Archive for October, 2010

To Vote Or Not To Vote

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Elections are coming up and I have no computer at home. I have to use the one at the library or go pay at Kinkos. I don’t mind but the time constraints on the library computer makes it a bit hard to go into issues.

There will be no postings on Sunday or Monday. Remember to vote. I did already by mail. Some think it is a contradiction for a former anarchist to be voting. I have always voted in the national elections except in 1980 and in most of the midterms. Here in California there are ballot measures that make a difference and it always makes sense to me to exercise whatever franchise we do have.

The only time it makes real sense to not vote, when as a statement of protest at the illegitimacy of the elections a broad movement of the populace refuses to vote. We have that in effect with over half the electorate not voting anyway, but it is not a clear political statement the powers that be take into account. They essentially assume that half the populace won’t vote and that means they are simply discounted politically.

We want to be taken seriously and that means acting the the manner that has the most influence on the political process. Any suggestions?

Best Republic Money Can Buy

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I am sitting in the library between other guys with no computer access. Normally I come here when I want to print something but today it is because my computer is down.

The computers here are very slow. I guess I am lucky to get on at all. I have noticed that in the deteriorating American economy there are more and more people using the buses and libraries, just as services are being cut back.

I may not be blogging much for the next week. Without my computer it is very hard to get access to the websites where I get most of my news. Depending on the TV news is laughable and I only have radio on my computer and in the car. I guess I could get an old fashioned short wave radio and listen to the BBC.

Other than the constant repetition of the right wing manufactured victory in the elections this coming Tuesday, with all the heavy hitters behind the scenes and their shills on the air twisting every bit of news to set up the country to expect a Republican vioctory. I wonder why they even bother to go through the sharade of an election? After all they do their best to fix the game before they let the public roll the dice. We are the best Republic money can buy.

It is not that there are not democratic processes, it is just that it is being gamed by professionals who are hired by powerful interests who have for the most part a lot of money to throw at the democratic process. This system was created in a time when influence peddling was a much simplyer game and the players were much fewer. It was never intended to work with a truely democratic franchise, women, blacks, native americans, indentured servants and white males without the propery requirements were all eliminated.

Land was cheap back then, all you basicly had to do was trick some Indians by getting them liquored up into trading land for guns and sundries. You then had access to plenty of land. It was fairly easy for white males in 1800 to meet the voting requirements, although if you were in a territorial area outside of a state your franchise was again limited.

Crappy LA Traffic And Dubious Restaurants

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I went out last night with my girlfriend to dinner in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. We started in Torrance at about 6:15 and what should have been a 45 minute drive turned into a 2 1/2 hour fiasco. Traffic was stop and go all the way to Hollywood from the end of the express lane on the 110, through downtown and up onto the 101. I got off at Vermont and found traffic there was worse than the freeway. It seems there was a street fair and Vermont was blocked off, crazy on a week night! So I took Melrose Ave to West Hollywood and we were about to settle for Barny’s Beanery, but there was no disabled parking and the only parking was valet, I will be damned if I will pay someone to park my car, so we went down Fountain which was empty most of the way until we got past La Brea where stop signs slow down traffic. We went over to Sunset, jammed even at 8pm, but drivable. We finally got to Vermont and turned left into Los Feliz and parked in a handicapped spot behind Skylight books because the spots at the post office were taken.

If you are an Angeleno or have spent any time driving in LA and I have spent years commuting in the worst traffic in the world, except crossing the Oakland Bay Bridge which is a torture I would not wish on anyone. Needless to say I was in a bad mood when I got out of the car. My back was sore and I was really looking forward to something decent to eat since we had come so far. My girlfriend is pretty picky, she doesn’t like Indian food or Mexican food, two of my favorites. She likes American fare and Chinese, we had originally decided to go to Mao’s Kitchen, a very good Chinese food restaurant on Melrose, but she wasn’t in the mood. When we got to Vermont between Hollywood and Franklin, the little restaurant row up there, I was ready to eat.

For some reason she wanted to go to the House of Pies. She didn’t like pies, and when we had gone there on Halloween a couple years before she didn’t like it. SO I decided we had to find some other compromise, besides we could have gone to Marie Callendars in Torrance and saved the drive. I wanted something quality. After walking past the French place Figaro, walking in and out of the Dresden, looking like it was a bomb shelter left over from WW2, we settled on the Italian place “il Capriccio”. It looked unpretentious and bohemian. That was the hook. It was anything but. The people sitting next to us on the patio were ‘industry types’, that should have warned me right off the bat. My pretension meter was not working.

First off we were ignored by the waiters one of whom committed the faux pas of ignoring us while entertaining industry types at the table next to us and the other waitress went and took the order of people who came it long after us within two tables from us. Being already hungry and not having even a menu yet to peruse or bread to munch, I blew my lid and yelled at the passing waitress that we had been there for quite a while and nobody had paid us any attention. Then both waiter and waitress came and made soothing noises and proceeded to ignore us again after depositing the bread and menus.

There was a decent green olive oil dressing for the bread. This was semi classy I thought and was ready to forgive them. But the service was awful and the food when it came was lackluster. We had a homemade pizza for the appetizer which was bland with very little cheese, or sauce and a decent crust. It was fresh and had the taste of ingredients that had been freshly thrown together. The dinner came eventually and was an Italian fish, frozen and then heated with a weak Mariana sauce diluted with one claim, one muscle, two tiny shrimps and a fish that was overcooked and tasted like it had been in a ship for a month or more. This was no fresh flown in from the harbor stuff that I had been accustomed to when I worked in a fancy Provincal-Northern Italian Restaurant. But then that was in Boulder, CO, obviously a higher class town that the semi-elite districts of Los Angeles. My girlfriend was satisfied with her frozen Atlantic salmon, something I would never have, being an advocate of wild caught fresh salmon. Why I chose a frozen Italian fish is beyond me. There were no fresh fish on the menu and I was sick of chicken and pork and still can’t bring myself to eat dead cow.

