In the Belly of the Beast: 3/27/11: 250,000 turn out for anti-budget cut march in London

INDEX

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 110

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

Headlines for March 17, 2011

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

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The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 110

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

250,000 turn out for anti-budget cut march in London

There’s definitely something in the air this year. People all over the world have had enough of the extremist policies where only a small group of people prosper. The Guardian:

More than a quarter of a million people have marched through central London to deliver a powerful message about the government’s cuts in public spending. The generally good-natured mood was soured by violent and destructive attacks on symbols of wealth including the Ritz, banks and a luxury car dealer, and an occupation of the upmarket food store Fortnum and Mason.

Trade union organisers said that the turnout had exceeded their expectations, and thousands had travelled by coach and by train from as far as Edinburgh to vent their anger at the government’s cuts by marching through London to a rally in Hyde Park.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, the public service trade union, said that the turnout was “absolutely enormous and showed the anger of ordinary working people”.


The Bachmann Tea Party: It’s all about abortion

There’s a lot of discussion about the motives of the Tea Party (so-called; they’re not really a party, but hey, it’s Sunday, and I’ve got capital letters to spare).

You could argue that they’re a mixed bag — some left-behind racists from the mid-1930s, some confused low-information victims of the Billionaire’s Coup. That’s the kind assessment, and I’ve made that case myself.

Or you could argue that, peal a teabagger, find a vicious little sex-loving sex-hating abortion-killing über-Christian — you know, the kind of Christian that isn’t one; the kind that worships the Serial Murderer of the Apocalypse, He Who walks in screaming Amen and trailing clouds of … blood.

Enter Michele Bachmann (h/t Digby):

She graduated from Winona State University and later received her J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University and an LL.M. degree in tax law from the William & Mary Law School. She was a member of the final graduating class of Oral Roberts’ law school, and was part of a group of faculty, staff, and students who moved the ORU law school to what is now Regent University.

Abortion seems to have been an early motivator for early Bachmann:

While she was still a Democrat, Bachmann was involved in anti-abortion activism. She and her then-fiance Marcus were inspired to join the pro-life movement by Francis Schaeffer‘s 1976 Christian documentary film, How Should We Then Live?. They frequently prayed outside of clinics and served as sidewalk counselors in an attempt to dissuade women from seeking abortions. Bachmann was a supporter of Jimmy Carter and she and her husband worked on his campaign. During Carter’s presidency, Bachmann became disappointed with his liberal approach to public policy, support for legalized abortion, and economic decisions that increased gas prices. In the next presidential election she voted for Ronald Reagan.

The first time Bachmann’s political activism gained media notice was at an abortion protest in 1991. She and approximately 30 other abortion opponents went to a Ramsey County Board meeting where a $3 million appropriation was to go to build a morgue for the county at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center (now called Regions Hospital). The Medical Center performed abortions and employed abortion rights pioneer Dr. Jane E. Hodgson. Bachmann attended the meeting to protest public tax dollars going to the hospital; speaking to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, she said that “in effect, since 1973, I have been a landlord of an abortion clinic, and I don’t like that distinction.”

Creationism, anyone?

In 1993, Bachmann and other parents in Stillwater, Minnesota opened New Heights Charter School. The oversight of New Heights soon encountered problems when a group of concerned parents and the school district questioned if the insertion of Christianity into the school’s curriculum amounted to using public tax money to fund a religious school. One such parent, Denise Stephens, a longtime Republican, charged the board of directors of the school (which included Bachmann) with trying to set up classes on Creationism and advocating that “something called ’12 Christian principles’ be taught, very much like the 10 Commandments.” According to Stephens, school officials also refused to allow the in-school screening of the Disney film Aladdin, saying that it endorsed witchcraft and promoted paganism. Along with other directors, Bachmann appeared before the Stillwater School Board to address the parents’ concerns. According to Stephens, Bachmann became angry and asked, “Are you going to question my integrity?”, before she and four other members of the board resigned on the spot.

Bachmann became an outspoken critic of public education[.]

No kidding. Click through to see the footnotes and documentation.

Don’t think Bachmann is stupid; she’s not:

From 1988 to 1993,[citation needed] Bachmann was an attorney representing the commissioner of the I.R.S.

This is why we’re seeing such a flurry of sex-hating abortion-killing legislation from these pretend deficit hawks. As Digby notes:

The Tea Party and the Christian Right are not only not at odds, they are basically the same people. If the press is alert at all they will use the opportunity of the presidential campaign to explain that this time instead of falling for Dick Armey and his millionaires’ marketing.

I still think it’s the best strategy to treat Tea Party people as approachable, as individually amenable to reason until proven otherwise. The only way to reduce their numbers is to peal away the merely confused. But good strategy doesn’t always track to correct analysis, and Digby’s analysis may well be right.

If so, a Teabag president, enabled by a Billionaire-financed Teabag Congress, will represent the triumph ofChristian Reconstructionism and Dominionism over that silly old fool, the Enlightenment.

As long as the Billionaires get their eleven-cookie cut, it’s all good. And we know they will. After all, Billionaires are God’s truly chosen; it’s the money that proves it.

