When Benjamin Netanyahu humiliated U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden two weeks ago with his settlements announcement it was just one more calculated effort to both expose Barack Obama as a weak president and to increase Netanyahu's own geo-political power. Unfortunately for the Middle East, Obama, and the world in general, the brinkmanship seemed to work. The immediate U.S. response to this deliberate humiliation was half-hearted, weak and confused. The balance of power within the U.S.-Israeli alliance appeared to shift overnight. Obama is the classic ditherer -- faced with someone bold and daring, he simply can't find the moral outrage or courage to stand up for his principles.
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Stephen Harper visited New York City to give a speech pushing for the United States to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. The climate action group 350.org organized a protest outside Harper's event, issuing the following statement.
The Big Apple proved to be an unfriendly landing spot today for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose sales job for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was interrupted by scores of climate activists who want President Obama to reject the pipeline and for Harper to re-commit Canada to confronting climate change.
What's interesting about this is not just that Van Jones is a CNN correspondent and a former senior staffer for the Obama administration, sometimes called their "green jobs czar." No, what was really interesting is that he was standing shoulder to shoulder with the coal miners fighting to defend their pensions from a hugely wealthy coal company.
We did it, and it's nothing to cheer about.
The world hit the "sobering milestone" of 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 on Thursday -- a first in human history -- marking "a moment of symbolic significance on road of idiocy" the world has chosen, as well as a call for urgent climate action.
Reaching this threshold level represents a global failure to address the runaway greenhouse gas emissions; as Al Gore wrote today, it shows "we are reaping the consequences of our recklessness."
An interview with Phyllis Bennis broadcast on The Real News Network. The humanitarian disaster in Syria is mostly ignored as external powers vie for position to control outcome of civil war.
Today 36 Norwegian organizations sent an open letter to Prime Minister Stoltenberg expressing opposition to development of Canadian tar sands by Statoil (the Norwegian state is majority shareholder of Statoil).
Signatories include not only environmental organizations, but a broad public spectrum, including, appropriately, many youth organizations. It is encouraging that Norwegian youth press their government to stop supporting tar sands development, given the fact that Norway saves much of its oil earnings for future generations and given the fact that Norway is not likely among the nations that will suffer most from climate change.
On cloudy days, heavy smoke fills the air of Ponca City, Okla., with grey smog that camouflages itself into the sky. The ConocoPhillips oil refinery that makes its home there uses overcast days as a disguise to release more toxins into the air. These toxins are brimming with benzene -- a chemical that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, can cause leukemia, anemia and even decrease the size of women’s ovaries. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2008 the ConocoPhillips refinery released over 2,000 pounds of this chemical into the air in Ponca City.
In response to growing worldwide attention on the mass hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, this morning U.S. President Barack Obama has, once again, said he will seek to close the detention centre. Obama said Tuesday: "It is inefficient, it hurts us in terms of our international standing, it lessens co-operation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts, it is a recruitment tool for extremists, it needs to be closed."
Game Over: How politics has turned the sports world upside down
Dave Zirin is the rare sportswriter who covers, in his words, the space "where sports and politics collide." His new book, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down (New Press), explores the intersection of sports and politics over the past three years, touching on the London Olympics and their role in the city's anti-austerity riots, the lack of accountability after the Penn State sex-abuse scandals and the historic player lockouts in three out of the four major professional sports leagues.