Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 12, 2005

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Posted by b on April 12, 2005 at 6:18 UTC | Permalink

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Videos Challenge Accounts of Convention Unrest

Accused of inciting a riot and resisting arrest, Mr. Kyne was the first of the 1,806 people arrested in New York last summer during the Republican National Convention to take his case to a jury. But one day after Officer Wohl testified, and before the defense called a single witness, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges.

During a recess, the defense had brought new information to the prosecutor. A videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Mr. Kyne agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed complaints.
Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial. Many were dropped without any finding of wrongdoing, but also without any serious inquiry into the circumstances of the arrests, with the Manhattan district attorney's office agreeing that the cases should be "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal."

Posted by: b | Apr 12 2005 6:37 utc | 1

Sharon dismisses Bush warning

So he who pays the piper doesn't call the tune after all.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 12 2005 7:45 utc | 3

I already put this interesting prediction before:
The long emergency

Here is a conversation between my 29 years old son in law and me about it (he was the one to direct me to this article)…

ME: This is good and unfortunately very realistic...I am reading stuff like
that for ages in blogosphere...but who gives a shit about stuff like
this...It's just so sad that we are going to leave world like this to our
MY SON IN LAW: maybe it's not so sad after all.
no more petroleum=no more greenhouse gases=no more global warming
no more global economy=love they neighbour=a renewed sense of community
no more commuting=work from home=see your kids more than you don't
no more cheap production=no more throwaway packaging=less litter/garbage
no more oil money=no more texan presidents=less war :-)

Of course, this comes with a complete destruction of most wealth, and
a throwback to lifestyles like the farming of a 100+ years ago, and
therefore an initial period of extreme hardship, hopefully mitigated
by a phased transition to renewable energy sources and natural gas.

Most likely though they'll just start building a bunch of nuclear
power plants and go to electric/hyrodgen cars. The power plants will
have accidents and hydrogen cars will blow up like mini-nukes.
Alternatives for all our platics etc can be made as long as you have
enough cheap nuclear power. This will be good for australia as it's
rich in uranium.

ME: are right...there is a good side of it all...but it would be a
trace of good only if mankind is not as violent and barbarian as it actually
is...would be possible if we are all hippies...and we are not...we are more
like greedy warriors in our nature...How far back in history we can go? I
wouldn't know...There is something in nature, in a very base of this
existence that is "self-correcting" so to speak. Bible is also pointing on
that by letting us know what not to do and what to do. And we need to follow
"good" because if we don't it all will come BACK to us in self -correcting
manner... On the other hand I can't hate more people like Bush and his
sect/camp who are using religion for personal gain of a small group of
greedy bustards...Long story tho...

You are right in this unfortunately:
"Most likely though they'll just start building a bunch of nuclear
> power plants and go to electric/hyrodgen cars. The power plants will
> have accidents and hydrogen cars will blow up like mini-nukes.
> Alternatives for all our platics etc can be made as long as you have
> enough cheap nuclear power. This will be good for australia as it's
> rich in uranium."


And I also received good joke today:
When I got home last night, my wife demanded that I take her out to some place expensive...................
So I took her to a gas station!

Posted by: vbo | Apr 12 2005 13:04 utc | 4

More news from Iraq;

Posted by: vbo | Apr 12 2005 13:28 utc | 5

Juan Cole on Sharon and his behaviour towords the U.S.

They should put this on all OpEd pages - maybe some folks would wake up.

Thinking about it. This is part of the Republican right defying Bush. They, DeLay and Sharon don´t care what he says - what`s their plan.

Posted by: b | Apr 12 2005 14:01 utc | 6

Welcome back to old Europe Poland to Pull Troops from Iraq at End of Year

Posted by: b | Apr 12 2005 14:25 utc | 7

Lobbyists Double Spending in Six Years

In a major study of the federal lobbying industry, the Center for Public Integrity [April 7, 2005] reports that lobbyists have spent nearly $13 billion since 1998 to influence members of Congress and federal officials on legislation and regulations.
Records show that in 2003 alone lobbyists spent $2.4 billion and records for 2004 are expected to show expenditures of at least $3 billion. That's about twice as much as was spent on campaign finance in the same time period.

The extinction crisis is over. We lost.

The fossil record and statistical studies suggest that the average rate of extinction over the past hundred million years has hovered at several species per year. Today the extinction rate surpasses 3,000 species per year and is accelerating rapidly—it may soon reach the tens of thousands annually.
Over the next 100 years or so as many as half of the Earth's species, representing a quarter of the planet's genetic stock, will either completely or functionally disappear.

