September 19th, 2010


U.S. Court Finds Corporations Immune From Liability For Human Rights Abuses

 "So long as they incorporate (or act in the form of a trust), businesses will now be free to trade in or exploit slaves, employ mercenary armies to do dirty work for despots, perform genocides or operate torture prisons for a despot's political opponents, or engage in piracy – all without civil liability to victims."

In the words of Judge Pierre Leval, who disagreed with his colleagues, that is the result of today's ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which concluded that corporations could not be sued for human rights abuses under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The ATS generally allows suits in federal courts for violations of international law - but, according to the Second Circuit, not if the violation was committed by a corporation.

The decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum marks the first time that any appellate court has rejected corporate liability under international law, and only the second time that any court has done so (the first was in a district court decision issued last week). Numerous courts have found that corporations are subject to the same liability as persons. The Kiobel decision is based on a radical misunderstanding of international law; the International Court of Justice has ruled that international law respects the corporate form, and this would be impossible without allowing corporate liability.

Kiobel was brought as a companion case to ERI's own case Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell), which settled last year. Both cases involved Shell's complicity in serious human rights abuses against the Ogoni people in Nigeria, including the executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders. The new decision will deny justice not just to these Ogoni families, but also to victims of corporate complicity in the Apartheid regime in South Africa, victims of medical experimentation in Nigeria, and possibly even victims of the September 11th attacks--all cases currently being litigated in the Second Circuit.

It's possible, however, that this issue could reach the Supreme Court very soon. In the Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, which ERI and other groups have asked the Supreme Court to review, the main issue is the standard for aiding and abetting liability. But Talisman has also raised the question of corporate liability, and the decision in Kiobel might make the Supreme Court more likely to take up this issue. The Supreme Court could decided whether to hear Talisman as early as September 28th.  


because the UN is pro-abortion and that needs to stop or something

An army of health activists and world leaders will gather at the United Nations this week to review the eight Millennium Development Goals agreed to at the start of the century and to recalibrate and recommit to more effectively achieve them by 2015. The overarching and noble goal is reducing global poverty. But the most compelling and achievable objectives -- huge reductions in maternal and child mortality worldwide -- will be severely undermined if the Obama administration either directly or covertly integrates abortion into the final outcome document.

If the summit is sidetracked by abortion activists, the robust resolve required at national levels to deploy the funds needed to achieve the internationally agreed targets will be compromised. The risk is real. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said publicly that she believes access to abortion is part of maternal and reproductive health, thinking that runs contrary to the understanding of the more than 125 U.N. member states that prohibit or otherwise restrict abortion in their sovereign laws and constitutions. Moreover, speaking before the House International Relations Committee in 2005, Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff for then-Secretary General Kofi Annan, said concerning reproductive health, "we do not interpret it as including abortion." Clinton also calls pro-abortion nongovernmental organizations "partners."

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The writer, a Republican from New Jersey, is the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa and global health.

more at source

I so don't have time for this shit. Fuck this guy. What the hell WaPo? First you're critical of Elizabeth Warren and now you print this guy. You're not that liberal, and I wish conservatives would get that.
fakenews | Awkward

"Jon Stewart's achilles heel has always been false equivalency".

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 | Glenn Greenwald  

The perils of false equivalencies and self-proclaimed centrism

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I think Jon Stewart is one of the most incisive and effective commentators in the country, and he reaches an audience that would otherwise be politically disengaged.  I don't have any objection if he really wants to hold a rally in favor of rhetorical moderation, and it's also fine if, as seems to be the case, he's eager to target rhetorical excesses on both the left and right in order to demonstrate his non-ideological centrism.  But the example he chose to prove that the left is guilty, too -- the proposition that Bush is a "war criminal" -- is an extremely poor one given that the General in charge of formally investigating detainee abuse (not exactly someone with a history of Leftist advocacy) has declared this to be the case, and core Nuremberg principles compel the same conclusion.

