Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 23, 2005

Open One Again

News, views, whatever and a link to the forerunner

Posted by b on March 23, 2005 at 19:48 UTC | Permalink



Remember when the fear was still fresh- and the terror was relatively new- and it was possible to be shocked and awed in Iraq?

Posted by: beq | Mar 23 2005 19:56 utc | 1

Oil and Iraq by Tom Engelhardt

Cheney then went on point out that oil remains basically "a government business" and to lay out briefly some of the math behind peak-oil fears:

"For the world as a whole, oil companies are expected to keep finding and developing enough oil to offset our seventy one million plus barrel a day of oil depletion, but also to meet new demand. By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from?"

...and Freedom is on the march.

Posted by: beq | Mar 23 2005 20:08 utc | 2

Iraq tape claims to show German hostage

Posted by: beq | Mar 23 2005 20:12 utc | 3

the art of anna missed has triggered in me - a refocusing on what has happened in fallujah & what ius happening in almll the other ghost cities & villages that are being transformed into hell on earth

all the wordage in the world will not change those terrible facts. what is happening in iraq today happened in occupied poland & russia under the nazis. criminal actions, massacres & murders are happening on a day to day basis. they are happening in the most quotidian way in checkpoints & in villages. it is happening in whatever form the 'phoenix programme' takes in occcupied iraq. of one thing we can be sure - it is bloody to a degree that even our voices of protest cannot underline

there are american soldiers taking the lives of children men & women as if they are nothing, less than nothing. if we did not read blogs coming out of iraq - we would not know. the campaign to keep this slaughter off the front pages has been wholly succesful

if i am insistent on this matter - it is because all the forces in our society create walls against people undertanding the carnage that is now being called civilisation

this civilisation, this 'freedom on the march' is nothing other than the liquidation of a people & & defiling of their destinies as a people & as a part of our common humanity

i read yesterday the commentary of that obese fool john simpson on bbccom & he must be on a retainer with the defence department. absent are the lies that led to this illegal & immoral war, absent are the at least 150,000 deaths that are climbing each day, absent are the scenes of horror that are being enacted over the totality of iraq, absent are the machinations of fools & criminals & killers in the green zone.

no i am not surprised by their absence but i am surprised by their lack of common decency & common humanity

each day i am sure - i am convinced the price the west will pay for these crimes will be enormous & that day will come as it came for nazi germany. there will be a bill & it will be paid

today the cost of that war is exclusively iraqui - the murder of these people must remain our focus & anybody who can possibly traduce from what is happening that there is a better world to come is fooling themselves. each day greater divisions are being created & not only in the middle east. i fear that these divisions will reamin both irrevocable & implacable

the butchershop i predicted in the beginning of this war has extended beyond even what i imagined & what i did not expect was the savagery of american military force - that it has created 1, 2 3 many lt calleys & capitain medinas & they are creating my lai on a weekly basis

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 23 2005 21:00 utc | 4

I agree with you r´giap. We don´t know what is happening but that most probably means it is worse than we think it is.

and the cover ups continue...

U.S. bars Italians from examining victim’s car

Posted by: b | Mar 23 2005 21:15 utc | 5

After the 'resounding victory' : Insurgents still control raided Iraq training camp: AFP correspondent.

SAMARRA, Iraq (AFP) - About 30 to 40 fighters were seen at the lakeside training camp attacked by US and Iraqi forces a day before and claimed they had never left, an AFP correspondent who visited the site said.

The correspondant, who traveled with other journalists to the camp at Lake Tharthar, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Baghdad, said he saw 30 to 40 fighters there.

The remains of three burnt vehicles were seen on a dusty road leading to the camp in the village of Ain al-Hilwa. A few mud huts were partly destroyed and a few big craters gouged the ground.

One of the fighters, who called himself Mohammed Amer and claimed to belong to the Secret Islamic Army, said they had never left the base.

He also said only 11 of his comrades were killed in airstrikes on the site.......

Well fancy that. The tales of 45, 80, 84 or 85 dead Moroccans, Syrians, Saudis, Algerians, Sudanese and Iraqis might not be so reliable after all. Who would have thought it?

Posted by: The big match : final score | Mar 23 2005 21:42 utc | 6

Four dead, dozens injured in BP blast

If you live in the states and have a car you might want to fill your gas tank TODAY to save some bucks.

Posted by: b | Mar 23 2005 21:42 utc | 7

@beq - German Journalist?

AL WAHDAWI - Sanaa, weekly 29/12/98 (search for hassan)

-The Yemeni journalist, Hassan Al Zaydi, who was accompanying the German reporter during his interview with kidnappers of the four German tourists was still detained inspite of the fact that the foreign reporter was set free.
Maybe a translater?

Posted by: b | Mar 23 2005 22:18 utc | 8


i am convinced it is far, far worse. it is as if we have returned to an earlier epoch - as i have mentioned often & perhaps a little too insistently - there are resonances of the einsatzgruppen - of killing actions taking place in adjunct to official operations - blogs from iraq infer as much & i do not see them as 'mouthpieces' of the resistance but as the only authentic voices who are to give witness. & thank you n necause you led me to a number of those sites which have led me to others - even if we accept forms of exaggeration -the daily story they tell gives clear indications of much much worse happening than we are told theough the mouthpieces of dominant ideology

if journalism has benne comprimised for a long time & that is my view - their whole relationship with this illegal & immoral war is a testimony both to their utter weakness as human beings & to their hypocricy as 'professionals'

the blogs coming out of iraq - of which some are by americans are both lucid & credible - i alway err on the side of their credibility because much of what passes in the knackeryard of the mass media has its origin in information collated & researched by blog

there is something ecidedly macabre - hinted at in anna missed work - which is the extension of jean baudriallards famous 'the gulf war did not take place' - to the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people as if they never existed in the first place

there was also the hint of this in a link the other day here - where people are being killed because some soldiers fire so indiscriminately that the 'collateral damage' is an acceptable part of their ignomonious campaign

& iraquis are right again to chide us for being so concerned with the italians when many iraquis including whole families are being wiped out everyday in similar incidents & do not merit even the pretence of a commission or enquiry

they are ghosts of the civil dead - but they will walk through our dreams for the rest of our days

as the american indians understood well - their presences reamain with us - the living

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 23 2005 22:45 utc | 9

Sorry b, it wasn't a registration site when I read it. I'll see if I can find it again. He did not have a German name though.

Posted by: beq | Mar 23 2005 23:25 utc | 10

while rummie is out meddling about america's better half, here's an interview w/ philip agee on The Nature of CIA Intervention in Venezuela

Posted by: b real | Mar 23 2005 23:27 utc | 11

U.S. Army orders further involuntary troop call-up.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army is ordering more people to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan involuntarily from a seldom-used personnel pool as part of a mobilization that began last summer.

They are part of the Army's Individual Ready Reserve, made up of soldiers who have completed their volunteer active-duty service commitment but remain eligible to be called back into uniform for years after returning to civilian life.

The Army, straining to maintain troop levels in Iraq, last June said it would summon more than 5,600 people on the IRR in an effort to have about 4,400 soldiers fit for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan after granting exemption requests for medical reasons and other hardships.

Lt. Col. Pamela Hart said on Wednesday the Army has now increased the number of IRR soldiers it needs to about 4,650, which means a total of about 6,100 will get mobilization orders.

The IRR differs from the part-time Army Reserve and Army National Guard, whose soldiers train regularly as part of units. People on the IRR have no such training requirements.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 24 2005 0:31 utc | 12

Death toll rises in Texas oil refinery blast.

