Read this and had to share it considering I’m 100% in favour of space exploration and scientific progression through exploration as opposed to exploitation. I say that, because that is exactly what happens now, in that the only scientific advancements we truly see, as Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson said, are the ones that are attached to military funding, the ones that develop new weapons. Read more.
Side Note: To go where no human has gone before.. this may come off as a lengthy read but I would definitely recommend it to any follower who is either into futurism or at least has an interest in where our future ought to head. Scientific American guest blogger Steven P. discusses ways where science and our ever developing technologies can really take us into an age of space exploration. So give it a read or save it on the blog for later, I definitely enjoyed it myself. But then again I’m always up for some interstellar space travel.
In 1969, a great shadow was cast over the United States. That shadow, however, was not one of gloom. Instead of evoking the absence of light, this shadow caused us to look up in wonder at the brightness that created it. When the Saturn V Rocket propelling Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins dashed across the blue, cloud-splotched sky, we did not see a dark present. We glimpsed a bright future.
Elsewhere, however, truly ominous shadows were cast by rockets which never saw the sun. Nestled in silos and buried beneath barren landscapes, “Minuteman” missiles meant not to uplift man, but to deliver the end of man, shrouded much of our world in trepidation.
These two rockets, with two very distinct purposes, bring into focus a problem that has long plagued our nation. We spend far too much money on war, and not enough on science.
Considering that we are nearing the ominously titled “fiscal cliff” — a series of government spending cuts and tax increases that will automatically take effect if Congress and the President do not act to stop it — we have a unique opportunity to review Federal spending and ensure that we are investing our time and wealth to their most productive ends.
I argue that such a review – if guided by reason – would reveal that defense spending should be reduced in order to make way for a world-changing commitment to science and technology, a bold move that will put both the United States and the world on a path to a bright future.
As it stands today, the United States is clearly over militarized. Defense spending in 2011 was estimated at $711 Billion. That’s equal to the combined budgets of the next fourteen top-spending countries, over half of whom are strong U.S. allies. Moreover, a 2011 Government Accountability Office audit of defense spending found that a combined $70 billion was wasted in 2010 and 2009.
This over-the-top spending is indicative of a military-industrial-complex run amok, precisely the scenario that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, perhaps the most revered military commander of the 20th century, warned against in his farewell address. “Together, we must learn how to compose differences not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose,” he avowed.
I can think of no better way to fulfill Eisenhower’s vision than through the pursuit of science.
By intelligently, purposefully, and gradually drawing down the defense budget from 4.7% to 3.0% of GDP (from $709 to $453 billion), and diverting some of those funds to meaningful science projects of both national and global significance, the United States can accomplish the essential goal of protecting its citizens, while simultaneously making the world a safer, healthier place and reinvigorating our economy.
We can begin the funding transition at home by re-committing ourselves to NASA. If we double the space agency’s budget (currently at $17.8 billion), our space accomplishments in ten years will dwarf even the monumental success of this summer, when the Curiosity rover landed on Mars.
We can complete the James Webb Space Telescope, allowing us to peer farther into the Universe than ever before. We can go to Mars by the end of the decade, a mission which astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson insists “would reboot America’s capacity to innovate as no other force in society can.” And with the recent news that warp drive may be more feasible than originally thought, we can focus on researching and eventually engineering interstellar starships that could one day take humans to Gliese 581 g — a potentially habitable Earth-like planet — in a mere two years. Along the way we could solve a myriad of other problems, writes Space.com’s Clara Moskowitz:
“…if human beings can solve the challenges of interstellar spaceflight, in the process they will have solved many of the problems plaguing Earth today, experts said. For example, building a starship will require figuring out how to conserve and recycle resources, how to structure societies for the common well-being, and how to harness and use energy sustainably.”
In addition to funding NASA, we can make fusion energy research a top national priority. Fusion power – an unparalleled energy source that generates electricity by effectively creating a miniature star – has eluded scientists for decades, but researchers now believe that successful fusion is within mankind’s grasp. Before the year is out, scientists at the National Ignition Facility in California hope to fire the world’s most powerful laser into a small test chamber with pea-sized fuel pellets of deuterium and tritium inside. The two isotopes of hydrogen will fuse together and potentially create up to one hundred times more energy than was used to ignite the fuel.
This breakthrough could serve as our “Sputnik Moment” for energy production. If we can put a man on the Moon a mere eight years after deciding to do so, then surely we can master “star power” if we pledge ourselves to the task. Fusion produces no carbon emissions, could provide power for thousands of years, is estimated to be cost-competitive with coal, and is unquestionably the energy source of the future. Yet despite the impressive resumé, fusion energy research is only allotted a relatively paltry $474.6 million.
Why wait for the future to happen later? With additional spending freedom by making cuts in defense, we can fund fusion and make that future happen now.
Areas around the world have their own cultural names for things that go bump in the night. In South Carolina, a cultural group called Gullah (African Americans in South and North Carolina that ranged from the coastal plains to the sea islands) had their own called the Boo Hag.