Posted by: b real | Apr 12 2005 14:48 utc | 8

@vbo - could be an age thing. My theory is that societies with many long-living members (and what would long-living be? Sixty or more? Fifty or more? Probably the latter.) tend towards a cautionary morality: don't do X, Y, or Z--it did for Jim/Jane/Jack. Hence, Western societies are becoming ever more strongly anti-smoking, anti-fatty foods, anti anything that prodcues a lifespan of less than 100. At the same time, there is a pessimism underlying this morality because we all have to die and a ninety-year-old's worldview is coloured strongly by their sense that the future is grim. In fact, there may be swathes of youngsters across the globe who can't wait for the powers that be to blow each other up (and that would include all the rich, i.e. us lot with our computers and things), so that the future may come quick. Or not. Ahem. Ah yes, more Shakespeare, who is always relevant if one squints.

Sonnet 137

Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
That they behold and see not what they see?
They know what beauty is, see where it lies,
Yet what the best is take the worst to be.
If eyes, corrupt by over-partial looks,
Be anchored in the bay where all men ride,
Why, of eyes' falsehood, hast thou forged hooks
Whereto the judgement of my heart is tied?
Why should my heart think that a several plot
Which mine heart knows the wide world's common place?
Or mine eyes seeing this, say this is not,
And place fair truth upon so foul a face?
In things right true my heart and eyes have erred,
And to this false plague are they now transferred.


Posted by: ringlet | Apr 12 2005 14:56 utc | 9

U.S. trade deficit widened to record $61 billion in February

April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Surging oil prices and imports of Chinese textiles drove the U.S. trade deficit to a record $61 billion in February, prompting some economists to lower first- quarter growth forecasts.

The 4.3 percent increase in the trade gap for goods and services followed a 5 percent rise in January to $58.5 billion, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The February number exceeded the median forecast of $59 billion in a Bloomberg News survey of 68 economists.

Imports rose to a record in February, evidence of stronger spending that will encourage the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates. With oil prices continuing to set records and exports lagging, economists at firms including Bear Stearns & Co. and HSBC Securities USA Inc. lowered growth projections.

``While we imported the necessities, we didn't sell a lot to the rest of the world,'' said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. ``As for the Fed, this report would likely mean more measured rate hikes.''

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 12 2005 16:31 utc | 10


Sort of wonder if domestic manufacturing can even be revived after dollar devaluation--at least recovered enough to improve U.S. exports as much as some economists claim?

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 12 2005 16:43 utc | 11


I really hope not.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 12 2005 17:32 utc | 12

Before America bombed and burst asunder the bodies of tens of thousands of breathing Iraqis, it quietly interred the corpse of its own moral integrity. By nurturing the most brazen lies to press its case for war, America buried its moral commitment to the principles of truth and reason, enabling the incineration of innocents abroad....

....If the WMD report does not suffice to convince one of the low value America assigns to Iraqi life, let us then take a look at the other recently released document - the Rand report titled "Iraq: Translating Lessons into Future DOD Policies." Rand is "an independent research group that was created by the U.S. government and frequently does analysis for the Pentagon." It produced a brief 11-page document, addressed, in priceless wording, to "The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld," and then, "Dear Don." News of its existence appeared in the press early April, but it was authored on February 7, 2005.

Most of the report concerns itself with tactical and military lessons learned from the Iraq war, pointing out better ways to launch specific military assaults and increase coordination and communication of forces on the ground, including "air operations", "land-air cooperation", and "situational awareness on the battlefield." The underlying assumption, of course, is that further "regime change" operations may well be on the horizon.

But what concerns us presently in this document is the straightforward way it reveals the embarrassingly shallow, almost non-existent level of planning, preparation, and thought that went into overseeing Iraq after the invasion. This is hardly an idle point considering that Iraqi children's malnutrition rates, already horrific under the previous sanctions regime, have doubled under the occupation, and that the basic living conditions even in the major urban population centers are extremely lacking in all major indices.

Under the subheading "Stability Operations and the Role of the Military," the first paragraph begins frankly, "No planning was undertaken to provide for the security of the Iraqi people in the post conflict environment..." The preceding section, titled "Planning and Resourcing Post Conflict Activities" states, "Post conflict stabilization and reconstruction were addressed only very generally, largely because of the prevailing view that the task would not be difficult. What emerged was a general set of tasks that were not prioritized or resourced."

This is a remarkable confession. Did the gentlemen at the Department of Defense seriously think no real plan was required to manage this "liberated" country after having overrun its major cities in ground assaults, after having overthrown the long-time ruling government, after having bombed its civilian infrastructure for years on end, and after having imposed crippling sanctions for more than a decade? Is such a breathtaking level of idiocy even possible? This seems extremely unlikely - far more likely is that the war planners simply did not care what happened to the people of Iraq after the latter found themselves on the receiving end of an assault mounted by the world's largest military power.

There is absolutely no way to comprehend this breathtaking absence of planning within a framework that assumes American "good intentions." The only explanation available is that the neoconservative ideologues who never tired of speechifying about the need to save the Iraqi people also never spent one iota of their energy planning to save anyone; their ideology and morality is nothing but a cynical shell game of sordid manipulation and sick opportunism.

