Hail to the Viktors!
So, now I'm a much-better-informed undecided! But one thing I really do want to know is: What happened to Yushchenko's face?
Apparently, things are currently going from bad to worse over there.
Fueled by fierce fighting in Fallujah and insurgents' counterattacks elsewhere in Iraq, the U.S. military death toll for November equalled the highest for any month of the war, according to casualty reports available Tuesday.Cheney's "remarkable success" is not getting rave reviews from retired military brass:
At least 135 U.S. troops died in November. That is the same number as last April, when the insurgence flared in Fallujah and elsewhere in the so-called Sunni Triangle where U.S. forces and their Iraqi allies lost a large measure of control.
The nineteen months since the war in Iraq began, some of the most outspoken critics of President Bush's plan of attack have come from a group that should have been the most supportive: retired senior military leaders. We spoke with a group of generals and admirals that included a former supreme Allied commander and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and they all agreed on one thing: Bush screwed up.
Lt. Gen. William Odom, Director of the National Security Agency, 1985-88:
"It's a huge strategic disaster, and it will only get worse. The sooner we leave, the less the damage. In the months since the invasion, the U.S. forces have become involved in trying to repress a number of insurgency movements. This is the way we were fighting in Vietnam, and if we keep on fighting this way, this one is going to go on a long time too. The idea of creating a constitutional state in a short amount of time is a joke. It will take ten to fifteen years, and that is if we want to kill ten percent of the population."
Mr. Bush will be whisked into downtown Ottawa under heavy guard, kept well-insulated from the protesters expected to gather in the city. An enormous security detail has been laid on to ensure that his visit is safe and smooth.Why don't we have any backbenchers in our Congress? I'd love to see the Dems give Bush the respect he really deserves at the next state of the union address.
The visit by Mr. Bush comes at a delicate time for the two countries. There are nagging trade irritants, including a border closed to Canadian beef and disputes over softwood, and Mr. Bush's foreign policies are opposed by many Canadians.
Reportedly worried about being heckled by backbenchers in the House of Commons, Mr. Bush decided not to address Parliament.
NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- The dollar hit a record low vs. the euro after data showed that consumer confidence dropped unexpectedly in November. The dollar was down 0.3 percent at $1.3309 but hit $1.3335 in intraday trading. The buck was off 0.3 percent against the yen at 102.58, lost 0.6 percent vs. the Swiss franc to 1.1351 and slid 0.9 percent against the British pound to $1.9106.
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Crude futures climbed above $50 a barrel in New York to trade at their highest level since Nov. 4. OPEC has indicated that it will "either lower production quotas or vow to roll back production to current quotas," said Phil Flynn, a senior analyst at Alaron Trading. "It appears the falling dollar has OPEC wanting the price of oil to go higher as compensation," he said. OPEC is set to meet on Dec. 10 in Cairo. January crude is up 59 cents at $50.35 after trading as high as $50.40 earlier.
TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- Organizers expect up to 15,000 activists to march on the Canadian capital Ottawa on Tuesday to protest the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush during his two-day visit to the country.You think maybe y'all could arrest him for war crimes or something while he's there? We'd really appreciate it.
Hersh's message is simple and frightening: "(George W.) Bush is an ideologue, a Utopian," Hersh said. "He wants to clean out the Middle East and install democracy. He doesn't care how many body bags come back home. There's nothing more dangerous than an ideologue who is completely bonkers and no one is going to tell him."
President Bush is committed to perpetual war, Hersh said.
We cannot win in Iraq, Hersh said. "We have no intel. We can't find the insurgents. When they bomb something, we only know about it afterward. We can't figure them out. Someone said, 'We play chess, they play Go.' All we can do is lose. All we can do is bomb."
The United States cannot afford this endless war, Hersh said. The dollar is already falling against the Euro, and the Chinese and Japanese hold trillions of dollars of U.S. debt.
"Soon China and Russia will start buying oil in Euros," Hersh said. "They'll stop buying American in Europe because they hate us so much - Disney in Paris is already going down. Large American corporations doing business abroad are going down. We could see more anti-American violence abroad. The dollar will fall. Billionaires are now telling other billionaires to get out of the stock market and buy foreign currency and stocks."
I don't believe the war is the exclusive product of the delusional thinking of the islamophobic clique that surrounds our current presidential mediocrity, as many liberals suggest. I don't believe the war ever had anything at all to do with weapons of mass destruction. I don't believe the very people who call this a War on Terrorism believe it for one minute, and moreover I believe they know perfectly well that the term "war on terrorism" is oxymoronic inasmuch as one cannot prosecute a war against a tactic. I don't believe it is a war to steal anyone's oil, though it has everything to do with oil and more. The fact that half the people in the United States believed at some point that a shattered nation like Iraq constituted a threat to the United States does not compel me for a moment to refrain from pointing out that this is a proposition that was and is idiotic on its face and it is not at all unusual for half of a national population to believe something that is patently idiotic. I am not a conservative, and I am not a liberal, and I am not a politician, and I am not a pacifist, and I am not religious, so I am not in the least compelled or constrained to prop up the polemical foundations of any of the agendas that might be associated with these kinds of affiliations.
I believe that the war in Iraq is symptomatic of a much deeper global crisis, and that it foreshadows a period in which that crisis a crisis of global capitalism will manifest itself not only in war but in rapidly widening social destabilization, the further militarization of the world system, and simultaneous economic and environmental collapse.
As a medium for the transmission of energy and information, electricity is non-pareil.Parris points out that gasoline has about 100 times the energy density of the typical car battery. So, even though electric motors are much more efficient than internal-combustion engines, they lose their advantage quickly for transportation because they have to lug much heavier "gas tanks" around with them.
One thing holds it back. One thing stands between electricity and world domination, keeping alive its only serious competitor: oil. There is but one reason why fossil fuels retain their grip as sources of heat and (via the internal combustion engine) motion. Our failure — Britain’s and the world’s — to invent an adequate electric battery is the sole cause of our dependence upon fossil fuels. Everything else — air pollution, global warming, rising sea-levels — flows from that.
"We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse," Powell said in a statement read to reporters.--NY Times
The global implications of the U.S. election are undeniable, but international monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest fell short in many ways of the best global practices.--International Herald Tribune
The observers said they had less access to polls than in Kazakhstan, that the electronic voting had fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela, that the ballots were not so simple as in the Republic of Georgia and that no other country had such a complex national election system.
"To be honest, monitoring elections in Serbia a few months ago was much simpler," said Konrad Olszewski, an election observer stationed in Miami by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The U.S. government knew of an imminent plot to oust Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chávez, in the weeks prior to a 2002 military coup that briefly unseated him, newly released CIA documents show, despite White House claims to the contrary a week after the putsch.Imagine that--the Bushies lying.
Yet the United States, which depends on Venezuela for nearly one-sixth of its oil, never warned the Chávez government, Venezuelan officials said.
The Bush administration has denied it was involved in the coup or knew one was being planned. At a White House briefing on April 17, 2002, just days after the 47-hour coup, a senior administration official who did not want to be named said, "The United States did not know that there was going to be an attempt of this kind to overthrow - or to get Chávez out of power."
Yet based on the newly released CIA briefs, an analyst said yesterday that did not appear to be the case.
To prove charges of a stolen election in 2004, however, requires more than combining references to 2000 with allegations of undetectable computer manipulation or vote-tampering. There must be a serious and independent investigation of the entire vote. The WSWS will report on whatever findings emerge from ongoing efforts in that direction. But to this point, we find the claims that the election has been stolen unpersuasive. At best, a case can be made that Bush actually lost Ohio—the vote tally there will not be even be finalized until December 6—leaving him an Electoral College loser but a winner of the popular vote, with a majority of over three million. Under those conditions, to declare that John Kerry should rightfully be installed in the White House would be a political travesty.For some of my previous rants along these lines, look here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.
In our view, those who seek to center their political assessment of the 2004 elections on charges of fraud are clutching at straws. We have no reason to question the sincerity of their opposition to the Bush administration. But they are shying away from the bitter truth: a majority of those Americans who voted in the November 2 election cast ballots for George W. Bush. This included tens of millions of working people. The task of opponents of Bush’s policies of imperialist war and reaction is to conduct a serious political autopsy of this event, which represents, above all, a colossal political failure of the Democratic Party.
Bush won reelection, not because of a charismatic personality or mass support for his party and program, but because the so-called opposition party essentially defaulted. The Democratic Party campaign offered nothing that would rouse the masses of working people against the Bush administration. Kerry, married to a billionaire heiress, declared himself a capitalist and boasted of his opposition to wealth redistribution. His “jobs” program consisted of a few tax breaks to American corporations, and even this was to be subordinated to the preeminent Democratic Party demand: balancing the federal budget.
On the most critical issue in the election campaign, Kerry backed the continued US occupation of Iraq and criticized Bush more from the right—not sending enough troops, backing off from the initial assault on Fallujah last April—than from the left. Far from waging an intransigent struggle against a bankrupt and criminal administration, Kerry even banned most criticism of Bush at the Democratic National Convention which formally nominated him.
In the course of December 2003 and January 2004, the Democratic Party establishment, backed by the media, moved swiftly to derail the Dean campaign and shift the nomination to Kerry, viewed as the safest alternative among the candidates then trailing Dean in the polls. After Kerry’s victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, he became the frontrunner. From that point on, he dropped any flirtation with an antiwar posture—briefly adopted to combat Dean—and reverted to the position he had taken in the runup to the invasion, in which he backed the Bush administration’s drive to war while calling for more efforts to win international support. In other words, Kerry supported the crime, but sought additional accomplices to ensure success.
Those who focus exclusively on the events of November 2 lose sight of the far more important political fact: the presidential election was manipulated by the US ruling elite, not merely on Election Day, but throughout the whole period leading up to it.
Kerry was installed as the Democratic nominee for one principal purpose: to insure that the legitimacy of the Iraq war would not become an issue in the presidential election. This proved largely successful. Kerry tried his best to avoid any discussion of the war, only turning to the question in mid-September, when the Democratic campaign faced a collapse in the polls which would have utterly discredited both the party and the entire electoral process.
The Democratic and Republican parties are not merely collections of like-minded individuals or associations of politicians seeking public office. They are, in a real, practical and not merely rhetorical sense, institutions which serve as instruments of the American ruling class. This class, which comprises less than one percent of the American population, exercises an effective political monopoly.
President George W. Bush: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?It goes on!
National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice: Sir, I have the report here
about the new leader of China.
Bush: Great. Lay it on me.
Rice: Hu is the new leader of China.
Bush: That's what I want to know.
Rice: That's what I'm telling you.
Bush: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China ?
Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley, has a public reputation for being bearish.(rest of article)
But you should hear what he's saying in private.
Roach met select groups of fund managers downtown last week, including a group at Fidelity.
His prediction: America has no better than a 10 percent chance of avoiding economic "armageddon."
Press were not allowed into the meetings. But the Herald has obtained a copy of Roach's presentation. A stunned source who was at one meeting said, "it struck me how extreme he was - much more, it seemed to me, than in public."
Roach sees a 30 percent chance of a slump soon and a 60 percent chance that "we'll muddle through for a while and delay the eventual armageddon."
The chance we'll get through OK: one in 10. Maybe.
In a nutshell, Roach's argument is that America's record trade deficit means the dollar will keep falling. To keep foreigners buying T-bills and prevent a resulting rise in inflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will be forced to raise interest rates further and faster than he wants.
The result: U.S. consumers, who are in debt up to their eyeballs, will get pounded.
Less a case of "Armageddon," maybe, than of a "Perfect Storm."
[T]his week Hastert killed the intelligence bill (whose worth I’m still agnostic on, by the way), refusing to allow a vote on it because although it would have passed with the support of D’s & R’s, it did not have a majority of Republicans. Commanding the support of a majority of Congress is no longer enough, for Hastert. The corollary of this is that Democratic lawmakers can just stay home, their opinions no longer count. This is a new reading of the constitution, a small but significant revolution.
Dear Friend,Gotta admit, the fortune being in euros makes it more tempting right now!
Naturally, this letter will come to you as a surprise since we have not met, permit me however to introduce myself to you, I am Mrs.Analiza Thomas-Baker,the wife of Late Mr.Thomas Baker(a British Citizen),who died in the Train Bomb blast in Madrid in March this year.I have just recovered from my injuries and presently in my family house in Madrid.We were living in Puerto-Banus,Marbella-Spain before his death.We both travelled to Madrid to see my parents and it was on our way back that he met his death.
All i just want to diclose to you is that before his untimely death,he had a deposit of €U6.3(Six Million,Three Hundred Thousand Euros)with the Marbella Security Company Ltd with me as the next of kin.I have all the deposit documents in our home in Marbella and i have handed them over to our lawyer.All i want you to do is to assist me in making claims of this fund by contacting our family lawyer and the legal department of Marbella Security on my behalf and acting as a foreign business partner to my family or to me.
Without unprecedented preparation and cooperation, however, oil and natural gas depletion will precipitate massive disruptions to essential systems such as food, energy, transportation, security and health care, and almost certainly, a major decrease in the earth's carrying capacity. If mainstream awareness of energy peak occurs during a crisis, we will find ourselves well along the amoral path of endless war for control of dwindling resources, black hydrogen fueled by coal and a reemerging nuclear industry, further restrictions on citizen and human rights, and increasing concentration of wealth through globalization and the money system. During a period of draconian governance in the midst of a permanent energy crisis, all of the gains garnered by environmental and social justice groups in the past 50 years are subject to roll back at best. At worst, recent history is full of examples of what happens when humans with powerful weapons get desperate – they reach for demagogues, Fascism and war.The whole article is here.
Though no panacea exists for dealing with the peaking of energy supply, clearly Global Relocalization is a building block; other important parts of the foundation are peace, equitable distribution of a portion of Earth’s bounty, and social justice. Relocalization is the process by which communities localize their economies and essential systems, such as food and energy production, water, money, culture, governance, media, and ownership. This process will require that we rebuild our cities to severely reduce transport needs and support localization of essential systems - ecological city design provides as framework for this transformation. To effectively address energy scarcity and curtail biosphere destruction, relocalization must occur globally and with some degree of integration. Essentially human civilization needs to prepare itself to do less materially with much less energy and fewer natural resources, with the ultimate goal living within what is left of a reasonable carrying capacity, however reduced that may be. Any other approach can be considered a form of assisted suicide – with nature doing the assisting.
Behind many big promises of "technology transfer" and "feeding the world" lies a brutal truth: biotechnology corporations like Monsanto only care about profits. They are not offering genetically modified (GM) seeds to the South out of charity. They want to take over seed markets and squeeze farmers for as much as they can get - which, even in poor countries, can be a lot. The formula seems to be this: focus on the major cash crops (cotton, soybeans, maize, etc), find an entry point, contaminate the seed supply and then step in to take control. Argentina, the first country outside of North America to start planting GM crops, is a case in point. But the same pattern is being reproduced around the world, as with GM cotton in India and West Africa. The story of what has happened in Argentina should serve as a stark warning of what occurs when GM agriculture takes root.More...
