machine, at the same time as pursuing rigorous environmental policy-making, then new political structures will be necessary.

A stewardship revolution that maintains life of some worthy, habitable sort is possible. Surely in a free country whose liberty came from such means, we can talk about revolutionary violence, as Thomas Jefferson said would continue to be necessary. “The blood of tyrants and patriots must flow to renew the soil.” What could be more glorious than fighting, and perhaps dying, for the Earth, and maybe even succeeding in saving her (and us)?

It is time for a credible revolutionary threat to protect the biosphere. What is needed is a steady ratcheting up of pressure – protests, sit-ins, sabotage, assassinations — giving opponents every opportunity to respond to reasoned arguments – and culminating in guerrilla warfare and whatever else is necessary to save the Earth. If a few thousand insurrectionists can tie up the American military in Iraq, think what dedicated, highly decentralized and autonomous groups of tens of thousands of Earth insurgents could do to bring down industrial capitalism and the Earth eating growth machine.

People power protest culminating in an Earth Revolution needs to be done urgently yet thoughtfully. Not speaking of mob rule or rioting — that is what is coming from the status quo. We are speaking of highly disciplined, targeted protests including the possible use of violence to bring down the equipment and individuals responsible for destroying global ecosystems, and herald in a new ecologically sustainable, just and equitable way of living with the land, water and sky. Living must become a matter of what you can give to ecosystems, and others with whom you share being, rather than only being concerned with what you can take.

Economic growth cannot continue forever if greenhouse gases are to be curbed, and the myriad of other eco-crises solved. Efforts to cap and trade, certify, sustainably manage and otherwise reform our way out of the situation are orders of magnitude inadequate and failing. Free markets appear to inherently be unable to price carbon and other externalities. It is becoming increasingly unlikely (if not impossible) that current political and business growth systems can reform in time to maintain the ecosystems necessary for life.

The looming death of Gaia and most or all being is no one’s fault, or rather, it is all our faults. As many species have done previously, we have collectively overgrazed our habitat. We simply must immediately allow traditional ecological disturbance, regeneration and succession patterns to again operate. The industrial growth machine must be powered off and we must herald in an era of ecological stewardship and restoration. Even while we organize and pursue revolutionary action; each of us must plant, tend and restore our Earth’s natural ecosystems and permaculture gardens, and help others to do so.

Only dramatic and immediate revolutionary action to destroy the growth machine offers any hope of maintaining a livable Earth. We must commit to stopping burning and cutting — antiquated means to make a living — indeed killing those that refuse to stop. Rich people are setting themselves up to be fine in geo-engineered comfort while sacrificing the poor who no longer have free ecosystem services to sustain them. There can be no engineering of a biosphere; indeed, thinking we can has brought us to this moment. We must return to nature.

We must hold onto our humanity as we collapse and renew ourselves. Earth Revolution is as much about helping those that want to reconnect to Earth as it is sabotaging equipment and killing people directly responsible for ecocide. This means sharing food and water, shelter and clothing. But bring those responsible for ecocide to justice, utterly destroying them, their institutions and their equipment. There must be no indiscriminate terror, but if our warnings go unheeded, targeted violence against known ecological criminals is justified and warranted.

Given the momentum of nearly seven billion seeking to be super-consumers, do not see any other way to stop the forces of destruction other than a revolution. There is absolutely no way current energy and other resource use– much less expected growth in population and per capita consumption — can be produced either from agrofuels or more drilling. Humans have hit the biogeochemical limits of a finite planet, and each of us must seek what is enough, rather than always more.

It is well past time to be men and women of fortitude, set aside our computers and amusements, and commit our minds and bodies to stopping the destruction of being. We must demand more courage and less corruption from ourselves and our leaders. The Arctic has already been changed forever. Soon your neighborhood, ecosystem and bioregion will be too (if you really look, almost certainly it is already). Please, as I do, take the end of human being through needless habitat destruction personally.

Part of the solution is allowing people to get back to Earth on their own plot of land. How we live in the future will be by necessity less urban. We will be called upon to make do with what is in our bioregion. Let me make some further suggestions to you. Acquire land and seeds. Make or restore an Earth friendly shelter and plant trees and permaculture forest gardens. Prepare to live in your changing bioregion. Go back to the land. Ecologically farm and restore as you connect with like minded Earth revolutionaries to clandestinely carry out escalating protest, sabotage and guerrilla war.