Combined with the WMD intelligence report, the reality of an unplanned occupation should serve as a piercingly sharp illustration of the unshakable, immovable fact that the American effort in Iraq is neither guided by benevolence nor driven by compassion. Therefore the liberal sell-out position of "we broke it, so we should fix it" not only has no basis in reality, but ignores the simple fact that anyone who has a tendency to run around breaking and destroying things is intrinsically broken and destroyed himself. Just as no sane fireman allows an arsonist to "care" for the house he has tried to burn down, just as no court of law assigns a murderer to "protect" surviving relatives of the murdered, no principled American can accept the US occupation of Iraq when Iraq has been decimated by the US.

No intelligence failure in Iraq, but political failure in America.

Rand Report, February 2005 (.pdf file),

Pentagon blamed for lack of postwar planning in Iraq.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 12 2005 17:34 utc | 13

Out now: Baghdad Burning, by Riverbend

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 12 2005 17:36 utc | 14

Charges filed against 15 NYSE specialists

NEW YORK - Fifteen specialists who managed trades on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange were indicted Tuesday, charged with using their inside positions to earn an estimated $20 million in illicit profits for themselves and their firms.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 12 2005 17:48 utc | 15

Thanks for your news work Nugget!

Bank says Saudi's top field in decline

Speculation over the actual size of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves is reaching fever pitch as a major bank says the kingdom's - and the world's - biggest field, Gharwar, is in irreversible decline.

The Bank of Montreal's analyst Don Coxe, working from their Chicago office, is the first mainstream number-cruncher to say that Gharwar's days are fated.
"The kingdom's decline rate will be among the world's fastest as this decade wanes," predicts Coxe. "Most importantly, Hubbert's Peak must have arrived for Gharwar, the world's biggest oilfield."

Coxe dismisses Saudi claims that the country can produce extra capacity to satisfy surging demand. He notes that Saudi promises to increase production last year failed to materialise. Aramco had pledged an extra 500,000 barrels of oil immediately and an extra 5 million bpd by 2012.

He says the markets had "assumed this first flow would be a half million barrels daily of the benchmark Saudi Light, the high-end product that any oil refinery can process. Instead ... the new oil was heavy, sulphurous oil that only a few refineries had the spare capacity to use".

Continuing, he asks: "What about those 5mbpd of new production by 2012? It turned out that only 2.5 million barrels would be net additions to Saudi output: Declines from existing fields will slash production by 2.5 million bpd."

Posted by: b | Apr 12 2005 18:23 utc | 16


The U.S. sitting on top of those huge Iraqi oil reserves is an amazing piece of luck then isn't it? It has a high price though.

Many Iraqis killed in US air attack

Twenty Iraqis have been killed and 22 injured after US helicopters and heavy artillery bombed houses in al-Rummana village, north of al-Qaim city, Aljazeera reported.

Seven children, six women and three old men were among the dead,
witnesses said, while the injured included 13 children, seven women and two old men.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 12 2005 18:32 utc | 17

Speculation over the actual size of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves is reaching fever pitch as a major bank says the kingdom's - and the world's - biggest field, Gharwar, is in irreversible decline.

Forgive me, but what the heck would reversible decline look like? new oil magically starts to be generated at an unprecedentedly rapid pace?

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 12 2005 18:34 utc | 18

before the oil in the ME, there was land in the "new" continent

Posted by: b real | Apr 12 2005 18:37 utc | 19

heck would reversible decline look like

Not important here, but in reality possible. When simple pumping declines, use pressurized water to increase again, when that declines, use steamwater...

The problem is that the allready do use too much water and steam is expensive and doesn´t work in all geological formations.

If that field is in real decline the problem is not that there will be immediately less oil on the market - the Suadis still open new fields - but that this field has the oil that is the most easy to refine and refinery capacity for more heavy oil that comes to the markets is not available.

This is especially in the US a serious problem.

Posted by: b | Apr 12 2005 20:23 utc | 20

American soldiers indicted for illegal import of guns from Iraq

Loomis said Nigel Brown and Uran were still with their units.

U.S. attacks Iraq arms smugglers.

O.K. that second article is just a U.S. military cover story (i.e. lie) to explain why they killed seven children, six women and three old men and injured thirteen children, seven women and two old men but the hypocrisy is there for all to see. On the one hand they pretend to be hunting weapons smugglers, on the other they are smuggling weapons themselves. Maybe they are only looking for weapons smugglers so that they can corner the market in weapons smuggling, eh? America likes selling weapons, some of the most evil tyrannies in the world are its best customers!

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 12 2005 23:36 utc | 21

Juan Cole stops pulling his punches on Sharon.