The boo hag, as legend tells it, was similar to a vampire. However, they sustained themselves on the breath of their victims by doing what was known as riding. Basically, when a person went to bed, the boo hag came along and sat on top of the sleeping victim, stealing their breath. Boo hags are often known to not have any skin, and appear red because of this. They hide themselves by stealing their victims skin, and wearing it like clothing, thus being able to walk around during the day without anyone suspicious of them.
Boo hags will hunt their victims, choosing them very carefully. When they’ve found a suitable one, they’ll often gain access to the victim’s homes through some small crack or crevice in the house. Once the hag is inside, they’ll ride their victim when they sleep, stealing their breath. They don’t kill the victim, but send them into a deep, dream filled sleep. Should the victim struggle, however, the hag will take their skin leaving them to suffer. Once finished, the hag will leave the home, flying off with their skin before dawn. If they don’t, they will be trapped without skin forever.
Most often when a person affected by the boo hag awakens they feel short of breath or very, very tired. A common saying in the region is “don’t let the hag ride you” which may be similar to “don’t let the beg bugs bite”.
There is a way to ward off the boo hag. Simply by leaving a straw broom beside the bed. The boo hag will become so entranced by the broom, that they would have to count the straws, often this takes them until past dawn, saving the victim from having their breath stolen.
Change.org: Sign the Petition to help Preserve & Officiate the Greenwood Historic District aka “Black Wall Street
The final draft of the Greenwood Historic District nomination is now available for download on the Tulsa Preservation Commission’s website.
Please join us for an informational meeting on July 31st, 6-7pm. at the Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N. Greenwood Avenue. For more information on the nominnations process please go to the web link listed above.
These nominations are long passed due…thank you so very much for supporting this.
This is something that we hear a lot, both in Canada and the United States. How immigrants are crossing the border to take away our coveted jobs, denying Canadians or Americans (or better put, White Folk) a decent paying (ha!) job.
This morning, while delivering papers to the different retail outlets in the town where I work, I learned something in a very short conversation when the owner of the local convenience store said he needed an ad to be placed in the paper for Help Wanted. Now, we’re a small town, we have three convenience stores, two of which are gas bars, one does auto repair, and the third rents movies. None of them are a 7-11 or Macs Convenience store brand. The one where I had this conversation about putting an ad in the paper for Help Wanted happens to be called the D&E. It’s run by a very nice Chinese fellow and his wife. He owns the store, he bought it, he runs it, and he also hires people to work for him. He also happens to be my next door neighbour in my apartment complex.
But he mentioned that the ad, which previously ran in the paper and was smaller, didn’t garner any phone calls. I said, we can run it for four weeks, and if there’s anything during that time we can go from there. He agreed, but added, if there still isn’t anything, he’d be forced to go to the immigration office and bring people in to work.
There’s reality, taking a swift kick to the gonads of life.
This convenience store isn’t the only place that has to do this. There’s a major potato planting and processing facility in Outlook that does a great deal of business in Western Canada. When harvest time comes around, they need people to come in and assist with everything from tractor operation, to sorting, to bagging. They advertise for this help in every major newspaper and agriculture periodical across Canada. So right there, they have a potential of hitting at least half of the 35 million people who live in Canada. But here’s the kicker. Every year they are forced to contact the Mexican Consulate and search for workers to come up to Outlook, Saskatchewan and work.
Immigrants aren’t stealing our jobs. Canadians and Americans find some jobs so far beneath them that they just don’t want to do them. Or, they are too lazy, because I know there’s people in this town where I live who could work at some of those jobs. $9.50 an hour is better than nothing.
So again, immigrants are not taking our jobs.
Today is an important day in history. It is the day a civil rights activist was shot and killed in New York City. His name was El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, or better known as Malcolm X. Born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm X went on to bring awareness about the inequality that was dividing America, between whites and blacks. His voice was one that people either found inspirational or fearful. His voice, and his words still hold a lot of truth today.
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
“You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong not matter who does it or who says it.”
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
”Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner. You must be eating some of what’s on that plate. Being here in America doesn’t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American.”
“You can’t separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
“By any means necessary.”
- 47 Years & Malcolm X Still Lives On (aliben86.wordpress.com)
- Feb. 21, 1965 | Malcolm X Is Assassinated by Black Muslims (learning.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Photos: Malcolm X Killed 47 years Ago (abcnews.go.com)
The Senate is threatening to pass its version of the Internet censorship bill — the PROTECT IP Act — when it returns from winter break later this month. Will you tweet at Senate leadership to ask them to kill the legislation? Just click here:
Millions of Americans have emailed their own senators to ask them to oppose the legislation — which is a big part of why we’ve been able to hold the bill up this long. (For more info about the bill, you can click here.)
But some members of the Senate are more powerful than others, and we need to let Senate leadership — Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Mitch McConnell — know how upset we are that this legislation is on their agenda. They have the power to block a vote from happening.
We need to make them understand that hundreds of thousands of us are paying attention and will be looking to this issue when we decide whom to vote for in this year’s elections.
Normally we’d ask you to email them, but Senate offices block emails from people with out-of-state zip codes, so we’re asking you to tweet at them instead.
