Friday Night Fun and Culture: The New York Dolls

I was at the show that is featured in the black and white videos.

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Activists aghast at Oakland law criminalizing possession of some household items at protests

From Raw Story:

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Oakland City Council moved closer on Tuesday to both expand authorities’ surveillance capabilities and and authorize a ban on common household tools and paints it deemed “tools of violence and vandalism” at public demonstrations, raising concerns from local activists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“I appreciate that the City Council wants to make demonstrations safe,” ACLU attorney Michael Risher told KGO-TV. “But they should look at both sides of the equation and realize that there are more protesters who are injured by the police during protests than there are officers who are injured by protesters.”

The Oakland Tribune reported that the council voted 5-0 around 1:20 a.m. to approve the ban, which covers the mere possession of “impact-resistant shields, aerosol spray cans, pressurized paint sprayers, sling shots, hammers, large wrenches for opening fire hydrants, fireworks, paint projectiles or fire accelerants” at protests regardless of whether they are used or about to be used by protestors. The item will be taken for final reading on Sept. 17.

Risher told KGO that the proposal is a more narrow version of one taken up by the council in 2012, which was discarded after vocal opposition by members of Occupy Oakland. But council member Noel Gallo re-introduced it to the council following reports of violence in the city amid demonstrations against George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

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NSA Paying UK Spy Agency to Surveil Americans

From Common Dreams:

New Guardian exclusive reveals NSA utilizes less-restricted GCHQ in international spy partnership

Lauren McCauley

The United States government is paying the UK government’s spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (or GCHQ), to do much of their clandestine “dirty work,” a new Guardian report revealed Thursday.

In documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported on by the Guardian, “top secret payments” of at least £100m (roughly $150m) over the past three years were made to the agency in exchange for the UK agency to “pull its weight” in regards to international surveillance.

According to Guardian reporters Nick Hopkins and Julian Borger:

Ministers have denied that GCHQ does the NSA’s “dirty work,” but in the documents GCHQ describes Britain’s surveillance laws and regulatory regime as a “selling point” for the Americans.

Taking advantage of the UK’s more lax surveillance restrictions and their ability to spy on US citizens, this international spy partnership has proved to be mutually beneficial for the two dragnet agencies.

In one cited instance, the GCHQ had “boasted” that it was able to supply “unique contributions” to the NSA during its investigation of an American citizen’s attempted car bomb attack in Times Square in 2010.

“No other detail is provided,” Hopkins and Borger write, “but it raises the possibility that GCHQ might have been spying on an American living in the US,” which US law prohibits the NSA from doing.

Earlier it was revealed that the GCHQ—which Snowden had described as “worse than the NSA”—has amassed an infinite database of metadata through the tapping of transatlantic fiber-optic cables which “carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic.”

According to GCHQ’s “investment portfolios,” the United States paid the agency £17.2m ($26m) for that project in particular.

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NSA Confirms Dragnet Phone Records Collection & Admits It Was Key In Stopping Just 1 Terror Plot

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Activists Shut Down Keystone XL Contractor’s DC Office – July 26, 2013

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Not in our name: A Canadian energy giant in Colombia

From Rabble Ca.:

By Dave Coles
July 31, 2013

A Toronto-based company is trampling on the rights of workers, Indigenous people and the environment in Colombia, but Canadian officials are more concerned with strengthening business ties in the country.

As president of Canada’s largest energy union, I recently participated in a 17-person Canadian delegation to investigate alleged abuses committed by TSX listed Pacific Rubiales Energy (PRE), Colombia’s largest independent oil producer.

On July 13 and 14, I was a juror at a preliminary hearing of the Popular Tribunal Against Extractive Policies in Colombia, which took place near the Pacific Rubiales oil fields in the Eastern town of Puerto Gaitan.

The testimony was heart-wrenching. Representatives of Indigenous communities told the Tribunal about how oil exploration on their lands had forced them to move to makeshift villages in housing constructed of plastic sheeting, cardboard and sticks. Women from outlying communities showed the jury bottles of orange and charcoal coloured water, which they said was from their local water source, a river carrying effluent from PRE’s extractive process.

Union officials described the living conditions of workers forced to rotate off their shift to catch a few hours of sleep in a bed occupied by three other workers on different shifts.

Bay Street headquartered PRE has waged a vicious campaign against the Unión Sindical Obrera (USO). After a 2011 strike by thousands of USO members the company fired those who refused to disaffiliate from the 90 year-old energy union and join PRE’s preferred union. During that strike, Colombian Senator Alexander Lopez, who testified at the tribunal, said he was blocked by public security forces from freely travelling on a pubic road to the Rubiales oil fields. Lopez concluded that PREs actions in Colombia warranted their expulsion from the country.

The testimonies at the Tribunal were disturbing, but what has transpired since may be even more troubling. Two days after, a USO member who helped organize the Tribunal was personally threatened. On July 16, Héctor Sánchez, who lives in a town near PREs oilfields, received a note at his house declaring: “We see every step you make with your family. … Dont ask for a stupid death, the same for your wife and child…. Dont leave them behind as orphans and a widow and dont become a widower yourself.”

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Climate Change And Violence Linked, Breakthrough Study Finds

From Huffington Post:

By Posted: 08/01/2013

Shifts in climate change are strongly linked to human violence around the world, according to a comprehensive new study released Thursday by the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University.

The research, which was published in Science, examined 60 previous studies from all major regions of the globe. The results suggest that changes such as drought, flood and high temperatures strongly correlate with spikes in conflict.