Posted by: DM | Apr 12 2005 23:38 utc | 22

Israel presents aerial photos of Iran nuclear sites to Bush

12 April 2005
JERUSALEM - Ariel Sharon’s military attache presented aerial photos of Iranian nuclear installations during the Israeli prime minister’s summit with US President George W. Bush, Israeli public radio [1] reported on Tuesday.
General Yoav Gallan, who accompanied Sharon to Monday’s talks at Bush’s Texas ranch [2], presented the photos as well as information gathered by the Israeli intelligence services on Teheran’s nuclear programme.
The radio, which did not give details on how the photos were taken [3], said the images proved that the Iranian nuclear programme was at a “very advanced” stage.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan confirmed the two leaders had “talked about their shared concern about Iran’s intentions with their nuclear programme” but denied [4] they had discussed the possibility of a preemptive military strike by Israel, aimed at ensuring Iran does not acquire atomic weapons.
The United States and Israel have both accused Iran of using its atomic energy programme as cover for a plan to develop nuclear arms, a charge denied by Teheran, which says it needs nuclear power as an alternative energy source.
Israel itself has never publicly acknowledged that it maintains a nuclear arsenal but foreign experts say it has between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads.

[1] Amazing that Israel is often a better source of information than the US media
[2] Beyond the reach of FOI laws
[3] Maybe Israel could assist the US with satelite technology transfer
[4] See [2]

Posted by: DM | Apr 13 2005 0:00 utc | 23

@b, no that is not a "reversible decline" of the field, that is merely accelerated or intensified extraction. we did not reverse the decline of our fisheries by inventing the bottom-scraping trawler: we accelerated it. ditto the energy-intensive (O gawd, the irony) efforts to squeeze the last of the oil out of played-out fields...

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 0:18 utc | 24>Comedy Relief Time

As far as the government and the media are concerned, the world's fourth largest belief system doesn't exist. In number of adherents it's behind Christianity, Islam and Buddhism but ahead of Hinduism. Globally it's 85% the size of Catholicism and in America just a little smaller than Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Lutherans put together. Perhaps most astoundingly, given today's politics, in the U.S. it is roughly the size of the Southern Baptist congregation.

Its leaders, however, are not invited to open Senate sessions. Our politicians do not quote them and our news shows do not interview them. And while it is a sin, if not a crime, to be anti-Catholic or anti-Semitic, disparaging this faith is not only permitted, it is publicly encouraged. The media acts as though it doesn't exist. You'd need an exceptional lawyer to sue your employer for ridiculing your belief in it. Its adherents are repeatedly and explicitly excluded from the category of "people of faith" even though they are among the most steadfast and well-grounded in their beliefs. Finally, if one of its major figures dies, you will probably not read about it, let alone find the president, two ex-presidents and Brian Williams flying off for the service.

So completely is this belief system excluded from our national consciousness that we do not even have a name for it. So let's give it one, at least for this article: shafarism - standing for secularism, humanism, atheism, free thought, agnosticism, and rationalism.

Shafars are 850 million people around the globe and at least 20 million at home who are ignored, insulted, or commonly considered less worthy than those who adhere to faiths based on mythology and folklore rather than on logic, empiricism, verifiable history, and science.

[more] Sam's perhaps a little less focussed than usual here, but it's an amusing, almost Vonnegutian coinage. Hey, I'm a Shafarist! Where shall I make pilgrimage? perhaps to the vault in France where lies the authoritative meter-long rule? Shall I wear a Darwin-fish on my lapel, and go from door to door on (hmmm) weekday mornings, peddling flimsy pamphlets of extracts from Bertrand Russell?

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 1:10 utc | 25

And speaking of those pesky Shafarists and their primitive, superstitious reliance on such outmoded concepts as evidence, research, hard data, mathematics, reason, etc. -->here is yet another fairly thorough paper on food transport and fossil fuel.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 1:26 utc | 26

[Excerpt from above -- sorry, but I am compelled to excerpt this bit, I can't help it, it's just too tasty.]

Just how energy inefficient the food system is can be seen in the crazy case of the Swedish tomato ketchup. Researchers at the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology analysed the production of tomato ketchup (2). The study considered the production of inputs to agriculture, tomato cultivation and conversion to tomato paste (in Italy), the processing and packaging of the paste and other ingredients into tomato ketchup in Sweden and the retail and storage of the final product. All this involved more than 52 transport and process stages.

The aseptic bags used to package the tomato paste were produced in the Netherlands and transported to Italy to be filled, placed in steel barrels, and then moved to Sweden. The five layered, red bottles were either produced in the UK or Sweden with materials form Japan, Italy, Belgium, the USA and Denmark. The polypropylene (PP) screw-cap of the bottle and plug, made from low density polyethylene (LDPE), was produced in Denmark and transported to Sweden. Additionally, LDPE shrink-film and corrugated cardboard were used to distribute the final product. Labels, glue and ink were not included in the analysis.

This example demonstrates the extent to which the food system is now dependent on national and international freight transport. However, there are many other steps involved in the production of this everyday product. These include the transportation associated with: the production and supply of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium fertilisers; pesticides; processing equipment; and farm machinery. It is likely that other ingredients such as sugar, vinegar, spices and salt were also imported. Most of the processes listed above will also depend on derivatives of fossil fuels. This product is also likely to be purchased in a shopping trip by car.