You can use this link to generate a tweet to those three Senators — you can use the language we’ve included, or modify it:
We have another tough couple of weeks in front of us, and appreciate your continued work on this issue. To win this fight we’re going to need stay active to stick together.
– Demand Progress
- Fight For The Future (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Opposing the Senate’s PROTECT-IP Act (nateshiff.wordpress.com)
- SOPA firefight comes to CES (ces.cnet.com)
- Fight PIPA, SOPA’s Senate cousin, with this Senate scorecard (boingboing.net)
Have you woken up from your food coma yet? We don’t have any time to waste.
Sources tell us that Senate leadership could call for a vote on the Internet censorship bill as early as this week, which is why we’re trying to line up as many people as possible to call the Senate on Tuesday.
Ten thousand people have signed up so far, which is awesome. But our goal is to absolutely flood Senators’ phone lines, and that’ll take about 50k calls.
Those hundreds of thousands of emails we sent helped scare away a lot of support for the Stop Online Piracy Act — the House’s version of the censorship bill. But the Senate version has been around much longer, and has a stronger core of people advocating for it.
When Hollywood, drug companies, and the Chamber of Commerce come calling, most Senators see dollar signs: More than 30 of them have already said they back the legislation.
That’s why we need to redouble our efforts, steer as many calls as possible into the Senate on Tuesday, and scare off some of the Senators who say they’re likely to support this thing.
While you’re killing time on the internet this weekend, remember that some of your favorite sites might not be there anymore in a few weeks if we don’t win our fight against this terrible legislation.
Fight for the Future / AmericanCensorship.org
P.S. Senator Wyden will fillibuster the censorship bill in the Senate, if it comes to that. Sign this petition from our friends at Demand Progress and Sen. Wyden will read from this list during his fillibuster: StopCensorship.org
- Opposing the Senate’s PROTECT-IP Act (nateshiff.wordpress.com)
- Filibuster Censorship: Ask Wyden to Read Your Name from Floor of Senate (my.firedoglake.com)
- Filibuste (ismaelmelendez.wordpress.com)
- Senator Threatens Filibuster of Protect IP Act as Vote Nears (pcworld.com)
- Against the Blacklist Bills: Congressmen and Senators Speak Up (eff.org)
I have my own tumblr and often I’ll see pictures crop up on my dash of some skinny white model wearing a Native American warbonnet as some hipster fashion statement. They aren’t. The warbonnets actually mean something, and a little research shows exactly what they were used for, and surprisingly, that there weren’t that many tribes that used the commonly seen warbonnet (that many hipsters decide to wear).
This first part of this post is a rant. My specific bitch is about white hipsters using traditional (or what appears to be traditionaal) Lakota Sioux warbonnets as fashion statements, and some even bemoaning that they aren’t Native American. Or worse, when called out on their appropriation, claim they have (most often) Cherokee ancestry. Which is bullshit, because there are more than one hundred tribes in North America, including Plains Indians, Pacific Coast Indians, Atlantic Coast Indians, Mexican Indians, and Gulf Indians. Many of those tribes were wiped out of existence thanks to the push to settle the west by both American colonists and British colonists in British North America, or what is now known as Canada. Large numbers of Dakota First Nation People were killed in this push. Look up Wounded Knee sometime. Many Dakota moved north, eventually settling in British North America, such as the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
Now the second part of this post. Time to educate some people about the Native American headdresses that they so seeming like to use as fashion statements. As well as those that might want to “dress up” as a Native American for Halloween. The thing that a lot of people don’t understand, these symbols, such as the warbonnet, are very sacred to many tribes.
You can find complete information here, but I’ll describe a good deal in this post.
This image is the most commonly known headdress, which is actually a Lakota Sioux war bonnet. In truth, most First Nation tribes never used headdresses like this. While these may be the best known headdresses, they are not the most commonly used and they weren’t the only style of headdress. Headdresses varied depending on the tribe or location.
These warbonnets were the most commonly seen headdresses in westerns both on television and the silver screen. However, these bonnets were only used by a dozen or so tribes in the Great Plains, such as the Sioux, Crow, Blackfeet, Cheyenne and Plains Cree.
These warbonnets were ceremonial regalia worn by chiefs and warriors, much like the regalia worn by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip is considered traditional for the British Monarchy. Also important, only men wore these warbonnets, though it is reported that some women in Plains tribes did go to war, and there were even some female chiefs, but they never wore these bonnets. Sometimes men would wear these warbonnets into battle, but most often they wore what is called a roach bonnet.
Roach bonnets were worn by warriors and dancers and like warbonnets, the porcupine hair roach is traditionally men’s headwear, not worn even by female warriors. These roach bonnets also varied from tribe to tribe, and in many tribes roaches were worn into battle, while more formal tribal headdresses like warbonnets, otter-fur turbans or gustowah caps, were worn to ceremonial events. Other tribes wore roach bonnets primarily as dance regalia or sports costume. While some men in different tribes would wear a roach bonnet, others might not and they were not seen as spirituality meaningful as warbonnets, though a boy earning the right to wear a roach for the first time was an important ceremony in some tribes.