TEXAS CITY — At least 14 people are dead and more than 100 injured following a mid-afternoon explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City. A large rescue effort was under way in the aftermath the Wednesday explosion which occurred at 1:20 p.m.

Refinery manager Don Parus said the explosion occurred within BP’s Octane Enhancement Unit (OEU) that caused “several injuries and several deaths,” but would not confirm how many people were killed. Sources familiar with the recovery effort at the refinery confirmed that 14 people had been killed “with more expected” as a result of the explosion.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 24 2005 1:29 utc | 13

The Schiavo case is turning into a nightmare for the Grand Old Party. A new pole over at Kos tells the tale. Tom Delay has got to be the biggest jerk off, besides chimpy, there is.

Well, I am looking into alternative transportation for the summer. A motorcycle or scooter might do the trick. The Buell Blast gets 70 miles per gallon.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 24 2005 2:14 utc | 14

Britain's Iraq war: The smoking gun?.

Documentary evidence has emerged showing that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, changed his mind about the legality of the Iraq war just before the conflict began. The damning revelation is contained in the resignation letter of Elizabeth Wilmshurst, a legal adviser at the Foreign Office, in which she said the war would be a "crime of aggression". She quit the day after Lord Goldsmith's ruling was made public, three days before the war began in March 2003.

The critical paragraph of her letter, published yesterday under the Freedom of Information Act, was blanked out by the Government on the grounds that it was in the public interest to protect the privacy of the advice given by the Attorney General. But last night the contents of the paragraph were leaked, and Tony Blair was facing fresh allegations of a cover-up. There has long been speculation that Lord Goldsmith was leant on to switch his view, and to sanction the war - and confirmation of that would be devastating for the Prime Minister. The Wilmhurst letter stops short of explaining what caused Lord Goldsmith to change his mind.

Was the British Attorney General leant on to change his mind?

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 24 2005 2:55 utc | 15>Death Penalty for Picnicking in the Park

thanks for all the freedom and democracy, America.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 24 2005 6:30 utc | 16

German citizen kidnapped in Iraq

b, from a different link:

An Iraqi-German national has been abducted in Iraq. Al-Jazeera TV broadcast a video of Abd el-Hussein el-Ziadi being held hostage by a previously unknown group calling itself "The Islamic Defense Brigade." The group is calling for the release of Muslim prisoners in Germany. (Reuters)

Posted by: beq | Mar 24 2005 10:41 utc | 17

Deanander- This is just the sort of horror story that confirms the predictions made before the war (and denied and ignored by the neo-con true believers) that the overthrow of Saddam would result in theocracy, not democracy, in Iraq.

Why, why, why are these people not demoted for the horrors they have unleashed upon the Iraqi people-- instead of being put in charge of the world bank, for instance...instead of being empowered while realists have been purged from the Bush's for the same reason, I suppose, that Bush was re-elected...people here want to believe this thing is working, and if they only say so long enough...we have a ruby slippers foreign policy and domestic polity.

While people here would also point to this as proof that this is why American soldiers must remain in Iraq, I really wonder if, now that the theocrats have been unleashed, there is any way to stop them, short of the use of another strongman who will use very undemocratic methods to drive these factions out or underground...or simply kill them. (this is, no doubt, why Allawi was "elected" and will remain in power as long as the US has any way...those ruby slippers are only to hide the man behind the curtain from the American electorate after all, it seems.)

The police do not have the support of the theocrats, and are also being intimidated by them. the police don't have the support of many others in the population because they are seen as the stooges of the Americans (and the American businesses that attempted to sell off Iraq illegally, before an election could even be held.

But the theocrats no doubt have the support of the Iranian theocrats.

To then say...oh, well...on to Iran...would be to pile one mistake on top of the other, imo, and insure the theocrats would win in Iraq and across the region, if other attempts to overthrow current govts persist.

This sounds oh-so real politik and cruel to say (and repubs would also use such thoughts to accuse me of "not believing democracy is possible in the M.E.")

How is it possible to create democracy in a region in which liberation from tyrannical govt has been, for years, led by religious groups that are, ultimately, hostile to democracy?

Of course democracy is possible anywhere, when the foundations are laid in an educated population, and especially in the education of women. The situation of women is a good indicator of the level of democracy that exists in a culture, historically and currently, it seems, if Emmanuel Todd can be believed.

But just as America's theocrats are not representative of democracy here, such factions are not representative of democracy in Iraq, if democracy means rule by the people, and the people includes half of a population made up of females.

I think the republicans will not be able to succeed in their agenda in the ME if they continue to ignore the social democratic ideas contained in sharia...ideas that are anathema to republicans here...but if some version of democracy is possible in the ME, it seems a co-optation of the parts of sharia that reconcile with human rights, whether in economics or govt or social policy, will be necessary.

In the meantime, with American soldiers shooting first, asking questions later, it seems the Iraqis who want to establish something other than a theocracy have no viable coaltion or organization to counter the religious totalitarians.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 24 2005 13:18 utc | 18

@ fauxreal: All part of the plan.

The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal by Bill Moyers.

I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious, and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelations where four angels 'which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man.' A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed—an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144—just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire.

Apologies if this appears elsewhere on the thread.

Posted by: beq | Mar 24 2005 13:46 utc | 19

"instead of being empowered while realists have been purged from the Bush adminstration"
Let me cynical and psychotic once more. I consider this to be a good thing, in a way. It means that when the time will come to bring down the BushCo, then every single one of them can be terminated with extreme prejudice without having to fear to commit an injustice, because only the worst mofos will be left in this corrupt and insanely criminal administration. No need for God to sort them out, they're doing it themselves.

Now, if you really want to know how Evil this bunch of scumbags is, just look at Terry Schiavo. She is the ultimate citizen in their wet-dreams. No conscience, no autonomy, no independant thought or will. This is why they cherish her so much. The bunch of fascistoid puppeteers just dream of turning the rest of the world into their own perverted version of the Matrix where remote-controlled living objects, or robotised lobotomised humans, are exploited as a weird kind of batteries, where they do all the slave work for the masters, without complaining, without groaning, without even any speech or thought, just obeying orders as the good stormtrooper in duty in Iraq. To put it simply, they just want to turn mankind into a bunch of beings, mostly living, deprived of everything that characterises a typical human, because this is what they despise, hate and fear.

As Billy Moyers' now classical piece shows, this bunch of fundies are just a complete and total insult to mankind's overall intelligence. They hate the intellect, they hate the mind, and ultimately they hate humanity as such.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Mar 24 2005 14:12 utc | 20

I'm starting to understand how Lenin felt. The magnitude of the corruption, the selfishness, and the self-righteousness is overwhelming. Thousands of children die in Iraq, and they call it the unavoidable consequence of The March of Democracy. One woman wants to die, and they refuse so that they can trumpet their morality to the world, a world that will never believe them. In the meantime they careen towards disaster, carrying us with them like passengers on a runaway bus driven by drunken lechers.

I'm starting to believe in revolutionary justice.

Posted by: Aigin | Mar 24 2005 14:30 utc | 21

a u.s. version of the tupamaros would be nice. liberating the books of corrupt corporations, exacting social justice, and taking a stand against torture. it appears inevitable that force will be resisted w/ force and eventually it will be more demanding to keep up w/ all the acronym-labeled movements aligned against this expanding syndicate.

Posted by: b real | Mar 24 2005 15:01 utc | 22

Spot the differences : Accounts of Iraq raid rife with discrepancies.