One study has estimated that UK imports of food products and animal feed involved transportation by sea, air and road amounting to over 83 billion tonne-kilometres (3). This required 1.6 billion litres of fuel and, based on a conservative figure of 50 grams of carbon dioxide per tonne-kilometre resulted in 4.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (4). Within the UK, the amount of food transported increased by 16% and the distances travelled by 50% between 1978 and 1999.

It has been estimated that the CO2 emissions attributable to producing, processing, packaging and distributing the food consumed by a family of four is about 8 tonnes a year. (5)


It is not that this transportation is critical or necessary. In many cases countries import and export similar quantities of the same food products (6). A recent report has highlighted the instances in which countries import and export large quantities of particular foodstuffs (6). For example, in 1997, 126 million litres of liquid milk was imported into the UK and, at the same time, 270 million litres of milk was exported from the UK. 23,000 tonnes of milk powder was imported into the UK and 153,000 tonnes exported (7). UK milk imports have doubled over the last 20 years, but there has been a four-fold increase in UK milk exports over the last 30 years (8).

Britain imports 61,400 tonnes of poultry meat a year from the Netherlands and exports 33,100 tonnes to the Netherlands. We import 240,000 tonnes of pork and 125,000 tonnes of lamb while exporting 195,000 tonnes of pork and 102,000 tonnes of lamb (6).

This system is unsustainable, illogical, and bizarre and can only exist as long as inexpensive fossil fuels are available and we do not take significant action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

[Yr humble editor notes that similar insanities prevail between the us and canada -- BC exports about as many tonnes of apples to the us as it imports from the us. what the....?]

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 1:30 utc | 27

OK one more, then I must get on my bike and go home!

"It's a perfect marriage," bleated Washington, DC City Council member Vincent Orange. He was not talking about Charles and Camilla although the marriage in question is just as repellent. The unctuous Orange was celebrating the National Guard's proposed $6 million purchase of "stadium naming rights" for Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals. According to the Washington Post this deal is all but certain. Now, in the middle of Southeast DC, the Washington Nats will come to you "Live from National Guard Field at RFK."

this... Creeps. Me. Out. et vous?

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 1:39 utc | 28

Rushdie says Bush policies help Islamic terrorism

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Bush administration helps the cause of Islamic terrorism by failing to engage in serious dialogue with the international community, author Salman Rushdie said on Tuesday.

Rushdie -- infamous for living for years under threat of death after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's 1989 pronouncement that his novel "The Satanic Verses" was blasphemous -- said he believes U.S. isolationism has turned not just its enemies against America, but its allies too.

"What I think plays into Islamic terrorism is ... the curious ability of the current administration to unite people against it," Rushdie told Reuters in an interview.

Rushdie said he found it striking how the "colossal sympathy" the world felt for the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been squandered so quickly.

"It seems really remarkable that the moment you leave America ... you find not just America's natural enemies, but America's natural allies talking in language more critical than I, in my life, have ever heard about the United States...."

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 13 2005 3:55 utc | 29

Deadly 'flu strain shipped worldwide

Let's hope it isn't a test run.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 13 2005 4:25 utc | 30

Ringlet , you are right, it is an age thing…I mean ”morality and stuff”…definitely. I wouldn’t know where to start to explain how I feel about it so I will not start at all.
I just wanted to explain that I wasn’t thinking about Bible “suggestions” as a form of morality (I mentioned it more like “manual” for reasonably “self –inflicted trouble” free life) . And even less I thought of church’s dogma and norms as a form of morality I agree with. I didn’t even think of morality as such when I mentioned Bible. I just wanted to say that even if so many science branches are actually exploring and are based on morality as such, we people do not need them to know what’s good and what’s bad…we automatically know…but we are able to ignore it at least for some time until it hit’s back…or until we clinically lose our mind. Long story tho. Someone rightly said something like this: “Old man is someone who had his dinner and is now watching others have their” …that’s why oldies are fool of “preaching right and wrong” …they know the taste of both…

Posted by: vbo | Apr 13 2005 4:31 utc | 31

i'm still thinking about the article i posted a link to earlier today (The extinction crisis is over. We lost.). will we (collectively) ever muster up the courage to face just what it is we have done to our environment? one image that sticks in my mind from the article is evoked by this passage:

...over the next hundred years, upwards of half of the earth's species are destined to become relics or ghosts, while weedy species will constitute an ever-growing proportion of the plants and animals around us. By virtue of their compatibility with us, weedy species can follow us around the planet, homogenizing (in both plausible interpretations of the word) the biosphere by filling in the spaces vacated by relics and ghosts. More and more we will encounter on every continent remarkably similar, if not the very same, species of plants, insects, mammals, birds, and other organisms.

how sad. right now you could conceivably blindfold someone and take them around the country, removing their blindfold only in the commercially-developed strips, and other than for state variations on license plates and the local vegetation, your subject would claim that there is no difference in any of these settings. so now even that vegetation is tending toward uniformity too? what kind of legacy are we leaving for our offspring?