I urge you to really think about what is necessary — both personally and in terms of social change — to sustain being, and committing to it. Token managerial reforms of the antiquated ecologically damaging activities of burning and cutting are not enough. Technology is not going to save us. Market campaigns using glamorous celebrities are not enough. Petitioning our leaders is not going to save us. Personal efforts will only get you and Gaia so far. Only escalating protest action targeting the destroyers, their equipment and their Earth eating worldview can still avert biosphere disintegration.

Set aside your best efforts at ecological denial, acknowledge the task before us, and join with others in becoming a reluctant revolutionary. An Earth insurgency could topple the growth machine in a day, though it may take years. The sooner the better, as more ecological remnants will exist to serve as the basis of ecological restoration. Even as we pursue revolutionary strategies and tactics to maintain a habitable Earth, commit to remaining free and humane. The answer is neither tyranny of the left nor right. Above all else we must achieve global ecological sustainability through just and equitable means.

Protect and restore natural ecosystems including old forests right now. Work with others to destroy coal, tar sands, fishing trawlers, oil palm, industrial agriculture, pipelines and ancient forest loggers. Start today. Now continued human existence depends upon your courage, ecological wisdom and taking direct lethal action in defense of our shared ecological heritage. Each of us and together will transition to a state of ecological grace, quickly, and through action against the Earth destroyers, or we will all die a horrific and barbaric death together as being ends.

If we choose to fight for Earth there is hope, otherwise there is none. Share the anguish of not knowing if revolutionary violence is the answer or not. But it has to be considered comprehensively, thoroughly and quickly. Prove me wrong and demonstrate how to ecologically sufficiently address converging eco-crises in a couple years time within current economic and political systems. Revolution is almost certainly the only possible way to sustain and restore healthy ecosystems as the basis of human civilization and all life. Be strong, slay the growth machine, for Gaia.

Giving Credit: CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising”

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A line in this song is my blog’s subtitle, so before I go and change it, here’s to CCR’s weather predictions (PD accurate…)
Sure, keep hoping for a Happy New Year, then tell the global capitalist elites about it.

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Written by chinarose

January 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Hugo Chavez on the Copenhagen Protests

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From Danemark Indymedia:

By Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, translated by Kiraz Janicke for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

December 20, 2009

“I will not tire of repeating to the four winds: the only possible and viable alternative is socialism. I said it in each of my speeches to all the world representatives gathered in Copenhagen, the world’s most important event in the last two hundred years: there is no other way if we want to stop this heartless and debased competition that promises only total annihilation.” – Hugo Chávez

I

Copenhagen was the scene of a historic battle in the framework of the 15th Conference of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP15). Better said, in the beautiful, snowy capital of Denmark, a battle began that did not end on Friday, December 18, 2009. I reiterate: Copenhagen was only the beginning of a decisive battle for the salvation of the planet. It was a battle in the realm of ideas and in praxis.
Brazilian Leonardo Boff, a great liberation theologian and one of the most authoritative voices on environmental issues, in a key article, entitled What is at stake in Copenhagen?, wrote these words full of insight and courage: What can we expect from Copenhagen? At least this simple confession: We cannot continue like this. And a simple proposition: Let’s change course.

And for that reason, precisely, we went to Copenhagen to battle for a change of course on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA), and moreover, in defence of the cause of humanity and to speak, with President Evo Morales, in defence of the rights of Pachamama, of Mother Earth.

