Monthly Archives: February 2006

Remember the Iraqi Information Minister?

Remember the early days of the unprovoked U.S. aggresion against Iraq? Red blooded Americans were fond then of making fun of Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi Information Minister who seemed to have lost touch with the reality the situation.

Times have changed and today it is Bush, Rumsfeld and Co. that seem to be living in delusionville.*

Christopher of Back to Iraq puts it perfectly:

Look, I’m really sorry reality is intruding on your little fantasy but a lot of people are probably going to die in the coming days and weeks because of the idea that if you just repeat something enough times, it will come true.

*Actually, I’m pretty sure these evil-sicko-war-criminal-terrorist-fucktards have been living in some sort of twisted reality for a long time. It’s unfortunate that most of America apparently shares that reality… or at least goes along when it is convenient to do so.

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Earth warmest in a millennium, glaciers melting faster

Continuing the trend, we have new studies which indicate that the planet is heating up and that the resulting melt of glaciers is speeding up.

First, Steve Connor of the Independent Online reports on yet another study in a long list of studies that indicate that the world is at its warmest for a millennium:

The entire northern hemisphere is experiencing a sustained period of warming that is unprecedented in the past millennium, a study has found.

A review of a range of temperature records, from tree rings and ice cores to historical documents, has found that at no time since the 9th century have temperatures been so consistently high. The study, published in the journal Science, found that the late 20th century was the warmest period for the northern hemisphere since at least 800AD, eclipsing the well-known medieval warm period when vines were cultivated successfully in northern Europe and the Vikings exploited the ice-free seas to colonise Greenland.

Timothy Osborn and Keith Briffa, climate scientists from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, analysed 14 sets of temperature records from America, Europe and East Asia. Each record covered a relatively wide region, such as northern Sweden or the low countries of the Netherlands and Belgium, and extended back at least several centuries.

Ten of the 14 records were based on tree-ring data, which went back as far as 800AD, one measured ice cores from Greenland, one involved historical documents from Europe and one covered the chemical composition of sea shells on the east coast of the US. The final set of records came from China and Japan and used a variety of records, from ice cores to historical documents.
“Our results show that, during the late 20th century, warming affected the entire northern hemisphere and that at no point in the past 1,000 years has the northern hemisphere experienced the same widespread warming,” Dr Osborn said.

“The key conclusion was that the 20th century stands out as having unusually widespread warmth, compared to all of the natural warming and cooling episodes during the past 1,200 years,” Dr Osborn said.

Then there is this story via CNN/AP reporting on the findings of researchers that Greenland glaciers dumping ice into Atlantic at faster pace:

Greenland’s southern glaciers have accelerated their march to the Atlantic Ocean over the past decade and now contribute more to the global rise in sea levels than previously estimated, researchers say.

Those faster-moving glaciers, along with increased melting, could account for nearly 17 percent of the estimated one-tenth of an inch annual rise in global sea levels, or twice what was previously believed, said Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

An increase in surface air temperatures appears to be causing the glaciers to flow faster, albeit at the still-glacial pace of eight miles to nine miles a year at their fastest clip, and dump increased volumes of ice into the Atlantic.

That stepped-up flow accounted for about two-thirds of the net 54 cubic miles of ice Greenland lost in 2005. That compares with 22 cubic miles in 1996, Rignot said.

Rignot and his study co-author, Pannir Kanagaratnam of the University of Kansas, said their report is the first to include measurements of recent changes in glacier velocity in the estimates of how much ice most of Greenland is losing.

“The behavior of the glaciers that dump ice into the sea is the most important aspect of understanding how an ice sheet will evolve in a changing climate,” Rignot said.

“It takes a long time to build and melt an ice sheet, but glaciers can react quickly to temperature changes.”

Details of the study were being presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The study appears Friday in the journal Science.

The researchers believe warmer temperatures boost the amount of melt water that reaches where the glaciers flow over rock.