The page includes many other headdresses, including buffalo bonnets, otter-fur turbans, Seminole cloth turbans and Iroquois gustoweh caps, and includes tribal headdresses for women.
At the FAQ at the bottom of the page it mentions places to buy headdresses and where to go to make your own, but there was something important there as well.
If you are not Native American but are just trying to make a headdress for an art project, we recommend making a beaded headband, since headbands do not have the same sacred meaning of many other Indian headdresses and do not require you to understand complex cultural traditions to create one properly. The book North American Indian Beadwork Patterns includes a nice pattern for beading a Native American headband.
- Tribalism as Pop Culture Phenomenon and the Perpetuation of Offensive American Indian Stereotypes (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
When one thinks of baseball heroics, they often look to names like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson or Hank Aaron. Even the stories, whether true or fictitious, are from far off places. The closest baseball stories come to Saskatchewan would be the Toronto Blue Jays of the early 1990’s, winning back to back World Series titles and taking the trophy north of the border for the first time in it’s history.
Sure, there is Terry Puhl, an outfielder who played with the Houston Astros, was born and raised in Melville, Saskatchewan. But most often when Saskatchewan is thought of, it’s usually how flat the country is. How cold it is in winter. How many hockey players we have and don’t have an NHL team. We also happen to rabid football fans, as our only professional team in any sports happens to be a member of the Canadian Football League. But baseball usually isn’t thought of by people outside of Saskatchewan when they think about this province.
That should put Andrew Albers in pretty decent company, then. Albers was on the mound for the gold medal game as Canada took on the United States at the Pan Am Games in Mexico. The North Battleford native pitched six and two third innings, striking out eight, and letting only six hits, as he helped lead Team Canada to it’s first ever gold medal at any baseball event.
It makes sense, really, that people from Saskatchewan should have a passion for baseball. Look at every small town in this province. You’ll find four things. A hockey arena, curling rink, a golf course not far away. And baseball diamonds. Most often, those diamonds aren’t far from the hockey arena. Every July 1st, in the area I live and work now, there’s the small village of Conquest that has a slow pitch tournament. Conquest also still has a baseball team for junior high and high school aged kids. Even though the village no longer has a school.
There are kids that dream of playing on those perfect grass fields that grow up in Saskatchewan. We aren’t known for baseball, but Team Canada’s 2-1 victory over the United States for Pan Am Games gold, just made that dream a little more achievable.
- Pan Am gold caps comeback season for Canadian pitcher (canada.com)
- Canadians realize dream with Pan Am baseball gold (cbc.ca)
- Canada’s baseball win over U.S. at Pan Ams doesn’t surprise Ernie Whitt (thestar.com)
- Canada upends USA for first Pan Am gold (mlb.mlb.com)
- Canada stuns U.S. to claim baseball gold (canada.com)
- Canada wins Pan Am baseball gold (thestar.com)
- Canada beats US to win gold at Pan American Games (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Canada enjoys unlikely glory (canada.com)
This Friday, September 16, is the International Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis.
We need you there. Troy needs you there.
We chose this date because the following Monday, the Georgia Board of Pardons & Paroles will hold Troy’s final clemency hearing – our final chance to prevent Troy Davis from being executed.
On Friday, September 16th we need everyone pouring out onto the streets to demand justice for Troy Davis. We want to see pictures, local news stories, Facebook posts, videos, blogs, tweets and re-tweets on Twitter and any other visible signs of solidarity for Troy.
To make the biggest impact, we’ll need to join together.
If you know of public events happening in your U.S. city, then please add them to our public listing! Or to find a public Troy Davis Solidarity event taking place in your city, check back at our event listing that will be available in the next few days!
Here’s how to add a Troy Davis solidarity event to our public listing:
- Visit our Submit Your Event page
- Be sure to add a descriptive title for your event that includes “Troy Davis Event”
- In the Description, please include any details about your event including location, type of event (film screening, rally, vigil, etc) and any special information such as parking.
The outpouring of support you’ve shown for Troy Davis so far has been phenomenal – more than 100,000 of you have signed the petition for clemency and nearly 500 events have popped up in small towns and big cities alike all over the United States. Supporters from countries in the U.K., France, Denmark, Brazil, Hong Kong and Australia have also joined in to lend their voices.
The growing range of scholars, world leaders and prominent figures who are also demanding justice – including former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Legend, R.E.M., Russell Simmons, Mia Farrow, Indigo Girls, a former Governor of Texas and a former Member of Congress from Georgia – is simply awe-inspiring.
Momentum is building, but the biggest hurdle lies ahead.
Thank you for standing with Troy Davis!
Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International USA
- Trailer: Examining the Troy Davis Case – YouTube (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
As we draw closer and closer to the anniversary of 9/11, we as a people should give pause to think on other major terrorist events that have happened throughout the world. Terrorism and the word terrorist is an interesting one. Terrorism was coined in France in 1798, during the Reign of Terror, and was used to describe government intimidation. Today, it has a much different meaning. Most will equate it to Islamist extremists in today’s world. However, there are those in Norway who would beg to differ.