Evo, who together with yours truly, had the responsibility to be a spokesperson for the Bolivarian Alliance, wisely said: What this debate is about, is whether we are going to live or we are going to die.
All eyes of the world were concentrated on Copenhagen: the 15th Conference on Climate Change allowed us to gauge the fibre we are made of, where hope lies and what can we do to establish what the Liberator Simón Bolívar defined as the equilibrium of the universe, an equilibrium that can never be achieved within the capitalist world system.
II

Before our arrival in Copenhagen, the African bloc, backed by the Group of 77, denounced that rich countries were ignoring the Kyoto Protocol, that is, the only existing international instrument to fight global warming, the only thing that penalises the industrialised states and protects the developing countries.
It is necessary to recognise that the battle had already begun in the streets of Copenhagen, with the youth at the forefront protesting and proposing: I could see and feel, since my arrival in the Danish capital on December 16, the historic power of another world that for the youth is not only possible but absolutely necessary.
III

In Copenhagen, from the beginning, the cards were on the table for all to see. On the one hand, the cards of brutal meanness and stupidity of capitalism which did not budge in defence of its logic: the logic of capital, which leaves only death and destruction in its wake at an increasingly rapid pace.
On the other hand, the cards of the peoples demanding human dignity, the salvation of the planet and for a radical change, not of the climate, but of a world system that has brought us to the brink of unprecedented ecological and social catastrophe.

On one side, the victors of a mercantile and utilitarian civilisation, that is, the “civilised ones” who for a long time now have forgotten about human beings, and opted blindly for increasingly insatiable desires.

On the other hand, the “barbarians” who remain committed in believing and in fighting for radically changing the logic, that you can maximise human welfare, minimising environmental and ecological impacts. Those who sustain the impossibility of defending human rights, as raised by the comrade Evo Morales, if we don’t also defend the rights of Mother Earth, those who act with determination to leave a planet and future for our descendants.

I will not tire of repeating to the four winds: the only possible and viable alternative is socialism. I said it in each of my speeches to all the world representatives gathered in Copenhagen, the world’s most important event in the last two hundred years: there is no other way if we want to stop this heartless and debased competition that promises only total annihilation.
Why are the “civilised ones” so afraid of a project that aspires to build shared happiness? They are afraid, let’s be honest, because shared happiness does not generate profit. Hence the crystal clarity of that great slogan of the Copenhagen street protest that today speaks for millions: “If the climate was a bank, they would have saved it already.”
The “civilised ones” do not take the necessary measures, simply because of this, it would oblige them to reverse their voracious pattern of life, marked by selfish comfort and that does not touch their cold hearts, which palpitate only to the beat of money.

That’s why the [US] Empire arrived late on December 18, to offer crumbs via blackmail, and through this, wash away the guilt marked on its face. In front of this strategy of buying support, you could hear throughout Denmark the clear and courageous voice of Vandana Shiva, the Indian thinker saying a great truth: “I think it is time for US to stop seeing itself as a donor and begin to recognise itself as polluter: a polluter must pay compensation for damages and must it pay its ecological debt. It is not charity. This is justice.”

I must say: in Copenhagen the Obama illusion was definitively destroyed. He was confirmed in his position as head of the empire and winner of the Nobel War Prize. The enigma of the two Obamas has been resolved.

Friday the 18th came to an end without a democratically agreed accord: Obama mounted the platform separately, in a further violation of UN procedures, for which we feel obliged to challenge any decision that does not respect for the validity of the Protocol Kyoto. To respect and enhance Kyoto is our motto.
An accord was not possible in Copenhagen due to the lack of political will of the rich countries: the powerful of this world, the hyper-developed, they do not want to change their patterns of production and consumption which are as senseless as suicide. “The world can go to hell if it dares to threaten my privilege and my lifestyle”, is what they appear to be saying with their conduct: that is the hard truth that they do not want to hear from those who act under the historical and categorical imperative to change course.
Copenhagen is not the end, I repeat, but a beginning: the doors have been opened for a universal debate on how to save the planet, life on the planet. The battle continues.
IV

We commemorated the 179th anniversary of the physical disappearance of our Liberator Simón Bolívar in an act of deep revolutionary content; I refer to the meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance with social movements in Denmark on December 17. There I felt, once again that Bolivar is not only a banner of Venezuela and Our America, but is increasingly a universal leader.

It is his living and combative legacy, now embodied in the Bolivarian Alliance, which is becoming a world heritage, that we took to Copenhagen to do battle for the Patria Grande, which is at the same time, to do battle for the sake of humanity .

In reality and in truth: Bolivar lives! In Copenhagen it was confirmed that his legacy is more alive than ever.
And now he will overcome.
Now we shall overcome!

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