That extra water lubricates the rivers of ice and eases their downhill movement toward the Atlantic. They tracked the speeds of the glaciers from space, using satellite data collected between 1996 and 2005.

If warmer temperatures spread to northern Greenland, the glaciers there too should pick up their pace, Rignot and Kanagaratnam wrote.

The only way to stem the loss of ice would be for Greenland to receive increased amounts of snowfall, according to Julian Dowdeswell of the University of Cambridge, who wrote an accompanying article.

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Oil: Venezuela and Nigeria

CNN/AP reports that Chavez is threatening to cut off oil to U.S.. Given the arrogance of the Bush administration and the stupidity of statements such these by Condoleezza Rice I know I would do this same were I in his shoes. I’m about fucking tired of Bush and the other war criminals vomiting declarations of which countries are democratic and which ones are threats to democracy. The hypocrisy of this bunch of White House terrorists is just infuriating.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has warned he could cut off oil exports to the United States if Washington goes “over the line” in what he has said are attempts to destabilize his left-leaning government.

Chavez made his threat Friday, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Venezuelan government posed “one of the biggest problems” in the region and that its ties to Cuba were “particularly dangerous” to democracy in Latin America.

“The government of the United States should know that if they go over the line, they are not going to have Venezuelan oil,” Chavez said.

“I have already taken measures regarding this. I’m not going to say what because they think that I can’t take these measures because we would not have any place to send the oil,” Chavez said.

Regarding Nigera, check this excellent article at the Oil Drum.

This latest story at CNN is just a sample of what has been going with the abduction of oil workers in Nigeria:

LAGOS, Nigeria (Reuters) — Nigerian militants launched a string of attacks on the world’s eighth largest oil exporter on Saturday, abducting nine foreign workers from an offshore barge and attacking at least two other facilities.

Militants from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said they were targeting all oil pipelines, production platforms and export terminals in Delta state, which accounts for about a quarter of Nigeria’s 2.4 million barrels per day production.

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New Abu Ghraib Photos

The folks at Irregular Times have posted the recently released Abu Ghraib photos What America Hath Wrought:

Since it appears that the American news media is going to continue to patronize us and decide what is best for us to see and not to see, we’ll have to do an end run around the media and distribute these photos ourselves. To that end, the following is the most complete set of new Abu Ghraib photos that I could scrabble together. These represent a reminder to us of the damage America has wrought.

Of course, it is much, much worse than even these photos indicate. I’m sure they’ve buried the worst stuff in as deep a hole they could dig. We’ve become a nation of war criminals.

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Over 11,000 FEMA trailers sit unused in Arkansas

Ah yes, the efficiency of government and capitalism. Check the New York Times article:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — Mobile homes worth hundreds of millions of dollars are deteriorating in a muddy field in Arkansas and may never be used to house victims of Hurricane Katrina because of a dispute over where to install them, federal officials acknowledged Monday.

Only about 2,700 of the 25,000 mobile homes ordered at a cost of $850 million have been installed, and at least 10,000 are sitting in Hope, Ark., according to documents and statements from Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. Though about 55,000 Louisiana families are still waiting for a manufactured housing unit, the mobile homes may never be used because FEMA regulations prohibit them from being installed in flood-prone coastal areas, federal officials said.

Members of a Senate committee investigating the response to Hurricane Katrina called the mobile home episode an appalling example of government stumbling.

George Bush and his administration: Awesome! I’ve said it before, these guys are doing an excellent job, a thorough job of destroying America as a world empire. Of course as a part of that process they are also destroying America domestically. I’m convinced that they will continue to pound the country until election time in a couple years then they will abolish the Constitution that they already ignore. By that time the situation may be obvious enough, domestic conditions bad enough, that comfortable Americans might get off their asses and do something.

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Top Ten Ways Iraq is like Harry Whittington

This is too good to pass up. Yes, another Cheney shooter post. This on from Jaun Cole at Informed Comment:

1. Cheney attacked secular Iraq, mistaking it for an ally of Usamah Bin Laden. Cheney attacked Harry Whittington, mistaking him for a small bird.

