31.10.05



"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."
'Would it help people if I went to Montana and lived on a mountain?'

an interview with chomsky in today's guardian

24.10.05

20.10.05

why culture if you are blessed with bigmacs

The United States stood in opposition to almost every member nation of the United Nations in a vote here late Monday over a convention intended to protect linguistic diversity and minority cultures from the negative impacts of globalization.

19.10.05

intelligent design trial ;-)

Professor backs "intelligent design" in testimony

...

Behe, however, argues that evolution cannot fully explain the biological complexities of life, suggesting the work of an intelligent force.

The intelligent-design concept does not name the designer, although Behe, a Roman Catholic, testified he personally believes it to be God.

"I conclude that based on theological and philosophical and historical factors," he said.

making shit up?

the yanks are so funny

10.10.05

Dylan and God speak



Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.

6.10.05

katrina

'Two months before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the Inspector General of the
Department of Homeland Security warned FEMA that its systems for managing the personnel
and equipment dispatched to disaster sites were inadequate. According to the report, FEMA's
information management systems were overwhelmed by the four hurricanes that struck Florida
in 2004. Instead of committing to remedy the problems that the report identified, FEMA
Director Michael Brown disputed nearly all its findings. Mr. Brown claimed that FEMA systems
were “highly performing” and “well managed.”'

article here

World Intellectual Property Organization

We still make law as though it were just a deal brokered between industry groups. [..] What matters is making the big boys happy.

comparison of inglan enclosure act- ownership of land- and development of intellectual property.

from here

5.10.05

Just a little bit of history repeating

Read this from the New York Times in 1966 or 67 ... substitute the word "Vietnam" for the word "Iraq" and the word "Vietcong" for the words "Iraqi Insurgency" or "Al Qaeda terrorists" ...



... and compare with current discoure of trying to introduce democracy against a background of 'evil terrorists'.

"It is indeed the first real evidence that President Bush's grand design of
toppling a dictator and forcing a democracy into the heart of the Middle
East could work." (Urban, Newsnight, BBC2, April 12, 2005)

The BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden:

"The Iraqi elections are the first democratic elections in Iraq for 50
years - acknowledged as a democratic opportunity. We know that the Americans
and the British want the elections to be free and fair - but of course we
don't yet know if that will be the case - especially bearing in mind
security." (Forwarded to Media Lens, January 21, 2005)

Adam Curtis, World Deputy Editor, BBC News Interactive:

"while the Bush administration very probably has motives other than the promotion of democracy in Iraq, it has certainly gone to considerable lengths to try to establish a framework for elections." (e-mail to media lens contributor)

4.10.05

migration as protest

Placing American Emigration to Canada in Context

By Audrey Kobayashi, Queen's University and Brian Ray, University of Ottawa

January 1, 2005

In the twenty-four hours following George W. Bush's victory in the American presidential election on November 2, 2004, the Canadian government's Department of Citizenship and Immigration website received 115,016 "hits," six times the average daily number, and double the previous record.

There followed a flurry of media speculation over the prospect of disgruntled American voters leaving their country to settle in Canada or other destinations, including Spain, Mexico, or New Zealand.

Coverage in newspapers, magazines, and personal websites ranged from thoughtful pieces featuring interviews with individuals who have already emigrated, to editorials examining the relationship between emigration and loyalty, to spoof articles poking fun at Canada and at American "liberals." Included among the prospective emigrants in these articles were anti-war protestors, disaffected Democrats, and gays and lesbians seeking a place where same-sex marriages are recognized.

The speed with which websites mounted information—both serious and satirical — indicates that such information had been prepared in advance. At least one Canadian immigration lawyer immediately announced plans to hold seminars for potential emigrants in major American cities. And blog sites swiftly distributed cartoons, joke maps—such as one showing the "blue" states seceding to Canada — and even advertisements for bumper stickers.

The list of public policy issues cited by emigration proponents includes Canada's greater rights for same-sex partners, opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq, a universal health care system, tight gun control laws, the legal use of medical marijuana, and Canada's ratification of the international environmental agreement, the Kyoto Protocol. But the two issues that seem most likely to encourage people to leave the US are the United States' role in the Iraq War and federal and state governments' legal measures to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.

...continues...

the obedience experiment

you've probably heard of this, might be worth adding to our library...

"...I will cite one final variation of the experiment that depicts a dilemma that is more common in everyday life. The subject was not ordered to pull the lever that shocked the victim, but merely to perform a subsidiary task (administering the word-pair test) while another person administered the shock. In this situation, thirty-seven of forty adults continued to the highest level of the shock generator. Predictably, they excused their behavior by saying that the responsibility belonged to the man who actually pulled the switch. This may illustrate a dangerously typical arrangement in a complex society: it is easy to ignore responsibility when one is only an intermediate link in a chain of actions.

