Today, we remember the death of Salvador Allende.
     In 1970, then-US President Richard Nixon wanted Allende stopped.  Nixon gave instructions to the US CIA to consider an Allende-led government in Chile to be unacceptable.  Nixon authorised $10 million to be used against Allende:  to stop Allende from coming to power; or, failing that, to unseat him; via whatever means necessary. 
     In early September 1973, following Nixon’s instructions, the US CIA had succeeded in creating violent divisions between Allende and various opposition groups.  Allende wished to resolve the political tensions in the country via a referendum on his policies, but he was never able to deliver the speech which called for such a referendum — because on 11 September 1973, the day that that speech was to be delivered, the Chilean military staged a coup d’état. 
     Allende was forced to instead deliver a farewell speech, with explosions audible in the background, via live radio from the Palacio de la Moneda — “Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.”
     Moments after the radio speech was delivered, the Palacio de la Moneda was overrun by soldiers loyal to Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet’s military junta was immediately recognised as the government by American diplomats, and the US CIA helped the junta close its fist around Chile. 
     Pinochet stayed in power for 17 years as the leader of a brutal dictatorship — one which killed between 1,200 3,200 people, interned up to 80,000 people, and tortured as many as 30,000, in its efforts to stamp out popular resistance to its rule. 
     As the junta was an ally of the USA, the crimes committed by Pinochet’s men against common Chileans never triggered an armed intervention by American troops.

     Today, we remember the death of Salvador Allende.

     In 1970, then-US President Richard Nixon wanted Allende stopped.  Nixon gave instructions to the US CIA to consider an Allende-led government in Chile to be unacceptable.  Nixon authorised $10 million to be used against Allende:  to stop Allende from coming to power; or, failing that, to unseat him; via whatever means necessary. 

     In early September 1973, following Nixon’s instructions, the US CIA had succeeded in creating violent divisions between Allende and various opposition groups.  Allende wished to resolve the political tensions in the country via a referendum on his policies, but he was never able to deliver the speech which called for such a referendum — because on 11 September 1973, the day that that speech was to be delivered, the Chilean military staged a coup d’état

     Allende was forced to instead deliver a farewell speech, with explosions audible in the background, via live radio from the Palacio de la Moneda — “Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.

     Moments after the radio speech was delivered, the Palacio de la Moneda was overrun by soldiers loyal to Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet’s military junta was immediately recognised as the government by American diplomats, and the US CIA helped the junta close its fist around Chile

     Pinochet stayed in power for 17 years as the leader of a brutal dictatorship — one which killed between 1,200 3,200 people, interned up to 80,000 people, and tortured as many as 30,000, in its efforts to stamp out popular resistance to its rule. 

     As the junta was an ally of the USA, the crimes committed by Pinochet’s men against common Chileans never triggered an armed intervention by American troops.

     The Scandinavians are doing this “oil” thing properly — 

Norway’s current Conservative-led coalition government justifies one of the world’s highest tax rates on oil company profits this way: petroleum and natural gas are finite resources that generate higher profits than other enterprises and therefore command higher taxes.They pour like a river of gold into the Norwegian Pension Fund Global, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.Norway’s government takes 78 per cent of oil company profits in tax, which quickly runs to billions of dollars a year. The fund multiplies through investments in stocks, bonds and property holdings.It is quickly closing in on $1 trillion, just 18 years after Norway made an initial investment of around $345 million in 1996.

     — so what’s our excuse? 
     Quoted section from an article in The Toronto Star:  The Norwegian government’s high take of oil company taxes and worldwide investments will pay dividends for citizens. In Canada the story is very different.  Is Norway’s nest egg a lesson for Canada?  Article and photo by Paul Watson, Star Columnist, Arctic Bureau, published on Sat Aug 23 2014.

     The Scandinavians are doing this “oil” thing properly —

Norway’s current Conservative-led coalition government justifies one of the world’s highest tax rates on oil company profits this way: petroleum and natural gas are finite resources that generate higher profits than other enterprises and therefore command higher taxes.