The end of the wild does not mean a barren world. There will be plenty of life. It will just be different: much less diverse, much less exotic, far more predictable, and—given the dominance of weedy species—probably far more annoying. We have lost the wild. Perhaps in 5 to 10 million years it will return.

stewards of the earth? sounds like hell to me.

Posted by: b real | Apr 13 2005 4:35 utc | 32

Giuliana Sgrena - U.S. lied about shooting incident

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 13 2005 4:36 utc | 33

Don't be fooled by the spin on Iraq.

The US is failing - and hatred of the occupation greater than ever.

Posted by: | Apr 13 2005 5:48 utc | 34

Castro foe to apply for U.S.

MIAMI (Reuters) - A militant, anti-Communist Cuban exile who was jailed in Panama and then pardoned in connection with a plot to kill President Fidel Castro is in the United States and will apply for asylum on Wednesday, his lawyer said on Monday.

The request could present U.S. authorities with the knotty issue of how to square traditional sympathy with Cuban exiles -- the law allows most Cubans who arrive on U.S. shores to stay -- with a firm stand against people suspected of terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

In a three-hour televised address on Monday evening, Castro referred to Posada Carriles as "the monster" and compared him to Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Shoulden't the headline be: "Will US give asylum to alleged terrorist?" Maybe the alleged isn't needed either. Nice little dilemma!

Posted by: Fran | Apr 13 2005 6:15 utc | 35

WaPo In Mosul, a Battle 'Beyond Ruthless'

The article on A01 heroes a brutal undiciplined idiot and describes in sympathetic words various crimes against US national and international laws.

It promotes as success when an ambush on insurgents kills one of them while at least three others get away. It lauds a sergant who managed to get rid of his new platoon leader within 48 hours and it ends lauding the big "angel" hovering over this master example of brutishnes.

Read meat for the right side, political correct because the person portraid is hispanic, delivered by the paper of record. Disgusting.

Posted by: b | Apr 13 2005 7:01 utc | 36


Deadly Flu Strain Shipped Worldwide

A dangerous strain of the flu virus that caused a worldwide pandemic in 1957 was sent to thousands of laboratories in the United States and around the world..
The virus, known as an H2N2 strain, killed 1 million to 4 million people worldwide in 1957 and 1958, including about 70,000 in the United States. Because the virus has not circulated in the wild since 1968, anyone born after that would have no natural immunity to it. Since then, the virus has been kept only in high-security biological laboratories.

The problem arose when a private company, Meridian Bioscience Inc. of Cincinnati, sent a panel of virus samples to about 3,700 laboratories, some in doctors' offices, to be tested as part of routine quality-control certification conducted by the College of American Pathologists. An additional 2,750 laboratories, all in the United States, received the samples as part of other certification processes and were asked to destroy them, CDC spokesman Dan Rutz said.
"For reasons I don't understand and Meridian doesn't understand, the documentation they had was incorrect," he said, adding that the source of the mislabeling was unclear.

Meridian may have obtained the strain from another company that had misidentified it, he said. Even had Meridian known it was the deadly H2N2 strain, Schwartz said, current federal guidelines would have allowed the company to ship it.

Posted by: b | Apr 13 2005 7:08 utc | 37

To be honest b, I didn't see anything surprising or very far out of line with that article. A bit heavy on the glory, but what do you expect from US media? It's urban guerilla warfare: nasty and brutal and inhuman.

This is just what happens when you put people in that situation. Which is, of course, why you should try real fucking hard to avoid putting people in that situation.

What laws were broken, assuming for the sake of argument that you accept there is a legal military occupation in place?

Posted by: Colman | Apr 13 2005 7:36 utc | 38

Dead soldier's mother enters British poll fray

LONDON, APRIL 12. The mother of a British soldier killed in Iraq has decided to contest next month's general election against the Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram, saying that she wants to give a "voice to all those who want to end this war''.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 13 2005 8:47 utc | 39

Wonkette has the FOXNews memos from the FOX boss to his staff, also used to make the movie OUTFOXED.
A sample:

Into Fallujah: It's called Operation Vigilant Resolve and it began Monday morning (NY time) with the US and Iraqi military surrounding Fallujah. We will cover this hour by hour today, explaining repeatedly why it is happening. It won't be long before some people start to decry the use of "excessive force." We won't be among that group. . . More than 600 US military dead, attacks on the UN headquarters last year, assassination of Irai officials who work with the coalition, the deaths of Spanish troops last fall, the outrage in Fallujah: whatever happens, it is richly deserved.

Fair and balanced...