Memo To: Editors and reportersThe rest of the letter is here.
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Please get off your behinds
Now that most of you have apologized for sitting on your duffs while the neo-cons planned and executed the totally unnecessary war against a toothless regime in Baghdad, I suggest you get off your duffs in regard to the neo-con plot to war against Iran. I've been posting memos here for months pointing out that Iran has not done anything to warrant the propaganda directed at it from the Perle Cabal, i.e., Richard Perle's network that is laced through both political parties, Congress and the White House. Iran is in full compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has a hundred times publicly pledged to permit the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect any gol-durned site inside its borders if someone has reason to believe it has a secret nuclear program underway. Iranian exile groups pop up from time to time with press conferences about some diabolical site they have discovered, but Iran ALWAYS allows the inspectors to go in, and they find nothing.
The unionization drive was the latest attempt by the union -- the sole body permitted to organize workers in China -- to penetrate the most dynamic sector of the economy, shore up its declining membership, and boost its lowly political status.So the "communists" have more rights than American workers! Still, the concept of 39 Wal-Marts in China terrifies me. Who the Cheney is making the crap they sell there? American sweatshop workers can only afford to shop at Wal-Mart because the crap is made by Chinese sweatshop workers. I'd have to guess that Wal-Mart is a "high-end" department store in China for the new capitalist class. They're probably buying the same crap that the working poor buy here.
Branches of the Chinese union are usually toothless management-controlled bodies that work mostly to prevent conflict.
Wal-Mart, which operates 39 stores in China employing 20,000 people, didn't say what specifically prompted its announcement. But it did note recent media coverage about the company's relationship with the union and said the statement was intended to "clarify that relationship."
"Wal-Mart is currently in full compliance with China's Trade Union Law, which states that establishing a union is a voluntary action of the associates," the statement said.
Wal-Mart has no unionized stores, although workers at a Wal-Mart in Canada recently had their union accredited by the local labor board. Wal-Mart was expected to fight that ruling.
The retailer has more than 4,300 outlets in nine countries employing more than 1.3 million people.
Washington’s attempt to promote a global “war on terrorism” as the new rationale for its domination of Latin America ran into trouble last week at the meeting of the Defense Ministers of the Americas held in Quito, Ecuador.more...
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld failed to impose an accord that would have turned the Inter-American Defense Board into the hemisphere-wide coordinator of a US-led counterterrorism crusade.
Rumsfeld’s plan called for the creation of multi-national forces capable of intervening anywhere in the region. It envisaged the reinvigoration of many of the relations and policies that gave rise to brutal military dictatorships throughout most of Latin America from the 1960s until the 1980s.
On the surface, the game certainly seems like a loathsome piece of opportunism. The designers, though, claim the game's intent is to educate. The stated goal of JFK Reloaded is to debunk assassination conspiracy theories by buttressing the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and fired only three bullets. So, the game places you in the precise place where Oswald stood—the sixth-floor window of the Texas Schoolbook Depository—and challenges you to re-create his three shots. One shot missed the car entirely; another hit JFK in the neck; and a third hit the president's head, causing what the commission called "a massive and fatal wound." The closer you get to matching those three trajectories, the closer you get to a perfect score of 1,000. (The game designers are also offering a cash prize to the player who gets the highest score.) You can replay the scene as many times as you'd like.Apparently, however, you can't move around and take a few shots from the grassy knoll. Nor will it give you, as Oswald, a chance to tell your story before you get wasted by Jack Ruby. I wonder if the makers of the game are working on a flight simulator which shows how you can crash a 757 into the Pentagon and make it completely disappear?
Imagine a college Republican who was too busy campaigning for Bush last month, and has been too busy drinking this month, to finish his term paper for that required humanities class. (Humanities for Republicans--makes your head hurt, doesn't it?) The paper is due tomorrow, so he gets on the web and goes to ExampleEssays.com. Wanting to rub the election results in on that liberal prof, he decides to choose an anti-abortion essay to steal. Of course, ExampleEssays.com "discourages" this practice: "Turning in a paper from our web site as your own is plagerism and is illegal!" (Spelling error in the original.) Also, of course, Young Repug doesn't even know that there is an "Acceptable Use Policy," and he cares even less. So he copies this essay on forced abortions in China. Now, unlike Young Repug, I (Bob) haven't paid the $74.95 for a 180-day membership at ExampleEssays.com, so I can't read the entire essay (or any of the other 101,000 term papers, essays and book reports at ExampleEssays.com). But the sample paragraph indicates that it has enough grammatical and punctuation errors in it to convince most profs that an inebriated young right-winger might have actually written it. (I would have guessed that these errors were entirely intentional if not for the fact that ExampleEssays.com couldn't properly spell "plagiarism" in their Acceptable Use Policy.)
Okay, so far there's no real dilemma for Young Repug. Just as with his hero, George W. Bush, money gets him out of every mess he gets himself into, and it will get him out of this one. He prints the essay out and turns it in. The dilemma occurs the next week when the paper is returned. He gets a B-, and is mad at the professor's liberal bias for not giving him a good return on his investment in ExampleEssays.com. (The prof actually marked the paper down for poor punctuation and grammar, not content, but Young Repug will never believe that.) But then YR sees something at the bottom of the paper which makes his heart skip a beat--the prof has written "See me after class" at the bottom of the paper!
Fearful that his
plagerism playjerizmcopying of the paper has been caught, he frets through the remainder of the hour. But when he talks to the prof after class, he finds out that not only does she not suspect plagiarism, but she actually AGREES with what the essay says!
"You know, Palmer," she says to him, "I fully support a woman's right to choose. But forced abortion is clearly the exact opposite of that right! I mean, I saw the buttons you were wearing last month, so I suspect that you and I disagree on Roe v. Wade."
Palmer has no idea what she is talking about--"Rovywaid?"--but he does his best to put on what he thinks is his intelligent smile.
The prof continues, "Still, I think you are quite right that the Chinese government should find some other way to deal with the population problem there." YR is thinking to himself "I said what now?"
"Now I'd guess, Palmer," the prof continues, "that you weren't totally pleased with your grade on this essay. The lower grade was based entirely on your numerous spelling and punctuation errors--I thought that both your choice of topic and how you addressed it were first rate. I'd like to give you a chance to raise your grade. If you write me a decent two-page essay on some of the ways that pressure could be brought on the Chinese government to change this policy of forced abortions, and hand it in by next week, I'll change your grade on this paper to an A-. Be sure to run it through spell-check this time--you do have a computer don't you?"
Palmer nearly chokes on this, but then he smiles. Of course he could have a two-page essay ready by next week--ExampleEssays.com to the rescue! But when he gets back to the frat house and searches ExampleEssays.com, he finds nothing about how to put pressure on China. "Kerry!" he swears (the word is now a common expletive across the political spectrum). He tries a few other term-paper cheat sites--no luck. In desperation, he googles "china economic pressure abortion" and comes up with this web site as the first entry. The first two paragraphs read:China today is a human rights nightmare: every leading democracy activist is in jail or exile; thousands of Chinese are arrested every month for such "crimes" as criticizing the government or distributing Bibles; vast numbers are unjustly imprisoned in forced labor camps. Torture, forced abortion and other abuses are rampant.Now Palmer kind of agrees that criticizing the government should be a crime, but he's totally freaked about people being jailed for distributing bibles! And that forced abortion thing, too. And, since crushing those whiny liberal Kerryistas, he's been looking for somebody new to be mad at. And China sounds good! So, empowered by his google success, he continues to google, and finds out that Wal-Mart is by far the leading importer of Chinese manufactured goods in America. Just as he is finishing his "Boycott Wal-Mart to Stop Forced Abortions" essay, of which he wrote a good half himself, his frat brother knocks on the door and says "Going to Wal-Mart to get beer. Wanna come?"
The United States could use economic pressure to curb these atrocities. But influential American corporations oppose any policy that might interfere with their ability to do business with China's rulers.
Palmer replies, "Why don't we go to K-Mart instead?"
Hey, it's a start!
Q: What if the Iraqis come up with somebody who's not friendly to the United States, is not a democrat, but it's peaceful, is this something you can live with?Now, as usual, I don't fully agree with Bush--I think
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first of all, if there's an election, the Iraqis will have come up with somebody who is duly-elected. In other words, democracy will have spoken. And that person is going to have to listen to the people, not to the whims of a dictator, not to their own desires -- personal desires. The great thing about democracy is you
actually go out and ask the people for a vote, as you might have noticed recently. And the people get to decide, and they get to decide the course of their future. And so it's a contradiction in terms to say a dictator gets elected. The person who gets elected is chosen by the people. And so I don't -- I'm not --
Q You can be elected and be a tyrant.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you can be elected and then be a strong man, and then you get voted out, so long as you end up honoring democracy. But if you're true to democracy, you'll listen to the people, not to your own desires. If you're true to democracy, you'll do what the people want you to do. That's the difference between democracy and a tyrant.
Back at home, there'd be whole regions whose economies depended on the Compassion Industrial Complex, the influence and scope of which was growing all the time. 'I don't know what we'd do without the free-glasses-for-poor-people factory.' The CEOs of the do-goodingest companies would receive rock-star treatment in the business press, and their shareholders would be endlessly enriched. Innovation would be constant, and while sometimes expensive, always worth it. "We help the Unarmy help you."Sort of like the Peace Corps on steroids, I guess, what the Peace Corps might have been if Kennedy's vision for it had been as large as his vision for the Apollo program, or if the expenditures on nuclear missiles and arming the Shah and trying to overthrow Castro and preparing to invade Vietnam hadn't been so much larger than those for the Peace Corps. The Spanish tutor that I hired this past summer, Shayna, is now with the Peace Corps in Togo (a small West-African nation). Not exactly the road to wealth and fame, I'm afraid. Here's an excerpt from her latest e-mail:
There'd be families with generations of members, all serving proudly; soldiers coming home, decorated for acts of brave and conspicuous kindness overseas. 'I'm in the 101st Airborne Coat Delivery--'the Smilin' Kid,' that's our symbol. It's on all our copters. Don't believe the movies, it's nothing like that...Being in an unwar--you can't describe it. My sis drives an unarmored personnel carrier--it's fulla therapists and socialworkers."
There would be highly trained and exotically equipped strike forces, dropped in by paraglider perhaps, to provide marriage counseling or shovel walks for the elderly. 'How'd you do that so fast?' 'Well, ma'am, it's this shovel. It can achieve Mach 4.3. Took a billion dollars to develop, but I think you'll agree, it was worth it." Frogmen in rubber boats would tirelessly sweep the oceans free of choking trash, camoflauged so as not to alarm the fish.
Thankfully training will be over in a few weeks... our swear in is December 9th at the Ambassador's house. We will all be glad because technical training (health information) and language training is wearing on everyone. The first girl from our stage left (ET) today... she had an eating disorder and apparently it was getting worse here. There are a few other people here who may or may not leave.. it's kind of like survivor, in a way. Who can take the insects, heat, lack of everything familiar, getting diarrhea and amoebas, getting harrassed by africans who taunt you because you are white, etc., the longest. And you certainly don't win any money... so far the US government has paid me a whopping $270 for my time here. But I do like it here.. I love the people (the ones who get to know you, not the ones who shout profanities) the food, and my village is great.Dennis Kucinich's Department of Peace proposal is along these lines, although it could probably benefit from some of Gerber's hyperbole to really fire people's imaginations.
Upon arriving for an official dinner with world leaders gathered for the annual APEC summit on Saturday night, the president stopped after hearing commotion at the door of the Estacion Mapocho Cultural Center.Then, today, the Secret Service (aka SS) insisted that all 230 guests invited to a dinner go through a metal detector. Showing more Andean spine than they did yesterday, the Chileans decided to call off the dinner rather than humiliate their guests. And imagine some foreign leader dragging an armed bodyguard past the SS at the White House, then smirking with pride. Hmmm. Maybe that's what Saddam did.
According to a videotape of the incident, Bush turned around and saw that one of his Secret Service agents was being forcefully restrained from entering by Chilean security guards.
The president dove into the crowd, where people were arguing and pushing one another, and pulled the agent through the door of center.
After the successful rescue, Bush turned around, cocked his head proudly at his maneuver and began to greet his hosts.
Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.This is what Cheney calls an "amazing success:" malnutrition nearly twice as bad as existed under Saddam and sanctions. (Via Under the Same Sun)
After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein.
When Ed Schwebel was whittling down his mound of credit card debt at an interest rate of 9.2 percent, the MBNA Corporation had a happy and profitable customer. But this summer, when MBNA suddenly doubled the rate on his account, Mr. Schwebel joined the growing ranks of irate cardholders stunned by lenders' harsh tactics.I'd guess that most of my readers are not suffering from acute cases of affluenza, running up huge amounts of credit card debt. But most of you probably know someone who is. If there is one step probably more important than any other that these people could take, both for their own sakes and for the sake of bringing down the evil corporations running (ruining) our lives, it would be to get out of debt ASAP.
Mr. Schwebel, 58, a semiretired software engineer in Gilbert, Ariz., was not pleased that his minimum monthly payment jumped from $502 in June to $895 in July. But what really made him angry, he said, was the sense that he was being punished despite having held up his end of the bargain with MBNA.
"I paid the bills the minute the envelope hit the desk," said Mr. Schwebel, who had accumulated $69,000 in debt over five years before the rate increase. "All of a sudden in July, they swapped it to 18 percent. No warning. No reason. It was like I was blindsided."
Mr. Schwebel had stumbled into the new era of consumer credit, in which thousands of Americans are paying millions of dollars each month in fees that they did not expect and that strike them as unreasonable. Invoking clauses tucked into the fine print of their contract agreements, lenders are doubling or tripling interest rates with little warning or explanation.
This year, credit card companies are changing the terms of their accounts at a historically high rate, said Michael Heller, an industry consultant.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's Electoral Commission on Sunday set national elections for Jan. 30, and a spokesman said ballots would be cast nationwide, including in areas now wracked by violence.Of course, we all know they'll actually hold "secret" elections on January 28, and declare Comical Allawi the winner. The situation in Iraq will change not at all from January 27.