The only advantage was the dessert, it was on the house. I had an apple tort and she had Strawberry Cheesecake. They both had fresh fruit and even though they were out of ice cream, and the tort wasn’t exactly warm, it was well made and tasted better than anything else in the meal except the angel hair pasta in olive oil, and the mixed vegetables which were al dente. We got out of there spending $75 including tip. I had a decent Italian dark beer and she had a seven up, they didn’t have her preferred sprite or mixed drinks. Other than that this place was no better than Olive Garden, although it had the boho accoutrements that attract the local industry types.

The restaurant seemed to be the kind of place for people who want lots of time to talk, like the industry types and the gay group who got to order before us. But we were there to eat. My girlfriend is a typical LA person who doesn’t like to talk about a subject unless it relates to sex or shopping. She is one of the illiterati who sings along with the latest hip hop hit and can explain to me the meaning of lyrics that are obscure or unintelligible for my elder ears. She likes to be looked at. A classic function of youthful LA persons and when she did talk it was about how she cleans her glasses with windex to get them perfectly clean. I tried to talk about my recent studies in Latin but didn’t get anywhere. She seemed a bit intimidated by the casual displays of wealth around us. It made me aware of the pretension of the moneyed classes who had taken over this formerly bohemian neighborhood where struggling artists hung out at the local cafes where cheap coffee and pastries were to be found at the Onyx Cafe and Anarchist literature could be found at Skylight Books before Anarchism had become trendy.

It appalls me to see a neighborhood with faux bohemians, wealthy industry types who don’t have to wear suits. I could say I was jealous if I wasn’t remembering how nice the neighborhood had been when I lived there and when you could get a decent meal for $30 for two at the local Spaghetti joint. Now even a pretentious dive like il Capriccio can get away with charging prices that a serious restaurant used to charge. I would hate to see what a decent place around there charged. I think from now on I will stick to the House of Pies, even though they have a valet now, if I ever go back up there to eat. They still have the only bookstore with serious political literature, and for that reason alone, to go to Skylight Books, I will return from time to time to Los Feliz. It turns out there was a major accident on the 405 and everyone was taking surface streets or the 110-101 to get out of the West side and South bay. Bad timing on my part. Next time I take the train from Long Beach! But my girlfriend won’t come with me if I don’t drive until they make the train seats more comfortable.

That is my blog for the day, on with the revolution and lets hope there is decent food after the fall of capitalism!

EPA Rule On Mountaintop Mining, Vertebrate Extinction Threatened, Geoengineering Ban

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The EPA is back on course at least until the midterm elections. There are critical environmental issues that have to be taken seriously and at least the Obama administration is moving in the right direction in this area even though it fumbled the gulf oil spill and it has put global warming legislation on the back burner. Perhaps they have kowtowed too much to the Oil and Coal interests. The nuclear industry seems to be about to make a major comeback with federal funding and that is a battle we thought we won 30 years ago. Compared to the Bush administration though, the Obama administration is enlightened when it comes to environmental issues. The problem is the resistance from the private sector and their advocates in the Republican Party, they are pushing back with as much force as money can bring to lobby in Washington.

This points up a little challenge for those of us who support strong environmental legislation, we have science and public opinion but the other side has vested interests with deep pockets and over a century of infrastructural weight. It is close to a David and Goliath situation when it comes to influence but then we tend to root for the underdog. It is interesting how the wealthy corporate interests have managed to use the tea party to try to masquerade as the underdog here being attacked by evil socialists. It would be nice if it were true. As much as we are critical of areas where Obama has let us down, it is important to recognize that in many critical areas they are doing good work and it is up to us to keep pushing them in the direction for positive change.

Published online 27 October 2010 | Nature 467, 1021 (2010)

Mountaintop mining plans close to defeat

Environmental review details ‘unacceptable’ impacts.

By Natasha Gilbert

The rising tide of scientific evidence — and public protest — against mountaintop mining looks set to claim its first major victory. By the end of this year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to revoke a permit allowing mining company Arch Coal to extract coal from the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. This would be the first time a permit for the controversial mining practice, long suspected of causing environmental damage, has been vetoed by the agency.

A scientific review (see carried out by the EPA and published on 15 October concluded that the project, Spruce 1, would have “unacceptable” effects on water quality and wildlife, and recommended its permit be revoked. Carol Raulston, a spokeswoman for the National Mining Association (NMA), based in Washington DC, told Nature: “The NMA has no reason to believe the EPA will not follow the recommendations in its final determination on the Spruce permit.”

The move is likely to set the tone for decisions on other mining projects. More than 100 surface-mining permits are pending approval with the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources. The corps issued approval for the Spruce 1 project in 2007 to Mingo Logan, a subsidiary of Arch Coal. But the EPA can revoke a permit if it feels that environmental concerns have not been fully addressed.

Arch Coal had already filed a lawsuit in April challenging the EPA’s authority to veto permits. The company now plans to submit a rebuttal to the review by 5 November.

For more of this

From Science
Published Online October 26, 2010
Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1194442

The Impact of Conservation on the Status of the World’s Vertebrates

Using data for 25,780 species categorized on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, we present an assessment of the status of the world’s vertebrates. One-fifth of species are classified as Threatened, and we show that this figure is increasing: On average, 52 species of mammals, birds and amphibians move one category closer to extinction each year. However, this overall pattern conceals the impact of conservation successes, and we show that the rate of deterioration would have been at least one-fifth as much again in the absence of these. Nonetheless, current conservation efforts remain insufficient to offset the main drivers of biodiversity loss in these groups: agricultural expansion, logging, overexploitation, and invasive alien species.

For more of this

ScienceInsider - breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy

Proposed Biodiversity Pact Bars ‘Climate-Related Geoengineering’
by Eli Kintisch on 26 October 2010, 5:55 PM

ScienceInsider has obtained draft text from negotiators at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, in regards to a proposed bar on geoengineering research. If it is passed, the language could broadly affect a whole field of research still taking shape. That emerging field is laid out in a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the field, released today.

The statement, proposed to be part of the official communiqué of the meeting, declares that “no climate-related geoengineering activities that may affect biodiversity take place, until there is an adequate scientific basis
on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks for the environment and biodiversity”. The text goes on to define geoengineering as either techniques that reduce the amount of sunlight striking the ground or suck carbon out of the atmosphere.