They pour like a river of gold into the Norwegian Pension Fund Global, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

Norway’s government takes 78 per cent of oil company profits in tax, which quickly runs to billions of dollars a year. The fund multiplies through investments in stocks, bonds and property holdings.

It is quickly closing in on $1 trillion, just 18 years after Norway made an initial investment of around $345 million in 1996.

     — so what’s our excuse? 

     Quoted section from an article in The Toronto Star:  The Norwegian government’s high take of oil company taxes and worldwide investments will pay dividends for citizens. In Canada the story is very different.  Is Norway’s nest egg a lesson for Canada?  Article and photo by Paul Watson, Star Columnist, Arctic Bureau, published on Sat Aug 23 2014.

     “Supermoon” sounds like something frat boys would do.  The proper term is “Perigee Full Moon” —

A Proxigean or Perigee Full “Supermoon” as reckoned by our preferred handy definition of “a Full Moon occurring within 24 hours of perigee" … the rising Moon will appear 33.5’ arc minutes in diameter as opposed to its usually quoted average of 30’ in size … The Moon reaches Full on Tuesday, September 9th at 1:38 Universal Time (UT), which is 9:38 PM EDT on the evening of the 8th. The Moon reaches perigee at less than 24 hours prior on September 8th at 3:30 UT—22 hours and 8 minutes earlier, to be precise—at a distance 358,387 kilometres distant. This is less than 2,000 kilometres from the closest perigee than can occur, and 1,491 kilometres farther away than last month’s closest perigee of the year, which occurred 27 minutes prior to Full Moon.

     — in short, a “Perigee Full Moon” occurs when a “full moon” happens around the same time as the moon’s orbit brings it as close as possible to Earth, making the moon look big and fat, which will immensely please photographers.  
Read more:  Get set for the supermoon 3 of 3 for 2014 (by David Dickinson, Universe Today)

     “Supermoon” sounds like something frat boys would do.  The proper term is “Perigee Full Moon” —

A Proxigean or Perigee Full “Supermoon” as reckoned by our preferred handy definition of “a Full Moon occurring within 24 hours of perigee" … the rising Moon will appear 33.5’ arc minutes in diameter as opposed to its usually quoted average of 30’ in size … The Moon reaches Full on Tuesday, September 9th at 1:38 Universal Time (UT), which is 9:38 PM EDT on the evening of the 8th. The Moon reaches perigee at less than 24 hours prior on September 8th at 3:30 UT—22 hours and 8 minutes earlier, to be precise—at a distance 358,387 kilometres distant. This is less than 2,000 kilometres from the closest perigee than can occur, and 1,491 kilometres farther away than last month’s closest perigee of the year, which occurred 27 minutes prior to Full Moon.

     — in short, a “Perigee Full Moon” occurs when a “full moon” happens around the same time as the moon’s orbit brings it as close as possible to Earth, making the moon look big and fat, which will immensely please photographers.  

Read more:  Get set for the supermoon 3 of 3 for 2014 (by David Dickinson, Universe Today)

Be ready to take back every “blonde” joke you’ve ever made:  research published in 2011 indicates that female warriors were relatively common among the Vikings; meanwhile modern societies are still arguing over whether women should even be allowed to serve in combat roles, and modern societies often pay women less than men for the same jobs. 
We might have more advanced tools today, but in many ways we’re still playing catch-up with people from a millennia ago.
The “TL,DR” version of the study was summarised by USA Today in a post here.

Be ready to take back every “blonde” joke you’ve ever made:  research published in 2011 indicates that female warriors were relatively common among the Vikings; meanwhile modern societies are still arguing over whether women should even be allowed to serve in combat roles, and modern societies often pay women less than men for the same jobs

We might have more advanced tools today, but in many ways we’re still playing catch-up with people from a millennia ago.

The “TL,DR” version of the study was summarised by USA Today in a post here.

Derek Thompson breaks down how to break out of The Procrastination Loop in this piece for The Atlantic. 