In the past Mr. Chavez has been assailed by independent media who sympathize with his opposition; he has responded with a new media law that will allow his government to suspend the licenses of radio and television stations for content deemed "contrary to the security of the nation." A new penal code will outlaw most forms of public protest and designate some as terrorism. An expansion of the Supreme Court will allow the president to stack the only judicial body that has retained some independence. A campaign has been launched against civil society groups, beginning with the election monitoring group Sumate, whose organizers are threatened with charges of treason. Mr. Chavez is using Venezuela's oil revenue to fund antidemocratic or populist movements in nations such as Bolivia and to subsidize Mr. Castro's bankrupt regime."Independent media who sympathize with his opposition?" Almost all of the major media in Venezuela are OWNED by the opposition. Suspending licenses of radio and TV stations? Our government has been shutting down micro FM stations, and fining radio and TV stations for "indecency." And funding antidemocratic movements? That is pretty much a definition of US foreign policy for the past fifty years.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than 12 million families last year, about the same as in 2002, either didn't have enough food or worried about being able to feed everyone, the government reported Friday.I wonder if an extra $20 a day per family would have made a difference. I think so, don't you? Because if you take $20 a day, multiply it by 12 million families, and multiply that by 611 days, you get $146,640,000,000, which is the approximate (monetary) cost to date for the 611 days of the Iraq war.
In about one-third of these 12.6 million families, or about 3.9 million, at least one member experienced hunger because he or she couldn't afford enough food at some time during the last year, said the annual Agriculture Department report.
The other two-thirds of families avoided hunger by reducing the variety of foods they ate, participating in federal food assistance programs or getting supplies from community food banks and emergency kitchens, it said.
President Hugo Chavez's spokesman on Friday accused "terrorists" training in Florida of being behind the assassination of a top prosecutor who intended to try backers of Venezuela's 2002 coup.Obviously, I'm in no position to evaluate who might have killed Anderson. But it is certainly reasonable to suspect that Jeb's thugs in Miami might be behind it. It probably isn't so reasonable to jump to the conclusion that they are behind it before any serious investigation. Maybe Chavez and Bush do have something in common. (Recall that the attack on Afghanistan started almost three years BEFORE the conclusion, and well over a year before the start, of an investigation into the facts of 9/11. Thousands of Afghans died in that ugly little war, even though no Afghans were directly involved in 9/11.)
Danilo Anderson was killed by two explosions that tore through his SUV as he was driving in the capital just before midnight Thursday. The killing shook this oil-rich South American nation and raised the specter of further violence.
Newtopia: How long could the US remain at current usage levels if we forcibly seized all of the known oil reserves in the world?FTW has lots of stuff on oil and energy.
MR: Great question but the answer is uncertain. The question assumes that somehow the US will be able to “take” all the energy it needs, whenever it needs it. The truth is that the global energy supply is a very complex system which as has been recently demonstrated – quite clearly – has no elasticity whatsoever. Not every event or circumstance is answerable with military force. For example: a large Russian tanker just stalled yesterday in the narrowest part of the Suez Canal when its steering gears allegedly failed. Some 130 ships were backed up behind it. That’s a problem that can’t be bombed into submission.
There is massive civil unrest exploding through maybe ten countries in Africa. Strikes are pending in Nigeria and Norway. Sometimes refineries go idle or are damaged by weather as recently happened in the Gulf of Mexico with four hurricanes in a row.
There are other problems such as with refining capacity. Saudi Arabia and other countries have recently boosted production. But they can do so only with heavy-sour oil which cannot be turned into gasoline by most refineries. We do not need asphalt, we need gasoline. No new refineries are being built because (at a cost of around $150 million, with a 2-3 year lag time) the oil companies know that there won’t be enough future oil production to repay for the capital cost of building the new refineries. That’s why no – zero – significant new refinery construction is taking place anywhere that affects the global supply chain.
A better question is: How long will the US have before supply disruptions and production shortfalls hit home? The answer in my opinion is: less than a year.
Democrats said the debt limit increase, the third in as many years, was necessitated by Bush's "irresponsible" fiscal priorities, including what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California described as tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate handouts.Well, their both right, but isn't it a croque du merde that Pelosi won't blame Bush for the illegal wars' contribution to the deficit, and the Republicans seem to see three of the biggest failures of aWol's first four miserable years as legitimate excuses?
Republicans say the 2001 recession and the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks are responsible for the fiscal shortfall.
The Fed chairman, "left little imagination to currency traders other than to sell the US currency," said Ashraf Laidi, chief currency analyst at MG Financial Group. He said Greenspan's comments warnings about future declines in the dollar unless the federal budget deficit is reduced were particularly telling to the markets.The stock market went on an appropriately drunken rampage after aWol's "victory," with the Dow rising some 500 points, but even those bozos are sobering up--the Dow is down over 100 points today. It may be that moment on Wall Street where they go from "Woohoo! Bush got re-selected!! More tax cuts! Less regulation! More wars!" to "OH MY GOD; FOUR MORE YEARS of spoiled-child leadership? We're doomed."
"This last comment is crucial, especially when the U.S. Congress last night rejected restrictions on tax cuts and spending, and raised the federal debt limit by $800 billion, to $8.18 trillion," Laidi said.
Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. soldiers, stormed one of the major Sunni Muslim mosques in Baghdad after Friday prayers, opening fire and killing at least three people, witnesses said. Another raid overnight at a hospital allegedly used by insurgents in Mosul led to three arrests, the military said.The article also says:
About 40 people were arrested at the Abu Hanifa mosque in the capital's northwestern Azamiyah neighborhood, according to the witnesses, who were members of the congregation. Another five people were wounded.
On Thursday, the Iraqi government warned that Islamic clerics who incite violence will be considered as "participating in terrorism."I almost wish we had that rule here:
After adding 10 new Eastern and Central European nations last May, the European Union now has a much larger population than the United States, and a slightly bigger economy. As Jeremy Rifkin argues in his dense and contentious new research-driven tome "The European Dream," the United States remains ahead in per-capita GDP, but the difference is not as significant as it looks.Where do we sign up?
Much of American "productivity," Rifkin suggests, is accounted for by economic activity that might be better described as wasteful: military spending; the endlessly expanding police and prison bureaucracies; the spiraling cost of healthcare; suburban sprawl; the fast-food industry and its inevitable corollary, the weight-loss craze. Meaningful comparisons of living standards, he says, consistently favor the Europeans. In France, for instance, the work week is 35 hours and most employees take 10 to 12 weeks off every year, factors that clearly depress GDP. Yet it takes a John Locke heart of stone to say that France is worse off as a nation for all that time people spend in the countryside downing du vin rouge et du Camembert with friends and family.
Whatever your intellectual and emotional responses may be to this burgeoning transatlantic conflict, it's difficult for any American to read Rifkin's book and not feel ashamed. The U.S. has fallen significantly behind the EU's Western European nations in infant mortality and life expectancy, despite spending more on healthcare per capita than any of them. (While 40 million Americans are uninsured, no one in Europe -- I repeat, not a single person -- lacks some form of healthcare coverage.)
European children are consistently better educated; the United States would rank ninth in the EU in reading, ninth in scientific literacy, and 13th in math. Twenty-two percent of American children grow up in poverty, which means that our country ranks 22nd out of the 23 industrialized nations, ahead of only Mexico and behind all 15 of the pre-2004 EU countries. What's more horrifying: the statistic itself or the fact that no American politician to the right of Dennis Kucinich would ever address it?
Perhaps more surprisingly, European business has not been strangled by the EU welfare state; in fact, quite the opposite is true. Europe has surpassed the United States in several high-tech and financial sectors, including wireless technology, grid computing and the insurance industry. The EU has a higher proportion of small businesses than the U.S., and their success rate is higher. American capitalists have begun to pay attention to all this. In Reid's book, Ford Motor Co. chairman Bill Ford explains that the company's Volvo subsidiary is more profitable than its U.S. manufacturing operation, even though wages and benefits are significantly higher in Sweden. Government-subsidized healthcare, child care, pensions and other social supports, Ford says, more than make up for the difference.
There are three kinds of people -- I call them Larrys, Curlys, and Moes. The Larrys don't even know that there are three types; if they're told, it's an abstraction, because they cannot imagine anything beyond Larry-ness. The Curlys know about it, and recognize the pecking order, but find ways of living with it cheerfully...for they are the imaginative, creative ones. The Moes not only know about it, but exploit and perpetuate it.Read the rest! Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
Now, it seems, is the "real" crunch, the one that the producers of this title so wisely prepared their team for by running them into the ground ahead of time. The current mandatory hours are 9am to 10pm -- seven days a week -- with the occasional Saturday evening off for good behavior (at 6:30pm). This averages out to an eighty-five hour work week. Complaints that these once more extended hours combined with the team's existing fatigue would result in a greater number of mistakes made and an even greater amount of wasted energy were ignored.Because, I guess, "Madden 2005" can't wait until 2006, and you can't expect today's easily-bored kids to keep playing "Madden 2004" forever (and where's the money in that?).
And the kicker: for the honor of this treatment EA salaried employees receive a) no overtime; b) no compensation time! ('comp' time is the equalization of time off for overtime -- any hours spent during a crunch accrue into days off after the product has shipped); c) no additional sick or vacation leave. The time just goes away. Additionally, EA recently announced that, although in the past they have offered essentially a type of comp time in the form of a few weeks off at the end of a project, they no longer wish to do this, and employees shouldn't expect it.
The assault on Fallujah is Nazi-style collective punishment, not liberation. The city has been reduced to rubble because its political, religious and tribal leaders, motivated by Iraqi nationalism and opposition to the presence of foreign troops in their country, organised a guerilla resistance to the US invasion. In April, the city withstood an assault by US marines and became a focus of broader resistance, particularly in the Sunni Muslim regions of central and northern Iraq. In June, Fallujah’s leaders refused to accept the legitimacy of the US-installed puppet interim government headed by prime minister Iyad Allawi.
The aim of the US assault is to make Fallujah an example to the rest of Iraq of what will happen to those who oppose the transformation of their country into a US client state. It is the spearhead of an orgy of killing intended to crush and drive underground every voice of opposition and ensure that elections next year result in a venal, pro-US regime. The American military is planning similar attacks on as many as 21 other cities and towns in Iraq.
Comments by American soldiers testify to the fact they view the entire population of Fallujah as their enemy and their mission as punishing the city. An officer overseeing the collection of Iraqi bodies, Captain P.J. Batty, told Associated Press (AP) following the discovery of two Iraqi men and two women buried in a shallow grave outside a house: “This exemplifies the horrors of war. We don’t wish this upon anyone, but everyone needs to understand there are consequences for not following the Iraqi government.”
An unnamed US special forces officer now working as a security consultant in Baghdad, summed up his assessment in the November 17 Washington Post: “We are without allies among the Iraqi populace, including those who have benefited from the ouster of Saddam. Across Baghdad, Latifiyah, Mahmudiyah, Salman Park, Baqubah, Balad, Taji, Bajii, Ramadi, and just about everywhere else you can name, the people absolutely hate us... The Iraqi people have not bought into what the Americans are selling, and no amount of military activity is going to change this fact.”
The responsibility of opponents of militarism the world-over is to defend the Iraqi masses and demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all occupation forces.
TOKYO (AP) -- The U.S. dollar tumbled to its lowest rate in years against key Asian currencies Thursday after a top U.S. official indicated the government wouldn't intervene to halt the American currency's recent slide worldwide.The thing, as best as I can understand it, is that allowing the dollar to fall is more likely to be an accelerating, snowballing, positive-feedback (in the negative sense) trend, not a self-correcting one. Foreign governments, banks, and private investors hold trillions of dollars worth of T-bills, stocks, and other dollar-denominated securities which lose their value right along with the dollar. If the US admits it wants the dollar to fall, all of these folks will try to get rid of this stuff as fast as possible--which only means the dollar will fall further. OPEC and other oil exporters will once again talk of switching the oil economy to euros, and the dollar will fall even further. Our import-driven economy will implode (even agriculture, our one major export, is heavily dependent on oil imports).
The dollar fell to a four-and-a-half-year low against the Japanese yen, and a seven-year low against the South Korean won. The trend continued as European markets opened, and the dollar fell to a new record low against the euro.
The euro surged to US$1.3074, breaking the record set on Wednesday, as concerns about high oil prices and the U.S. trade and budget deficits continued to push the dollar lower.
Analysts attributed Thursday's plunge to comments by U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow in London on Wednesday, that "no one has ever devalued their way to prosperity" but the "only way to get prosperity is to follow the marketplace."
Snow said the United States favors a strong dollar, but his comments were still interpreted as ruling out official intervention in currency markets and renewed the markets' view that U.S. President George W. Bush's administration is happy to watch the dollar fall.
Some Asian officials have been worried the United States will start relying on a weak dollar to fight the ballooning American trade and budget deficits.
Writes columnist Ellen Goodman, "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to the job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it."Don't forget! A week from Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is Buy Nothing Day! Celebrate the start of a sane holiday season by NOT going to Wal-Mart or Sears-Kmart or the mall or any other American house of worshop. Think about what you can DO for your family and friends, rather than what you can BUY for them. Chances are they're already buying way more crap than they need--your gifts will only further burden them. Remember, any interest payments you make on your credit cards will likely go to elect even more Repuglicans or fund even more wars. Celebrate the holidays by spending time with, not money on, your family and friends. Get off to a great start by celebrating Buy Nothing Day! (Lots of ideas as to how on the web site)
Erich Fromm reminds us about the potential risk of settling for normal: "That millions share the same forms of mental pathology does not make those people sane."
Shoppers are excited about the merger. "Stuff that Sears doesn't have Kmart offers, and stuff that Kmart doens't have Sears offers. I think it's a good idea," said one shopper Scott Platzke.First off—Dionne, why do you need to go to Kmart five days a week? How much crap can you possibly need? Can’t you think of any better way to waste your life? Second—don’t you morons realize that this means there’s a good chance that your favorite Kmart or Sears store will be closing soon? Mergers like this aren’t done for your benefit—they’re done so that large numbers of stores can be closed and workers laid off so that even more of the money can go towards golden parachutes for the scum of the earth who arranged the merger in the first place. Third—the reporter provides zero evidence to support his claim that Toledo shoppers are excited outside of the brain-dead babbling of Scott and Dionne. He makes no mention of having asked hundreds or even several shoppers about the merger. He doesn’t mention the likely impact in terms of reduced competition, store closures, and layoffs—only the thrilling idea that you’ll now be able to buy Kmart crap at Sears and vice-versa.
The deal means shoppers will be able to get tools and other hard goods at Kmart and more clothing at Sears. "I guess that would be good. I mean, I like Sears and they're really reasonable with their prices and Kmart, I'm here most of the, probably five days out of the week, so I think this is probably a pretty good idea," said another shopper Dionne Meredith.
Think of 20-year-old Bush after a bender getting behind the wheel, his cronies egging him on, and we're all in the backseat, pinned in between more of his friends, unable to get to the door as he accelerates down the freeway.
A Boeing Co.-led team has successfully fired for the first time a powerful laser meant to fly aboard a modified 747 as part of a U.S. ballistic missile defense shield, officials said on Friday.Of course they did. They wouldn't have any incentive to lie, now would they?
Demonstrated progress, particularly in achieving "First Light," would be critical to continuation of the project, negotiators from the House of Representatives and Senate armed services committees said in a report last month accompanying the 2005 Defense Authorization Act.And the likelihood that they're lying in order to keep their jobs is the GOOD scenario. If the thing actually works?