2. Iraq has been peppered with Cheney’s munitions. Whittington has been peppered with Cheney’s munitions.

3. Cheney did not have a legal license to hunt quail on the trip that saw Whittingon wounded. Cheney did not have a United Nations license to invade Iraq or reduce it to rubble.

4. Cheney tried to blame Iraq for getting itself invaded by not signalling hard enough that it really did not have weapons of mass destruction. Cheney tried to blame Whittington for getting himself shot by not signalling hard enough that he was not a small bird.

5. Cheney thought Iraq’s insurgency was in its last throes nearly a year ago. Cheney was deathly afraid that Whittington might be in his last throes.

6. Whittington thought Cheney as hunting partner would keep him secure. Iraqis thought that after the fall of Saddam, Cheney would make them secure.

7. Cheney gave Whittington a heart attack by shooting him in the heart. Cheney gave Iraqis a heart attack by having them bombed relentlessly.

8. Cheney tried to cover up how bad Whittington’s condition was after he shot him. Cheney tried to cover up how bad Iraq’s situation is after he had it invaded.

9. Cheney thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Cheney thought Whittington was a small bird.

10. Cheney shot Whittington while hunting in the dark. Cheney invaded Iraq while being in the dark.

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Cheney uses $21,000 shotgun to miss bird, hit man

The Bulldog Manifesto has the best summary yet regarding Cheney’s most recent armed expedition:

We all know that Vice President Cheney shot an old man on a farm while trying to shoot pen-raised, slow moving birds with a 28-guage shotgun.

But what about the gun?

Cheney was using a Perazzi shotgun. Perazzi 28-guage shotguns are custom made shotguns that sell for over $20,000. Some of them go for as high as $41,000.00!!

$41,000 approaches the 75th percentile for annual wages for a male in our society. These bastards are so utterly out of touch with the average American worker, it’s not even funny.

We couldn’t have written a better metaphor if we tried.

They overspend on guns. They shoot at the wrong targets. They injure innocent people.

The perfect metaphor indeed.

So if you are keeping score at home. Our vice president shoots at slow moving pen-raised birds with a 28-guage shotgun costing over $20,000.00…..and misses, hitting a 78 year old man.

Poetic. Damn poetic

Still, I’d much rather have his violence confined to his wealthy friends in America rather than civilians in Iraq… or Iran.

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Freedom or Fascism?

I’ve been working my way through the archives of Where We’re Bound for transfer here to the new blog and I’ve come across the first post of several that I will be posting again as a fresh entry. Back in 2003 Mark Anderson of the American Sentimentalist posted an excellent series of articles titled An Escape From Freedom: reflections on the development of an American dystopia. It turned into a four part series, here’s the first: It can’t happen here, can it?.

Mark does a great job of describing the current situation in America. His comments on current perceptions of the growth and definitions of fascism as well as the prospects for freedom are right on. He presents a useful description of the factors which allowed for the unfolding of previous fascistic movements as this relates to the current move in America ever to the right. In part three of the series he states that:

One of the primary characteristics of fascism is the perceived relationship between the individual and the state: through the elevated power of the nation, created by the iron-clad unity of the individuals who make up the non-disenfranchised groups within the society, fascism allows individuals themselves in turn to find power. This relationship, however, is symbiotic without being mutually-beneficial; inevitably, the state gains power over the individual, and not the other way around. However, despite the fact that the distribution of power in a fascist system flows one way and one way only, it is the perception and belief that matters most – the perception on behalf of the ruled that they are at the center of the state itself, and not the rulers, to whom they give their unquestioning support in return for this belief. This belief allows the purposes for which certain policies are carried out to be ultimately cast as for the good of the individual as a component of the wider society, and not as an effort to benefit any particular segment of that society, such as the governing elite.

Which brings us to the United States of America.