Image by timojneumann on Flickr.

Derek Thompson breaks down how to break out of The Procrastination Loop in this piece for The Atlantic. 

Image by timojneumann on Flickr.

I’ll remember Joan Rivers for screaming that she didn’t want to hear about civilian casualties.  Good riddance.

I’ll remember Joan Rivers for screaming that she didn’t want to hear about civilian casualties.  Good riddance.

Charles Marohn, a municipal engineer, has compared suburban development to a giant Ponzi scheme  Here’s what he means:

     The way suburban development usually works is that a town lays the pipes, plumbing, and infrastructure for housing development—often getting big loans from the government to do so—and soon after a developer appears and offers to build homes on it. Developers usually fund most of the cost of the infrastructure because they make their money back from the sale of the homes. The short-term cost to the city or town, therefore, is very low: it gets a cash infusion from whichever entity fronted the costs, and the city gets to keep all the revenue from property taxes. The thinking is that either taxes will cover the maintenance costs, or the city will keep growing and generate enough future cash flow to cover the obligations. But the tax revenue at low suburban densities isn’t nearly enough to pay the bills; in Marohn’s estimation, property taxes at suburban densities bring in anywhere from 4 cents to 65 cents for every dollar of liability. Most suburban municipalities, he says, are therefore unable to pay the maintenance costs of their infrastructure, let alone replace things when they inevitably wear out after twenty to twenty-five years. The only way to survive is to keep growing or take on more debt, or both. “It is a ridiculously unproductive system,” he says.

via Time — the article is an excerpt from Leigh Gallagher’s book, The End of the Suburbs, out now in paperback.

Charles Marohn, a municipal engineer, has compared suburban development to a giant Ponzi scheme  Here’s what he means:

     The way suburban development usually works is that a town lays the pipes, plumbing, and infrastructure for housing development—often getting big loans from the government to do so—and soon after a developer appears and offers to build homes on it. Developers usually fund most of the cost of the infrastructure because they make their money back from the sale of the homes. The short-term cost to the city or town, therefore, is very low: it gets a cash infusion from whichever entity fronted the costs, and the city gets to keep all the revenue from property taxes. The thinking is that either taxes will cover the maintenance costs, or the city will keep growing and generate enough future cash flow to cover the obligations. But the tax revenue at low suburban densities isn’t nearly enough to pay the bills; in Marohn’s estimation, property taxes at suburban densities bring in anywhere from 4 cents to 65 cents for every dollar of liability. Most suburban municipalities, he says, are therefore unable to pay the maintenance costs of their infrastructure, let alone replace things when they inevitably wear out after twenty to twenty-five years. The only way to survive is to keep growing or take on more debt, or both. “It is a ridiculously unproductive system,” he says.

via Time — the article is an excerpt from Leigh Gallagher’s book, The End of the Suburbs, out now in paperback.

The Young Turks on Israel’s irresponsible use of force.

     Another article from The Economist about how Israel would be better off standing down.  
     While The Economist, a conservative American publication which is invested in Israel (ideologically if not financially), would never agree with the mounting calls to isolate Israel, it’s noteworthy that it has published a piece which urges Israel to listen to its critics.  
Winning the battle, losing the war:  For all its military might, Israel faces a grim future unless it can secure peace (The Economist, 2014-08-02)

Some 1,400 Palestinians have died in the past few weeks, compared with 56 Israeli soldiers and four civilians. Even allowing for Hamas’s brutality, no democracy should be happy with a military strategy that results in the death of so many children (let alone the crass claim from Israel’s ambassador to Washington that its soldiers deserve a Nobel peace prize). The destruction is driving support towards Hamas and away from the moderate Palestinians who are Israel’s best chance for peace.

     Another article from The Economist about how Israel would be better off standing down. 

     While The Economist, a conservative American publication which is invested in Israel (ideologically if not financially), would never agree with the mounting calls to isolate Israel, it’s noteworthy that it has published a piece which urges Israel to listen to its critics. 