TSA admits ‘calculation errors’ in radiation tests of ‘see all’ porno-scanners at airports

So after dismissing all arguments about exposure to radiation with the porno-scanners and attacking anyone who questioned them, now their story is changing.

The Transportation Security Administration is reanalyzing the radiation levels of X-ray body scanners installed in airports nationwide, after testing produced dramatically higher-than-expected results.

The TSA, which has deployed at least 500 body scanners to at least 78 airports, said Tuesday the machines meet all safety standards and would remain in operation despite a “calculation error” in safety studies. The flawed results showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

At least one flier group, the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, is urging the government to stop using the $180,000 machines that produce a virtual-nude image of the body until new tests are concluded in May.


INCREDIBLE tsunami home video

from AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth by Chris in Paris

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It’s amazing to see how quickly the water moved in this recording. Even though the person who filmed it was up high, they had to be worried about the ability of the building to withstand the water. It completely destroys other buildings nearby and washes them away into little scraps of nothing. It appears an entire village was just swept away.

Tomgram: Rebecca Solnit, The Earthquake Kit

from TomDispatch – Blog by Rebecca Solnit

The catastrophes were in Japan and remain that country’s tragedy, so we need to keep our own anxieties in check. Or harness them to make constructive changes in preparation for our own future disasters (without losing our compassion for those killed, orphaned, widowed, displaced — and contaminated — in northeastern Japan)…

Radiation 10 million times over normal at Japanese reactor

Now this is terrifying.

Officials said the high levels of radiation was probably caused by leakage from reactor vessels.

Japanese engineers have struggled to pump radioactive water from the plant 240 km north Tokyo two weeks after it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

Engineers trying to stabilise the plant had to pump out radioactive water after it was found in buildings housing three of the six reactors.

Meanwhile, tests by the Japanese nuclear safety agency revealed levels of radioactivity up to 1,850 times the usual level in seawater offshore the crippled plant compared to 1,250 measured on Saturday.

Angela Merkel’s CDU may lose in regional elections over nuclear power

This would be quite a blow to Merkel’s party as well as Merkel’s hold on power. It would also be interesting to see the catastrophe in Japan have such an impact on German elections. After years of calm, who in their right mind isn’t concerned about the safety of nuclear energy? A strong majority (64%) of Germans are against nuclear energy and Merkel’s recent flip-flop did her no favors. It would be a credit to the intelligence of voters if they saw through her naked attempt to grab votes by changing from her robust, pro-nuclear energy position last year to her last second change. One would hope that voters somewhere could see through political opportunism.

On Tuesday evening, the CDU’s Stefan Mappus did his best to seem upbeat. The incumbent state prime minister, a squat 45-year-old, took to the podium at the Sillenbuch retirement community in Stuttgart and told the crowd what they wanted to hear. “We in Baden-Württemberg are the best and we want to keep it that way,” he said. “We have the lowest unemployment – just 4.3% – and our economy is growing by 5.5%.”

But Mappus was in trouble and he knew it. Just 50km up the road from Sillenbuch, in the village of Neckarwestheim, was one obvious cause of his – and Merkel’s – nosedive in the polls. Surrounded by vineyards and potato fields are two nuclear power stations, Neckarwestheim I and II. Thirteen days ago, Merkel announced that one of them would be immediately taken off the grid, along with six other nuclear plants built before 1980. The decision, taken after the explosions at the Fukushima reactors in Japan, was a brazen U-turn in CDU policy and a naked attempt to shore up votes – 70% of Germans saw it as such, and their suspicions were confirmed on Thursday with a leak of comments made by Merkel’s economics and technology minister, Rainer Brüderle, who told a group of businessmen that the chancellor’s decisions in the run-up to the Baden-Württemberg elections were “not always rational”.

Perhaps more painful for Merkel were comments by the veteran CDU chancellor Helmut Kohl, who wrote a piece in the tabloid Bild on Friday criticising her “overly hasty” decision. Retreating from nuclear energy would “not help anyone”, said the 80-year-old, and would “even make the world a more dangerous place” because Germany’s respected engineering know-how would no longer be used to improve the industry.

Fukushima: Unit 2 evacuated due to elevated radiation

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report

Sharply elevated radiation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex on March 27 forced an emergency evacuation of of the Number 2 unit. The concerns began when a worker attempting to measure radiation levels of water puddles there saw the reading on his dosimeter jump beyond 1 sievert per hour, the highest reading. Michiaki Furukawa, a nuclear chemist and board member of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, a Tokyo watchdog group, said exposure to 1 sievert of radiation would induce nausea and vomiting, while levels between 3 to 5 sieverts an hour could be lethal. Yukio Edano, the Japanese government’s top spokesman, told a press briefing that it appeared the radioactive puddles had developed when the No. 2 unit’s fuel rods were exposed to air but that “we don’t at this time believe they are melting. We’re confident that we are able to keep them cool.” (NYT, March 28)

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This entry was posted in Background & Analysis, Events, Finance Capital, Human Rights, Imperialism, Imperialist Interference & Views, Labor, Nuclear Power, Obama, Reproductive Rights, US Electoral Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

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