Terrorists have come in all shapes and sizes, all political leanings, all religious affiliation. Here are eight terrorist attacks that have shaped the modern world.
Bloody Friday in Northern Ireland
Then-U.K. Prime Minister Edward Heath had recently imposed direct rule over Northern Ireland, causing backlash from the IRA. Earlier that June, the government and IRA attempted talks, but they failed.
‘The Troubles’, as they were known, lasted from 1963 to 1985, and paramilitary groups on both sides of the fight – both Protestant and Catholic, those loyal to England and secessionists who wanted their own state – had a hand in the violence, which continued for more than a decade after the official end was declared.
1972 was the bloodiest year of ‘The Troubles’, reports BBC. Some 470 people were killed – most of them civilians – and there were more than 10,600 shootings and almost 1,400 explosions. About 500 bombs were diffused. The army seized 1,200 firearms, 183,000 rounds of ammunition and 19,000 kilograms of explosives during 36,000 home searches that year.
More than 3,500 people died over the decades of fighting, almost 2,000 of whom were civilians.
Ku Klux Klan attacks between 1865-1877
The murders came during the Reconstruction era following the American Civil War, in which defeated Southern states were readmitted into the Union. With the end of slavery, the plan was to create a new South in which African-Americans were given equal rights.
Historian Stephen Budiansky provides the number of casualties and blames them on “the campaign of terrorist violence that overthrew the only representatively elected governments the Southern states would know for 100 years to come,” in his book The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox.
The Ku Klux Klan was a white supremacist group which maintained only white, heterosexual Christians deserved civil rights.
During the Reconstructionist era classic KKK tactics emerged: intimidating black men and women, and the white people who supported them, with burning crosses on their lawns, riding on horseback in the now iconic long white robes and pointy hats, arson, rape and lynching.
The group, as well as smaller militias based on the same principles, continued to pop up in the early half of the 20th century, and those first acts of violence echo through America today.
In 2003 five members of a white supremacist group in Louisiana were convicted on conspiracy and intimidation charges after burning a cross at the home of three African-Americans.
U.S. District Judge Tucker Melancon laid out the seriousness of what he believed to be a domestic terrorist organization in his final statements on the case.
“While foreign terrorists would kill our bodies and destroy our buildings…the Ku Klux Klan and what they stand for and the type of conduct these defendants engaged in to rid themselves of their black neighbours, attacks our nation’s very soul.”
Beslan school hostage crisis
The tragic events in which Chechen nationalists held hostage over 1,000 men, women and children, killing 332 of them during a bloody three-day siege in September of 2004 has been called ‘Russia’s 9-11′.
Chechens took over School No. 1 in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, on Sept. 1, 2004, the first day of the school year.
The siege lasted 53 hours, and ended in a chaotic gunfight between Russian military, local men, and the guerrillas who had infiltrated the school. As the dust settled, the hostages’ chilling stories emerged, as well as details of the separatists’ preparations, which included planting extra weapons in the school over the summer.
The siege was the last in a week-long assault, which included a suicide bomber killing nine outside a Moscow subway station and two airliners downed by suspected Chechen suicide bombers, in which all 89 people aboard died.
The attacks were in response to recent elections in Chechnya, in which a Kremlin-backed candidate won the presidency, according to CNN.
But Chechnya and Russia’s history is long and bloody. Chechnya declared independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1994 Boris Yeltsin ordered 40,000 troops to invade preventing its separation. Vladamir Putin has increasingly associated Chechen rebels with jihadists in the Middle East, including al-Qaida. And the rift grows.
The October Crisis and the FLQ in Quebec
The October Crisis began when Quebec separatist group the Front de liberation du Quebec (FLQ) kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross in Montreal on Oct. 5, 1970. Another FLQ cell kidnapped (and eventually killed) Quebec’s labour minister, Pierre Laporte, on Oct. 10, 1970.
The crisis ended on Dec. 28, 1970 when Laporte’s kidnappers were arrested and charged.
The FLQ was formed in 1963 with the aim of Quebec independence. By that October the FLQ had already committed more than 200 crimes, including robberies and dozens of bombings that resulted in six deaths.
In exchange for Cross, the FLQ demanded publication of their manifesto, the release of 23 FLQ members, safe passage to Cuba and $500,000 in gold. One demand was met on Oct. 8 when Radio-Canada read the manifesto on air.
On Oct. 16, then prime minister Pierre Trudeau implemented the War Measures Act at the request of the Quebec government – the only time the act was employed during peace time. Canadians were divided on whether the move was necessary or set a dangerous precedent.
The next day the FLQ announced Laporte had been executed.
Cross was spared a similar fate. On Dec. 3, 62 days after being kidnapped, Cross was released and his kidnappers flown to Cuba. Laporte’s kidnappers were caught later that month.
Trudeau’s hardline response has become an enduring facet of his legacy and gave rise to his most famous line. When a CBC reporter questioned just how far he would go in boosting national security, Trudeau replied, “Just watch me.”