Mar 24 - US and Iraqi military officials gave inconsistent accounts of what they both say was a major assault Tuesday on a remote rebel training camp. Divergent reports about the nature of the battle and the number of rebel fighters killed raise far more questions than they provide answers.

Reuters initially reported that Iraqi government commandos attacked an isolated camp some 100 miles northwest of Baghdad Tuesday morning. When insurgents returned fire, the commandos reportedly called for US air and ground support.

Colonel Robert Potter, a spokesman for the US Army in Baghdad, told the New York Times, the assault was "one of the largest such engagements that I'm aware of."

An unnamed Iraqi source at a joint US-Iraqi command center in Tikrit told Reuters that Iraqi forces killed 80 insurgents, while only eleven commandos died. He said the fierce battle lasted twelve hours.

But Major Richard Goldenberg, a spokesperson for the 42nd Infantry Division, told Reuters the battle lasted only two hours and that seven members of the Iraqi assault force died and just six sustained wounds. He did not say how many rebel fighters died.
The Associated Press also initially reported that commandos killed 80 in an assault on a "terrorist camp" near Lake Tharthar, attributing this information to an Iraqi Colonel named Ahmed Essa. The US military issued a statement saying that 20 insurgents had been captured but did not provide rebel casualty figures, according to the AP.

Lieutenant Colonel Samad Hassan Kamel, an Iraqi commander whose unit reportedly led the assault, later told Reuters that commandos killed 45 insurgents, many of whom he said were Saudis and Syrians. In yet another report, Reuters quoted Sabah Kadhim, a spokesperson for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, as saying that commandos killed 84 insurgents. "Among the dead are Arab and foreign fighters, including Sudanese, Algerians and Moroccans, as well as other nationalities," Kadhim said.

General Adnan Thabet, identified by Agence France Presse as a senior security advisor to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, said 85 insurgents died in what was a seventeen hour assault by Iraqi troops and US aircraft on a camp shared by Ba’ath party loyalists and members of Al-Qaeda. Reportedly speaking from Samarra, Thabet told AFP that US "air raids" killed 50 insurgents, while Iraqi commandos killed 35, indicating that US forces played a significant role in the assault.

Thabet added that the raid resulted in no prisoners, but that several militants "escaped by boat" across the lake. Kadhim, the Interior Ministry spokesman, told the AP that twenty boats escaped during the raid.

It appears the assault force may have conducted the raid prematurely. Maj. Goldenberg admitted that the area was not surrounded by security forces until after an uncertain number escaped.

According to the AP, Goldenberg indicated that the raid was somewhat spontaneous, as Iraqi security forces were actually in the area to raid a different target when locals alerted them to the alleged base camp at Lake Tharthar. But the AP also cited an unnamed "Iraqi officer" as saying the site’s existence was known for eighteen days in advance, though reports did not indicate what agencies or units were aware of the target before yesterday’s raid was planned.
US military officials said the camp housed between 80 and 120 insurgents who were planning attacks on Iraqi cities, and that the role of US troops was only to provide helicopter support for Iraqi forces, CNN reported.

US and Iraqi accounts also diverged on the exact location of the training camp. According to CNN, US military sources said the camp was located west of Lake Tharthar, along the border of Salahuddin and Anbar provinces. Iraqi officials, on the other hand, said the camp was near Samarra, which is located east of the lake. Finally, the caption on a Reuters photo purportedly taken at the site of the raid refers to the location as "near Tikrit," which is more than 30 miles east-northeast of the northernmost point of Lake Tharthar.
According to a fourth report posted by Reuters yesterday, the Iraqi government released a statement claiming that "special police commandos" raided a "terrorist training camp" Tuesday, killing 85 insurgents and capturing only one, an unidentified Algerian. The statement made no mention of wounded insurgents and did not explain the relatively low casualty figures for Iraqi forces compared to the number of insurgents killed.

Both Reuters and AFP also reported that a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Tikrit issued a notice saying that only eleven insurgents had died in the firefight, while rebels killed "many more" police commandos.

According to the New York Times, Maj. Goldenberg said US and Iraqi forces were still searching the site of the assault on Wednesday, but an Iraqi commando who participated in the raid reportedly told AFP that both Iraqi and US troops withdrew from the site early Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, an AFP reporter visited the crater ridden site of a camp near Lake Tharthar where rebels moved about in the open. According to a man claiming to be a member of the Secret Islamic Army, government forces had attacked that camp but only killed eleven rebels. The man and dozens of fellow fighters, he said, had not left the area since the firefight ended.

Also according to the AFP, local hospitals reported no casualties.
Photographic and videotape evidence supporting the various claims by US and Iraqi officials appears to be lacking. Reuters’ photographs show only what appears to be a burned out truck near a lake and a small campsite that looks as though it has been bombed or damaged by fire. A report posted online Wednesday by Associated Press Television mentioned the assault, but did not include any video from the scene.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 24 2005 16:38 utc | 23

Déjà vu : Iranian exile says Uranium enriched at secret site.

I wonder if Chalabi provided this guy too?

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 24 2005 16:41 utc | 24

Report: Kyrgyzstan President Resigns

In case you are following the current revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the best information I have found so far comes through Soj.

(Soj is an American girl doing professional blogging from Romenia. She needs money to keep going, so if you can spare some $$... click the $ sign on here homepage)

Up to the minute reports also here though I don´t know the bias of that source.

Posted by: b | Mar 24 2005 16:46 utc | 25

Well b, since we're not paying for drinks here, I guess we can contribute to others as a substitute.

Posted by: Colman | Mar 24 2005 16:51 utc | 26


The Iraqi army troops did really know where they wer. They stumbled into some opposition fighters near a fishermen town.

They took fire and called in in air cover. The U.S. dropped some bombs on unknown targets, the villagers did flee by boat and the Iraqi commander made up a story to justify how his stupidness let him run his man into an ambush and got some killed.

Umm, some of the terrorists were even Arabs!

The Iraqis are winning.

Posted by: b | Mar 24 2005 16:53 utc | 27

But there can't be fighting in Fallujah. That was pacified months ago.

Posted by: Colman | Mar 24 2005 17:28 utc | 29

Iraq round up, one example of each strand:

American troops kidnap Iraqi children to use as human shields.>Mparent

U.S. bars Italians from examining victims car.>ArmyTimes
(already posted by b)

Interview with an Iraki woman tortured at Abu Graib.>IlManifesto

(Sregna was one of the only journalists who skirted around the rape issue)

Death at 'immoral' picnic in the park.

(A-ha, posted by DeA previous)

Focus on threats against progressive women.>Alternet

I've not linked to the killings of scientists, professors, doctors.

The Americans and perhaps one of their allies have done everything (and I mean everything) to create and spur ethnic strife, crazed religiosity and greedy criminality. Dumb towel heads, ya know, what can you do?

The stories posted are 'tip of the iceberg' but I think one can read under them, interpret.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 24 2005 17:37 utc | 30

Mparent appears slightly less than unbiased, don't ya think? And the torture story is a little too clean, too much like someone might make up.

Having said that, the US has managed to create the perfect environment for fundamentalism to grow. I don't think this is the outcome they wanted, but since even they must understand that a good outcome for them isn't possible, they might as well encourage the right sort of bad outcome.

Actually, I'm not sure that they need to try. They're so absolutely tone-deaf to Iraqi sensibilities that just blundering around in their normal way, detached from any reality outside their ideology and greed filled little heads, would be indistinguishable from a plan.

Posted by: Colman | Mar 24 2005 17:53 utc | 31

Coming to a stock exchange near you- The Flee Market.