Posted by: b | Apr 13 2005 15:55 utc | 40


your wapo post 13th - i do bit find surprissing but for different reasons than colman - that psychopaths & thugs find a home in the armed forces of the empire is absolutely consistent

their brutality - which they like to think of as ruthlessness - is nothing other than the inarticulate bursts of a losing force & that is very clear - no matter what wapo or the defence dept says

every day the insurgents are getting stronger, more focused, more intelligent in their operations - each night the will of the insurgents gets stronger - & i do not envy the soldiers in sgt ruiz's platoon

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 13 2005 18:32 utc | 41

And so it begins: Iran nuke commercial
hits TV markets

Here we go again.

Okay folks, pop quiz time.

Why would Iran set off a nuke in a US city? Why would they do the one thing that would gaurentee a US invasion? Why?

The answer is that they wouldn't. Any nuke that gets set off will be set off by a party that WANTS a US invasion of Iran. Of the three major parties to this next war, Iran is the only one that does NOT have nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 13 2005 18:47 utc | 42>Only $109,301,385?

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 13 2005 18:55 utc | 43

More and more we will encounter on every continent remarkably similar, if not the very same, species ...

yeah. Kudzu World.

@breal -- this is I think what we see when we look at video footage of China, or visit its longest-inhabited areas. Humans have eradicated much of the biodiversity in the region over several thousand years, and only the hardiest, weediest species have survived. The strange 'sameness' of the vegetation, the rounded, eroded, gullied terrain, the sparseness and toughness (except in the most tropical regions) of the flora, are all typical of repeatedly deforested, overgrazed, and overfarmed landscapes. It is not a dead landscape, but rather a tired one, threadbare, shopworn, a landscape of survivors, of grim necessity rather than bodacious flourishings.

This is what happens when one species gets an edge and starts displacing all others, grabbing more and more of the photosynthetic output of the planet's surface and squeezing all other species to the wall. Eventually, only weeds, symbiotes, and parasites on that dominant species will survive. I read once that another species pulled this trick many aeons ago. It was a pig-like critter; must have been smarter or meaner than its contemporaries, and it overran the entire pan-Gaean continent iirc, wiping out just about everything else.

Then it died out. Game over. Reset.

OTOH it doesn't necessarily have to be like this. Human beings can create diversity (through crop and animal breeding over time) and preserve natural biosystems. Unfortunately in our time the cultural pressures of Taylorism and industrial capitalist ideology accelerate the stamping-out of diversity and the exhaustion of resources, like normal diversity loss on crack.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 18:57 utc | 44

An addition to my bioterror comment from DefenseTech

With the government tossing out biodefense research grants like Louisville Sluggers on Bat Day, universities and private companies by the dozen have been building labs to handle the nastiest bacteria and viruses around. As a result, "hundreds of inexperienced researchers [are being drawn] into work with hazardous organisms," the Times observed a few months back.

Posted by: b | Apr 13 2005 19:01 utc | 45

It was a pig-like critter

what is the name?

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 13 2005 19:05 utc | 46

@Coleman This is just what happens when you put people in that situation. Which is, of course, why you should try real fucking hard to avoid putting people in that situation.

What laws were broken, assuming for the sake of argument that you accept there is a legal military occupation in place?

What happens in such situation does not as much depend on the grunt on the ground but how the officer corps leads these grunds. But obvious the hero of that story is not lead but is allowed to do whatever he wants to do. (Big mistake by his higher ups - those are the guys that will shoot at their officers when things break down)

r´giap is also right. Esp. in a volontier force you get too many of the brutals collected in the force.

Laws broken:
- people transfering weapon from one car to another are not proven combatants but could be civilians or civilian criminals. Ther is no low to shoot them without warning and an attempt to get them alive.
- intimidating shopkeepers etc.

After recently hearing that a security guard was allowing insurgents to meet at night at a school, Ruiz said, he confronted the principal by "taking over his personal space" and threatening to shut down the school down if the meetings continued. At a store whose owner he believed was aiding insurgents, Ruiz threatened to park a Stryker out front and post a sign saying that the man was abetting terrorism.
Definitly illegal if Geneva is applied.

Some people think it is stupit to restrict soldiers by laws from doing so. These people would screem if the police in their hometown would act without being restricted by law.

And again of course the question: does this serve the strategic aim the US wants to achieve? I don´t think so.

Posted by: b | Apr 13 2005 19:29 utc | 47

also what i think what be was doing was showing how even wapo 'sell' the war - but do so - by defiling whatever little reputation they have. their take implicity is here is a bad guy made good whereas we just see that a psychopath has found a perfect home & a perfect mission streamlined to his capabilities. protecting his turf, his homies(slothrop you are the expert is that how youspell that, my man) working for himself while working for the man

the american press is so erotically charged by its own power that it cannot see how sordid this power has made death & that death beong reproducible in these circumstances is nothing more than a pornographic circus -within a bad war movie - the aside about the superior who left after tackling homeboy diaz - surely warms the hearts of the well bred reader in washington - i'm glaad he's out there & not here hijacking my car, they are thinking. their ugly & inherent racism both disgusts & horrify. so this is 'high quality' journalism. ô rupert you really are their god & master

when i am obliged by circumstance or my own stupidity to read something like the atlantic where this form of journalese empties its bowels - i feel dirty for even reading it & should take flashaarry's advice & place a cordon sanitaire between myself & the maison de la presse

linking as b does this article with the foxnews piece we see there is no difference - no difference at all. the difference between playboy & penthouse - a few pubic hairs - to protect us against life's indecency