The crisis had wider implications for Canada as well. Laporte’s murder led many to abandon the FLQ, choosing to fight for sovereignty through political means. This meant increased support for the provincial separatist Parti Quebecois and later the rise of the federal Bloc Quebecois.
But the October Crisis is not the worst terrorist attack Canada has seen.
Air India flight 182 bombing
On that June day in 1985 two pieces of luggage were checked in at the Vancouver International Airport. The first exploded at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, before transfer to an Air India flight. Two baggage handlers were killed. Fifty-five minutes later, the other bag exploded mid-air as Air India Flight 182 approached Ireland. Everyone on the plane died.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said the bombing ranks as “the worst mass murder in Canadian history”. There were 329 causalities, including 82 children. The decades-long investigation and prosecution of those accused was the costliest in Canadian history at about $130 million.
Charges weren’t laid until 2000, 15 years after the explosion. Sikh militants were believed to be behind the attack, but police struggled to come up with evidence. In 2003 Inderjit Singh Reyat was sentenced to five years in jail. Sikh cleric Ajaib Singh Bagri and millionaire businessman Ripudaman Singh Malik (pictured above), both from B.C., were acquitted of attempted murder and conspiracy charges.
The public outrage over the outcome of the case led to a public inquiry, headed by interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, which in turn led to a full judicial inquiry in 2006.
Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto is assassinated
Shots were fired at Bhutto’s car and seconds later a bomb went off, killing some 20 people in all. Her death sparked riots across Pakistan.
Months earlier, Bhutto was the target of another assassination attempt en route to a rally in Karachi, celebrating her homecoming after eight years of self-imposed exile. A suicide-bomber killed 139 people, injuring some 450 more.
The Pakistan government and the CIA blame Baitulah Mehsud, a pro-Taliban tribal leader in South Waziristan, for the deadly attacks.
While Bhutto believed al-Qaida wanted her dead, she also thought, as her followers continue to think, that a group of senior politicians and intelligence agents worked in collusion with the Taliban to achieve the goal.
In February 2011 a Pakistan court issued an arrest warrant for Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president at the time of Bhutto’s death. The court accused Musharraf of being aware of, and failing to pass on, Taliban plans targeting Bhutto, because she was his political rival. Last year, a UN inquiry suggested Musharraf’s government didn’t do enough to keep Bhutto safe.
The assassination indicates the state of terrorism in Pakistan. In 2010 Musharraf admitted the government had turned a blind eye to militant groups in the past. That has paved the way for pro-Taliban and al-Qaida militants in the country to “become a state within a state in recent years,”according to the BBC.
Pakistan has become a launching pad for radicals fighting in neighbouring Afghanistan, and many major attacks on the west, including 9-11 and the July 7, 2005 attacks on London.
Most recently, and perhaps most revealingly, U.S. commandos hunted al-Qaida head, and purported 9-11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden down in Pakistan, where he was hiding in plain sight.
9-11 terrorist attacks
Ten years ago 19 al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners, spectacularly crashing two into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon. The fourth, also headed toward Washington, crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania after passengers intervened.
Nearly 3,000 people died that day.
Since then, 9-11 has become shorthand for terrorism itself and how the Western world, certainly the U.S. and Canada, have changed following such surprising violence.
9-11 has transformed the lives of Americans and Canadian: From the frustratingly inconvenient (the song, dance and strip show required as part of airport security); to the disturbing (reports of security measures that amount to racial profiling); to the deadly (an American-led war in Iraq and a NATO-sanctioned one in Afghanistan. Both of which have killed thousands of soldiers and left for dead many more thousands of Iraqis and Afghans).
Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated
The Archduke was heir to the Austro-Hungary Empire and the country blamed Serbia for the killing. Thanks to Europe’s network of diplomatic alliances, this one act triggered a domino effect. The continent launched into war with Austro-Hungary, Germany and Italy on one side and Britain, France and Russia on the other. Soon Japan and the Ottoman Empire joined the fracas.
In an age of imperialism, the bloodshed didn’t stop there. Western powers’ holdings in South America and Africa got involved. Soldiers from Britain’s dominions were sent to Europe, including Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders. The situation spilled over to more than 20 countries.
The Great War that was supposed to end all wars by Christmas of 1914 ended up lasting four, bloody years. There are no definitive numbers on the final death toll because of spotty record keeping and documents lost during the battles. But estimates of civilian and military deaths usually hover around 65 million at the upper end.
In its special ‘The Great War: And the Shaping of the 20th Century’, PBS puts that number into interesting perspective. When taken as a percentage of the forces that fought, the casualties reach 57.5 per cent.
“The provocation effect of terrorism was born in 1914,” historian Jay Winter told PBS. “In many ways the attack on the World Trade Center was a direct echo of that provocation. The intention was to bring about a military response that would in turn rebound against the power that responds.”
Because of the ratio between that initial act of terrorism and the end result in which many millions were killed, the boundaries of Europe were redrawn, and the stage set for the Second World War, this attack lands at the top of our list.Information gathered from MSN.com.
In 48 hours, the UN Security Council will meet again to discuss Palestine’s bid to become the 194th country.