Posted by: biklett | Mar 24 2005 18:16 utc | 32

I heard Richard Heinberg speak in my town last night, to a modest but enthusiastic crowd. He is the author of a couple of Peak Oil books, a gentle and persuasive speaker of the "tweed-jacketed professor" flavour, not a pulpit-thumping ranter. His figures and charts from various sources (ASPO, IEA, etc) suggest that Iraq has the largest "untouched" reserves left in the U-shaped petro endowment region of the ME.

I wonder... I wonder if the whole point of the Yank invasion was to destroy Iraq's economy and civil society, specifically in order to postpone the exploitation of this last big accessible oil field - leave it in the ground -- so that as prices skyrocket the Yanks will be "sitting on the piggy bank"? it seems an insane plan, but we know these guys are kind of crazy. Heinberg doesn't suggest this; he thinks the debacle in Iraq and the lowering of its daily oil production are accidental side effects of an incompetent colonial adventure.

Heinberg says that recent research has forced him to update his guesstimate of the peak oil event (global) backward in time -- a couple of years ago he was thinking 2010, now he thinks it may have already happened or it may happen this year. He is not a reassuring guy.

An interesting point he makes, which strikes me as both radical and profoundly depressing, is this: he urges the audience to "forget Washington." He suggests that the financial crisis sparked by the peak oil event may commence within the next three years, in other words, that there is not enough time to organise enough citizen clout to make the slightest dent in the junta running DC. "We are wasting our breath," he said, "arguing with a corrupt junta up to its neck in oil profits." The strategy he advises is local planning and community-building: working on local energy fallbacks, trying to ensure adequate local emergency services, encouraging and investing in local businesses, acquiring useful skills that can be bartered and traded locally, investing in local sustainable agriculture, possibly establishing local/municipal currencies.

In other words, Heinberg is thinking it is time to man the lifeboats rather than wrestle with the mad skipper on the bridge. He emphasises that he does not believe in the wild-eyed Solo Survivalist dream -- "So, you have a garden and a shotgun," he says wryly,"-- you still have to sleep sometime; and if your community is so fragmented and hostile that people will steal your food, they will come and do it while you sleep. Or maybe your neighbour will have a bigger shotgun. Whatever -- we won't get through this without each other's help. Community is going to be very important to us, just like it has been in other hard times."

I came away from this talk with the disturbing feeling that perhaps things are worse than I thought -- that events are bearing down on us sooner. Certainly Heinberg represents the most pessimistic edge of the peak oil betting pool. He thinks it is way too late for a soft landing, and basically he's trying to give advice on how mid-size communities can prepare for a hard landing.

Of course the usual naive person said "But what about fuel cells and the hydrogen economy?" (Rifkin has much to answer for). When Heinberg pointed out that a fuel cell big enough to power your house or a compact car costs about $200K, and that you would need two (one for spare) because they need refurbishing every 2000 hours, the naive person subsided with a stunned expression.

[personal selfish musing: I was born at the wrong time.]

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 24 2005 19:23 utc | 33


Heinberg may represent "the most pessimistic edge..." but I think he has called it about right.

First reason for my agreement is the peculiar habit of our govt thugs lately to bulldoze over any likely or actual protest as they engage openly in criminal activity. No one has ever done that successfully but in this case it appears to me that the thugs know with certainty that institutions like The Hague, or elections will have no effect on their future. In other words they are immune to any meaningful prosecution, or otherwise are under such strong blackmail threats that they have no choice.

The second, third and fourth reasons for my agreement with your guy Heinberg have been written up here on the web if you take the time to look. They include General Motors bankruptcy and the impossible prospect of bailing them out as was done for Chysler years ago. Dollar down the tubes.

Another example is the now acknowleged US military policy of not just preemeptive, but offensive action against any and all countries that appear to threaten our world dominance.

The list goes on. All you have to do is look. Your sweet life is about to take a turn for the worse, and soon. (Talking to myself here.)

Posted by: rapt | Mar 24 2005 20:11 utc | 34

@ DeAnander

You have often discounted fuel cells as being far away from supplying domestic power if I understand correctly. I have not done much research into the whole fuel cell story but I have read a couple of things such as some new buildings being powered by them and even smaller fuel cells being developed to run cell phones and the like.

Can you point me to some articles that would make me more cynical toward fuel cell technology?

You also tend to discount the availability of hydrogen. I have often looked at hydrogen as a storage battery of sorts. Hydrogen could be created with solar energy or perhaps even nuclear energy and then used in fuel cells to produce heat and electrical energy. I believe there are also fuel cells that can use natural gas though they are less efficient.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 24 2005 20:43 utc | 35

The complete argument on hydrogen is more than I can type even in a lunch break. Here is>one fairly accessible URL.

The main problem with hydrogen is that it is still negative EROEI, i.e. it is only a battery, and the primary energy must come (with some lossiness in the conversion) from another source. Solar is also net-negative with today's technology, to to propose generating hydrogen using solar is a double-negative EROEI game. "You cannot win and you cannot break even," in other words. You still need more original input, to make the solar panels, than you will get out of them; and you need more solar panel power than you will get back out of the hydrogen.

iirc at present the market share of solar and wind in the US energy consumption budget is something like 4 percent of 6 percent... i.e. only 6 pct of US energy consumption draws on renewable sources; and of that slim 6 pct the vast preponderance is biomass and hydro, with solar/wind barely visible as a homeopathic quantity of 2 percent each of that 6 percent.

The single largest fossil fuel drawdown in the US is transport. It is a huge pie slice of the 94 percent of energy consumption from nonrenewable sources. So there is a massive disproportion between the amount of solar capacity available (even if it did not go through a lossy conversion to hydrogen on the way) and the fuelling of the monstrous US vehicle fleet.

Nuclear is a vexed question and one which I would like to explore in more detail in future posts. I tend to agree (teaser snack!) with>the IAEA's critique of Lovelock and with>Tom Burke's pithy comment: "The brutal truth is that no one has yet managed to work out a way of getting nuclear reactors to burn uranium as effectively as they burn money - though extraordinary creativity has gone into concealing this from public view."

Nuke plants are afaik a mere 2.0 EROEI, i.e. it takes half the lifetime of the plant for it to produce as much energy as it took to build; and this is if we conveniently ignore the mounting costs of spent fuel rod disposal (google for many articles on the distressing number of "hot ponds" in the US and the costs of maintaining them). [BTW, it looks like more>corrupt science was at work in the Yucca Mountain studies, which may invalidate that whole nuke-dump pipe dream.]

To replace its current fossil fuel power generating capacity, the US would have to build about 4,000 additional nuke plants (Heinberg's guesstimate, and from his charts of US energy consumption by fuel source it looks reasonable). Because of the enormous public health risks involved, they are expensive and time consuming to build -- I would guess 20 years and some godawful number of trillions of $US for such a megaproject. And what energy source would we use for the building of them, the transport of all that steel and concrete, all that uranium, the manufacture of all those control systems, etc?

Do we have 20 years, and can we divert from other essential uses the energy to build 4,000 nuke plants? That's half the energy that those 4,000 plants will ever generate, remember... without serious demand reduction -- I mean really serious -- we haven't a prayer of pulling off an effort on half that scale. And what will concrete, steel, and uranium cost in 5 years, given the desperate scramble by China and India to meet their own energy needs? and will the US dollar be worth enough to buy Ozzie yellowcake, with wealthy Asia bidding against the tottering US?

big energy is like big money -- it takes energy to "make" energy." money is just "frozen energy."

well, lunch break over... but if you are shopping for a comforting techno-fantasy to cling to, I would suggest cold fusion... it's even more romantic and exotic than hydrogen, and being still in the "We-did-it-no-you-didn't-yes-we-did" stage of science-food-fighting, it's kind of entertaining too.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 24 2005 21:24 utc | 36

@DeA - lets make a nuke series - send, I´ll post

In another place as Biklett posted - this is a very possible scenario for US markets.