Congress authorized President Bush's request for $474.3 million for the program in fiscal 2005, which began October 1, as part of the $10 billion budgeted for missile defense development and deployment.
Pentagon officials envision several such aircraft flying by turns near North Korea or another potential foe's territory. The goal is to detect, track and destroy a missile when that would be easiest, before it releases a warhead that could be tipped with chemical, nuclear or germ weapons.Which means it crashes in Japan. And that the North Koreans will just develop enough missiles to overwhelm the system. Or that they'll improve their surface-to-air missile capabilities so they can blow the 747's away before lauch. Mostly, it just means another hugely expensive arms race. And it's all "justified" because the US continues to demonstrate to the world what happens when you DON'T have nuclear capability--you get Fallujahed.
"I don't read," says a junior without the slightest self-consciousness. She has not the smallest hint that professing a habitual preference for not reading at a university is like bragging in ordinary life that one chooses not to breathe. She is in my "World Literature" class. She has to read novels by African, Latin American, and Asian authors. She is not there by choice: it's just a "distribution" requirement for graduation, and it's easier than philosophy--she thinks.Okay, I've quoted about half the article! Still, you should read it all. And then remember, in the face of this abysmal ignorance, there are people out there trying to make it even worse.
The novel she has trouble reading is Isabel Allende's "Of Love and Shadows," set in the post-coup terror of Pinochet's junta's Nazi-style regime in Chile, 1973-1989. No one in the class, including the English majors, can write a focussed essay of analysis, so I have to teach that. No one in the class knows where Chile is, so I make photocopies of general information from world guide surveys. No one knows what socialism or fascism is, so I spend time writing up digestible definitions. No one knows what Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" is, and I supply it because it's impossible to understand the theme of the novel without a basic knowledge of that work--which used to be required reading a few generations ago. And no one in the class has ever heard of 11 September 1973, the CIA-sponsored coup which terminated Chile's mature democracy. There is complete shock when I supply US de-classified documents proving US collusion with the generals' coup and the assassination of elected president, Salvador Allende.
Let me put it succinctly: I don't think serious education is possible in America. Anything you touch in the annals of knowledge is a foe of this system of commerce and profit, run amok. The only education that can be permitted is if it acculturates to the status quo, as happens in the expensive schools, or if it produces people to police and enforce the status quo, as in the state school where I teach. Significantly, at my school, which is a third-tier university, servicing working-class, first-generation college graduates who enter lower-etchelon jobs in the civil service, education, or middle management, the favored academic concentrations are communications, criminal justice, and social work--basically how to mystify, cage, and control the masses.
This education is a vast waste of the resources and potential of the young. It is boring beyond belief and useless--except to the powers and interests that depend on it. When a Ukranian student, a three-week arrival on these shores, writes the best-organized and most profound essay in English of the class, American education has something to answer for--especially to our youth.
Cultural fascism manifests itself in an aversion to thought and cultural refinement. "When I hear the word 'culture,'" Goebbels said, "I reach for my revolver." One of the infamous and telling reforms the Pinochet regime implemented was educational reform. The basic goal was to end the university's role as a source of social criticism and political opposition. The order came to dismantle the departments of philosophy, social and political science, humanities and the arts--areas in which political discussions were likely to occur. The universities were ordered to issue degrees only in business management, computer programming, engineering, medicine and dentistry-- vocational training schools, which in reality is what American education has come to resemble, at least at the level of mass education. Our students can graduate without ever touching a foreign language, philosophy, elements of any science, music or art, history, and political science, or economics. In fact, our students learn to live in an electoral democracy devoid of politics-- a feature the dwindling crowds at the voting booths well illustrate.
It's in the G.O.P.'s interest to pander to this far-right constituency - votes are votes - but you can be certain that a party joined at the hip to much of corporate America, Mr. Murdoch included, will take no action to curtail the blue culture these voters deplore. As Marshall Wittman, an independent-minded former associate of both Ralph Reed and John McCain, wrote before the election, "The only things the religious conservatives get are largely symbolic votes on proposals guaranteed to fail, such as the gay marriage constitutional amendment." That amendment has never had a prayer of rounding up the two-thirds majority needed for passage and still doesn't.
Mr. Wittman echoes Thomas Frank, the author of "What's the Matter With Kansas?," by common consent the year's most prescient political book. "Values," Mr. Frank writes, "always take a backseat to the needs of money once the elections are won." Under this perennial "trick," as he calls it, Republican politicians promise to stop abortion and force the culture industry "to clean up its act" - until the votes are counted. Then they return to their higher priorities, like cutting capital gains and estate taxes. Mr. Murdoch and his fellow cultural barons - from Sumner Redstone, the Bush-endorsing C.E.O. of Viacom, to Richard Parsons, the Republican C.E.O. of Time Warner, to Jeffrey Immelt, the Bush-contributing C.E.O. of G.E. (NBC Universal) - are about to be rewarded not just with more tax breaks but also with deregulatory goodies increasing their power to market salacious entertainment. It's they, not Susan Sarandon and Bruce Springsteen, who actually set the cultural agenda Gary Bauer and company say they despise.
US-installed CIA asset Iyad Allawi, the "prime minister," said he was sure there had been no civilian casualties in Fallujah. Allawi is gradually revealing himself as the pro-American twin of Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf, "Baghdad Bob," who used to deny that US troops were in Baghdad even though journalists could see the tanks over his shoulder. Now Allawi wants to deny that residents of a city that has been invaded and crushed managed to escape without a scratch unless they were active guerrillas.
Looking for a kayak or any kind of boat that works for free or really cheap. Thanks.Maybe he got an individual ready reserve call-up. The Detroit River is only about a mile wide, and there's no ice on it yet.
Fallujah’s “crime” is that its fighters, backed by the community, have been at the forefront of Iraqi resistance to the US-led invasion and occupation of the country. The US assault is Nazi-style collective punishment of the entire city, aimed at terrorising the Iraqi population as a whole into submission before sham elections are held in January to legitimise a US-vetted puppet government.
"Ms. Rice. You've said on national television that "We" (you, the Bush Administration, the Federal Government) couldn't have imagined anyone would use planes as weapons, YET your own Administration was holding an emergency response exercise on precisely that scenario -- of a plane crashing into a tower -- that VERY morning of Sept. 11 -- at the National Reconnaissance Office, near Dulles Airport. And yet another emergency response exercise, by NORAD, the same agency that didn't scramble interceptors in time to prevent the attacks, was holding its OWN emergency response exercise on the morning of 9-11 on a multiple-hijack scenario. We know this because the lead coordinator of the attack-and-response scenario, pilots, and even General Arnold, NORAD's No. 2 who finally ordered the interceptors scrambled too late, were ALL participating IN the 'wargame' AS THE ATTACKS UNFOLDED and have GONE ON RECORD that they were at first confused as to whether emergency reports coming in from Boston were part of the game, or 'for real'; and they wouldn't, and couldn't, have been confused UNLESS the wargame scenario ITSELF was either of, or had a major component of, AIRLINER HIJACKINGS.Okay, I stole that question verbatim from this web site, and I'd say it could probably be phrased a bit better. Any reasonable paraphrase of the question locks up the nomination.
Dr. Rice: Secretary Powell provided his ultimate service to this administration with his masterful day of lies to the UN in February, 2003. Now, no offense Dr. Rice, but we've heard you lie. And you're not nearly as convincing as Secretary Powell. What lies can you tell us now to reassure us that you'll be able to lie effectively when called upon as Secretary of State?Or, more seriously:
Dr. Rice: World oil production is going to peak in the next few years. Will you, as Secretary of State, reassure the rest of the world that the United States will commit to the massive conservation effort and switch to alternative energy sources needed to deal with this, or will you just carry on with the policy of this and all recent administrations that every drop of oil left in the ground belongs to us, and we're going to kill anyone standing in the way of us getting it? I think the rest of the world already knows the answer, but I think many Americans need to hear you say it loud and clear--that this administration is committed to being at war for as long as it takes, not to rid the world of "terrorism" as stated, but to extend the wasteful and unsustainable American way of life for as many years as possible. And how many American lives and trillions of dollars do you predict will be wasted in this effort?
McFarlane, now in Beirut, persuaded the President to have the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey start hurling 16-inch shells into the mountains above Beirut, in World War II style, as if we were softening up the beaches on some Pacific atoll prior to an invasion. What we tend to overlook in such situations is that other people will react much as we would... And since they could not reach the battleship, they found a more vulnerable target, the exposed Marines at the airport.You really should read his post. Really.
A rebel counteroffensive swept through central and northern Iraq on Monday as American troops struggled to flush the remaining insurgents from the rubble-strewn streets of Falluja.I can't believe the NY Times is still buying the military's BS. There was no way that Fallujah was a "safe haven" for insurgents carrying out bombings and attack across Iraq. We've pissed off the whole country, not just Fallujah, and the whole country will now fight us to the death. It was completely predictable and in fact was predicted that the insurgency would intensify if and when the bloody assault on Fallujah took place. And there's this:
Guerrillas in Baquba, Mosul, Kirkuk and Suwaira stormed police stations, set oil wells ablaze and struck at American military convoys with suicide car bombs, routing Iraqi security forces in several coordinated assaults and severely damaging parts of the country's petroleum-based economic lifeline.
The wave of attacks across the Sunni Muslim heartland suggested that guerrillas were ready to carry on the war despite the loss of their safe haven in Falluja.
Overnight, insurgents attacked an oil storage tank in the north and set fire to four oil wells.I'm guessing that the three-week decline in oil prices is about to turn around abruptly. Local gas prices have dropped below $2 a gallon; that won't last long either.
Colonel Regner said that as of Monday afternoon, 1,052 insurgents had been captured, all but one or two dozen of whom were Iraqis. The others were foreign fighters from countries he did not identify.So much for "anti-Iraqi forces." These "insurgents" were Iraqis defending their country against foreign invaders.
He said 38 American soldiers had been killed in the Falluja operation and 320 wounded. Of the wounded, 134 had returned to duty. He said there had been 6 Iraqi soldiers killed in action and 28 wounded, two of whom had returned to duty.That means 186 American soldiers were seriously wounded--missing arms, legs, eyes, maybe. All for a miserable pile of poisoned rubble.
Those were themes that Secretary Powell also touched on in his letter of resignation to the president, which he said was tendered on Friday. In that letter, Mr. Powell also expressed satisfaction that he had been part of administration efforts that "brought the attention of the world to the problem of proliferation, reaffirmed our alliances, adjusted to the post-cold war world and undertook major initiatives to deal with the problem of poverty and disease in the developing world."Oh yeah. You've got the world's attention on proliferation, alright. Proliferate or die seems to have been the clear message of the invasion of Iraq. One of the most shameful careers in US government history comes, hopefully, to an end. Powell used his image to give the Bushies an aura of respect and intelligence far beyond what they deserved. He was trotted out by the unelected bastards well before the election of 2000 was officially stolen, and stayed just long enough to carry them through the 2004 election. If anyone could have spoken out and stopped the rush to an illegal war, it was Powell. Instead, he did precisely the opposite.
With your help and the passionate support of more than 3,000 contributors in the last four days, we have now raised the required fee, estimated at $113,600, for a complete recount in all 11,306 precincts in Ohio.Go to the Cobb-LaMarche web site to make a donation or to volunteer.
Now we must ensure that the recount doesn't take place in a vacuum. We need witnesses, volunteers, housing and per diem, etc. to support the participation of thousands of volunteers, as well as funds for travel, communications, and other necessary expenses now being incurred as we press our campaign to see that every vote is counted.
We have set an initial goal of $100,000 for this effort (although we are still researching the full costs of fielding sufficient witnesses and volunteers).
Although the Kerry campaign is sitting on millions of dollars that could fund this effort, he promptly conceded the election, rolled up his tent and went home. It was left to the Cobb and Badnarik campaigns to insist that every vote be counted. As Greens we are organized to promote an accountable small 'd' democracy. And with your continued help we'll be able to do that!
For what it's worth, I worked for NCR for ~ five years, and sold their "Teradata Data Warehousing Solutions". I'd agree with you in being dubious of the claim(s) they're making - specifically that there are only 230 TB on the whole web.
However, 460 TB sounds about right as far as the Wal-Mart data warehouse. NCR always loved to puff up Wal-Mart's database accomplishments when trying to sell to other customers. NCR purchased Teradata for that specific reason - their expertise in massive data warehouses.
SO - 460 TB, very likely spot-on. Twice the rest of the web - likely bollocks.
Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.Ryan represents the 17th district in northwest Ohio. Isn't it a travesty that Ohio gets one electoral vote for each representative, including Ryan and Kucinich, and they ALL get cast for Bush in the electoral college?
I rise in opposition of this bill, but I would like to clarify something. We are not trying to scare kids. This President's foreign policy is what is scaring the kids of this country. And people have said today, why are people believing this? Why are people believing this big Internet hoax?
It is the same people who told us that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11; the same people who told us Saddam Hussein had something to do with weapons of mass destruction; the same people who told us we would be able to use the oil for reconstruction money; the same people who told us we would be greeted as liberators, not occupiers; the same people, the same President who told us the Taliban is gone; the same President who told us that Poland is our ally 2 days before they pull out; the same President who tells us Iraq is going just great; the same President who tells us the economy is going just great; the same people who told us the tax cuts were going to create millions of jobs; the same people who told us that the Medicare program only cost $400 billion when it really cost $540 billion.
So please forgive us for believing what you are saying. Please forgive the students of this country for not believing what you are saying. Not one thing, not one thing about this war that has been told to the American people or that has been told to these college students has been true. Not one thing. Bremer says we need more troops. The Pentagon says we need more troops, and this President cannot get them from the international community. There is only one option left. Let us be honest with the American people.
Wal-Mart has 460 terabytes of data stored on Teradata mainframes, made by NCR, at its Bentonville headquarters. To put that in perspective, the Internet has less than half as much data, according to experts.After discussing it with my brother, the idea that the Internet contains less than 230 terabytes of data seems absurd. We've got servers at work that hold a terabyte of data. You can buy a terabyte (1000 gigabytes) of storage space for your PC for $800. This article says that there are some 550 billion documents on the web. If there were only 230 terabytes of data, that means that each document averages about 418 bytes. The italicized portion of this post (above) is 418 bytes. This blog page currently has about 140,000 bytes of text, not counting the pictures and comics (my October archive is 610,000 bytes). When you consider all of the news, sports, financial, weather, music, video and other sites on the web which have way more data on them than this site, I think you'll agree that the Internet contains way more than 230 terabytes of data. Whether Wal-Mart has twice as much as that, or it has 460 terabytes, I don't know. It just can't have both.
Miami-Dade County Police are reviewing their policy on using Tasers after officers stunned two children with the weapons in the past few weeks.His safety? A 12-year-old girl is running away from you and you nail her with 50,000 volts for your safety? So much for big macho cops, I guess. And if she was running into lanes of traffic, incapacitating her with a taser made it much more likely that she'd get hit by a car. So much for her safety.