In an e-mail, geochemist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution of Washington slams the proposed text as making “no sense.” He says the words “may affect” could “devastate” efforts to do even small-scale experiments that would not have climatic effects. Also, he says, by not saying “may affect negatively,” the statement could actually bar efforts that would increase biodiversity, such as increasing the biodiversity of a farm for the purpose of large-scale sequestration of carbon using plants.

But Pat Mooney of the ETC Group, a Canadian environmental group, called the proposed text a “a step in the right direction. … It’s important that governments are recognizing that there should be controls on who messes with the thermostat.” By including the broad phrase “may affect,” he said, the language would serve a “precautionary” role in controlling actions whose impacts may be unknown.

The meeting runs for two more days, but negotiators say that the text is unlikely to be revised.

It’s unclear how the statement might be enforced, as nations have not considered CBD decisions “legally binding” in the past. One hundred sixty-eight countries are signatories to the CBD treaty; the treaty has not been ratified by the United States. But it has had effects on several scientific research areas, including genetically modified plants. A joint India-Germany experiment in ocean fertilization—one type of geoengineering —was nearly scuttled last year when two German ministries argued over the relevance of a CBD bar on such work at sea. After some paperwork, the experiment was allowed to progress.


Monday, Oct 11, 2010 19:12 ET

Obama’s EPA riles Bush’s industry hacks

Turns out there’s a difference between enforcing the rules and doing your best to gut them
By Andrew Leonard

Obama’s EPA riles Bush’s industry hacks

On Oct. 6 the EPA made a formal proposal for new pollution controls at the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington, N.M. The new rules, requiring the installation of catalytic reduction technology, would, said the EPA, result in an 80 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions, and simultaneously “achieve cleaner, healthier air while improving the visibility at sixteen of our most pristine national parks and wilderness areas.”

Environmentalists cheered the move, while the operators of the plant complained about the cost and warned that electricity prices would rise. Film at 11.

Let’s put the climate change bill debacle to the side. There really can’t be any argument, from an environmentalist’s perspective, about the fact that Obama’s EPA is a completely different beast from George W. Bush’s EPA. As E&E’s Robin Bravender reported in September:

The Obama administration is in the midst of a landmark series of Clean Air Act rulemakings.

In 18 months, U.S. EPA has — among other things — stiffened standards for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide for the first time in decades, revamped the George W. Bush administration’s smog regulations and issued the first climate rules under the Clean Air Act.

Industry is in an uproar. “The aggressiveness of the rules has taken people by surprise,” Jeff Holmstead, “former Bush EPA air chief and now industry attorney” told E&E.

That would be funny if it didn’t bring back such sharp memories of how Bush’s EPA appointees worked consistently to undermine everything the EPA stood for. Holmstead and his successor as director of the Office of Air and Radiation, William Wehrum, were lawyers who represented industrial clients in their struggles against environmental regulations before they joined the EPA. After years spent attempting to gut the Clean Air Act, they went right back to their old jobs.

If (or when) the Republicans retake the House of Representatives, they’ve already made it clear that one of their priorities will be to roll back the EPA’s efforts to carry out exactly what the agency is mandated to do. As liberals sift through their various disappointments as to what the Obama administration has failed to achieve in its first two years, it might be worth noting that there are nonetheless some very real and important differences between this White House and its predecessor. An EPA that hasn’t been handed over to industry, gift-wrapped, is one of them.

From Treehugger

Big Oil & Coal Spent $500 Million to Kill Climate Bill
by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York on 09.27.10

Needless to say, it’s been a depressing year for environmentally conscious folk — with the BP spill, the hottest global temps on record, and the death of any hopes for climate legislation in the US, it’s been bleak, bleak, bleak. But at least someone’s winning: The industries profiting from selling us coal and oil! Yes, the failure of the climate bill in the Senate was no fluke — a new report tallies up the amount that coal, oil, utilities, and heavy industries forked over in lobbying the government to maintain the status quo. Over the last year and a half, it came out to around $500 million. Now, guess how much renewable energy lobbyists spent?

$17 million. Altogether. Which shouldn’t be surprising, given that last year, we found out that the entire renewable energy lobby combined mustered less than what just Exxon alone doled out. But it’s still depressing to see how true the old adage that money runs politics really is. There was no bill that was more of political winner than clean energy — American voters consistently supported it in the polls, it was part of Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaign platform in 2008, and huge numbers of small business owners and groups turned out to support it, even if the US Chamber of Commerce did anything but.

For more of this

Native Rights And Modern American States

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

I have long been an advocate for native peoples rights. This has sometimes been in contradiction with the unifying current of social progress. For instance in the battle between the Sandinista regime and the Contras, the Miskito Indians fought against the Sandinistas. Recently when Daniel Ortega was elected President of Nicaragua, a group of Miskito’s declared independence from Nicaragua.

Generally though most socialist groups support the rights of native people. There is a distinction to be made between traditional indigenous people trying to live according the the rules of their culture and the nationalism of modern national groups attempting to use cultural survivals from pre-industrial period of their history to perpetuate an identity politics.

This is tricky ground. Move too far one way and you are in the land of national socialism with one identity being exaggerated over others to the point of oppression. Move too far the other way and you are in the land where cultural identification with any diversity is suppressed. The middle ground is one where a multiplicity of cultural identities are allowed to flourish in a federal system of a sort that has emphasis placed on diversity in unity, with a few basic principals being upheld as basic to all, like Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

Below are a few issues that have come up recently mostly dealing with conflicts between indigenous rights to apply native laws in cases involving native people and the nation states that have grown up around these people. America is an interesting case in point due to the 500 year history of colonialism and the outright conquest of the native people by Europeans. In Latin America there are still large populations of native peoples. In the USA as most of us know the native Americans were mostly wiped out in genocidal practices in the 19th century.

From Cultural Survival

United States: Urge President Obama to Sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

President Obama needs to hear from you—today. He needs to know that all Americans believe that the day has come for him to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This Declaration marks the first time the United Nations has agreed on a single set of values governing relations between national governments and Indigenous Peoples living within their borders. It promises that governments will respect tribal rights to lands and sacred places, and spells out Native Peoples’ right to self-determination. It also prevents governments from using tribal land for military purposes. And, it prohibits any development projects on tribal lands-mines, logging, hydroelectric dams, etc- without the tribes’ free, prior, and informed consent. The Declaration is a key step towards realizing full governmental recognition and respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including their rights to their languages, cultures, and spiritual practices.