Pakistanis riot as shares plunge

Pakistani investors rioted at the Karachi Stock Exchange on Thursday after they were prevented from selling their shares as markets fell.
Shares fell heavily in recent days, amid fears economic fundamentals do not justify recent stock market gains.

Protests broke out as the KSE index fell from 10,305 points on 15 March to 8,314 points by Thursday's close.

Small investors were not able to sell their shares despite watching with horror as their value dropped.

Both exchanges had taken advantage of rules designed to stop shares nosediving. They suspended trading in some of the main blue chip shares after they had dropped 6% or more.
"I've lost all my savings," Mohammad Yaqoob, one investor sitting outside the Karachi Stock Exchange, told Reuters.

Privatize Social Security - thats enough fuel to keep the markets going for a while (before they burn out).

Posted by: b | Mar 24 2005 21:39 utc | 37>OH GAWD

Tallahassee [Florida] - Republicans on the House Choice and Innovation Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to pass a bill that aims to stamp out "leftist totalitarianism" by "dictator professors" in the classrooms of Florida's universities.

The Academic Freedom Bill of Rights, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, passed 8-to-2 despite strenuous objections from the only two Democrats on the committee.

The bill has two more committees to pass before it can be considered by the full House.

While promoting the bill Tuesday, Baxley said a university education should be more than "one biased view by the professor, who as a dictator controls the classroom," as part of "a misuse of their platform to indoctrinate the next generation with their own views."

The bill sets a statewide standard that students cannot be punished for professing beliefs with which their professors disagree. Professors would also be advised to teach alternative "serious academic theories" that may disagree with their personal views.

According to a legislative staff analysis of the bill, the law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.

Students who believe their professor is singling them out for "public ridicule" - for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class - would also be given the right to sue.

"Some professors say, 'Evolution is a fact. I don't want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don't like it, there's the door,'" Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue. Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, warned of lawsuits from students enrolled in Holocaust history courses who believe the Holocaust never happened.

Similar suits could be filed by students who don't believe astronauts landed on the moon, who believe teaching birth control is a sin or even by Shands medical students who refuse to perform blood transfusions and believe prayer is the only way to heal the body, Gelber added.
During the committee hearing, Baxley cast opposition to his bill as "leftists" struggling against "mainstream society."

"The critics ridicule me for daring to stand up for students and faculty," he said, adding that he was called a McCarthyist.

Baxley later said he had a list of students who were discriminated against by professors, but refused to reveal names because he felt they would be persecuted. [more!]

I have here a list...!

gee, can't imagine why anyone called him a McCarthyist, can you?

"the professor invited me to defend my point of view via Socratic dialogue, so I'm suing the University." hey, will the grad students now get to sue if their thesis defence committee actually asks them to defend their thesis?

can this country get any more embarrassing?

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 24 2005 22:07 utc | 38

In 1900, Kentucky was the fastest growing state in the country. But the newly elected Republican governor William Taylor had won by less than 1%, and the Democratic legislature gave the office to the William Goebel instead. On Goebel's inauguration day, an aide firing from the executive building shot Goebel, but Goebel lived long enough to take office and sign a few papers, officially ending Taylor's powers as governor. Taylor fled the state. The governor had killed the governor.

No surprise, investment fled the state too. And that was the end of Kentucky's economic boom.

Now apparently Florida is looking to take the title of fastest deflating southern state. Have the universities assault the professors, great idea.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 24 2005 22:58 utc | 39

from common dreams



Published on Thursday, March 24, 2005 by The Nation

Cultural Barbarism: Halliburton Destroys Babylon

by Katrina vanden Heuvel


The sterile term "collateral damage" justifiably brings to mind the human tragedy of war. But the devastating and wanton damage inflicted on the ancient city of Babylon by US-led military forces gives another meaning to the term. In this case, we are witnessing violence against one of the world's greatest cultural treasures. Babylon's destruction, according to The Guardian, "must rank as one of the most reckless acts of cultural vandalism in recent memory." When Camp Babylon was established by US-led international forces in April 2003, leading archeologists and international experts on ancient civilizations warned of potential peril and damage. It was "tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain," according to a damning report issued in January by the British Museum.

The report, drafted by Dr. John Curtis--one of the world's leading archeologists--documents that the military base, built and overseen by Kellog, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, jeopardized what is often referred to as the "mother of all archeological sites." Helicopter landing places and parking lots for heavy vehicles caused substantial damage to the Ishtar Gate, one of the most famous monuments from antiquity. US military vehicles crushed 2,600 year old brick pavement, archeological fragments were scattered across the site, trenches were driven into ancient deposits and military earth-moving projects contaminated the site for future generations of scientists. As several eminent archeologists have pointed out, while the looting of the Iraqi Museum in the first days of the war was horrifying, the destruction of ancient sites has even more dire consequences for those trying to piece together the history of civilization. Making matters worse, the base has created a tempting target for insurgent attacks in recent months. As Yaseen Madhloom al-Rubai reports in the valuable Iraq Crisis Report (No. 117), "It was one of the seven wonders of the world, but ancient Babylon attracts more insurgents than tourists these days."

"Turning Babylon into a military site was a fatal mistake," the Iraqi culture Minister told Iraq Crisis Report. "It has witnessed much destruction and many terrorist attacks since it was occupied by Coalition Forces. We cannot determine the scale of destruction now. As a first step, we have completely closed the sites, before calling in international experts to evaluate the damage done to the [ancient] city and the compensation the ministry should ask Coalition forces to pay. We will run a campaign to save the city."

That campaign is finding allies among a growing network of archeologists outraged by the unnecessary destruction of an irreplaceable site. John Curtis, author of the British Museum's Report, has called for an international investigation by archeologists chosen by the Iraqis to survey and record all the damage done.

The overall situation in Iraq is overwhelmingly a human tragedy but that does not exempt the US authorities, who set up Camp Babylon, from the consequences of what The Guardian called an act of "cultural barbarism"--carried out in their name by a subsidiary of Halliburton. There must be a full investigation of the damage caused, and Halliburton should be made to offer whatever compensation is possible for the wanton destruction of the world's cultural treasure.

© 2005 The Nation

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2005 23:16 utc | 40

first rounds at enforcing that standard will be a continuation of this time-worn formula:

"mainstream" == white
"leftist" == non-white

this is yet another sign of how busy the theocrats are in fla. the creationism example wasn't picked randomly. soon to come - "are you denying now or have you ever, doubted the existence of our creator?" mccarthyism. just wait.