Winning the battle, losing the war:  For all its military might, Israel faces a grim future unless it can secure peace (The Economist, 2014-08-02)

Some 1,400 Palestinians have died in the past few weeks, compared with 56 Israeli soldiers and four civilians. Even allowing for Hamas’s brutality, no democracy should be happy with a military strategy that results in the death of so many children (let alone the crass claim from Israel’s ambassador to Washington that its soldiers deserve a Nobel peace prize). The destruction is driving support towards Hamas and away from the moderate Palestinians who are Israel’s best chance for peace.

     Omar Baddar separates truth from spin regarding the assault against Gaza:

… When Israeli troops were caught on tape killing unarmed Palestinian teens just a few weeks before the kidnapping of the Israeli teens, imagine if Hamas responded by invading Israeli homes, shooting Israeli demonstrators and kidnapping hundreds of Israeli troops — would media outlets cover such actions with the same sympathy and understanding afforded to Israel’s actions? …  … Hamas had been strictly observing a cease-fire agreement since it was brokered in 2012, and was even arresting Palestinian militants from rival factions who fired rockets at Israel as recently as last month … … Israeli officials now acknowledge, in direct contradiction to statements by Israel’s prime minister, that Hamas was actually not responsible for the kidnappings of the three Israeli teens after all …  … Israel is always looking for a way to deflect responsibility for the failure of the peace process onto the Palestinians. One of the talking points used to that end is the claim that there is “no partner for peace” on the Palestinian side because the leadership was divided. … When, to Netanyahu’s bitter disappointment, the U.S. insisted on dealing with the new Palestinian government anyway, Israel seems to have opted for a direct confrontation with Hamas to break up the unity government.  … Under those circumstances, Israel’s very posture is offensive, and it cannot claim to be engaging in “self-defence” against the very people whose land it has illegally usurped  …   … Norman Finkelstein put it best: “The refrain that Israel has the right to self-defence is a red herring: the real question is, does Israel have the right to use force to maintain an illegal occupation? The answer is no.”

     From “Debunking the myths about Gaza: The truth behind Israeli and Palestinian talking points" by Omar Baddar
Photo:  A Palestinian man carries the lifeless body of a child to an emergency room at Shifa hospital in Gaza City last week. (Credit: AP/Khalil Hamra)

     Omar Baddar separates truth from spin regarding the assault against Gaza:

… When Israeli troops were caught on tape killing unarmed Palestinian teens just a few weeks before the kidnapping of the Israeli teens, imagine if Hamas responded by invading Israeli homes, shooting Israeli demonstrators and kidnapping hundreds of Israeli troops — would media outlets cover such actions with the same sympathy and understanding afforded to Israel’s actions? …

 … Hamas had been strictly observing a cease-fire agreement since it was brokered in 2012, and was even arresting Palestinian militants from rival factions who fired rockets at Israel as recently as last month …

 … Israeli officials now acknowledge, in direct contradiction to statements by Israel’s prime minister, that Hamas was actually not responsible for the kidnappings of the three Israeli teens after all …

 … Israel is always looking for a way to deflect responsibility for the failure of the peace process onto the Palestinians. One of the talking points used to that end is the claim that there is “no partner for peace” on the Palestinian side because the leadership was divided. … When, to Netanyahu’s bitter disappointment, the U.S. insisted on dealing with the new Palestinian government anyway, Israel seems to have opted for a direct confrontation with Hamas to break up the unity government.

 … Under those circumstances, Israel’s very posture is offensive, and it cannot claim to be engaging in “self-defence” against the very people whose land it has illegally usurped  …

  … Norman Finkelstein put it best: “The refrain that Israel has the right to self-defence is a red herring: the real question is, does Israel have the right to use force to maintain an illegal occupation? The answer is no.”

     From “Debunking the myths about Gaza: The truth behind Israeli and Palestinian talking points" by Omar Baddar

Photo:  A Palestinian man carries the lifeless body of a child to an emergency room at Shifa hospital in Gaza City last week. (Credit: AP/Khalil Hamra)