The more recent of the two incidents occurred November 5, when a 12-year-old girl who was skipping school was found drinking and smoking in a swimming pool, Miami-Dade police officer William Nelson stated in an incident report. He said he responded to an anonymous call about the activities.
He said he told the girl he was taking her to school. As they walked to the police car, she ran away.
"I advised her to stop several times," he said in the report. She "continued running even to the point of starting to run into lanes of traffic."
Nelson said he used the Taser for his and the girl's safety, striking her in the base of the neck and lower right back.
Records kept by Taser International of Scottsdale show that as of six months ago, two 1-year-olds, one 2-year-old, two 3-year-olds, two 4-year-olds, one 5-year-old, one 6-year-old and one 7-year-old had been hit with Tasers...[Update] Bob Harris has a poll on the subject of tasering kids:
"Destruction was everywhere. I saw people lying dead in the streets, wounded were bleeding and there was no one to come and help them. Even the civilians who stayed in Fallujah were too afraid to go out," he said.Fallujah: A massive war crime.
"There was no medicine, water, no electricity nor food for days."
By Tuesday afternoon, as U.S. forces and Iraqi rebels engaged in fierce clashes in the heart of his neighborhood, Hussein snapped.
"U.S. soldiers began to open fire on the houses, so I decided that it was very dangerous to stay in my house," he said.
Hussein said he panicked, seizing on a plan to escape across the Euphrates River, which flows on the western side of the city.
"I wasn't really thinking," he said. "Suddenly, I just had to get out. I didn't think there was any other choice."
In the rush, Hussein left behind his camera lens and a satellite telephone for transmitting his images. His lens, marked with the distinctive AP logo, was discovered two days later by U.S. Marines next to a dead man's body in a house in Jolan.
AP colleagues in the Baghdad bureau, who by then had not heard from Hussein in 48 hours, became even more worried.
Hussein moved from house to house dodging gunfire and reached the river.
"I decided to swim … but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river."
He watched horrified as a family of five was shot dead as they tried to cross. Then, he "helped bury a man by the river bank, with my own hands."
"I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some U.S. snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim. I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards."
Republicans are everywhere, but everywhere is not a good place to look for them. For my purposes I wanted to try to catch them in their ideal habitat. That was why I chose Orlando. For me, it is hell on earth, the worst city on the planet, a place that would make me long for Kinshasa or Volokolamsk. But for Republicans, it is ideal: a scorching-hot paved inland archipelago of garish shopping malls and stadium-size steel-and-glass Baptist churches, a place with no nonhuman life apart from the caged animals at the theme parks, and an entire economy organized around monstrous temples to fake experience.
If you've ever hung out with the Tricia Enrights and Joe Trippis of the world, you know that the operative vibe of the Democratic insider is wisecracking cool. It is not a reach to say that the ideological vision that mainstream Democratic politics has offered America since Clinton has been the supercool high school, the party of the popular kids. For all the talk about the Democrats being the party of inclusion, it really doesn't feel that way from the inside.
That's not true of all Democrats, of course. I thought it was very different, for instance, in the campaign of Dennis Kucinich. For the most part, these people were motivated by something other than ambition, and just being part of that campaign meant you were in a besieged minority, with the whole world out there laughing at you. Kucinich supporters stuck up for one another, because they had to.
You get that same besieged fraternal feeling in a Republican campaign office. There is no M*A*S*H ensemble-cast repartee. Nobody wears T-shirts that mean something, and nobody looks cool. As I would later find out, most Republicans hate "cool" ("They all think they're so cool and artistic," griped one woman as she watched Fox coverage of Democratic delegates arriving in Boston). Many of the parent volunteers I met were especially bitter because they think that cool is what liberals use to lure their children away. Which they might very well be right about, of course.
During my time on the campaign, I noticed an unusual phenomenon. The more involved a person was with the campaign, the more likely he was to be politically moderate. Most of the core group of our office -- Vienna, Rhyan, Ben, Don -- were quietly pro-choice or socially liberal in some other respect. It was the casual volunteers and the people whose only involvement was a bumper sticker who were likely to rant about liberals being traitors and agents of Islamo-Fascism who should be exiled from the country or jailed, etc.
I saw this clearly one weekend at a local gun show, where we were manning a voter-registration booth. I rotated with Rhyan and Vienna that weekend, and all three of us were quietly freaking out at the sight of all these fat weirdos from the sticks buying huge assault rifles and Confederate bumper stickers with messages such as IF I'D KNOWN THIS WOULD HAPPEN, I'D HAVE PICKED MY OWN COTTON.
"Man, I'm glad I'm a socially liberal Republican," whispered Rhyan at one point, laughing.
Few people outside the oil industry understand that 6% to 7% more oil must be found and made available to the market each year in order to meet 2% growth in world consumption. It's a huge job; and it is getting harder to do, as the potential reserve size of prospects we are drilling today is smaller, and the large, prolific fields found in the past are advancing along their decline curves. Currently, some 70% of the oil that is consumed comes from fields discovered 25 or more years ago.Obviously, Maxwell undercuts his own credibility, in my eyes anyway, with the nonsense that I italicised (taking over someone else's oil fields IS our principle--see "Doctrine, Carter" and "Energy Plan, Cheney"). He also says a bunch of stuff after the section I quoted that I found highly distasteful, so I didn't quote it (it's my blog, after all!). Still, the article is clear evidence that the financial moguls in this country know about peak oil, or will after they read the article. I'm not sure which is scarier--that they didn't really know about it before now and are therefore ignorant and incompetent, or the more likely scenario that they've known about it all along and have consciously decided to plow ahead with their evil schemes KNOWING it means widespread war, famine, pestilence, and so on in the relatively near future. Actually, now that I've written them both out, I know which is scarier.
Most of the likely oil-bearing basins of the world have now been prospected, and the odds of vast new reserves suddenly making an appearance are low. Of course, relatively large individual discoveries will occasionally turn up in the years ahead, but not in size and number to suggest these finds can equal the substantially greater amount of supplies that are being burned up. Today, the world is consuming some 30 billion barrels a year, and we are finding less than one-third that amount.
Our country's leaders have three main choices: Taking over someone else's oil fields; carrying on until the lights go out and Americans are freezing in the dark; or changing our life style by deep conservation while heavily investing in alternative energy sources at higher costs.
The first two choices can be only temporary palliatives. Taking over foreign energy fields would be against this country's principles, and, like most violations of principle, it wouldn't work. This strategy wouldn't protect us from war, terrorism and the exhaustion of our military and moral resources. Carrying on as we are until we crash looks more like "surrender" than "adjustment."
By elimination, if not by wisdom, we will eventually turn to a massive national and international conservation effort.
By its own count, Wal-Mart has 460 terabytes of data stored on Teradata mainframes, made by NCR, at its Bentonville headquarters. To put that in perspective, the Internet has less than half as much data, according to experts.They track who buys what when. Shopping at Wal-Mart is like being Jim Carrey in the Truman Show--the whole experience is arranged not to serve you, but to maximize the benefits to the corporation. I thought this part was interesting:
Hurricane Frances was on its way, barreling across the Caribbean, threatening a direct hit on Florida's Atlantic coast. Residents made for higher ground, but far away, in Bentonville, Ark., executives at Wal-Mart Stores decided that the situation offered a great opportunity for one of their newest data-driven weapons, something that the company calls predictive technology.So the world's largest corporation, something which by law should never have been allowed to get this big, is bringing junk food and bad beer to Florida ahead of the hurricane. Meanwhile, Florida's attorney general has teams of goons running around looking to arrest any entrepreneurs looking to sell generators, chain saws, or plastic sheeting. With the indignant blessings of both major political parties and the corporate media, insults and criminal charges are thrown at these "gougers." The AG isn't protecting hurricane victims with these actions--he's protecting Wal-Mart (and Home Depot and Lowes and so on).
A week ahead of the storm's landfall, Linda M. Dillman, Wal-Mart's chief information officer, pressed her staff to come up with forecasts based on what had happened when Hurricane Charley struck several weeks earlier. Backed by the trillions of bytes' worth of shopper history that is stored in Wal-Mart's computer network, she felt that the company could "start predicting what's going to happen, instead of waiting for it to happen," as she put it.
The experts mined the data and found that the stores would indeed need certain products - and not just the usual flashlights. "We didn't know in the past that strawberry Pop-Tarts increase in sales, like seven times their normal sales rate, ahead of a hurricane," Ms. Dillman said in a recent interview. "And the pre-hurricane top-selling item was beer."
Thanks to those insights, trucks filled with toaster pastries and six-packs were soon speeding down Interstate 95 toward Wal-Marts in the path of Frances. Most of the products that were stocked for the storm sold quickly, the company said.
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Police used a stun gun on a 6-year-old boy in his principal's office because he was wielding a piece of glass and threatening to hurt himself, officials said Thursday.I honestly don't know where to come down on this one. Note that the article was published today, while the incident took place over three weeks ago (back in the good old days of the first W administration). Did it take the cops this long to come up with a consistent story?
The boy, who was not identified, was shocked with 50,000 volts on October 20 at Kelsey Pharr Elementary School.
Principal Maria Mason called 911 after the child broke a picture frame in her office and waved a piece of glass, holding a security guard back.
When two Miami-Dade County police officers and a school officer arrived, the boy had already cut himself under his eye and on his hand.
The officers talked to the boy without success. When the boy cut his own leg, one officer shocked him with a Taser and another grabbed him to prevent him from falling, police said.
Miami-Dade School Board Vice Chairman Robert Ingram, who spent 20 years as a Miami police officer and more than five years as Opa-locka police chief, said board members were not told of the incident. He learned of it from a reporter.I guess I'd say that there's an outside chance that the cops responded well under the circumstances. Cops carrying Tasers into elementary schools just don't seem to be good circumstances. Especially in Miami.
"We're asking the public to be on the lookout for a fuel tanker in a location inconsistent with where you'd typically see an oil or gasoline delivery," FBI spokeswoman Jerri Williams said.Yeah, well you still haven't found the anthrax mailer or the Plame leaker, either. Maybe you could go arrest Richard Jewel again.
Williams said investigators initially believed the tanker was stolen for parts or to dump toxic waste illegally.
"If that were the case, we would have found the carcass" of the tanker, she said.
"We're very concerned. It's been almost seven months, and we still haven't found it," she said.
"There's no water. People are drinking dirty water. Children are dying. People are eating flour because there's no proper food," he told aid workers in Habbaniya, which has become a refugee camp, with around 2,000 families sheltering there.
Violence in Falluja and elsewhere in Iraq has taken a toll on U.S. forces. Two planes ferried 102 seriously wounded soldiers from Iraq to the main U.S. military hospital in Germany on Thursday, joining 125 who arrived earlier in the week.
FALLUJAH, November 10 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - US troops are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein’s alleged gassing of the Kurds in 1988.I have no idea if that is a reliable source. I do know that the US military is not.
In 1955, Felgendreger suffered what his wife Eleanore characterizes as a nervous breakdown. The outgoing chemist was now depressed, sluggish, and reluctant to leave home. There were times when he drank too much. He asked his pastor to care for his wife and three children if something happened to him. He spent two months in a hospital.That's from a two-part Detroit Free Press investigation into the Edgewood Arsenal. The articles feature the stories of many veterans of the 1st Chemical Casual Company. Many suffered from skin, respiratory, and nervous-system disorders likely related to the chemical tests, but were routinely denied medical care and benefits by the VA.
"I've always wondered," Eleanore says now, "if those tests could have caused that."
The tests that haunt Eleanore Felgendreger do not appear in her husband's Army records. Like thousands of World War II soldiers and sailors, Felgendreger's work as a human guinea pig was omitted from his file. In the autumn of 1943, he served in the 1st Chemical Casual Company, a unit exposed to mustard agent and other poisons in the gas chambers of Maryland's Edgewood Arsenal -- tests that would stalk some men, physically and psychologically, until their deaths.
Tests they were forbidden to discuss.
Perhaps our mission now is like that of the Native Americans at the height of the genocide in the nineteenth century. At that point there was no question of winning the battle. What remained to be done was to keep hold of what it means to be human.-- Stephanie Mills, Epicurean Simplicity (2002), via Heinberg.
...the results of these tests appear to indicate that the buildings should have easily withstood the thermal stress caused by pools of burning jet fuel.-- From a letter written November 11 by Kevin Ryan of Underwriters Laboratories to Frank Gayle of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
This story just does not add up. If steel from those buildings did soften or melt, I’m sure we can all agree that this was certainly not due to jet fuel fires of any kind, let alone the briefly burning fires in those towers.
[T]he Petro-Administration of Cheney-Rice-Bush is like a psychotic who tries to play chess: indifferent to the rules, he simply steals the opponent's king off the board, claims victory, and burns the whole chess-set in the fireplace.-- excerpted from Wayne Madsen at From the Wilderness.
In the following shocker by Wayne Madsen, we learn that there are people high up in Washington who regard the apocalyptic melting of the polar ice caps as a good thing. Why? It will clear new shipping lanes for the exploitation of Arctic oil and gas.
A possible scenario for the collapse of our own civilization might go something like this: Energy shortages commence in the second decade of the century, leading to economic turmoil, frequent and lengthening power blackouts, and general chaos. Over the course of several years, food production plummets, resulting in widespread famine, even in formerly wealthy countries. Wars--including civil wars--rage intermittently. Meanwhile ecological crisis also tears at the social fabric, with water shortages, rising sea levels, and severe storms wreaking further havoc. While previous episodic disasters could have been dealt with by disaster management and rescue efforts, by now societies are too disorganized to mount such efforts. One after another, central governments collapse. Societies attempt to shed complexity in stages, thus buying time. Empires devolve into nations; nations into smaller regional or tribal states. But each lower stage--while initially appearing to offer a new beginning and a platform of stability--reaches its own moment of unsustainability and further collapse ensues. Between 2020 and 2100, the global population declines steeply, perhaps to fewer than one billion. By the start of the next century, the survivors' grandchildren are entertained by stories of a great civilization of the recent past in which people flew in metal birds and got everything they wanted by pressing buttons.-- Richard Heinberg, Powerdown.
If you make the connection between the people behind the computer voting machine companies, their insane religious desire to see the Apocalypse in the Middle East, and the grim future of the world evidenced by the completely unnecessary attack on Falluja, you have to come to the conclusion that there is no time to wait for another election. It is not morally acceptable for the American left to allow the Apocalypse to happen without even the slightest attempt at a fight. It is insane to save your energy for the next election, when the chances are there won't be one.-- From Xymphora.