Posted by: b real | Mar 24 2005 23:18 utc | 41

DeAnander, I've never heard of an "Innovation and Choice Committee," have you? Since your link to Truthout doesn't explain it, we're free to imagine what it might be. I think it's a committee, recently impaneled, whose only mission is to police the schools and universities of Florida. It's aim is to police the exercising, by Universities, of the very standards invented by Universities to perform the tasks assigned them by the community as a whole (tasks such as research, debate, and the evaluation of ideas). To put it another way, the Florida legislature, in the creating of this Committee, has arrogated to itself the position of the Highest Academic Authority. The Legislature has begotten itself as a kind of Super-University. This isn't exactly McCarthyism, which only sought to deprive communists and others of gainful employment wherever that happened to be (as in the film industry, the labor movement, and so on). Rather, this is a bizarre delusion of grandeur working unimaginable violence upon our reality principle as this principle has been instanced (a.) by the development of professional competence, and (b.)by the elementary division of labor as realized by our particular culture as a whole. It's a clear case of Calvinist theocracy run stark, raving mad--not confining itself to the schools and colleges chartered to foster its teachings, but capturing the state and transforming it as a Giant University. Calvinism was always mad, of course--even when it gave rise to interesting things like the process of "election" inscribed in our Constitution--but the madness here is acute, rather than chronic (it was also acute, of course, when it fostered and maintained the "peculiar institution" called "slavery"). This is an instance of Freud's "death wish"--expressed as a generalized discontent with civilization in any form. The day may come, and I hope it doesn't come soon, when we'll be spending a lot of our real time and energy driving these wolves from our door. The court system will have to assist us in this modest attempt at survival--an interesting prospect to contemplate.

Posted by: alabama | Mar 24 2005 23:58 utc | 42

If this passes, Florida's education system will bleed.

NO educated parent will want his or her child to attend there. The American middle class is annoyingly anal about their children "achieving" in school (i.e. doing well on tests) and are competitive about their children going to high-status universities...the ivies first, of course, but then down the line...

Florida will not be getting any of these parents' tuition money with this sort of witch hunt bullshit.

My son is a jr. and he's getting all sorts of college brochures..including one from Falwell's Liberty U. I told him he would NOT go to that school, even if they offered a full scholarship and a million dollars because he wouldn't get an education, he'd get an indoctrination...and no decent graduate program would want someone with a second-rate education founded upon fundamentalist literalism.

...I'm not even anal like most parents I know because, as I've said before, my son has aspergers and even if I wanted to be that sort of parent, I couldn't be...not with the issues I've dealt with.

But you can just imagine how they would avoid Florida U's like a plague...these are parents who want their kids to take the international bac...they're not going to send their kids to podunk U to hear some home schooled bible thumper declare the right to hear that the earth was created in seven days.

And I don't even live in a big place...the bigger cities are more chock full of such parents.

in similar news...the Academic Bill of Rights (the same Horowitz thing) died in committee in Indiana...I think they're more worried about making sure gays can't get married.

Ohio, however, still has this on the legislative agenda.

If it passes there, I would imagine IU would benefit with lots of students crossing the border...or parents moving to other states before their kids are older to afford state tuition elsewhere...

just like some might try to do in Florida if they can't afford private Universities. American parents, fer cryin' out loud, buy houses to attend specific ELEMENTARY schools...can you imagine if states pass this thing and parents realize what it would mean for their child and/or the cost of an education?

it's so strange to watch this country disintegrate before your eyes as one outrage after another piles up, daily, and leaves me thinking about that famous quote from "They thought they were Free," about.. "Little by little" germans became acclimated to all sorts of dictatorial abuses...

SCREAM. I'm studying French again this summer so that I can renew some skills and make myself look good for places like Montreal and those cranky Quebecois.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 25 2005 0:11 utc | 43

Thanks DeAnander for the links. I still have not become jaded with H. I see fuel cells as a way to decentralise energy distribution thru cables yet use some of the existing gas and oil distribution systems to get either hydrogen or natural gas to homes and businesses. There are also hybrid systems (pdf) that combine fuel cells and gas turbines to create a high-efficiency power module with near-zero emissions for central power or grid support applications.

One attractive feature is that you can use the heat as well as the electricity from these things and that is often overlooked. If all energy consumed in homes could be optimised and energy was not wasted on spinning fans and refrigerators sitting next to ovens or those self defrosting freezers that have heating coils built into them the percentages of energy derived from renewable sources you quote would probably look a lot better.

Along that line I would like to eliminate the car and truck traffic from the equation. I think if we could show significant gains in efficiency to provide energy to homes and businesses that it would be a giant leap forward. We can do little to change the car and truck consumption. Here in Europe the roads are filled with large trucks, sometimes it seems like they are trains without rails...literally bumper to bumper for miles. Gasoline and Diesel costs about 6 dollars a gallon over here. It is still cheaper and faster to send cargo and people by car or airplane than it is by train. This defies all logic IMO so it might follow that we cannot easily change this terrible waste of energy by cars and trucks.

By concentrating on things you do have some control over such as taking yourself off the power grid could ultimately lead to a different way of looking at better ways to move things and people around.

I do not have blind faith in technology but do believe we can do much better.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 25 2005 0:17 utc | 44

Hey -- Billmon speaks again in his own voice. Introspectively, at times wittily, and it doesn't sound like he is a whole lot more cheery than yrs truly, Kassandra...

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 25 2005 0:54 utc | 45

Billmon speaks again in his own voice.


Posted by: slothrop | Mar 25 2005 1:17 utc | 46

@slothrop sorry, excessively telegraphic? over at Billmon's place, a new essay -- personal, first-person, expository, exculpatory... Title "My Back Pages"...

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 25 2005 1:20 utc | 47

Hey Billmon...just because we're going to hell in a handbasket doesn't mean we're going without a fight. Welcome back.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Mar 25 2005 1:51 utc | 48

A welcome update, Barkeep! And I never lost faith that we'd hear from you in a timely way, because, after all, you really did keep the bar from closing. It's always been my portal of choice to other blogs, because minimizing one's own list of "favorites" is a sane and healthy thing to do (it takes the word "favorite" at its word).

Changing us is what really matters, Barkeep, not changing them. Or as Benjamin put it in his "Writer as Producer," An author who teaches writers nothing, teaches no one (his own italics). We come here to learn, and it happens from time to time. And I've always preferred a sentence of your own to the cited sentences of others.

Posted by: alabama | Mar 25 2005 2:25 utc | 49

If we're going to hell in a handbasket, we're going to be needing a LOT of drinks for the ride. I'm going to start with a shot of tequila- what will the rest of you have?

So glad to hear your voice again, billmon. I've missed you.

Posted by: semper fubar | Mar 25 2005 3:00 utc | 50

On Energy two Op-Eds in todays NYT:

What Happens Once the Oil Runs Out? by KENNETH S. DEFFEYES a professor emeritus of geology at Princeton, is the author of "Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak."

Coal in a Nice Shade of Green by Thomas Homer-Dixon is director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto. S. Julio Friedmann directs the carbon sequestration project at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif.

Posted by: b | Mar 25 2005 9:18 utc | 51

Cartoonist Faces Jail in Greece Over Jesus Cartoon
From TalkLeft:

Unbeknownst to him, the book was published in Greece. He found out when he received a summons to appear in court in Athens in January, having been charged with blasphemy.

Posted by: beq | Mar 25 2005 15:27 utc | 52

naomi klein on democracynow this morning, after meeting w/ giuliana sgrena in rome says (1) the car was on a secured road that did not have checkpoints, entered from the green zone, and (2) the car was fired on from behind. transcript included at link.

Posted by: b real | Mar 25 2005 17:17 utc | 53

Iraq Checkpoint Killings Unchecked
by Jeremy Scahill

Posted by: beq | Mar 25 2005 18:17 utc | 54

beq, I really begin to doubt that even Berlusconi can make the Americans deliver a rigorous accounting of the Calipari episode. Someone posted a link on an earlier thread, two or three days ago, saying that the two Italian investigators were denied access to Calipari's car, currently in American custody, and that they cancelled their planned trip from Rome to Baghdad as a consequence.