Already 700,000 of us have joined the campaign. But we need more of us to shift key countries to vote in favour.
Avaaz has made a powerful short video that tells the real story and why this is the best chance for peace.
Click to watch it and send it to everyone — let’s get 1 million signers now:
As violence sparks again and tensions rise in the Middle East, a new proposal for Palestinian independence is gaining steam across the globe – if we can push it through the UN, it could open a new path to peace.
But key governments are still on the fence and to tip them to support independence we need to ramp up public pressure. Many people don’t feel they understand the situation well enough to take action. To help, Avaaz has made a new short video that tells the real story about the conflict. If enough people see it, sign the petition and forward it to everyone – our leaders will be forced to listen.
Almost 10 million of us are receiving this email. Let’s change the conversation about the Middle East and build a tidal wave of support for Palestinian independence before the UN Security Council meets to discuss this initiative next week. Click below to watch the video, sign the petition, and forward this email to everyone:
While the majority of Palestinian and Israeli people want a solution to the conflict based on two states, the Israeli extremist government continues to approve the building of settlements in contested areas — fueling hate and bloodshed. Despite repeated efforts, decades of US-led peace talks have failed to rein-in the peace killers and get an agreement.
Right now, this independence proposal could be the best chance for years to break the stalemate, avoid another spiral into violence and level the playing field between the two parties to favour negotiations.
Last month, the Palestinians presented their bid at the Security Council. Over 120 countries support them, but the US rejects the proposal, and is sending a clear message to its European allies that supporting the legitimate Palestinian bid will strain bilateral relations. It is now up to us to tell key European leaders that public opinion is behind this diplomatic non-violent push and that citizen opinion should influence policy choices, instead of the preferences of the American government.
Our campaign is exploding across the world — Almost 700,000 of us joined the call in the first days! It has been on the front page of major news media, cited at the UN Security Council, and tweeted by the Palestinian president himself! Now let’s make sure it resounds in the ears of key European leaders whose support is critical. Click below to watch the video, sign the petition if you haven’t yet, and forward this email to everyone — let’s reach 1 million signers:
There is much misinformation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and many of us feel unsure about getting involved. But this short film lays it out clearly and can empower us to act. As a nearly 10 million-strong global network in every country in the world, we have the chance to provoke a vote that could turn the tide on decades of violence.
Alice, Pascal, Emma, Ricken, David, Rewan, and the Avaaz team
Israeli settlement plan earns ire of U.S., Palestinian Authority (CNN)
Palestinians to present statehood bid to UN General Assembly (Guardian)
Israeli minister: Cut ties with Palestinians (Associated Press)
UN calls on Israel not to build new settlements in East Jerusalem (Ha’aretz)
Australian Anthony John Makk has been in the U.S. for more than 20 years. He and husband Bradford Wells, an American citizen, have been together for 19 of those years.
Yet because of the Defense of Marriage Act, Anthony hasn’t been able to get residency through his legal marriage to Bradford — as an opposite-sex spouse would.
Bradford’s request asking that his husband be granted a path to citizenship and Anthony’s application for permanent residency were denied on July 26. As of August 25, Anthony faces the threat of deportation.
After reading about Anthony and Bradford’s situation, New Yorker Matthew Mackey started a petition asking the Obama administration to allow Anthony to stay in the U.S. Already, more than 5,000 people have signed the petition. Click here to join Matthew’s petition on behalf of Anthony and Bradford.
Some days after leaving their home, Bradford is suddenly wracked with pain so severe that he can’t walk. Anthony is the one who picks Bradford up wherever he is, takes him home, and nurses him. Bradford says he has no one else to care for him.
If Anthony is deported, Bradford will have to choose: Either he loses his health insurance and leaves the doctors prolonging his life — or he lives his last days without Anthony.
The Department of Homeland Security can decide not to enforce removal orders — or even to cancel them — allowing Anthony to stay. They’ve already done so for other couples.
Recently, after more than 12,000 people signed a Change.org petition to save Venezuelan Alex Benshimol’s marriage to Californian Doug Gentry, an immigration judge postponed Alex’s deportation hearing by two years.
If Anthony wins a reprieve, the victory will spur momentum for other same-sex couples seeking immigration rights. (There are more than 26,000 bi-national same-sex couples in the U.S.)
Sign here to save Anthony and Bradford’s marriage and create hope for the thousands of other couples facing deportation:
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Eden and the Change.org team
- Dying Man’s Husband To Be Deported [Video] (gawker.com)
- Obama Intervenes: Famed SF Married Gay Couple May Escape Deportation (huffingtonpost.com)
- Fed deportation decision may benefit SF gay couple (queerlandia.com)
- US Fed deportation decision may benefit San Francisco gay couple (therainbowpost.com)
- Makk Speaks Out On Deportation (bilerico.com)
- Fed deportation decision may benefit SF gay couple – San Francisco Chronicle (news.google.com)
- Deportation decision may benefit SF gay couple (sfgate.com)
- BREAKING: No deportation of bi-national couples unless they are a security threat (sparklincyanide.wordpress.com)
- Caregiver of husband with AIDS facing split by deportation over DOMA (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Yet another example of why DOMA is evil (cath47.wordpress.com)
|Syria’s bloody crackdown is fueled by oil revenue from Europe. EU-wide oil sanctions would cripple Syria’s ability to continue the killing. Demand EU leaders impose immediate oil sanctions:|
For months, Syria’s brutal President Assad has paid henchmen to wage war on his own people.Governments across the world have condemned these atrocities, but key European leaders could cut off the cash flow that finances this bloodbath.