Researchers noted examples including increased domestic violence in India and Australia, assaults and murders in the United States and Tanzania, ethnic violence in Europe and South Asia, land invasions in Brazil, police violence in the Netherlands and civil conflicts throughout the tropics.

The biggest culprit: higher temperatures. Out of 27 modern societies studied, all 27 showed a positive relationship between higher temperatures and violence.

“We found that a one standard deviation shift towards hotter conditions causes the likelihood of personal violence to rise four percent and intergroup conflict to rise 14 percent,” UC Berkeley’s Marshall Burke, the study’s co-lead author, wrote in a release.

If the study’s calculations are correct, a global temperature rise of just 2 degrees Celsius could increase intergroup conflicts (such as civil wars) by over 50 percent. And, as Climate Central notes, projections estimate that temperatures will make that jump by 2040.

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Of Extinctions, Extirpations, and the Future of Human Civilization

From Indy Bay:

by Steven Argue
Thursday Aug 1st, 2013

Reposted with Permission

California once had jaguars from the San Francisco Bay south along the coastal ranges. Settlers extirpated the jaguar from California along with the grizzly bear and wolf. It is somewhat ironic to have the grizzly bear on the California state flag, but no grizzlies in the state because they’ve all been wiped out. American bison were also extirpated from California, but in that case it seems to have been done by Native Americans after they got horses from Europeans. Elsewhere in the United States, American Bison were almost hunted to extinction as a means of starving and conquering Native Americans.

Also lost from the Santa Cruz Mountains, but surviving elsewhere in California are the black bear and elk. Big holes are left in ecosystems when species are lost.

Populations of the jaguar, grizzly bear, American wolf, and American bison remain elsewhere in North and South America. One local has told this author that he has seen jaguars of the black variety in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is an unlikely but intriguing possibility that would need research to confirm.

Far worse than these extirpations are extinctions. An “extirpation” is the loss of a species in a localized area. An “extinction” is the complete loss of a species.

California plant species that are thought to already be extinct include the Mariposa Daisy (Erigeron mariposanus), Point Reyes Paintbrush (Castilleja leschkeana), Pitkin Marsh paintbrush (Castilleja uliginosa), Bakersfield smallscale (Atriplex tularensis), lost thistle (Cirsium praeteriens), Hoover’s cryptantha (Cryptantha hooveri), Los Angeles sunflower (Helianthus nuttallii), San Nicolas Island desert-thorn (Lycium verrucosum), Mendocino bush-mallow (Malacothamnus mendocinensis), Parish’s bush-mallow (Malacothamnus parishii), Santa Cruz Island monkeyflower (Mimulus brandegeei), Whipple’s monkeyflower (Mimulus whipplei), Santa Catalina Island monkeyflower (Mimulus traskiae), Merced monardella (Monardella leucocephala), Pringle’s monardella (Monardella pringlei), hairless popcorn-flower (Plagiobothrys glaber), Mayacamas popcorn-flower (Plagiobothrys lithocaryus), Petaluma popcorn-flower (Plagiobothrys mollis var. vestitus), Ballona cinquefoil (Potentilla multijuga), Cunningham Marsh cinquefoil (Potentilla uliginosa), and Parish’s gooseberry (Ribes divaricatum).

We hear a lot about the tropics, but rarely do I see this terrible loss to our planet’s bio-diversity mourned as it is happening right in our back yards in California. Many more plant species are threatened with extinction, yet legal protections for endangered plants are far less than are established for endangered animals.

In California, thirty-one species of mammals are currently listed as threatened or endangered with extinction. Many other birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and plants are threatened with extinction as well. Protections of their habitat under the federal and state regulations are sometimes helping, as are emergency efforts like the breeding program of the California condor. Yet, along with government regulations not giving needed protections for plants, there have also been difficulties getting new deserving animal species on the list. In addition, continued habitat loss, global warming, and competition and predation from non-native species is driving more and more species to the edge of extinction, and some to extinction.

Work by local scientist Dr. Barry Sinervo is showing predicted reptile extinctions as reptiles are pushed to the limits of their physiology through global warming. Field work is showing that these models are turning out to be very accurate. Already in Santa Cruz County, the once abundant northern alligator lizard has been almost completely replaced by the southern alligator lizard. In the desert, populations of the endangered desert tortoise are being lost to climate change, as predicted in the models, and if things continue on their current path, the desert tortoise will be driven to extinction through global warming. This will be the fate of many species.

Yet, we are not just talking about tortoises tragically lost here. According to Dr. Barry Sinervo’s models, the ideal habitat for the desert tortoise will be driven all the way up to the Midwest’s border with Canada in several decades. So when we look at the tragedy of the desert tortoise, we are looking at major losses to human agriculture and a threat to the future of human civilization.

As the temperatures of the Earth heats up and fossil water sources are lost, much of where we presently grow food in the Midwest and will turn to desert. Mass starvation and break downs in human civilization are likely in the coming decades. Only a planned socialized economy will be able to implement emergency measures that have a chance of keeping everyone fed. In addition, to slow global warming will take the nationalization of oil, gas, coal, and auto to end their corrupting influence on politics and revamping those industries to better meet human and environmental needs through a planned socialist economy.

Extinction is Forever! Defend and Extend the Endangered Species Act!

Save The Earth Through Proletarian Socialist Revolution!

-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency

From the same author, see:
All True Revolutionaries Are Environmentalists

Of “Chemtrails”, The “Illuminati”, Global Warming, and Trayvon Martin

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