For more of this

From Terraviva
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 16:34 GMT

VENEZUELA: Hunger Strike Off as Gov’t Agrees to Talks on Native Demands
By Humberto Márquez

CARACAS, Oct 25, 2010 (IPS) - An 81-year-old Jesuit missionary in Venezuela ended a week-long hunger strike Monday after the government agreed to high-level talks to negotiate the release of three indigenous prisoners facing murder charges and to discuss land claims by Yukpa communities.

José María Korta called off his protest after Vice President Elías Jaua promised to meet with him to listen to his concerns and seek solutions to his demands, along with leftwing President Hugo Chávez, who returned from an 11-day international tour Sunday.

“We hope the dialogue and negotiations with representatives of the government and other branches of the state will bring about the release of Sabino Romero, Alexander Fernández and Olegario Romero,” three indigenous men in prison for murder since a year ago, Lusbi Portillo, with Sociedad Homo et Natura, an environmental group that has been involved in the Yukpa cause for 25 years, told IPS.

But “We also need a road map to overcome the underlying problems, like the defence of indigenous forms of justice and the handing over of ancestral indigenous land occupied by cattle breeders or granted to mining companies in concession,” he added.

Sources in Congress said legislators are working with Supreme Court judges on measures in favour of the three indigenous inmates.

This year, Homo et Natura has been fighting in the courts for the three men to be returned to their communities and tried under indigenous criminal justice systems, which were recognised by the constitution.

Article 260 of the constitution establishes that “The legitimate authorities of indigenous peoples can apply in their territory forms of justice based on their ancestral traditions (in cases) that only involve members of their communities, according to their own customs and procedures, as long as they do not run counter to the constitution, the country’s laws and public order.”

The Yukpa justice system is based on reparations rather than punishment. For example, it requires the offender to work several years for the victim’s family, Portillo explained.

There are some 600,000 indigenous people from 36 different ethnic groups in this South American country of 28 million people. Just over half live in communities in border regions.

For More of this

From an Older Article Terraviva

‘War on Terror’ Has Indigenous People in Its Sights
By Gustavo González*

SANTIAGO, Jun 6 2005(IPS) - The “war on terror”, identified in Amnesty International’s annual report as a new source of human rights abuses, is threatening to expand to Latin America, targeting indigenous movements that are demanding autonomy and protesting free-market policies and “neo-liberal” globalisation.

In the United States “there is a perception of indigenous activists as destabilising elements and terrorists,” and their demands and activism have begun to be cast in a criminal light, lawyer José Aylwin, with the Institute of Indigenous Studies at the University of the Border in Temuco (670 km south of the Chilean capital), told IPS.

Pedro Cayuqueo, director of the Mapuche newspaper Azkintuwe, also from the city of Temuco, wrote that the growing indigenous activism in Latin America and Islamic radicalism are both depicted as threats to the security and hegemony of the United States in the “Global Trends 2020 - Mapping the Global Future” study by the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC).

NIC works with 13 government agencies, including the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and is advised by experts from the United States and other countries. Cayuqueo described the report as “a veritable x-ray” of potential “counterinsurgency scenarios” from now to the year 2020.

In the process of drafting the report, NIC organised 12 regional conferences around the world, one of which was held in Santiago in June 2004.

The reporter said the emergence of increasingly organised indigenous movements and the strengthening of their ethnic identities become, in that view, targets of “the so-called low-intensity warfare doctrine, a renovated version of the National Security Doctrine” that formed the basis of U.S. interventionism in Latin America from the 1960s to the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s.

The indigenous question would thus appear to form part of what the United States sees as future threats to its hegemony.

In Latin America, the Andean subregion is seen as the “hottest” area, because of the growing political role played by well-organised indigenous movements in Bolivia and Ecuador, but also because of the impact on indigenous peoples of armed conflict and drug trafficking in Colombia.

For more of this

From Spero News

Struggles in Latin America over rights of Indigenous and national priorities
Monday, June 21, 2010
By Abigail Griffith

Over the last twenty years, almost all applicable Latin American countries have been moving toward full recognition of their multiethnic citizenship.

Defining indigenous justice is a complex issue because each of the many different indigenous groups in Latin America has its own customary laws. The ever-changing nature of oral tradition further complicates such a definition. Rachel Sieder, author and senior lecturer in Latin American politics at the University of London, points out that “indigenous law is dynamic, not fixed, and often there is internal contention about its nature.” This constant change makes it difficult to create a definition which would help modern governments decide what does and what does not constitute indigenous justice.

Guisela Mayén, as quoted in the Latinamerica Press, describes indigenous law as “a series of unwritten oral principles that are abided by and socially accepted by a specific community.” She goes on to state that “indigenous law aims to restore the harmony and balance in the community…whereas the Western system seeks punishment.” Compensation for wrongdoing in indigenous communities usually takes the form of community service or some type of finite retribution made available to the victims. Indigenous law, while practiced somewhat differently by each group, is almost always based on principles of oral tradition and community consensus.

Beginning in the 1980s and throughout the 1990s, mass indigenous movements led to the codification of indigenous rights in a number of Latin American countries.

For more of this

For information about the Miskito peoples

Need A Roommate!