Posted by: alabama | Mar 25 2005 19:44 utc | 55

Justice Minister Roberto Castelli sent an official request to the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday to have the vehicle released, the Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica dailies reported.

The Justice Ministry in Rome said nobody was immediately available to confirm the reports.

The papers said the request came after the U.S. command in Iraq reportedly blocked two Italian policemen from examining the car, citing security concerns. On Wednesday, the U.S. military in Baghdad said it did not have information on that report by Corriere della Sera. -- source

Posted by: b real | Mar 25 2005 19:59 utc | 56

Essay not grounds for firing, school decides University of Colorado officials said yesterday the First Amendment bars them from firing a professor for comparing some Sept. 11, 2001, victims to Nazi bureaucrats, but they launched an investigation into allegations that Ward Churchill committed plagiarism and falsely claimed to be an American Indian. ... Churchill said the finding on free speech was a vindication but called the other allegations a pretext for an attempt to fire him. He denied plagiarizing anyone and insisted he is part American Indian.

Report on Conclusion of Preliminary Review in the Matter of Professor Ward Churchill

There is evidence that Professor Churchill's assertion of his Indian status is material to his scholarship, yet there is serious doubt about his Indian identity. The evidence is sufficient to warrant referral of this question to the Committee on Research Misconduct for inquiry and, if appropriate, investigation to determine whether Professor Churchill relies on his Indian identity in his scholarship and, if so, whether he has fabricated that identity. The Committee should inquire as to whether Professor Churchill can assert a reasonable basis for clarifying such identity.

more documents

Posted by: b real | Mar 25 2005 22:18 utc | 57

b real

it seems to me they will find means to reduce & ridicule the scholarship of ward churchill & they will further seek to sack him, one way or another. ward churchill is evidently the first of many & it is a sad moment for american scholarship as are the hyena cries of mr horowitz. what is happening goes a great deal further than mccarthyism - it is breaking open some very fundamental notions of scholarship & replacing them with pseudo juridicial nonsense. some extremely minor academics with minor minds will delight in the fall of giants. as they were & continue to be in relation to the historic labour of edward said

they are einsteins talking to apes

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 25 2005 22:44 utc | 58

Since the Corriere and La Repubblica are on good terms with Berlusconi, we might suppose that he gave his approval to these leaks. If he did, then it looks like he's fighting it out with Bush in the court of public opinion. I think it's also interesting that the New York Post carried this story in English. Is Berlusconi a good friend of Rupert Murdoch's?

Posted by: alabama | Mar 25 2005 23:26 utc | 59


Posted by: Groucho | Mar 25 2005 23:53 utc | 60

Vicious outbreak of animal cruelty in Michigan

Posted by: PETA | Mar 26 2005 0:48 utc | 61

The American Center for Voting Rights

Surprise surprise!

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 26 2005 0:56 utc | 62

Unfaithful wife divorced by multimillionaire husband - only gets $45,000,000

Posted by: You CAN have your cake and eat it | Mar 26 2005 1:06 utc | 63

What's with this headline rhetoric of FEW OPTIONS FOR SCHIAVO'S PARENTS--a rhetoric practiced by every newspaper in the land, as of this posting @ 8 pm? Why can't the papers just say NO OPTIONS FOR SCHIAVO'S PARENTS--a statement which would, from all I can tell, provide a full, exact, and timely account of the affair? When you think of it, FEW OPTIONS is really a lie posing as a euphemism, or rather an instance of Freud's Verneinung, that turn of phrase, or "denial," by which we state a truth by posing it as its opposite (so that "I love you, Dr. Freud" precisely means "Dr. Freud, I can't stand you"?). A lot of our weakest journalism about Social Security, Iraq, and who knows what else besides can plausibly be read as Verneinung: it doesn't so much ignore its subject as it discusses it in a dense fog of censored (and censorious) denial, and deniability. It's a rhetoric spoken from fear: journalists are creatures of fear, and have good reasons for being so.

Posted by: alabama | Mar 26 2005 1:31 utc | 65

This article was in the new Yoga International magazine and I also found it online. I think it is worth reading as it might encourge to go on. Gandhi's and Nehru's fight for freedom wasn't peaches and cream, but it was effective - in the long run. So maybe this article might give some inspiration or at least encouragement to continue. Unfortunately the part about the long salt march is not online, would be interesting to read as it brought the change of the tide.

However, the following link is not going there directly. After clicking on the link below, you have to click on home and the on the title of the article.

So You Want a Revolution? - Gandhi, Nehru, and Struggle for Social Justice

At first Nehru thought Gandhi’s steady, reflective plan of action had no chance. “I want revolution,” Nehru complained. “This is reformism.”

“I have made revolutions while others only talked about them,” Gandhi replied, “When your exuberance has subsided and your lungs are exhausted, you will come to me if you are really serious about making a revolution.”

And that is exactly what Nehru did.

Yet three decades later, when he was serving as India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru still could not say exactly why he had followed Gandhi. “We who have known him for these many years in all his moods and activities and tried to fathom what lay behind them, what distant horizon held his eyes, are still far from the end of our search,” he wrote in Gandhi’s memorial volume.

I know there is no new Gandhi around at present, but maybe we can awaken a little Gandhi in our selves, and keep on our own vision of peace and freedom, following it doggedly. It might take time, but I believe strongly that it is worth it.

Beq and Blackie, I have not forgotten my promise to write about Yoga on LeSpeakeasy, it is processing in the back of my head, but at present I have so many tests and projects I need to write, that the Yoga thing will have to simmer a little bit more in the back of my head. Reading and linking and commenting is a great way to procastinate and I just have to cut down on it. At least for the moment. However, the above link may also give you access to some good information.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 26 2005 6:03 utc | 66>Interview with Callenbach (Ecotopia author)

The big question that I'm really trying to think about-and I'm trying to shape an article about it-it would be called something like "Going Down With the Empire." Because there are quite a lot of people in the world that think the American empire has overreached itself and is hollowing out; that the American working class-in the period of World War II and right after that-the American working class was allowed to thrive in a way that it had never been allowed to before, perhaps because they needed to be bought off in order to put their shoulders, their collective shoulders, behind the war effort in World War II. But we now see a very concerted effort to destroy not only unions, but also pension plans, and everything else that has supported what you might call the working middle class in some comfort in this country compared to most other countries. And I think now the Republicans and the other right-wing people have realized that now is their time to strike and destroy all this, as they call it, welfare state that allows people to live decent lives even though they're quite modest working folks. And this is going to propel us more in the direction of a Latin American country where you have a large number of very, very poor and quite desperate people eking out an income and an upper middle class and an upper class, small upper middle and an even smaller upper class, who live extraordinarily well by any historical standards, obscenely well. And a political structure that is, thanks to corporate control of the media, that is surprisingly stable. Now how long this can go on before people get-the old Marxist term was immiserated-how immiserated people can get before they take to the streets and throw the whole thing into the river, I don't know. But it may be quite a while.

worth a read -- the guy is 75 and I hope I am half that sharp at his age.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 26 2005 7:25 utc | 67

It's so simple. The French show how it is done:

Lessons on diet bear fruit in Healthville - Campaign to beat obesity among children gains ground in France

Manifestly, it works. And before anyone asks what it costs, the budget for FLVS's entire educational and public information campaign - excluding the accompa nying scientific research, a useful but optional and expensive extra - is €2.5 (£1.75) per person per year.