The problem of obedience is not wholly psychological. The form and shape of society and the way it is developing have much to do with it. There was a time, perhaps, when people were able to give a fully human response to any situation because they were fully absorbed in it as human beings. But as soon as there was a division of labor things changed. Beyond a certain point, the breaking up of society into people carrying out narrow and very special jobs takes away from the human quality of work and life. A person does not get to see the whole situation but only a small part of it, and is thus unable to act without some kind of overall direction. He yields to authority but in doing so is alienated from his own actions.

Even Eichmann was sickened when he toured the concentration camps, but he had only to sit at a desk and shuffle papers. At the same time the man in the camp who actually dropped Cyclon-b into the gas chambers was able to justify his behavior on the ground that he was only following orders from above. Thus there is a fragmentation of the total human act; no one is confronted with the consequences of his decision to carry out the evil act. The person who assumes responsibility has evaporated. Perhaps this is the most common characteristic of socially organized evil in modern society.

Stanley Milgram "The Perils of Obedience"

More Milgram

3.10.05

"porno-war" and 'The Ugly American'



The "ugly American" is schizophrenic Imad Khadduri, Free Iraq, October 2, 2005

This introspection is dedicated to those remaining Americans who ask "Why do they hate us?".

In 1958, two Americans wrote a book "The Ugly American" renowned for its slashing exposé of American arrogance, incompetence, and corruption in Southeast Asia. Vietnam's bloody orgy proved their point.

A year ago, a previous posting on this site fleetingly mentioned "The schizophrenia of the “American Way of Life”: Preach peace and democracy but rooted in genocide and violence on a subliminal level".

Not being a psychiatrist, the definition of schizophrenia is (according to gurunet)
- A situation or condition that results from the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic qualities, identities, or activities: the national schizophrenia that results from carrying out an unpopular war.
- Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.

Recent events have highlighted this schizophrenic behavior in the American psyche, be it the response to hurricane Katrina, the finally to be released 'more' Abu Ghraib pictures and videos. testaments of American soldiers who tortured prisoners, among other indicators.

...interesting article at above link...

It's the economy, stupid - It's the stupid economy

Risk of rebuilding New Orleans in deluge of debt
By Clyde Prestowitz in the FT September 28 2005 19:41

""In the wake of President George W. Bush’s recent speech in New Orleans, I have been wondering if anyone has asked the Chinese how they feel about his decision to spend “whatever it costs” to rebuild the city. After all, they are the ones who will have to pay for it."


"The cost of rebuilding is estimated at more than $200bn (€167bn) but the White House insists it will not increase taxes. That means the entire cost will be added to the $350bn federal budget deficit, driving it close to $600bn. This deficit is financed by selling US Treasury bonds to investors looking for a fair and safe return on their savings.""

"The nation’s overall savings rate is negative and the deficit is funded by foreigners. In fact, more than 75 per cent is financed by foreign central banks, among which the People’s Bank of China will soon pass the Bank of Japan as the biggest lender."

"In 2004, according to the Bank for International Settlements, central banks funded 75 per cent of the US current account deficit. This year, the PBoC alone is likely to cover nearly 40 per cent of it."

"These banks now hold so many dollars ($800bn for the PBoC and close to $850bn for the BoJ), that any fall in its value would cause large capital losses on their own balance sheets."

"Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chief, has predicted a 75 per cent chance of a global financial crisis within five years."

continues...

During Wolfowitches' evidence to the Senate committee on foreign affairs, he said that "we will conquer the world either by consent or conquest".

Was currency [Euro vs US$] one of the reasons for the war? There definitely seems to be some kind of cold war going on, which I don't pretend to understand, with oil, China, Iran and the euro/dollar choice... If China and some axis of oilville countries switch to euros will that have disasterous consequences for the US? Does their massive debt make them or China more vulnerable to economic meltdown?

The US are also apparently furious that Malaysia and China have 'de-pegged'. The US economy is basically bankrupt, it is being propped up by a daily overdraft from the rest of the world, especially China, and Bush now dares not criticise them for human rights violations.

Will the US ever be able to service these huge ammounts? let alone pay off the capital. Everything and everyone in the US is owned by private banks.
They'll have to have a WWIII for the private banks to create more money and profit.

(this last bit is based on posting by 'Ekk' on the medialens message board which is a constant source of interesting stories

2.10.05

The Murder Of Hunter S. Thompson

What do we make of all this?



Webb, a Pullitzer prize winning journalist, exposed CIA drug trafficking operations in a series of books and reports for the San Jose Mercury News.

Credible sources who were close to Gary Webb have stated that he was receiving death threats, being regularly followed, and that he was concerned about strange individuals who were seen on multiple occasions breaking into and leaving his house before his apparent 'suicide' on Friday December 10th 2004.

Hunter Thompson was working on WTC collapse story before mysterious sudden death, warned he'd be 'suicided'

Was Hunter S. Thompson Suicided?

Hunter Thompson friend confirms journalist was on to White House callboy story

Hunter S. Thompson Suicide Story Changes

Hunter S. Thompson thought 9/11 an inside job

Thompson's Suicide Fuels Conspiracy Buzz

Elite Sex Slave Rings: The Gannon-Thompson Connection