Archive for November, 2009

A Common Sense Plan

Posted in Middle East with tags , , on November 28, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Now here is a common sense plan that I think both sides can get behind.  Of course, I don’t expect them to, but they should.

A Palestinian peace plan…


China Sending Prime Minister to Copenhagen

Posted in Asia, Environment with tags , , , on November 27, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

This one comes from the Guardian in the UK.  It seems that China is sending Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Copenhagen.  It has also released targets for the reduction of carbon emissions.  This is a most welcome development.  Earlier this week, Obama said that he would go to Copenhagen himself (there was some concern that he would send someone else in his stead) and I think this has moved the Chinese.

Some are questioning the fact that China is sending the Prime Minister instead of President Hu Jintao.  More than likely this is because Wen has headed a committee that has been dealing with climate change issues.

Of course, the targets that China has laid out are being challenged by some, particularly Europe, where it is felt that  reductions of at least 50 percent are needed.

Having both Obama and Wen at the table with real numbers and a plan to reduce their carbon emissions is certainly a step in the right direction.  Hopefully, they along with the other countries in attendance  can come up with a binding agreement that represents real change.  We are all on this ship called Earth together, and if we don’t act fast, climate change could be the hole that sinks us all.

Secret War in Pakistan

Posted in Middle East with tags , , , , on November 26, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Earlier this week, The Nation published a report about Blackwater and its operation in Pakistan.  Also, Jeremy Scahill who did the Nation article and a number of other articles and a book on Blackwater did an interview on Democracy Now! on Tuesday.

Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan (from The Nation)

Democracy Now! from November 24, 2009


Giving Thanks

Posted in Not Political with tags on November 26, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Today is, of course, Thanksgiving.  And so as is tradition, it is important to express what we are thankful for.

I am thankful for so much that I can’t possibly enumerate them all.  Mostly I like to give thanks for the basics.  I have a wonderful wife and home, my health, family and friends.  I live in the US and have access to plenty of food and clean water.

My situation could be like so many people in the world, but it isn’t, so I am thankful for all that I have.

A small step in the right direction

Posted in Middle East with tags , , , on November 26, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

It was a small step but an important one.

Both Secretary of State Clinton and Special Envoy George Mitchell used the term “1967 border.”  This refers to the lines that were drawn after the Six-Day War between Israel on the one side and a number of countries (mainly Egypt, Syria and Jordan) on the other side.

This is an important step because those borders were clearly defined and recognizable.  In addition, their importance stems from the fact that the US rarely uses terms that are this explicit.  Of course, the real test will be what the US does and says going forward.  It is easy to say one thing and do another.  But this is a small step in the right direction.  Hopefully, the US (and more importantly, Israel) keeps going down this road.

Netanyahu’s Stubbornness… (from Huffington Post)

Honduras – a police state?

Posted in Latin America with tags , , , on November 26, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Honduras has been a lot of turmoil in the last few months.  In June the President, Manuel Zelaya, was forced out of office at gunpoint.  I wrote about it at the time, here and here.  And I still don’t know exactly what happened or why, but then I read pieces like this one from Sarah Stephens who is the executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas and she has visited Honduras at least twice since the coup.  And the picture she paints is not very pretty at all.

And now we have elections come up on Sunday.  It is hard to argue that an election held in Honduras today could be considered free and fair.  So I have to agree with Ms. Stephens when she argues that the US must not recognize the election’s winner until the situation improves.

An exerpt from her piece on Huffington Post:

“The de facto government of Roberto Micheletti, the former head of the Honduran Congress who the military installed as president, has issued various decrees restricting freedom of assembly and authorizing the military and police to shut down opposition media outlets and, in one instance, to confiscate their equipment. The opposition media is back on the air, but regular interruptions of television and radio transmissions continue. Meanwhile the threat of another shutdown looms due to a recent decree that prohibits any statement by the press that threatens ‘national security.'”

2 for the price of 1

Posted in Europe with tags , , , on November 24, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Two articles struck me today.  And since today is Tuesday, they both come from Europe.

An Associated Press piece about the “challenge in Copenhagen” is striking because the world must come together to meet the challenge of climate change.  And I frankly don’t know if they are up to it.  I try to remain optimistic, but we are talking about all of the countries in the world.  Sure it would be nice if the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gases (China, the US, and the European Union) would just take it upon themselves to do what needs to be done.  But that certainly doesn’t look likely.  So a legally binding agreement needs to be put in place, and that is what the meetings in Copenhagen will all be about.  Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached.  And if no agreement is reached then it seems that lip service will continue to be paid and nothing else will happen.  Let’s hope that Obama is as good at convincing the world that an agreement on climate change is as important as health care in the US.  OK, let’s hope he’s a lot better at convincing world leaders.  Actually, I just hope he doesn’t derail the whole damn thing.

And because today is Two for Tuesday, here is another one; this one from Britain.

An inquiry into the how Britain got into Iraq has just begun in the UK.  I think this is an extremely important exercise.  I have no idea whether this will just be a lot of hot air or if there will be some substance behind it, but I think it is important nonetheless.  And something else I keeping thinking about… this would never happen in the US.

We have no time or patience for introspection or soul searching.  Things happened.  Period.  Don’t think about it.  Move on.  There is no need to dwell on the past.  That’s why they call it the past.  It’s gone.  Let it go in peace.  We don’t need history or context.  All we need is up to the minute updates on anything and everything.  So that we can forget about it and move on to the next big thing.

Iraq war inquiry from the Guardian in the UK

The challenge in Copenhagen: reshaping the world (via the AP through Google)