Leave aside the fact that, as Steve Benen correctly notes, Stewart's examples of right-wing rhetorical excesses (Obama is a socialist who wasn't born in the U.S. and hates America) are pervasive in the GOP, while his examples of left-wing excesses (Code Pink and 9/11 Truthers) have no currency (for better or worse) in the Democratic Party.  The claim that Bush is "a war criminal" has ample basis, and it's deeply irresponsible to try to declare this discussion off-limits, or lump it in with a whole slew of baseless right-wing accusatory rhetoric, in order to establish one's centrist bona fides.

It's admirable to want to apply the same standards to both sides, but straining to manufacture false equivalencies doesn't accomplish that; sometimes, honestly applying the same standards to each side will result in a finding that one side, at least in that regard, is actually worse.  When that's the case, a person engaged in truly independent, non-ideological inquiry -- rather than the pretense of such -- will expressly acknowledge the imbalance, not concoct an equivalency where it doesn't exist.  By stark contrast, Stephen Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive" seems extremely well-focused and on-point.


Short, yet very effective commentary. Discuss.
Fangirl 85, Addison Anatomy Coffee

Oh Hale No, Fox Business...

Ex-Senator Calls Out 'Racist Bullsh*t' on Fox Business Network

During a Fox Business Network debate over the Postal Service's relevance last night, former New York Sen. Al D'Amato snapped at GOP strategist Jack Burkman, calling him a "nasty racist" for spreading "racist bullshit" about Postal Service workers. Completely hilarious.

The fun starts around 4:45, as Burkman is explaining, for the second time, that the Postal Service just employs unskilled "Nigerians" who'd be better off working as cab drivers. Ha ha ha! Oh, Fox Business Network humor. Cue Al D'Amato:

Former U.S. Senator Al D'Amato (R-NY) rebuked Burkman by stating, "You are a nasty racist. ... That's a bunch of bullshit. And you should be ashamed of yourself and have your mouth washed out. What the hell are you talking about?"

After Burkman tried to interrupt D'Amato to defend his remarks, the former senator said, "Shut up, I've listened to your racist bullshit."

And they'd already agreed that the Postal Service should be privatized! It was just the Racist Bullshit that got in the way.


First, kudos to Al D'Amato for calling out bullshit as BULLSHIT. Second, I think this highlights the ever tolerated level of blatant racism creeping its way into almost every corner of conservative discourse. The fact that Jack Burkman made such statements and didn't think twice about it, even seeming to start to defend it before D'Amato cut him off is really unsettling and speaks to the pervasive level of racist bullshit that is now apparently accepted in certain circles.


Wacky election candidates reveal
problems at heart of Brazil politics

By Maria Luisa Cavalcanti BBC Brasil

"What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don't know. But vote for me and I will find out for you."

This is one of the political slogans of a man who is expected to enter the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, in the general election on 3 October with the backing of more than a million voters.

If the phrase sounds like some sort of joke, perhaps you will not be surprised to learn that this particular candidate is a professional clown.

Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, or Tiririca as he is known, started working in a circus at the age of eight in the impoverished north-eastern state of Ceara, and is now a TV comedian.

Like Tiririca - which means grumpy - dozens of figures from Brazilian sport and showbusiness C-list are fighting for one of the Chamber's 513 seats, alongside experienced politicians, members of longstanding political clans and complete newcomers.

In all there are more than 6,000 candidates from 27 parties.

Another candidate who is predicted to win a landslide victory is the ex-footballer Romario, hero of Brazil's 1994 World Cup victory.

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Ahhh 2 weeks to go!!!

Rape = softcore pornography, apparently.

Filthy Books demeaning to public education.


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"Speak" author Laurie Halse Anderson fights back.


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Source 1. // Source 2.

This really angered me. As a wannabe YA writer and blogger, I'm vehemently against censorship, but for this sick fuck to call a book about teen rape soft core porn is disgusting, and for him to do in under the guise of some Christian fighter against filth angers me.
LOLitics | Chibi Obama Family

This is an Obama Family walking post.

Obama makes rare church appearance in Washington

WASHINGTON | Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:55pm EDT

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama, who invoked his own Christian faith recently in seeking to quell anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States, attended church in Washington on Sunday for the first time in about five months.

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Obama led his wife, Michelle, and two daughters to the altar to take communion.

Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, was a regular churchgoer in Washington for much of his tenure but his attendance tapered off in his final two years in office.

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