Somebody please tell Lt. Brandon Turner that he's insane, that the Pentagon is insane, whoever is allowing the marines or any American soldiers "rest" on that "plush red carpet" with their shoes, uniforms and machines guns is insane. Does anyone understand anything about religious feelings in general or about Islam in particular? Have they spent even half a day watching a documentary or two about Islam and noticed that people carefully and respectfully take their shoes off before entering a mosque, where they will kneel and put their head on that carpet? (Those "plush red carpets", by the way, are prayer rugs, or"sajjade." And you don't step on them with your combat boots, especially inside a mosque, and smile for the cameras unless you really want to fight to the death with up to a billion people.)
Seriously, this is either the most arrogant, incompetent, ignorant occupation, ever, or the most clever, insidious, skillful effort towards bringing about an apocalyptic world war. Are they asleep at the awheel, drowning under their own ignorance, or simply want to end life on earth as we know it?
So our guy lost the election. Why shouldn't those of us on the coasts feel superior? We eat better, travel more, dress better, watch cooler movies, earn better salaries, meet more interesting people, listen to better music and know more about what's going on in the world. If you voted for Bush, we accept that we have to share the country with you. We're adjusting to the possibility that there may be more of you than there are of us. But don't demand our respect. You lost it on November 2.
Now, this isn’t just tv stations running scared and preemptively censoring themselves, post-Janet Jackson: the FCC could easily have stopped this nonsense by giving an advance waiver. Considering that the FCC already ruled in 2002 that Saving Private Ryan is not indecent, in response to a complaint by idiot puritan Donald Wildmon, this should have been a no-brainer, but the FCC instead told the stations to exercise their own judgment and risk the consequences. As far as I’m concerned, that decision to leave the threat of a multi-million-dollar fine hanging over the stations’ heads amounted to an act of state censorship.During the three-day coup in Venezuela in April 2002, the fascists who briefly took over the government played monkey shows and the like nonstop on the TV networks so that the people would have no idea what was going on. That's pretty much where we are here.
[T]here was only one thing Kerry could have done to honor the work we all did---not concede. Instead, his campaign has a sacred obligation to consider the election not over until all allegations of electoral abuse are vented, investigated and put to rest. We now hear there is a call for evidence to be brought forward. This isn't enough. Many millions were raised by the Democrats to guard against the widespread fraud that defined this election. Where is it? Why isn't it being aggressively deployed?If you've followed my blog for the last year, you know that I was suspicious of Kerry's nomination from the start. His ONLY support was from big-money pols, and he sucked miserably in every debate among the Democratic candidates. Still, somehow, with the help of a media blitz about "electability" (how ridiculous that seems now) and who knows what all else that went on behind the scenes, he won Iowa and New Hampshire and rode the absurd "anybody but Bush" vote to the nomination. I suspected then, and suspect even more now, that he was hand-picked by Karl Rove, or whoever it is that Rove answers to. Kerry somehow managed to run against an idiot with an abysmal record and not win. And when push came to shove, he didn't even try. Despite what his ads said, John Kerry did not defend this country as a young man (he said so himself as a young man), and he certainly didn't defend it this year.
During the campaign, the Kerry campaign spent unlimited time, money and effort on denying the public the ability to vote for Ralph Nader. The attacks were political, personal, procedural---and endless.
But after spending all that energy attacking the left, the Kerry campaign lost to the most powerful and dangerous crew of right wing extremists this nation has ever seen---and then had no time at all to make sure the vote count was fair or accurate. Kerry's hurried, feeble plea that George W. Bush heal the wounds of disunity in this country must have been greeted with gales of laughter in Karl Rove's White House.
At the grassroots, among those of us who labored long and hard to unseat that vicious, hateful, anti-democratic regime, Kerry's sorry surrender has evoked utter horror.
This election saw an unprecedented grassroots outpouring. Kerry was not an inspiring candidate. Until the last month, his campaign was a study in ineptitude.
But tens of millions of Americans were (and are) terrified of who and what now controls the federal government. Uncounted thousands came out to make phone calls, canvass door-to-door and drive likely Democrats to the polls.
But when it was so dubiously over, Team Kerry had no such commitment. Not to victory. Not to fair play. Not to the hard work of those who volunteered with such amazing energy and commitment.
Kerry's sad, premature swoon gave the Republicans a totally open field to claim victory for their hateful "moral" values, for infinite deficits, for environmental destruction, for an extremist judiciary, you name it.
Just as there is talk here that John Kerry may want to run again, there is also talk that Donald Rumsfeld wants to stay on to continue his transformation of the military. Rummy's stubborn need to show we could do more with less is what kept us from having the strength to secure Iraq at the start, turning our troops into targets for a ghostly foe armed with the explosives and missiles looted by insurgents from unguarded caches.
The president should say to Rummy what the Democrats should say to Mr. Kerry: "Thanks, you've done quite enough."
Far from facing off in a decisive battle against the resistance fighters, it seems the more Americans squeeze Falluja, the more the violence explodes elsewhere. It is exercises in futility, akin to squeezing jello. The more you try to get a grasp on the problem, the more it slips through your fingers.Today, the NY Times' Edward Wong's report confirms what Ritter was saying:
Insurgents pressed attacks in the northern provincial capital of Mosul today, opening a major new front in the fighting, while American troops in Falluja began a push into the city's southern warrens, where an unknown number of guerrillas were believed to have barricaded themselves.Ritter concluded yesterday as follows:
In Baghdad, a powerful suicide car bomb exploded on a busy commercial street this morning, killing at least 17 people and wounding at least 30 others, police and hospital officials said. In the evening, explosions rippled across the capital with an intensity not seen here since August, when American soldiers fought a Shiite uprising in the south.
Violence surged through the so-called Sunni triangle in central Iraq, with ambushes, bombings and mortar attacks jolting Tikrit, Kirkuk, Hawija, Samarra and the provincial capital of Ramadi, 30 miles west of Falluja, which is 35 miles west of Baghdad.
It is a war the United States cannot win, and which the government of Iyad Allawi cannot survive. Unfortunately, since recent polls show that some 70% of the American people support the war in Iraq, it is a war that will rage until the American domestic political dynamic changes, and the tide of public opinion turns against the war.Since Ritter is one of the few people in the know who have been right about Iraq from the beginning, perhaps it is finally time for our "leaders" to start listening to him.
Tragically, this means many more years of conflict in Iraq that will result in thousands more killed on both sides, and incomprehensible suffering for the people of Iraq, and unpredictable instability for the entire Middle East.
Many environmentalists have argued that the constant push for economic growth within industrial societies is one of the engines continually straining global resource limits (this point is brilliantly discussed by Richard Douthwaite in his The Growth Illusion). However, it would be difficult to remove the growth imperative from modern economies without also changing national monetary systems. That is because currently most money is loaned into existence by banks and is thus based on debt, and implies a commitment on someone's part to pay interest on that debt. If the economy does not grow, new money will not be created to pay interest on existing loans; many of those loans will thus be defaulted upon, and a crash will occur. Thus it is essentially impossible to achieve a static or controllably contracting economy with a debt-based currency.(pp. 100-101)
Therefore, if we are to achieve a reduced-scale, steady-state society, we will need to change our monetary system to one that is not based on debt and interest. In principle, this would be quite easy: nations or locales could issue their own interest- and debt-free money instead of giving banking cartels (such as the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, Deutsche Bank, etc.) legal monopolies on money creation. This is what the framers of the US Constitution envisioned, and debt-free national currencies have existed at various points in American history (e.g., Lincoln's "greenbacks" and Kennedy's "United States Notes"). But in the US (and the situation is similar in most other countries), a permanent shift to debt-free money will require action by Congress, which will itself be problematic as long as senators and representatives are dependent upon campaign contributions for re-election. The banks will likely seek to destroy the career of any politician who attempts to change the monetary system in this way. Thus, the needed reform of our monetary system will first require reform of the political system--itself no easy task.
Guerrillas threatened to assassinate Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and Minister of Defense Hazem Shaalan in retaliation for the attack. Allawi's aged cousin and the man's wife and daughter-in-law were abducted and guerrillas threaten to behead them if the Fallujah compaign is not stopped. In Iraqi society, PM Allawi is responsible for protecting his clan, including especially his first cousins, so this kidnapping makes him look week and brings substantial shame on him.
The US assault on Fallujah is a criminal and barbaric operation. The descriptions of the thrust through Fallujah’s northern suburbs make clear the city is being destroyed, and its poorly-armed defenders slaughtered, by 10,000 American soldiers over whom all moral constraints have been lifted.The rest of the article is here.
A Christian Science Monitor journalist embedded with a marine unit wrote Wednesday: “Every vehicle is treated as a potential car bomb and every person as a possible enemy. Approval even came over the radio to shoot dogs with shotguns, to prevent them carrying explosives.”
What dimbulb at the Army Reserve Center up the street from the Federal Building determined this would be a swell time to send armored personnel carriers driving around Westwood and into an antiwar demo?There's a QuickTime Video of the incident.
When two APCs got stuck at a traffic light, protestors swarmed around them. Those with the ANSWER Coalition chanted "Bring the troops home now" while regrettably those with another group yelled "baby killers." Sharp thinking there, bozos. Y'see, if you are actually serious about antiwar organizing and not just jerking off, then you want to convince soldiers to join you. Chanting 'bring the troops home now' might well resonate with a reservist nervous about being shipped to Iraq.
Even the police looked nervous when this was happening. Not so much at the protestors but at the APCs. Probably wondering how anyone could be dumb enough to send them into an antiwar demo.
The environment? Sure Bush has been awful, but Bush's forest plan was actually re-written with the help of two Democratic senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Dianne Feinstein of California. As veteran forest activist Michael Donnelly wrote in CounterPunch in December 2003, "Perhaps the greatest irony is that the forests have fared far better under Bush than they did under his Democrat predecessor. Under Clinton's [Salvage Rider] plan, some 1.1 billion board feet of Ancient Forest stumps were authorized annually. Much to industry's chagrin, under Bush, around 200 million per year has been cut. Already, that means that 2.7 billion board feet LESS has been cut under Bush than would have been under a Gore administration with the Big Greens usual silence regarding Democrat stump-creation."
Yes, you read that correctly. Clinton's plan was actually worse for our national forests.
Bush has perhaps proven to be the left's best organizer. His policies brought record numbers into the streets prior to the Iraq invasion. Even though more Iraqis perished during Clinton's first four years in office than on Bush's watch thus far, and Clinton didn't inspire even a fraction of the uproar, global or otherwise.
Depressing, yes, but all too true.
As historian Gabriel Kolko argues in Dimes Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, Bush may well be the better man to destroy the reaches of the U.S. Empire. He believed that keeping Bush in office could make old alliances such as NATO obsolete, humbling American foreign policy by forcing us to deal with our own arrogance. We cannot pursue a go-it-alone strategy forever. Kerry, as he's admitted, would have done his best to stop this trend of U.S. isolation in foreign hostilities -- and reestablish America as the unequivocal global menace. Bush's go-it-alone policy is unsustainable. Kerry planed to make the war sustainable by leaning on allies.
Now that Bush is reelected, Kolko explicates, America's allies and friends will have to confront such stark choices, a process that will redefine and probably shatter existing alliances. Many nations, including the larger, powerful ones, will embark on independent, realistic foreign policies, and the dramatic events in Spain have reinforced this likelihood. This, he says, will force the U.S. to become a more tolerant member of the global community.
Had Kerry been elected, postulates Kolko, the Senator would have done his best to bring back the global alliance that has caused insurmountable problems for so many around the world. A Kerry victory, then, would have stifled our unified anti-capitalist resistance to empire while four more years of Bush could inadvertently strengthen our cause by broadening the anger of resentment towards the U.S.'s global supremacy.
Gonzales publicly defended the administration's policy -- essentially repudiated by the Supreme Court and now being fought out in the lower courts -- of detaining certain terrorism suspects for extended periods without access to lawyers or courts.It didn't seem possible that Bush could find someone worse to be attorney general than John Ashcroft, but it looks like he may have succeeded. I doubt if the 44 Democrats in the Senate can stop the nomination, but maybe the Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham who expressed disgust at the Abu Ghraib revelations can.
He also wrote a controversial February 2002 memo in which Bush claimed the right to waive anti-torture law and international treaties providing protections to prisoners of war. That position drew fire from human rights groups, which said it helped led to the type of abuses uncovered in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
Some conservatives also have quietly questioned Gonzales' credentials on core social issues. And he once was a partner in a Houston law firm which represented the scandal-ridden energy giant Enron.
23 US Troops Killed in 2 Days.Juan has much more on the mayhem in Fallujah and the divisions it is causing in the "interim government." Given that reports indicate that insurgent leaders in Falluja probably fled before the American-led offensive, one wonders if anyone can come up with any reason for fighting for that next street in Fallujah. It has become a microcosm of the Iraq war itself: pointless, based on lies, "allies" fleeing like rats from a sinking ship.
Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawir is bitterly opposed to the Fallujah operation, and likened it to "shooting horses to kill horseflies."
[I]n his resignation letter, Ashcroft bizarrely wrote that "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."
As the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency argued just yesterday, nuclear terrorism remains a very real threat, with U.S. and international action needed to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons and causing a catastrophe. Osama bin Laden is still making videos instead of sitting in prison. Ashcroft’s DOJ even famously refused to close loopholes to prevent terrorists from acquiring guns in the U.S.
Ashcroft has his reasons for resigning, and that's fine. But his "mission accomplished" phrasing reeks of self-congratulatory revisionism.
U.S. Marines carry an injured colleague after an offensive in Sunni Muslim city of Falluja, November 9, 2004.
Army Nurse supervisor Patrick McAndrew tries to save the life of an American soldier by giving him CPR upon arrival to a military hospital in Baghdad, Iraq Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004. The soldier was later pronounced dead from his wounds suffered in a Baghdad firefight with insurgents Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Moore)
Sierra Club, Tuesday, November 16. "Beyond Four Wheels: The Future of Biking and Walking in Ann Arbor." 7:30 p.m. UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor. Presented by Norm Cox, The Greenway Collaborative. Free and open to the public.and
From Mobility to Accessibility: a symposium on sustainable transportationNeither the poster I saw nor the web page mentions anything about registration required or fees for that conference, so I'm guessing that it's free. I'll try to let you know if I find out otherwise.
Friday, December 3, 2004
8:45 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Auditorium (Rm 2104)
Art and Architecture Building
Military officials have said 3,000 to 5,000 insurgents may have been inside the city, but they acknowledge many may have slipped away amid widespread reports that an offensive was coming.-- From CNN
"We believe most of the al-Zarqawi senior leadership has departed," one military source said.
Um... hasn't it always pretty obvious that Bush was holding off on Fallujah until the election was over? Now we have the most spot-on confirmation we could ask for...
So doesn't that mean, by definition, that the prosecution of the war is secondary to domestic political concerns (something we've already seen time and again)?
So Bush is willing to sacrifice at least some safety for our troops and the mission's potential for success on the altar of his own continuing power.
That's um... awful. And it couldn't be more screamingly obvious.
The clock radio goes off a few minutes ago, and this is the very first sentence I hear, verbatim:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has won the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service.
And that's when it hits me: I am in HELL.