The laundry list of ways in which the U.S. is no longer a democracy is long and well-known among all but the most myopic of patriots: the expansion of corporate power replacing public power, the insertion of money into electoral politics, and the overlay of ideology on all but the most inconsequential moments of public and civic life. Much discussion and debate is currently taking place as to exactly how the United States expects to exist in the world for the coming millennium, and how it is to be run by its politicians and perceived by its own citizens. But what is often lost, however, are the ways in which the structural underpinnings of American society are wholesale being replaced, and the consequences such changes will have wrought. For, far from being a nascent society with a long future of increasing freedom ahead of it, America is instead a mature society in deep transition, and one that is in much more danger of diminishing freedom for its citizens than it is in securing them.

I think what Mark has stated here is spot on. These structural changes have been carefully orchestrated and are difficult to see. The move away from freedom and towards corporate control has been a gradual process designed to be invisible.

Mark paints a clear picture of the rigid class structure which has evolved in the U.S. and describes the dynamics of that class structure. Other important variables for the development of fascism are also discussed: September 11, U.S. military and superpower status, and racial scapegoating. He concludes the discussion of necessary conditions for fascism by addressing the near collapse of citizenship in the U.S. as well as the psycological results of this collapse.

It’s as though we have forgotten what it means to be a citizen. We’ve been slowly and carefully stripped of responsibility and the desire to participate. Freedom has become a catchphrase which is more likely to be used to sell a product than it is to be seriously considered as an idea fundamental to participatory democracy. A commitment to community, to a public life has vanished from our daily life. Even the idea of such commitment has vanished. Instead daily life has evolved into an orgie of anonymous consumerism and alienated work. We are inundated with propaganda in so many ways that we don’t even know it. You could call it friendly facism. It’s like eating candy. It’s “Friends” and “Survivor”. Wal-Mart and the mall.

Someone once said that “Freedom is something you assume. Then someone tries to take it away from you. The degree to which you resist is the degree that you are free.” Will we fight back? Will we step up to the responsibility of defending Liberty? Can we each be an activist citizen every day?

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What’s more ridiculous than protesting of cartoons?

Just thinking about all this craziness regarding the protests of the cartoons of Mohammed. What I really want to know is why are Americans not protesting at a similar level of intensity an illegal war based upon a nasty soup of lies? Our passivity is equally fucked up.

It’s truly insane. Over the past 3-4 years I’ve struggled to keep up with the reasons for protest. Of course there is the illegal war against Iraq but there’s alot within that which should not be forgotten or passed over such as the use white phosporus and torture. NSA spying and the federal lack of response to Katrina… these are just some of the highlights. The list goes on.

What’s the response by the citizens of the US? More shopping. Yeah, something’s gone very wrong.

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Creating The Modern “EcoHood”

Susan DeFreitas of E Magazine has an article covering an inspiring city-based permaculture project:

EcoHood, n: permaculture retrofit of a mid- to low-income neighborhood with a high potential for ecological sustainability.

What’s wrong with the 1960s vision of moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle by growing your own food and raising kids with a few (or a few hundred) of your closest friends? Only one thing, says Andrew Millison: “The idea that you have to leave society to do it.” A Prescott College instructor, landscape contractor, homeowner and self-described permaculture activist, Millison is helping to spearhead a community sustainability initiative in the Lincoln-Dameron Street district of Prescott, AZ (pop. 45,000) that’s become increasingly known as “the EcoHood.” Andrew Millison with a rainwater cistern and his rooster, Soft Crow.

Permaculture (a combination of the words “permanent” and “agriculture”) was first developed in Australia in the 1970s as a design system for local self-reliance based on patterns found in nature. Combining principles of homescale agriculture, environmental stewardship and community design, permaculture has captured the imaginations and energies of a new generation of environmentalists worldwide in the years since its inception.

Reminds me of our our efforts in Memphis. Let’s hope more more folks begin to show an interest in such projects so that they may be sustained and expanded.

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