Germany, France and Italy are the three main importers of Syrian oil. If they move to impose immediate EU sanctions, Assad’s slaughter funds will dry up. Assad has ignored political appeals for him to reign in his assault, and EU leaders have discussed ramping up sanctions, but only a massive global outcry will push them to act urgently.
We have no time to lose — every day dozens of Syrians are shot, tortured or disappeared simply for calling for basic democratic rights. The EU can stop funding the crackdown now. Click below to sign the petition to EU heads of state to immediately adopt oil sanctions on Syria:
We have all watched and read about the horrific violence in Syria — much of the coverage coming from Avaaz-supported citizen journalists who are risking their lives to report on Assad’s crackdown. And now we have a chance to turn our horror into action. Experts say EU oil sanctions will seriously disrupt cash flow to Assad’s cruel army without significant negative consequences to either the European economy or the Syrian people.
Almost all Syria’s exported oil is purchased and refined by Germany, France and Italy, but these governments have yet to use their key trade relationship with Assad as leverage to protect the Syrian people. Still, they have denounced the violence, and newspapers report that some EU leaders are already pushing for oil sanctions. Let’s demand that they ramp up the pressure and push through oil sanctions immediately and cut the engine of Assad’s murderous regime.
Join in the call to cut off the cash to Syrian forces now. Click below to sign the petition for EU oil sanctions and forward to everyone:
Avaaz members have played a crucial role in supporting Syrians in their demands for freedom, democracy and human rights. Much of the footage and information shown around the world is funded by small donations from Avaaz members worldwide. Let’s build the momentum for lasting change as the violence against the Syrian people escalates and insist the EU take immediate action now.
Stephanie, Pascal, Morgan, Alice, Ricken, Wissam and the rest of the Avaaz team
Syria Forces Extend Siege on Hama as Toll Rises, New York Times
EU to tighten Syria sanctions, European Voice
Syrian rebels urge oil sanctions, Financial Times
Syria steps up assaults on protesters, drawing first Arab League condemnation, Washington Post
Syria protests: Troops renew attacks on pro-democracy demonstrators, The Guardian
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Avaaz.org is a 9-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
- Obama to toughen stance on Syria with call for Assad’s departure (guardian.co.uk)
- US slams Syria with fresh sanctions on banks (msnbc.msn.com)
- Washington Hits Syria with Sanctions (israelnationalnews.com)
- Boycott Shell Gas: The Syrian people’s new weapon against Assad: “Boycotts” People power!!!! (syrianemergencytaskforce.org)
- World pressure on Syria: a timeline (telegraph.co.uk)
- Syria Faces More UN Action as Arab Nations Condemn Crackdown on Dissidents (syrianemergencytaskforce.org)
- International pressure on Syria grows (salon.com)
- US slaps sanctions on Syria’s largest commercial bank (AFP) (syrianemergencytaskforce.org)
Besides through some of Western Canada, which is where I grew up, only one. The United States. I’d like to travel overseas at some point. By boat, not by plane. The thought of heights fills me with dread and queasiness. And it has nothing to do with airline security and everything about the fact that I’m deathly afraid of being more than 100 feet off the ground.
Help give a torture survivor his life back.
|During the height of the “war on terror” in 2002, the US government allowed Maher Arar — a Canadian citizen and father of two children who was held and later released without charge — to be tortured in Syria. And even now, the US government won’t even deign to apologize to Arar for its terrible actions.
Come on. The United States can do better than this.
Torture is wrong under any circumstances. Urge President Obama and Congress to stand for human rights and apologize for the terrible mistreatment that Maher Arar suffered in Syria under its watch.
Asking the US government to do what’s right for Maher Arar is just the beginning. The torture debate is back in the headlines. And this is one debate we can’t afford to lose.
Torture survivors — and future victims — are counting on Amnesty to ensure that recent attempts by torture apologists like Dick Cheney to reopen the torture debate are roundly defeated.
Torture’s “comeback” must end now. Let’s start with a simple apology.
Thousands of people — including author Stephen King and former US senior military interrogator in Iraq Matthew Alexander — have already signed the petition demanding an apology for Maher Arar. But we need more voices willing to speak out in support of a torture survivor.
Can we — and Maher Arar — count on your voice?
P.S. Help us reach our goal of 50,000 petition signatures by the end of Torture Awareness Month in June. After you sign the petition, will you share this action with your friends on Facebook and Twitter?
| “I Still Have Nightmares”
Don’t let Congress and Obama sweep torture under the rug. Demand an apology for Maher Arar.