Bush may well see the Fallujah offensive as a last gamble to turn things around. My guess is that, if it goes "well," by any stretch of a definition—and if the elections proceed with the slightest semblance of order—he might make preparations to declare victory and pull out. Such a move would almost certainly trigger chaos, but could this chaos be much more rampant than the state of life there now?I agree with Kaplan, and have said so for a year and a half, that the chaos caused by pulling out would likely be no worse for Iraqis than the chaos caused by staying. I mean, in recent months Iraqis have been killed by car bombs, IED's, snipers, artillery, aerial bombardment, AC130 gunships, and tanks. US withdrawal removes the last four causes of death from the equation. But I disagree that Bush will pull out in any meaningful way. He may get smarter and decide to get the troops out of the cities and put them instead in fortresses near the oil pipelines and facilities that were the real reason for the invasion. Or not. But until Jenna and Barbara are on the front lines, he's not pulling out.
OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- Global warming is heating the Arctic almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet in a thaw that threatens millions of livelihoods and could wipe out polar bears by 2100, an eight-nation report said on Monday.I wonder if they'll be able to steal the Florida vote in 2008 if the entire state is under water.
The biggest survey to date of the Arctic climate, by 250 scientists, said the accelerating melt could be a foretaste of wider disruptions from a build-up of human emissions of heat-trapping gases in the earth's atmosphere.
The "Arctic climate is now warming rapidly and much larger changes are projected," according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), funded by the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Arctic temperatures are rising at almost twice the global average and could leap 4-7 Celsius (7-13 Fahrenheit) by 2100, roughly twice the global average projected by U.N. reports. Siberia and Alaska have already warmed by 2-3 C since the 1950s.
A boy recovers in a Fallujah hospital after a U.S. airstrike in Fallujah, Iraq Saturday, Nov. 6, 2004, which killed his father, according to hospital officials. U.S. jets pounded Fallujah early Saturday in the heaviest airstrikes in six months, including five 500-pound bombs dropped on insurgent targets.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)Seriously, folks, we 55 million can't wait two or four years to try and use our votes to change this. We need to vote with our dollars, withholding them from the corporations that have taken control of our government. Read this post from yesterday, and follow the links, if you don't know how to get started. This is serious, people are being killed, and we're paying for it (in more ways than one). Don't feed the beast!
I wish that winning were just a matter of presentation. But it's not. It involves compromising on principles. Bill Clinton won his credibility in the heartland partly by going home to Little Rock during the 1992 campaign to preside over the execution of a mentally disabled convict named Ricky Ray Rector.As opposed to what they are now, which is ashamed and compromised losers. Since the DLC started running the Democratic party back in 1992, they've compromised their prinicples on labor (NAFTA, the WTO), poverty (welfare "reform"), and opposition to costly stupid pointless illegal wars (well, I'm not sure the Dems ever were opposed to those). Frankly, they're running out of principles to abandon and constituencies to betray. If they really want to steal a page or two from some people who were or are popular in the heartland, I'd suggest they start with these two quotes:
There was a moral ambiguity about Mr. Clinton's clambering to power over Mr. Rector's corpse. But unless Democrats compromise, they'll be proud and true and losers.
Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.-- Barry Goldwater
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?-- Jesus Christ (Mark 8:36)
I wouldn't trust Nixon from here to that phone.But his appeal vanishes with this one:
If everybody in this town connected with politics had to leave town because of chasing women and drinking, you would have no government.
You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.
I could have ended the war in a month. I could have made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle.And this one:
You've got to forget about this civilian. Whenever you drop bombs, you're going to hit civilians.
CRI (the Container Recycling Institute) estimates that supplying thirsty Americans with water bottles for one year consumes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil, which is enough to generate electricity for more than 250,000 homes for a year, or enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year.The article stresses the bottled water is less tested and regulated than tap water. The article doesn't discuss what I think may be the most important issue regarding bottled water, the privatization of what should be a basic human right, but it does conclude by giving it a mention:
The WWF argues that governments should focus their limited energies on repairing current tap water infrastructures and on protecting watersheds from harmful farm, industry and urban pollutants. Many public water supply advocates feel that tax dollars should be paying to deal with tap water’s challenges. We certainly need to think twice before handing off the public water trust to private companies that put it in attractive bottles at a high price.So, if you regularly buy bottled water, there's one easy step that you can take to save the planet AND stick it to those evil Bush-supporting corporations: STOP!!!
Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has declared a state of emergency for 60 days, his spokesman said on Sunday.Just like he does with every other type of capital, Bush seems intent on spending his "political capital" as fast as possible. I'm sure the "state of emergency" means martial law, curfews, shoot on sight, etc. Exactly how this differs from what they've already got going in Iraq now I'm not sure. But it can't be good.
The emergency declaration excludes Iraqi regions run by Kurdish peoples in northern Iraq, and comes as U.S. and Iraqi forces prepare for an assault on insurgents in Falluja.
Perhaps now disillusioned Kerry supporters will take a second look at what FTW has been teaching for years.And, in what I'm guessing will become a regular feature at Mousemusings: concrete steps that you can take every week to focus YOUR money on the forces of good and not the forces of evil (#%$@&*! Bush--he's got me talking like him--except I mean him when I say "evil"). This week's steps:
* Get out of debt.
* Spend your money and time on things that give you energy and provide you with useful information.
* Stop spending a penny with major banks, news media and corporations that feed you lies and leave you exhausted.
* Learn how money works and use it like a weapon.
It is already becoming clear that as Peak Oil becomes a stark reality, survival will become a place-based, local phenomenon. Local economies, to the degree that they exist and are flourishing will provide strength to resist what is coming. Everyone who sees this essay should compare the return on investment they got with the election against something that offers more payoffs, an opportunity to become real, independent actors on the fields of their own lives.
To Do: Join a local Credit Union this week. Close and move your other accounts to the credit union. Why? Credit Unions are member owned, not for profit and support the local community.I've got lots more to add, and I will be doing so a lot from now on on this blog.
To Read: The Two Income Trap: Why Lenders Want you to Live Beyond Your Means by Dave Pollard
W. and Karl played up western movie stereotypes. After 9/11, the rugged frontier myth, the hunter/Indian-fighter hero in a war of civilization against savagery worked better than ever. But this White House's frontier is not a place of infinite progress and expansion, stretching society's boundaries. It doesn't battle primitivism; it courts primitivism.Granted, she uses the word "myth," but I don't think that is nearly enough to shield her from a justifiable charge of racism. Native American civilization was not savagery, and it was not primitivism. Us white folks were the primitives who invaded their beautiful country and stole it from them, treating the land with a disrespect they would never have dreamed of. Many Native American societies had highly-developed forms of government (it is said that the drafters of our Constitution based parts of it on the Iroquois' governing system).
Rebels shot dead 21 Iraqi policemen in cold blood on Sunday, a day after killing 34 people in attacks on security forces, in a clear show of force ahead of an imminent U.S. offensive on insurgents in Falluja and Ramadi.Whether Tories or Nazi sympathizers or John Walker Lindh, collaborators are, rightly or wrongly, usually the most despised people in an occupation. One of the most horrible aspects of a war, especially an illegal, unnecessary one, is how it puts people into impossible dilemmas. Through sanctions and curfews and destruction of infrastructure and a host of other reasons, many Iraqis have been placed in the situation of either collaborating or starving (or worse). By collaborating, they maybe get a paycheck and can buy food for their families. But they earn the undying hatred of their countrymen, who will kill them later if they can't kill them now. All of this blood is on the hands of George W. Bush (and the 59 million who voted for him, our very own collaborators), because none of this had to happen.
Police said gunmen killed 23 policemen in three attacks in Iraq. The bloodiest assault was in Haditha, 125 miles northwest of Baghdad, where insurgents with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars attacked a police station at dawn.
After a 90-minute battle in which six policemen were wounded, the attackers took 21 captured policemen to the K-3 oil pumping station area and shot them dead execution-style.
U.S. troops sealed all roads to Falluja and urged women, children and non-fighting age men to flee, but said they would arrest any man under 45 trying to enter or leave the city.It's Guernica, it's Wounded Knee, it's Nanking, it's Coventry and Dresden and My Lai. We attacked their country on false pretenses, in complete violation of international law, and now we're going to massacre anyone who dares defend his country against the invaders. Whether he won or stole an election, no president has a mandate to do this.
In the weeks after the fall of Baghdad, Iraqi looters loaded powerful explosives into pickup trucks and drove the material away from the Al Qaqaa ammunition site, according to a group of U.S. Army reservists and National Guardsmen who said they witnessed the looting.
The soldiers said about a dozen U.S. troops guarding the sprawling facility could not prevent the theft because they were outnumbered by looters. Soldiers with one unit — the 317th Support Center based in Wiesbaden, Germany — said they sent a message to commanders in Baghdad requesting help to secure the site but received no reply.
I actually got invited to a Kerry fundraiser so I could talk to him about it. I raised the issue directly with him and with Teresa. Teresa was really indignant and really concerned, but Kerry just looked down at me -- he's about 9 feet tall -- and I could tell it just didn't register. It set off all his conspiracy-theory alarms and he just wasn't listening.If he thought electronic voting scams are a conspiracy theory and Bush's lies about Iraq's WMD's weren't, maybe Kerry is dumber than Bush.
The U.S. dollar hit an all-time low against the euro Friday, shrugging off positive U.S. employment data amid worries about oil prices and concern over the U.S. budget deficit.
Sure, John Kerry ran a disastrous campaign. But if Bush could screw things up as badly as he did the last four years and still win a second term, he truly must have God on his side.
A far greater percentage of Americans believe in creationism than in evolution, and I had to stop thinking of them as rubes. A July poll revealed that more than half of America still believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and I had to stop thinking of them as blockheads.
Faith. That's what drives this country, and that's exactly what was missing in my life. I jerked the Sentra to the curb, took a deep breath and repudiated all the lies I've been telling myself.
For starters, I never liked the Sentra. I hate it, even if it does get great mileage, and I feel like a big wuss for driving a Japanese car the size of a walnut. What I need — what I deserve as a God-fearing American — is a vehicle that burns enough gas to turn Alaska into a beach resort, or at least win me a tax credit.
By an act of divinity, the Sentra had come to a stop at Star Ford. I marched onto the lot and asked to see an SUV, and a salesman led me to the Explorer.
"Not big enough," I said.
He took me to the Ford Expedition.
"Not big enough," I said. "If our soldiers are going to keep dying in Iraq, I might as well get the most out of their sacrifice."
He took me to the Ford Excursion, which is approximately 40 feet tall. I managed to climb up without a stepladder, slid into the cab and felt as if I was behind the wheel of my old parish hall.
"Not big enough," I said. "Don't you have a bigger one called the Ford Extinction?"
Turns out there is no Ford Extinction yet.
Faith, as defined in the year 2004 in America, is freedom from doubt, freedom from science, freedom from reality. I wish I had been saved much sooner.
In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 522a), as amended by the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-503), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidelines on the Conduct of Matching Programs (54 FR 25818 (June 19, 1989)), and OMB Bulletin 89-22, the following information is provided:Shorter Federal Register: If you're in school, thinking about going to school, or between 18 and 30 and breathing, Bush is going to draft you. Amazing that he didn't bother to tell you that before Tuesday, isn't it? (Via Polizeros)
1. Name of participating agencies: The Selective Service System (SSS) and the Department of Education (ED).
2. Purpose of the match: The purpose of this matching program is to ensure that the requirements of Section 12(f) of the Military Selective Service System Act [50 U.S.C. App. 462 (f)] are met.
3. Authority for conducting the matching: Computerized access to the Selective Service Registrant Registration Records (SSS 10) enables ED to confirm the registration status of applicants for assistance under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.). Section 12(f) of the Military Selective Service Act, as amended [50 U.S.C. App. 462(f)], denies eligibility for any form of assistance or benefit under Title IV of the HEA to any
person required to present himself for and submit to registration under Section 3 of the Military Selective Service System Act [50 U.S.C. App. 453] who fails to do so in accordance with that section and any rules and regulations issued under that section. In addition, Section 12(f)(2) of the Military Selective Service System Act specifies that any person required to present himself for and submit to registration under Section 3 of the Military Selective Service System Act must file a statement with the institution of higher education where the person intends to attend or is attending that he is in compliance with the Military Selective Service System Act. Furthermore, Section 12(f)(3) of the Military Selective Service System Act authorizes the Secretary of Education, in agreement with the Director of the Selective Service, to
prescribe methods for verifying the statements of compliance filed by students.
Section 484(n) of the HEA [20 U.S.C. 1091(n)], requires the Secretary to conduct data base matches with SSS, using common demographic data elements, to enforce the Selective Service registration provisions of the Military Selective Service Act [50
U.S.C. App. 462(f)], and further states that appropriate confirmation of a person's shall fulfill the requirement to file a separate statement of compliance.
4. Categories of records and individuals covered:
1. Federal Student Aid Application File (18-11-01). Individuals covered are men born after December 31, 1959, but at least 18 years old by June 30 of the applicable award year.
2. Selective Service Registration Records (SSS 10).
Isn't it funny that the one thing Kerry expressly promised his supporters he wouldn't do - make an Al Gore-style premature concession speech - is exactly what he did? Had he waited as little as twenty-four hours, information would have been available that would make his decision to concede much more difficult. It is almost as if he was in a hurry to concede before such information came out.
Is this premature concession by Kerry some kind of Skull and Bones thing, a 'gentleman's' agreement between the two Bonesman that they wouldn't engage in unseemly quibbling over who won, but just let the first guy to steal the election have it?
Join the AACAW on Saturday at noon, at the Federal Building, to protest the U.S. attack on Fallujah. Bring all the troops home now! End the occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Following our demonstration there is a big gathering planned on the UM campus, at State and William Streets, at 1 PM, intended to unite all the local energy created to defeat Bush.
Because of Kerry's campaign strategy, the Bush agenda determined the political parameters of the campaign. That is, Bush's right-wing agenda faced no coherent opposition--instead, it received a fainter echo from pro-war neo-liberal John Kerry.I was appalled the first time I heard the "anybody but Bush" argument, and remain so. It gave a green light to the DLC "democrats" like Al From and Terry McAuliffe, channelling their corporate bosses, to choose whichever candidate they felt was least threatening to the corporate-imperial agenda. They proceeded to label Kucinich and Sharpton as "no chance" and Dean as "unelectable," funneling the choice down to pro-war corporatists Kerry and Edwards. Edwards' charm and "two Americas" rhetoric sounded like it might be a little too threatening to Bush, so they let Kerry head the ticket. If by some chance the candidate who made Al Gore seem exciting by contrast managed to defeat the worst president in history, the corporate agenda was still safe. We were going to lose on Tuesday no matter what. We just lost badly. And not only did America not get a better president, it didn't even learn anything. The war is a crime, Guantanamo is a crime, the Patriot Act and No Child Left Behind are crimes, NAFTA is a crime. By choosing a candidate who was on board with most of these crimes, America never heard the facts. They don't like gay marriage, and they voted for the candidate they thought actually meant it when he said he didn't either.