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Craigslist has let me down. I need a roommate in my two bedroom apartment soon. I am a disabled older male radical leftist who spends most of my time writing, reading and walking. I blog daily and spend a lot of time on the computer. I have recently become semi addicted to “Family Guy” on the Cartoon Network. I cook every day and unfortunately due to my disability I have to eat meat for the protein. I have kidney failure and go to dialysis 3 times a week.
About the room. It is medium size with a southern view of the neighbors back yard and trees. It has its own balcony and a private bathroom and closet. It is unfurnished. Rent is $560 a month plus $90 for utilities which include wifi internet and basic cable. There is a laundry in the building and a parking spot is available. Cal State Long Beach is about 2 miles away. There is a bus stop 1 block from the apartment. The Colorado Lagoon inlet from the Pacific ocean is 8 blocks away. There are parks with playing fields, tennis courts and a municipal golf course within walking distance to the east and 4 blocks to the west is a shopping center with supermarket and pharmacy.
The neighborhood is mostly students, working families and some retired people. The area is mixed racially and economically. It is not a yuppie neighborhood, the nearest Starbucks is 7 blocks away. I cannot have pets here due to my disability. I am looking for a reasonably clean person, quiet, gender not an issue, prefer non-smoker, but the balcony is ok for smokers. 420 is ok, but I don’t indulge often.
Email ‘’ if you are interested in the room. Available now 10/25/10. Oh this is in Long Beach, California on the east side of town south of the 405 freeway near Redondo and Anaheim. If you are interested I will send you my number and we can talk.

Cuban Treatment For Diabetes Eliminates Amputations

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I am posting this article because this is something I see all the time at my dialysis clinic. Several people there have amputated feet because of diabetes. This is something that due to the rise in obesity and diabetes in the USA is likely to end up with an increase in amputations. Cuba has developed a cure than eliminates the need for that amputation and it has been used successfully in Latin America and is about to be tested in Spain. Time to end the embargo and allow this treatment among others to be used in the USA.

From Terraviva

Cuban Treatment for Diabetic Foot Ulcers Heads for Europe
By Patricia Grogg

HAVANA, Oct 22, 2010 (IPS) - Cuba’s biotechnology industry is hoping to conquer the European Union market with Heberprot-P, a therapeutic drug used to prevent foot amputations in patients with diabetes.

Heberprot-P, developed by the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Centre (CIGB), stimulates tissue healing in deep, hard-to-heal foot ulcers that frequently occur as a complication of diabetes. It was approved in Cuba in 2006 and has been in clinical use on the island since 2007.

The active principle is recombinant human epidermal growth factor (rHu EGF), a genetically engineered protein that aids skin cell repair and regeneration. It is injected directly into the wound, and its makers stress that it is the only effective therapy available for patients with chronic ulcers.

Some 300 million people worldwide have diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder that causes high blood sugar levels.

Diabetic foot ulcers are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In many patients these painful and disabling wounds do not respond to conventional treatment like removal of dead, damaged or infected tissue, ensuring adequate blood flow to the affected area, and antibiotic therapy. In these cases, often the only remedy is amputation.

Heberprot-P has also been approved in Algeria and several Latin American countries. In Venezuela, it has prevented permanent disability in 4,000 diabetic patients, and in Argentina it is being used as part of the standard treatment for diabetic foot ulcers.

Ernesto López Mola, head of CIGB’s business and project development department, told IPS that last week, a Phase II clinical trial was given the green light at hospitals in Spain, with a view to approval of the product in that European country.

The clinical trial is part of a trade agreement between CIGB and AEMPS, the Spanish agency for medicines and healthcare products, which falls under the Ministry of Health and Social Policy. If successful, it will open the door to sales of Heberprot-P throughout the European Union.

“It is the first time we are breaking into a market of this size with one of our products,” López Mola said, adding that a considerable investment has been made to ensure production standards in Cuba comply with EU regulations. “In this case, we will produce the active principle here, and Spain will complete production of the finished product for use in the trial.”

Phase I of the trial was carried out in Cuba, following AEMPS guidelines for good clinical practice, with very good results. López Mola estimated that by the end of 2011 or mid-2012, after the Phase III trials are completed, the medicine will be ready for European approval.

That would be the final step allowing Heberprot-P to be launched on the EU market, comprising some 501 million people. “The experience with the drug in the EU will be decisive for its credibility. More than 4,000 Cuban patients who have been treated are also being carefully monitored” for adverse side-effects, he said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. market continues to be off-limits for Cuba because of the embargo imposed by Washington since the 1960s. “But there is no doubt that the U.S. population needs this medicine, and at some point we could come to a joint arrangement with U.S. companies,” López Mola said.

According to statistics cited by López Mola, there are 21 million diabetes sufferers in the United States, of whom 15 percent develop ulcers. Fifteen out of 100 of these cases eventually lead to amputations. “In economic terms, the healthcare costs for each amputated patient are said to be around 64,000 dollars,” he said.

Aside from the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba, “there is always resistance to the idea that Latin Americans are capable of producing original medicines like Heberprot-P, the only one of its kind in the world.

“Furthermore, this is a new product which, for the first time ever, is going from the developing South to the industrialised North,” López Mola emphasised.

The CIGB, a leading institute in Cuban biotechnology development, held a three-day scientific congress on holistic management of patients with diabetic foot ulcers and their treatment with Heberprot-P. The meeting, which ended Friday, was attended by 300 experts from over 30 countries, including the United States.

Founded over 20 years ago, CIGB is the flagship institution of the West Havana Scientific Pole, made up of 52 research and development centres. These facilities have created 34 vaccines and other pharmaceutical products, which are sold in 40 countries.

Earnings from Cuban biotechnology are in excess of 300 million dollars a year, and the industry’s products are this country’s second most important export, after nickel. According to Luis Herrera, the head of CIGB, biotech sales may increase this year, although he did not mention any figures.”

Future Historical Rambling

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

I just watched an unbearably biased video, a propaganda piece no less, for the ‘constitutional republican’ viewpoint that is supposed to explain the American system of government. I believe this the sort of thing watched by Tea Party sorts, I could be wrong, it was on a site called which from what I can tell is a collection of videos from various sources.

Although the presentation is clear and concise it is biased and inaccurate in its portrayal of Anarchism, Roman history, and it oversimplifies by discounting Monarchy, lumping Fascism, in with Communism and Socialism and declaring that Democracy is bound to fail and that the only sustainable forms of government in the authors eye is a Republic or an Oligarchy.