FLVS was conceived by paediatricians, doctors and scientists from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research as a self-contained project aimed at seeing the extent to which families' eating habits could be changed through what their children were taught at school.

Because if you get kids at that age, you have them for life, said Ms Lommez: "We have young men, university students, calling us up these days and saying, 'Hi, you probably don't remember me, but I was one of the first kids in the project, 10 years ago. Well I've got this girlfriend and, um, her diet's a catastrophe. She hasn't got a clue. There isn't a little course you could give her?'"

Posted by: Fran | Mar 26 2005 9:02 utc | 68

On Nov. 29, 2003, soldiers in Husaybah, Iraq, allegedly emulated a popular MTV gag show, making an amateur "Jackass" video. "I am going to punch this guy in the stomach; this is Jackass Iraq," one soldier said in the 52-second video before striking the detainee, sending him to the ground. Investigative documents said the soldiers made the short film "in order to have fun and relieve some of the tension that had been building up during the mission."
Detainees Abused in N. Iraq, Army Papers Suggest

Posted by: b | Mar 26 2005 9:06 utc | 69

Is the Sgrena shooting finally beginnning to make sense?

breal already posted the link, here I delve a little:

Klein: “What Giuliana told me that I had not realized before is that she wasn't on that road at all. She was on a completely different road that I actually didn't know existed. It's a secured road that you can only enter through the Green Zone and is reserved exclusively for ambassadors and top military officials. So, when Calipari, the Italian security intelligence officer, released her from captivity, they drove directly to the Green Zone, went through the elaborate checkpoint process which everyone must go through to enter the Green Zone, which involves checking in obviously with U.S. forces, and then they drove onto this secured road. And the other thing that Giuliana told me that she's quite frustrated about is the description of the vehicle that fired on her as being part of a checkpoint. She says it wasn't a checkpoint at all. It was simply a tank that was parked on the side of the road that opened fire on them.”>DemocracyNow

Note how the DN interviewers ignore what Naomi Klein tells them, veer off onto other topics, and carefully hammer home the official story without contradicting Klein:

Amy Goodman ...”The agents had been given security badges by the U.S. to allow them to travel freely in the country after picking up Sgrena from the abandoned vehicle where her kidnappers left her. They drove slowly to the airport, keeping the car lights on to help identify themselves at U.S. checkpoints. It says, news of Sgrena's release was already on the Reuters newswire...”.

They mix in irrelevancies which obscure....tread a very careful path...with a few hesitations, as this is quite difficult to do:

“Naomi Klein, the news that the checkpoint -- that the road that they -- that Calipari was killed on, that she was driving on, Sgrena, when she was being driven to the airport, had been set up for – that there had been a checkpoint set up for the trip of U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte to a dinner that night with General George Casey, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq to provide security. U.S. soldiers established mobile checkpoint, clusters of humvees armed with 50 caliber machine guns on top. It was one of the details that opened fire on the Italians' vehicle."

Soon, we are back to ‘no grand conspiracy’ and the ‘lack of communications’ theme.

Sgrena’s reported account doesn’t match with the pictures I have seen of the ‘supposed car’ (few well placed shots from the front and the right side but possibly also the back, that was hard to tell) nor with the idea that Calipari went down over her, that is in front of her. Tank + snipers?

Lastly: Klein: my emp- “She told them that that made them just like Bush, because the Bush administration has also made it clear that they don't want independent witnesses talking to Iraqis, counting the bodies, highlighting the civilian toll of the war, but there are also clearly some elements of the resistance that feel the same way, and this makes it very, very difficult for independent journalists to do their work.

Those left gatekeepers are quite something.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 26 2005 10:39 utc | 70

United States in Iraq (Windows Media File)

Posted by: b | Mar 26 2005 10:40 utc | 71

I think the reasons the US Gvmt. and the affiliated Energy bodies and specialists have hyped hydrogen fuel cells are:

1) It provides an alternative along the technotopia lines: people don’t understand the technology, but are willing to accept that the geeks will always come up with something and all it needs is some twitching. Man continues to march forward, etc.

2) Hydrogen fuel cells are not efficient energy wise or easy to construct / use but they give a tremendous bang (or rather push) for your buck. The military wants them, for military use - the technology has to improve.

3) As usual, friends can get on the gravy train, and the deluded tax payer can shell out.

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 26 2005 10:45 utc | 72

I wonder what the hell is going on here. The FBI is sure it was not bad guys but has no clue what caused the explosion.

Am I the only one reaching for the tinfoil hat?

Terrorism ruled out in oil refinery blast

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 26 2005 11:15 utc | 73

Fran | March 26, 2005 01:03 AM. Re yoga. Thanks for the link and will be looking for you at LS.

Posted by: beq | Mar 26 2005 15:20 utc | 74

Let me recommend this interview with ex-UN inspector Scott Ritter

Ritter: A high level source, a NeoCon at that, within the system has said to me directly that “John’s Bolton job is to destroy the UN, Rice’s job is to destroy the State Department’s and replace it with a vehicle of facilitation for making the Pentagon’s national security policy.”

Raw Story: And what of Karen Hughes’ appointment?

Ritter: Hughes she is a salesperson; she will sell the policy. She is irrelevant. She is nothing. Her appointment means nothing. Rice has already capitulated to the Pentagon and the White House, and Hughes’ appointment is but a manifestation of that larger reality.

The NeoCons are parasites. They build nothing. They bring nothing. They don’t have a foundation. They don’t stand for business. They don’t stand for ideology. They use a host to facilitate and grow their own power. They are parasites that latch onto oil until is no longer convenient. They latch on to Democracy until it is no longer convenient.

Rice’s appointment to the State Department is simply to reshape it into a NeoCon vehicle.

Posted by: b | Mar 26 2005 16:02 utc | 75

December 2004 – On destabilizing Kyrgyzstan – U.S. ambassador

Posted by: Doctor Hfuhruhurr | Mar 26 2005 19:28 utc | 76

Terry Castle on Susan Sontag

Posted by: Desperately seeking Susan | Mar 26 2005 19:45 utc | 77

From Rolling Stone Magazine: The Long Emergency - What's going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas to guzzle?

Posted by: Fran | Mar 26 2005 20:03 utc | 78

I happened across this Guckert/Gannon story with a different twist. It comes from bellaciao and I really don't know how wacky they are.

It has it all, from child pornography to the "suicide" of HST.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 26 2005 20:03 utc | 79

New details on F.B.I. aid for Saudis after 9/11.

WASHINGTON, March 26 - The episode has been retold so many times in the last three and a half years that it has become the stuff of political legend: in the frenzied days after Sept. 11, 2001, when some flights were still grounded, dozens of well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, managed to leave the United States on specially chartered flights.

Now, newly released government records reveal previously undisclosed flights from Las Vegas and elsewhere and point to a more active role by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aiding some of the Saudis in their departure.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the United States, and several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed, the documents show.

The Saudi families, in Los Angeles and Orlando, requested the F.B.I. escorts because they said they were concerned for their safety in the wake of the attacks, and the F.B.I. - which was then beginning the biggest criminal investigation in its history - arranged to have agents escort them to their local airports, the documents show.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 27 2005 0:05 utc | 80

My my. I remember Mikey Moore making a big deal out of that story [the Saudi escape flights]; then iirc he had to retract for some reason and the wingnuts were crowing. And now, quietly, years later, substantiating evidence again. Of course now everyone has "forgotten it" so the new evidence doesn't matter.

Public amnesia is the most powerful weapon in the neocon arsenal.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 27 2005 1:07 utc | 81

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