If the ABB left is looking for anyone to blame for Bush's victory, it should take a long hard look at itself--and its own unconditional surrender to a candidate as right wing as Kerry. Instead of pressuring Kerry from the left, the ABB left devoted most of its energy attacking Ralph Nader and those who tried to build a genuine left alternative to the Democrats.
In addition, campaigning for Kerry required the antiwar, women's, gay and labor movements to abandon any meaningful struggle. This was not only because they devoted their time, money and energy to campaigning for Kerry, but because struggle would have required criticism of Kerry's own pro-war and other backward positions. The torture at Abu Ghraib, which should have led to angry mass demonstrations of antiwar activists, barely elicited a peep from the antiwar movement--or John Kerry.
Thus, this election was conducted without an opposition to the Republican status quo, allowing the mainstream political debate to continue on Bush's terms--that is, on a right-wing basis. For example, the debate over gay marriage was not between two sides, one supporting it and one opposed, but between two candidates who both opposed it. And these parameters framed the gay marriage debate for the mass of the U.S. population.
The Air National Guard warplane, flying a night training mission out of Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, fired a burst of 27 rounds from its 20-millimeter cannon shortly before 10:15 p.m. as it streaked over Little Egg Harbor Township, 20 miles north of Atlantic City, New Jersey military officials said last night.The National Guard colonel said "Jersey's a blue state, so who cares?" (Not really)
The pilot was to have fired the half-second burst of shells well into the dive, at about 5,000 feet, the colonel said, but instead the cannon went off at an altitude of 7,000 feet, and at least eight of the bullets - non-explosive lead slugs more than 2 inches long - crashed through the roof of Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School, three miles south of the target range. No one was hurt, and the damage was minor.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. forces pounded parts of Fallujah from the air and ground Thursday, targeting insurgents in a city where American forces were said to be gearing up for a major offensive. Three British soldiers were killed in a suicide attack at a checkpoint in central Iraq.Very sorry, Fallujah. Our country has been taken over by fanatics. I'm sure you understand that better than we do.
Al-Jazeera television broadcast a threat by an unspecified armed group to strike oil installations and government buildings if Americans launch an all-out assault on Fallujah. The report was accompanied by a videotape showing about 20 armed men brandishing various weapons, including a truck-mounted machine gun.
Underlining a rapid deterioration in security in Iraq, one of the few remaining international aid groups said it was quitting the country because of "extreme risk" to aid workers.
"It has become impossible ... to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff, be they foreign or Iraqi," Medecins sans Frontieres general director Gorik Ooms said in Belgium.
Hungary announced Wednesday that it would withdraw its 300 troops from Iraq, becoming the latest country in United States-led coalition to bow to public pressure and prepare to bring its soldiers home.
Speaking at a ceremony for the end of military conscription, the newly appointed prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany, said Hungary was obliged to stay until the Iraqi elections scheduled for January, but would withdraw the troops by March.
While Mr. Bush was making his little speech about reaching out, Republicans said they had "the green light" to pursue their conservative agenda, like drilling in Alaska's wilderness and rewriting the tax code.
"He'll be a lot more aggressive in Iraq now," one Bush insider predicts. "He'll raze Falluja if he has to. He feels that the election results endorsed his version of the war." Never mind that the more insurgents American troops kill, the more they create.
Just listen to Dick (Oh, lordy, is this cuckoo clock still vice president?) Cheney, introducing the Man for his victory speech: "This has been a consequential presidency which has revitalized our economy and reasserted a confident American role in the world." Well, it has revitalized the Halliburton segment of the economy, anyhow. And "confident" is not the first word that comes to mind for the foreign policy of a country that has alienated everyone except Fiji.
Vice continued, "Now we move forward to serve and to guard the country we love." Only Dick Cheney can make "to serve and to guard" sound like "to rape and to pillage."
History will record that John Kerry lost the election on the day he voted the Constitution-shredding blank check for Bush’s war on Iraq. He was hobbled throughout the campaign by this vote, which shackled him to a me-too posture that included endlessly repeated pledges to “stay the course” in Iraq and “win” the occupation. Kerry could not, therefore, develop and present a full-blown critique of Bush on Iraq, nor offer a genuine alternative to him on it. The non-existent Kerry “plan” (based on the hubris that he could con foreign allies into sending their troops to bleed and die for the U.S. crimes at Abu Ghraib) wasn’t bought by the voters. Bush won by making the link between Iraq and the war on terrorism--the Big Lie which Kerry could not effectively counter, because he’d bought into it at the beginning. And it was on that endlessly hammered lie that Bush won the country on the Iraq issue--the exit polls Tuesday night showed that voters thought the Iraq war was part of the war on terror by 52-44%.
There was a missed moment (one of many) in the campaign, right after the devastating Senate report on the U.S. intelligence failure leading up to the war, when Kerry could have done what his Senate colleague (and Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat) Jay Rockefeller did then--say, “If I’d known then what I know now, I’d never had voted for the war.” But the cautious and spineless Kerry didn’t have the intestinal fortitude or the inner conviction necessary to break with his vote for war. It would probably have worked--Americans like someone who can admit a mistake. But Kerry listened to his overpriced, condohead campaign consultants, and instead hid behind his medals.
Disgruntled Democrats seeking a safe Canadian haven after U.S. President George W. Bush won Tuesday's election should not pack their bags just yet.When I think about leaving this stupid country, which is often, I tend to think more about heading south. I've heard several people suggest Canada, but I know that in Canada I'd have to get a good, high-paying job, and I doubt if my skills in computer programming would stand out particularly compared to thousands of qualified Canadians. Rent and heating costs would be high. And without the good job, I probably couldn't get in at all.
Canadian officials made clear on Wednesday that any U.S. citizens so fed up with Bush that they want to make a fresh start up north would have to stand in line like any other would-be immigrants -- a wait that can take up to a year.
"Let me tell you -- if they're hard-working honest people, there's a process, and let them apply," Immigration Minister Judy Sgro told Reuters.
Asked whether American applicants would get special treatment, she replied: "No, they'll join the crowd like all the other people who want to come to Canada."
My brother-in-law's mother recently died after a 17-year losing battle with Alzheimers. My mother died last year after a decade of progressive memory loss caused by a series of microstrokes. One of the first really noticeable manifestations of her illness was when she started being swindled by dozens of mail and phone scams. She wrote check after check to con artists, eventually adding up to probably ten thousand dollars. I tried calling some of these crooks and telling them to stop, and I called the state attorney general's office as well. But I think the only way we really stopped it was when it got to the point where she couldn't remember how to write checks, at which point she turned over her finances to me. Over ten years the disease got worse and worse, to where eventually she could only recognize my younger brother and me who saw her frequently, and then after a while she couldn't even recognize us.
I say all that because I don't want you to think that I'm joking when I suggest that the United States of America appears to be a nation with Alzheimers. That Bush could get a clear victory in the popular vote, and most likely in the electoral vote as well, suggests that the majority of voters wake up every day with a clean slate for a memory. "Oh, what a nice man he seems to be" could only be the conclusion of a nation without a functioning memory. A nation that allows a group of thugs to start multiple wars while cutting taxes and stealing constitutional rights at will, and then votes to keep the thugs in office, is very much like my mother writing a check for the same crap she wrote a check for a month earlier, even though the crap was never delivered.
The only bright side I can see isn't really bright at all. The national devotion to unreality can't and won't continue for long. We're headed for disaster after disaster in the next few years--wars, terror attacks, bankruptcy, widespread shortages, probably civil unrest. This probably would have happened even with a Kerry victory. Four years from now Republican policies will have destroyed so many lives that they'll likely be thrown out for good. I think what we probably need to do right now is to abandon the Democratic party en masse, as they have shown themselves to be completely incompetent as an opposition party. If you can't beat this idiot failed president on his record, you really can't win anything (and they haven't).
He also said al Qaeda has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."As I said before, it is completely inappropriate for either campaign to use what OBL says as a reason to vote for their candidate. And these statements have been withheld, for some reason, for three days. Apparently a decision by al Jazeera, although reading the article it sounds as though anyone who saw the original video and could read Arabic would have gotten the whole story on Friday. A November surprise?
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations," bin Laden said.
As part of the "bleed-until-bankruptcy plan," bin Laden cited a British estimate that it cost al Qaeda about $500,000 to carry out the attacks of September 11, 2001, an amount that he said paled in comparison with the costs incurred by the United States.
"Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs," he said. "As for the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.
"It is true that this shows that al Qaeda has gained, but on the other hand it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something that anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind, will be convinced.
"And it all shows that the real loser is you," he said. "It is the American people and their economy."
Okay, Kerry isn’t everything you wished he would be. You’re right. He’s not you! Or me. But we’re not on the ballot – Kerry is. Yes, Kerry was wrong to vote for authorization for war in Iraq but he was in step with 70% of the American public who was being lied to by Bush & Co. And once everyone learned the truth, the majority turned against the war. Kerry has had only one position on the war – he believed his president.My reaction follows:
President Kerry had better bring the troops home right away. My prediction: Kerry’s roots are anti-war. He has seen the horrors of war and because of that he will avoid war unless it is absolutely necessary. Ask most vets. But don’t ask someone whose only horror was when he arrived too late for a kegger in Alabama.
There’s a reason Bush calls Kerry the Number One Liberal in the Senate – THAT’S BECAUSE HE IS THE NUMBER ONE LIBERAL IN THE SENATE! What more do you want? My friends, this is about as good as it gets when voting for the Democrat. We don’t have the #29 Liberal running or the #14 Liberal or even the #2 Liberal – we got #1! When has that ever happened?
Those of us who may be to the left of the #1 liberal Democrat should remember that this year conservative Democrats have had to make a far greater shift in their position to back Kerry than we have. We’re the ones always being asked to make the huge compromises and to always vote holding our noses. No nose holding this time. This #1 liberal is not the tweedledee to Bush’s tweedledum.
Presidential campaigns are black holes, dragging lesser election fights, money, energy and real political discussion into themselves, while giving off neither light nor energy. I wouldn’t mind half so much if these campaigns functioned as national civics lessons, if they clarified our political philosophies and priorities, if this had been a national dialogue about the role of America in the world, the limits of our power abroad, the future of Social Security, how best to insure every American, etc etc. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened. We’ve spent less time debating the environment than we have whether Laura Bush is nicer than Teresa Heinz-Kerry (probably, but can you imagine someone you’re less likely to have an interesting conversation with?) So literally billions of dollars have been spent that could have gone to the Sierra Club, the ACLU or even Bush’s “faith-based” groups and done some actual good.Most Americans went into this campaign thinking that terrorism is the greatest threat to our country, that "free trade" benefits us all, that lawyers do more harm than do corporations, and a host of other fallacies. The campaign has only reinforced the ignorance, as both candidates start from common ground on many issues which is totally bogus. Rather than learning that the "war on terror" is an endless and idiotic boondoggle intended to separate Americans from their rights, their money, and their children, they learned only that John Kerry intends to fight a more competent "war on terror." Most Americans are probably still unaware that our sensible neighbor to the north has universal, single-payer healthcare, and that it works pretty well (well, at least better than our totally-FUBAR'ed system). Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich or maybe even Howard Dean could have informed them on many of these issues, and brought this country a little closer to sanity. Instead, we got Kerry, who relentlessly endorses all of Bush's insane goals and values, questioning only his methods.
Uruguayan voters gave another loud rebuke to Batlle's polices Sunday when they voted 2 to 1 for a constitutional referendum prohibiting the privatization of water utilities.-- LA Times
The Justice Department responded to demands by the detainees' lawyers with language remarkably similar to that it used almost two years ago in the case it has already lost.That's from an article in the NY Times about how cases filed on behalf of "detainees" at Guantanamo Bay have returned to lower courts, and the "Justice" Department is pretending that the Supreme Court's ruling in June never happened.
Thomas Wilner, a lawyer for several detainees who were involved in the original lawsuit, said in his brief that the government's motion was "simply outrageous."Real rights at stake! How quaint! And how delightful that a "senior Justice Department official" sees lawyers arguing for the most basic of human rights as "our adversaries." Perhaps President Kerry's first act in office should be to declare all "senior Justice Department officials" to be enemy combatants and send them to Gitmo, telling them that they're only getting out after everyone else there has either been released or duly convicted in a proper court of law (not some military kangaroo court). That might inspire them to put their legal training to use in the pursuit of liberty rather than in pursuit of its destruction.
"It is filed in direct violation of the federal rules and it simply rehashes the same arguments that were made before, and rejected by the Supreme Court," Mr. Wilner said.
He compared the government's behavior to the "massive resistance" urged by some Southerners in response to the court's landmark desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
A senior Justice Department official said in response, "It's easy for our adversaries to say, 'My gosh, when the Supreme Court said that there is habeas jurisdiction, that must mean there are real rights at stake, that the detainees are protected by the Constitution.'" But the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the litigation was continuing, said the court's ruling that prisoners may challenge their detentions in lawsuits called habeas corpus actions left open that question for lower courts.
In a double blow to the Republicans on the final day of campaigning in the presidential race, two federal judges today barred challengers representing any political party from polling places in Ohio during Tuesday's election.
Bush administration lawyers argued in three closely contested states last week that only the Justice Department, and not voters themselves, may sue to enforce the voting rights set out in the Help America Vote Act, which was passed in the aftermath of the disputed 2000 election.These guys don't even PRETEND to be interested in democracy and fair elections--in this country, anyway.
Veteran voting-rights lawyers expressed surprise at the government's action, saying that closing the courthouse door to aspiring voters would reverse decades of precedent.
Since the civil rights era of the 1960s, individuals have gone to federal court to enforce their right to vote, often with the support of groups such as the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, the League of Women Voters or the state parties. And until now, the Justice Department and the Supreme Court had taken the view that individual voters could sue to enforce federal election law.
But in legal briefs filed in connection with cases in Ohio, Michigan and Florida, the administration's lawyers argue that the new law gives Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft the exclusive power to bring lawsuits to enforce its provisions. These include a requirement that states provide "uniform and nondiscriminatory" voting systems, and give provisional ballots to those who say they have registered but whose names do not appear on the rolls.
"Congress clearly did not intend to create a right enforceable" in court by individual voters, the Justice Department briefs said.
"Socially, we're engaged in a race to the bottom," said Craig Cole, the chief executive of Brown & Cole Stores, a supermarket chain that employs about 2,000 workers in Washington and adjoining states and pays for insurance coverage for about 95 percent of its employees. "Do we want to allow competition based on exploitation of the work force?" he asked.It sounds like Craig's heart is in the right place, but his brain has apparently been on sabbatical for the last 200 years or so. Exploitation of the work force has been the primary element of much of world capitalism, and certainly is at the core of Wal-Mart's success.