Historically speaking Monarchies have had the longest run, and in prehistory tribal collective leadership based on consensus is probably the longest running of all. Most modern governments maybe a form of Oligarchy, but most western countries do their best to present themselves as some form of modified Republican Democracy. Some as Socialist Democracies and others as bastions of Capitalist Democracy. Most are mixed economies with a capitalist private sector and somewhat socialist public sector ruled by limited public participation via ritualistic voting for those political animals we are familiar with in today’s world. These creatures are held firmly in place by a plutocracy of wealthy interconnected families on the one hand and technocratic well vetted servants who keep the system running. Occasionally there are signs of revolt and attempts at real democracy or real socialism but these have been for the most part stifled and suppressed. Currently there are rumblings of rebellion in France and some finger in the air attempts at socialism like Cuba and now Venezuela, but the big attempts at rebellion, Russia, China, Germany, Italy, in recent history have failed or been transformed into something that little resembles what they started out to be.

But the creator of this video is determined to give short shrift to all forms of government except American Republicanism and even that he basically equates with the rule of Law without explaining how that comes about. He does manage a poor analogy comparing democracy with vigilantism and jury trials with republicanism. How exactly that is the case is not explained, except to say one is based on majority rule, vigilantism, and the other is based on law, jury trials. I wonder what he would think of the fine and well argued trials of Joe Stalin in the 1930’s where much of the leadership of the Russian Revolution was condemned? Were they signs that the Soviet Union under Stalin was a Republic? Perhaps a People’s Republic, not the sort of republic the author had in mind I suspect.

Inaccurate history. It is sad that Americans have such distorted views of history. But then I spend a lot of time reading history and so when others enter into the canoe and have not got a decent paddle, I wonder how they will manage to navigate the rapids of historical facts.

I have by accident entered into a debate on Socialism with some people on one of the Yahoo discussion groups I participate in. So far the discourse is pretty basic, one faction takes a fundamentalist capitalist approach, something I would expect to be a Tea Party or John Bircher approach, another group takes the traditional Trotskyist approach, claiming that socialism was betrayed by Stalin, and a third group taking a Krishna millenarian approach claiming the end times are near, an interesting twist on what is normally Christian fundamentalism in the USA. The level of discourse is relatively basic, but who knows when someone will enter with a sophisticated argument. I personally am arguing that socialism is more or less inevitable due to the complexity of the modern world and the inadequacy of modern capitalism to cope with the degree of management required to allocate resources adequately.

You dear reader are probably not interested in what some obscure argument on a discussion group. Heaven knows there are thousands of them, perhaps millions occurring as I type. That is the interesting thing. We have this Matrix like interconnected discourse going on continuously to solve the problems of the world. Some of this is highly sophisticated, much of it is juvenile and as someone said on NPR the other day 80% of it is pornography. I don’t know if that is true but it is interesting to think that we have now developed something like a group conscious mind.

We are debating all the theories of how to live best in the world in an open and free discourse that has never been seen in the world except perhaps in some 18th century French salons. But those were limited to the elite of French society. Now we have what is close to a real democracy, or perhaps an anarchistic consensus society emerging. The General Will so poorly presented by our friend Rousseau may now be emerging as a conscious entity in this not so science fiction real world.

What is interesting is that any theory that can be imagined or has been over the ages and can be dug up out of the dust bins of history, can be dusted off and presented on line as an equally valid presentation of a possible world view and accepted by the collective mind as a real possibility. If we could harness the power of this mind, and here we have images of the 1990’s movie Matrix coming to mind but there is no reason why that reality can’t have a positive spin. We don’t need to be taken over by the machines when it comes to ultimate decision making. On the other hand some transactions, such as stock trading have been taken over to a large extent by machines because of the speed and complexity of the transactions. We can see where that has taken us almost over the cliff. But then simply restarting the system, we can design it any way we want, or at least are capable of envisioning.

In the build up to the modern age we have seen that various constructs have been created to prepare humanity for an eventual taking off into some unknown dimensional shift. This may sound a bit new age, but then what were Hegel and Marx if not dreamers of the transcendent future. We have our Native Peoples with their feet firmly in the earth reminding us not to blow up the place in the process of our illuminating of the great collective mindscape. They have the drugs, the herbs, the knowledge of the landscape that will save us all from ourselves. But then we can look to China for a model of entrepreneurial elegance that will make the western concept seem primitive. We can look to India for a true idea of the possibilities of the human mind liberated from mundane concerns of survival. From the African mind we have the musical roots of our entire project a sort of rhythmic pulsing of the soul to keep the system functioning. And we Euro-based minds can segue from modern to postmodern to truly interplanetary if we are ready to smooth out some of the rougher edges and make room for the Judeo-Christian-Islamic knife that loves to slice through evil, which in our case is simply dead weight.

Socialism is the future but it is not some 19th century vision of factory workers, although it may certainly incorporate those feeders of machines, it will be much more complex and integrated into the harmonics of the planet than we can imagine now. But we are working on it. And soon enough something more perfect will emerge. We do need to learn how to regulate our Homeric tendencies for battle into some kind of sporting challenge, unless we learn how to transport in and out of the flesh as envisioned in some of the scenes from the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. When that happens then what does it matter if the flesh is sliced or diced. But I suspect that is where our native roots will remind us that if we cut the chord, we are lost in space.

Anyway just a few random thought about the process of history and where it is taking us.

WikiLeaks Again This Time Its Iraq

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The good people at Wikileaks with the help of the Iceland as a safe haven from which to operate, they have provided the media and through them the public with massive amounts of information about the day to day operation of the US and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq. We can only hope leaks like these are provided for every conflict zone around the world.

Nobody can say they are unaware of the abuses and horrors inflicted on civilians by the military might of the USA and its allied forces. This is the reality of war, once removed by the reports, twice removed by the press and a third time removed by our circumstances in a relatively much safer environment where we are reading these reports.

I have never been in a war zone. The closest I have been has been Northern Ireland in the early 70’s during ‘the troubles’, in LA for the 92 riots, and at numerous anti war demonstrations where the cops got out of hand, started clubbing people and lobbing tear gas. So I cannot claim to have personal experience of Iraq or Afghanistan. As a middle aged disabled person I doubt if I will make it to a war zone unless one erupts underneath my feet. I was someone who barely missed the Vietnam draft, it ended the year I was up for it.

As things are I am opposed to the US military interventions in both Iraq, a totally illegitimate war, and Afghanistan, a totally senseless war. I cannot think of an occasion when the US intervened, except perhaps in Bosnia (a very tentative perhaps), where the US was on the side of the good guys, if there can be a good guy in any war other than a war of liberation.

