Rage. Probably political rage. Maybe just personal rage. Lots of sarcasm and cynicism. Also pretty pictures.
We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets we will launch, as well as the high-level nuclear test we will carry out, are targeted at the United States, the arch-enemy of the Korean people.
In a statement carried by the official Central Korean News Agency, the country’s powerful national defence commission added ”settling accounts with the US needs to be done with force, not with words,”(via newsflick)
Jonathan Kay: The Suzanne Somers effect — How Internet-fuelled medical conspiracy theories are making us sicker
In the realm of public health, distrust and the need to explain human suffering, have combined to produce stubbornly popular conspiracy theories that inhibit life-saving medical therapies: Ironically, an irrational fear of government schemes to engineer human suffering have caused many citizens to forsake therapies that have been engineered to save their lives. This month, for instance, Britain’s Guardian newspaper published a heart-rending tale of Pakistanis who refuse to eat salt containing iodine — a necessary chemical that helps prevent goiters, mental retardation, birth defects and other problems — because they believe the ingredient is part of a government conspiracy to render them infertile.
Here in the West, we like our iodine just fine. Yet many of us still give the time of day to other conspiracy theorists, such as anti-vaccine activists who falsely claim a linkage between the widely administered MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism spectrum disorder.
Much of the blame goes to celebrity laypersons such as former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy. Since 1998, when the vaccine/autism theory first was put forward in a study published in the Lancet medical journal (subsequently retracted in 2010), untold millions of parents across the Western world have avoided vaccinating their children, leaving them exposed to deadly, and entirely preventable, diseases such as measles, whooping cough and Hib influenza.
The myth that vaccines cause autism permits emotionally vulnerable parents to blame politically accountable, human evildoers — the big pharmaceutical companies and their apologists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada — for a trauma that might otherwise be seen as a mere act of God. The myth thereby allows them to substitute their frustration and disappointment with the more psychologically manageable emotion of anger. (Three Rivers Press)
Big picture: Floods, by Gideon Mendel
Gideon Mendel’s photographs of the floods in Nigeria have gone some way towards addressing international indifference to a disaster that has affect around 7m people
Photograph: Gideon Mendel
House Speaker John Boehner yanked the bill to provide $60 billion in emergency aid to states ravaged by Hurricane Sandy to get back at a top lieutenant who defied him over the Fiscal Cliff fix, Congressional sources said Wednesday.
Boehner was angry, the sources said, when Majority Leader Eric Cantor led the revolt Tuesday by conservative House Republicans against the Fiscal Cliff compromise that wound up being passed later in the day, the sources said.
So rather than let Cantor bring the Sandy aid bill he had hammered out with New York and New Jersey lawmakers to the floor for a vote, Boehner (R-Ohio) pulled rank and tabled it - likely killing the aid package for the current session of Congress, which ends Thursday.
Boehner’s decision to pull the bill triggered outrage Wednesday from both Republicans and Democrats in New York and other states devastated by Sandy. They said his decision forces tens of thousands of storm victims to wait even longer for help.
His voice shaking, Rep. Pete King, a Long Island Republican, took to the floor of the House Wednesday morning to launch an extrordinary attack against Boehner, his own political leader.
King called it a “cruel knife in the back” to New York and New Jersey.
Gov. Cuomo, a Democrat, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, issued a joint statement calling the House’s inaction a “dereliction of duty.”
And at a Manhattan press conference, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “Speaker Boehner pulled out the rug from us at the last minute.” He added, “This failure to get relief now could be called the Boehner betrayal.”
The New York Daily News, “Sources: House Speaker Yanked $60 Billion In Sandy Aid Out of Spite.”
Last night, the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state. If you want an example of how non-partisan this issue should have been, I offer this for your consideration: near midnight last night, conservative Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California both spoke on the floor in concert with each other in support of (the Hurricane Sandy) aid package. It’s one for the record books, I suspect.
On the equities, this one should be a no-brainer for the House Republicans, as well. Both New York and New Jersey used the international firm of McKinsey & Co. to assess and quantify the damage to our states. Our professional staffs have spent countless hours with Congressional staff providing leadership and backup documentation for ALL of the damage claims. Governor Cuomo and I have spent hours and hours speaking to individual members of the House and Senate to answer their questions. We worked with President Obama and his administration to satisfy them of the urgent need of this $60 billion aid package.
This was good enough for 62 United States Senators — of both parties — to vote for this package. This was good enough for a majority of the House of Representatives. It overcame all the factual challenges. It just could not overcome the toxic, internal politics of the House majority.
Finally, New Jersey and New York are perenially among the most generous states in the nation to our fellow states. We vote for disaster relief for other states in need; we are donor states sending much more to Washington D.C. than we ever get back in federal spending. Despite this history of unbridled generosity, in our hour of desperate need, we’ve been left waiting for help six times longer than the victims of Katrina with no end in sight.
Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political partisanship of this Congress which places one-upsmanship ahead of the lives of the citizens who sent these people to Washington D.C. in the first place.
New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. New York deserves better than the selfishness that we saw displayed last night; New Jersey deserves better than the duplicity we saw on display last night. America deserves better than just another example of the government that has forgotten who they’re there to serve, and why.
66 days and counting. Shame on you; shame on Congress.
Christie would later make his anger crystal clear: “All I can tell you is this was the Speaker’s decision. His alone.”
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
- Gaza is celebrating after the end of an eight day conflict between Hamas and Israel, which resulted in 162 Palestinian deaths and 3 Israeli deaths, but the first post-ceasefire violence already claimed a life this morning. Israeli troops shot dead one Palestinian man and wounded nine others along Gaza’s border fence. The reports say the incident looks unlikely to jeopardize the ceasefire.
- A set of photos by Mosa’ab Elshamy from inside Gaza during the siege.
- Al Jazeera looks at the social media war between Hamas and Israel.
- Related #longreads piece at Boston Review: Colin Dayan, “How Not to Talk About Gaza.”
- Nadim Baba, Al Jazeera English’s Gaza correspondent, answered questions in a Reddit AMA.
- Assad’s government says that aid to rebels is aid to terrorists, angry at the foreign governments who have acknowledged the opposition.
- The Atlantic on the powerful role children have played in the Syrian revolution.
- Jordan has charged 89 activists with inciting violent revolt.
- A review of two books on extremism in Yemen at the New York Review of Books.
- Protests erupted in Cairo on the anniversary of the fatal protests against SCAF on Mohammed Mahmoud Street.
- After three days of protests, some demonstrators fire-bombed one of Al Jazeera’s offices.
- Egyptian president Morsy has assumed new powers, declaring that judiciary system cannot block any of his orders, and ordering the retrial of Mubarak and his top aides for the killing of revolutionary protesters and created a specific new “protection of the revolution” judiciary body to carry out these trials.
- Benghazi police chief Faraj al-Deirsy was killed in front of his home.
- M23 rebels in the Congo have taken the city of Goma, the country’s largest and most strategic city. They now vow to take the capital of Kinshasa. The Security Council has backed a resolution calling for sanctions against the M23 rebels and cessation of foreign aid to them.
- Former Sudanese intelligence chief Salah Gosh and a number of top army officers have been arrested over a plot which ”targeted the stability of the state and some leaders of the state.”
- Simon Allison visits Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, labeled the most difficult refugee camp in the world.
- The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former Côte d’Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo, who is already awaiting trial in the Hague. Simone Gbagbo, who was an active campaigner for her husband, is wanted for crimes against humanity following the 2010 elections. [pdf of the actual ICC warrant]
- Amnesty International has released a report condemning the failure of Bahrain to reform, instead ratcheting up the repression of political dissent.
- The death of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti in custody raises serious questions about the powers granted to Iran’s cyber police.
- Iranian opposition leaders Musavi and Karrubi are both in poor health.
- Karzai ordered the takeover of Bagram Prison, accusing Americans of having failed to carry out the agreed-upon transfer of the prison to Afghan control.
- For the Afghan war, five generals in five years (nearly two dozen since late 2001).
- Russia eyes opportunities for cultural outreach in Afghanistan.
- France officially ended its combat operations in Afghanistan on Tuesday when it pulled hundreds of troops from volatile Kapisa province.
- The UN drug agency released a report finding that more land in Afghanistan is being cultivated for poppy growth than last year, the second year of poppy growth expansion. Despite efforts by the Afghan government, the land area devoted to poppies grew by nearly a fifth. [pdf]
- Former US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, speaks out about his battles with the CIA with regards to the drone program.
- The lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attack which killed more than 160 people, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was executed in an Indian prison. Kasab was one of ten members of Pakistani group Lashkar e-Taiba who attacked Mumbai’s main railway station.
- Colombia’s main rebel group, FARC, have announced a Christmas ceasefire that will last until January 20th as part of ongoing peace talks in Cuba.
- Four Southern California men have been arrested in a terror plot.
- The UN Committee Against Torture has adopted General Comment No. 3 which is an authoritative interpretation of the right to redress, and is the first such clarification of this area of international law by a UN body [pdf].
- According to a new report, 70 percent of retired three and four star generals took jobs with defense contractors or consultants.
I mean, not to discount the size and reach of other news organizations — or the civilian casualties in Gaza, for that matter — but does Israel realize they’ve now killed the child of an employee of the BBC and that they’ve bombed a building housing one of the world’s major news wire services?
- Children: 20
- Women: 8
- Elderly: 9
- Adults: 34
- Injured: More than 660 people have been wounded, including: 224 children, 113 women and 50 elderly
“Not Impressed” President Barack Obama jokingly mimics U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney’s “not impressed” look while greeting members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams in the Oval Office, Nov. 15, 2012. Steve Penny, USA Gymnastics President, and Savannah Vinsant laugh at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)