From the Guardian.UK

Iraq war logs: UN calls on Obama to investigate human rights abuses, Saturday 23 October 2010 13.41 BST
by David Batty and Jamie Doward

• Demand follows massive leak of military documents

The UN has called on Barack Obama to order a full investigation of US forces’ involvement in human rights abuses in Iraq after a massive leak of military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.

The call, by the UN’s chief investigator on torture, Manfred Nowak, came as Phil Shiner, human rights specialist at Public Interest Lawyers in the UK, warned that some of the deaths documented in the Iraq war logs could have involved British forces and would be pursued through the UK courts. He demanded a public inquiry into allegations that British troops were responsible for civilian deaths during the conflict.

The Guardian has analysed the 400,000 documents, the biggest leak in US military history, and found 15,000 previously unreported civilian deaths. The logs show how US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and generally unpunished.

Nowak said that if the files released through WikiLeaks pointed to clear violations of the UN Convention Against Torture the Obama administration had an obligation to investigate them.

For more of this

From the NY Times

The Iraq Archive: The Strands of a War
Published: October 22, 2010

A close analysis of the 391,832 documents helps illuminate several important aspects of this war:

¶ The war in Iraq spawned a reliance on private contractors on a scale not well recognized at the time and previously unknown in American wars. The documents describe an outsourcing of combat and other duties once performed by soldiers that grew and spread to Afghanistan to the point that there are more contractors there than soldiers.

¶ The documents suggest that the so-called surge worked not only because the American military committed to more troops and a new strategy but because Iraqis themselves, exhausted by years of bloody war, were ready for it. The conditions, the documents suggest, may not be repeatable in the still intensifying war in Afghanistan.

¶ The deaths of Iraqi civilians — at the hands mainly of other Iraqis, but also of the American military — appear to be greater than the numbers made public by the United States during the Bush administration.

¶ While the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans, particularly at the Abu Ghraib prison, shocked the American public and much of the world, the documents paint an even more lurid picture of abuse by America’s Iraqi allies — a brutality from which the Americans at times averted their eyes.

¶ Iran’s military, more than has been generally understood, intervened aggressively in support of Shiite combatants, offering weapons, training and sanctuary and in a few instances directly engaging American troops.

For more of this

From Der Spiegal


Hellfire from the Sky
Iraq War Logs Reveal Details of Dubious Apache Attacks

By Marcel Rosenbach

Two Iraqis wanted to surrender, but were gunned down by an American helicopter. The Iraq war logs reveal a number of dubious attacks by Apache helicopters and raise the question of whether US pilots committed war crimes.

The United States military report dated July 12, 2007, 9:50 a.m., is just a few lines long, 893 characters to be precise. The document, which is full of military acronyms, deals with an incident in Baghdad and is included in a category called “Direct Fire,” which describes military clashes between Americans and Iraqis. It is one of 59,000 reports in this category included in the documents that WikiLeaks has now released on the Iraq war.

It isn’t even particularly noticeable, not even because of the number of victims it describes. The report talks of “13 AIF KIA,” in the military jargon of the US Army. Translated, it means that 13 enemies (”anti-Iraqi forces”) were “killed in action.” The report also mentions two wounded adults and two wounded Iraqi children. The six sentences relate chronologically how helicopters fired missiles at the enemy, apparently after US ground troops had come under small-arms fire.

It sounds like a routine firefight. But the incident described so tersely by the brief report would later change the way many people viewed the war. The events of that July morning were recorded on video. The incident has now become world famous, after the video was released by WikiLeaks. The footage shows a brutal helicopter attack in which US soldiers killed defenseless civilians.

The supposed “anti-Iraqi forces” who were killed were probably Iraqis who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, including two employees of the Reuters news agency. The video also shows how the crews asked for permission to open fire on a minibus rushing to the scene — and how they obtained it.

The two severely injured children, who were in the minibus when it came under fire, lost their father in the attacks. He had been driving them to school when he stopped to help the injured Reuters driver.

The shocking footage of the incident is the original video taken from one of the two Apache helicopters, codenamed Crazyhorse 18 and 19, that were involved in the incident. It is filmed from the perspective of the American shooter. In April 2010, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange presented the video, which he had titled “Collateral Murder,” at the National Press Club in Washington. At the time, it was the whistleblowing organization’s biggest scoop to date.

The roughly 18-minute video is difficult to watch, partly because it isn’t clear what’s worse: the images or the recorded conversations of the helicopter crew. “Nice,” says one crew member after a deadly salvo. “Look at those dead bastards.” The conversation continues in a similar tone.

For more of this,1518,724819,00.html

From The Swedish Wire

Politics - Published Sunday, 20 June 2010 10:55 | Author: AFP / The Swedish Wire

Wikileaks: ‘Iceland safe haven for press freedom’

REYKJAVIK (AFP) - Iceland is becoming an offshore safe haven for information, an insider with whistleblower website WikiLeaks said.

• Nordics top watchdog’s press freedom index

Iceland’s parliament, the Altingi, voted Tuesday to task government with finding ways to increase information freedom and to provide stronger protections for media sources and whistleblowers to make Iceland a leader in freedom of expression.

The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, or IMMI “aims to create an offshore safe haven for information, to add to transparency,” said Kristinn Hrafnsson, an investigative journalist with public broadcaster RUV, who has co-operated with Wikileaks.

Even before the passing of the initiative, which was in part drafted by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, work on the project had created a secure environment for revealing sensitive information, he told AFP.

A controversial WikiLeaks video released in April of a US Apache helicopter strike in Baghdad that killed two employees of the Reuters news agency and a number of other people had, for instance, been edited in Reykjavik, he pointed out.

“At the time, Iceland seemed to be the safest place to prepare for the release of the video and do the necessary fact checks,” said Hrafnsson, who took part in the process.

For more of this

USA Drags Feet On Environmental Agreements

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

It seems that the expectations for creating world wide standards for combating global warming are not coming this year. The major drawback seems to be the lack of progress in the USA due to a lack of legislation here. Although President Obama seems sympathetic, Americans are caught up in Congressional elections that seem to be bringing head in the sand neanderthals into office. This is frustrating to world leaders who want to see progress on legislation to curb green house gasses and bring about climate control before the world temperature rises to levels that will result in massive destruction.

While the rest of the world moves ahead, albeit in fits and starts, the USA drags its feet with naysayers predominating, rather than attempting to find a solution they insist that there is no problem or blame it on sun spots. The rest of the world seems to have left the USA behind in this area as well as many others. It seems the USA is so stuck in it militaristic approach to world problems, and preserving the machinery of empire that is doesn’t realize the ground is shrinking beneath its feet.

The reports are from around the world. China seems to be taking the lead in making progress but it expects the developed world to make most of the major sacrifices up front due to its longer history of creating emissions. The Americans seem to think this is simply a ploy to try to place China in a better economic position relative to the USA. Europe seems to be making much better progress along these lines although there too more could be done.

Rightwingers and polluting industries with funding limits removed by the Supreme Court are now filling the media with misinformation and green wash. Propositions like 23 in California are attempting to roll back any positive environmental legislation that individual states may attempt to enact. Its a tough day for the environment in the USA. Perhaps the people will not be fooled and will vote for the future and not the past.

From Climate Progress Blog

Polluter-funded groups spending almost $70 million on anti-clean energy ads
October 22, 2010

Amid an unprecedented surge in mostly secret money into this year’s election campaign, a report released last week by the Center for American Progress Action Fund details how 13 right-wing groups — including large secret money groups like American Crossroads, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and American Action Network — have spent more than $68.5 million this year on “misleading and fictitious televisions ads designed to shape midterm elections and advance their anti-clean energy reform agenda.” In addition to the anti-clean energy ads polluting our airwaves, an earlier CAPAF report outlined an astonishing $242 million in spending on lobbying by the 20 biggest oil, mining, and electric utility companies.

CAPAF’s Josh Dorner has the story in this TP cross-post:

The New York Times reports today that “nearly half” of the Chamber’s $149 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 donors. (The Chamber claims to have 300,000 members.) “Many of those large donations coincided with lobbying or political campaigns that potentially affected the donors.”

With no end in sight to such dramatic spending in order to protect polluters’ profits, a new ThinkProgress exposé published this week suggests that the level of coordination between secret money political groups, ultra-rich conservative donors, and polluters may be even deeper than previously thought. ThinkProgress obtained a memo detailing a secretive gathering held by the Koch brothers this past June, at which the Koch brothers plotted their 2010 election strategy with 210 attendees from the oil industry, coal companies, health insurers, banks, right-wing media (including Glenn Beck), the U.S. Chamber, and others. The June meeting was merely the latest in a series of similar gatherings held twice annually by the Kochs in order to coordinate the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts.

Having spent almost $70 million on energy ads this year (and much, much more on other political attack ads), successfully derailed national climate legislation, and launched a war against the Clean Air Act, it’s clear that this secretive group of plutocrats, polluters, and other corporate special interests will have much to do discuss at their next gathering — to be held in January at a resort in sunny Palm Springs.

For more of this

From Americas Program

Mexican Representative Says There Will Be No Climate Deal in Cancun

Posted on: 10/14/2010 by Marco Antonio Martínez García

The Mexican representative for international climate change negotiations, ambassador Luis Gonzáles de Alba, said not to expect a binding agreement at the Climate Change Conference to be hosted in Cancun this year. Many had hoped to finally achieve the goal of an agreement to commit the signatory countries of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their pollutant emissions and prevent a global temperature rise of 2 degrees centigrade over the next few years.

A rise of more than two degrees centigrade will have devastating effects on the planet, as the warming would increase glacial thawing and threaten the earth’s flora and fauna, in addition to increasing hurricanes, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Mexico will host this year’s Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP), and the scenario looks to be very similar to last year’s conference held in Copenhagen, which failed to arrive at an agreement for a minimal reduction of greenhouse gases.

De Alba noted that the U.S. government, responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, has not taken steps to combat climate change, despite President Barack Obama’s interest and different posture compared to his predecessor George Bush.

Ecologist Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental defense group, said on Sept. 20 that the U.S. Congress will not approve a law to combat global warming, which will be a major impediment to reaching an agreement in Cancun.

There is progress that could be made short of arriving at an ideal treaty, such as establishing a framework that recognizes that everyone should take action. The other possibility is that “some of us want to act and not wait, because if we do wait, we delay action,” so these countries will announce plans in Cancun, among them Mexico. However, the ambassador did not say which countries would be involved, nor what they would do.

On Sept. 21, the second session of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate met in New York. This group of countries is responsible for 80% of the world’s pollutant emissions. The outlook at the meeting was also skeptical regarding an agreement in Cancun that would reduce the pollutant emissions responsible for causing so much damage to the planet.

At the New York meeting, U.S. special envoy, Todd Stern made statements similar to what De Alba had said just a couple of weeks earlier.

“No one is anticipating or expecting in any way a legal treaty to be done in Cancun this year. The focus at this point is on a set of decisions on the core issues,” admitted Stern, citing among other things the mitigation of climate change and financing to developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Translator: Lindsay Hooper
For more of this

From Bloomberg News

China Wants Legally Binding Climate Agreement by 2011, Economic Times Says
By Bloomberg News - Sep 24, 2010 7:00 AM PT

China wants a binding global climate-change agreement by late 2011, the China Economic Times reported today, citing Li Gao, a Chinese negotiator.

China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, hopes definite measures for the next decade will be implemented after the United Nations conference in South Africa scheduled for the end of next year, Li told the newspaper. The biggest obstacle to reaching an accord is the U.S., he said.

Without domestic legislation, the U.S. can’t participate in forming a legally binding international agreement, he said, as cited by the Economic Times.

China and India say developed nations must cut emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and poorer countries need room to raise their greenhouse gases to allow them to grow.

China has pledged to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide it emits for each unit of economic output by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

Li, head of international negotiations at the National Development and Reform Commission, which represents China in the talks along with the Foreign Ministry, said participants have “pragmatic” expectations of this year’s summit in Cancun, Mexico. He added that this does not mean the Cancun meeting can’t make any progress.

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