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 13 2005 19:45 utc | 48

nice video "god bless y'all"

Posted by: b | Apr 13 2005 20:00 utc | 49

Cornell University News Service: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are now species of slime-mold beetles -- but strictly in homage

Two former Cornell University entomologists who recently had the job of naming 65 new species of slime-mold beetles named three species that are new to science in the genus Agathidium for members of the U.S. administration. They are A. bushi Miller and Wheeler, A. cheneyi Miller and Wheeler and A. rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler.
The entomologists also named some of the new species after their wives and a former wife, ... the fictional "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader ...

Posted by: b | Apr 13 2005 20:10 utc | 50

A good piece by DeLong: Our Twin Financial Puzzles: The Long Run May Come Like a Thief in the Night

The long run in which the dollar falls and U.S. long-term interest rates rise may come like a thief in the night as a very sudden shock. If it comes as a sudden shock rather than as a long, slow, gradual realization, it will come on that day when the gestalt of the players on Wall Street and elsewhere changes, and when they collectively regard holding dollars as the more risky rather than the less risky strategy in the short run, when they collectivley regard being long long-term U.S. Treasuries as the more risky rather than the less risky strategy in the short run. On that day the long run future will be, as football coach George Allen used to say, now.

Posted by: b | Apr 13 2005 20:32 utc | 51

Pentagon's war spending hard to track - Watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Defense Department is unable to track how it spent tens of millions of dollars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the U.S. war on terrorism, Congress's top investigator said on Wednesday.

The department "doesn't have a system to be able to determine with any degree of reliability and specificity how we spent" tens of millions in war-related emergency funds set aside by Congress, Comptroller General David Walker told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee.

Walker heads the Government Accountability Office, Congress's nonpartisan audit and investigative arm. He disclosed the accounting gap as part of a broader indictment of Pentagon business practices....

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 13 2005 20:49 utc | 52

Graner starts to sing about Abu Ghraib

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 13 2005 20:52 utc | 53

Check in at Unitarian Jihad LINK and get your Revolutionary Name, just like I did.

Don't quite understand what the hell it was all about though.


Posted by: Brother Rail Gun of Quiet Reflection | Apr 13 2005 20:53 utc | 54

As for delong--does anyone understand what the hell he says? I cannot. fauxreal or whoever complained about the braintwisting obscurity of economic writings should avoid reading delong's posts.

Except this execrable defamation of>Sweezy.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 13 2005 21:03 utc | 55>More Evidence Surfaces about Negroponte's Role in War in Nicaragua>Comment by screenwriter of 'Carla's Song'

WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of newly released cables that John D. Negroponte sent to Washington while serving as ambassador to Honduras in the 1980's show that he played a more central and assertive role than previously known in managing the United States' covert war against Nicaragua's leftist government, which he called "our special project."

What is it with these guys? "Special Project"? Sonderbehandlung anyone? what is it that compels them to turn the word "special" -- in English or auf Deutsch -- into a euphemism for unspeakable horror?

The prim euphemism of monsters. The mealy-mouthedness of tyrants. Sometimes it makes me almost miss old Joe Stalin, who at least called a bludgeon a bludgeon: "No man, no problem."

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 21:04 utc | 56

link to the nat'l security archive postings on negroponte

Posted by: b real | Apr 13 2005 21:10 utc | 57

re : UU jihad -- I rather fancy meself as the Flaming Trebuchet of Compassionate Dissent :-) or perhaps the Burning Boomerang of Truth (damn thing just keeps returning to the same topics!)

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 21:13 utc | 58

For example, what is a "good" treasury and fed chairman supposed to do to avert the coming problems? The trade deficit and domestic deficit problems are better, but not successfully, addressed by Congress, right? But even politically, what can Congress really do about the trade deficit? Treasury can devalue and the fed can jackup up interest rates, but this hardly counts as a "solution" given the immensity of the problems "solved" by required austerities shouldered by workers.

Everytime I read our great economists, the solutions devolve upon workers to suffer the consequences of falling profits.

Am I wrong?

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 13 2005 21:14 utc | 59>oops

hey, it was an accident -- no, really, just an accident... now, how on earth could that have happened?

"never attribute to malice what can be explained by simple incompetence"... but still...

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 13 2005 21:55 utc | 60

w/e anger mgmt training? Senate Panel Puts Off Vote on Bolton's UN Nomination

Posted by: b real | Apr 13 2005 21:58 utc | 61

having contaminated the maize supply on both N and S American continents, the gene-vandals are now> aiming their spray cans at the rice.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 14 2005 0:40 utc | 62

This kind of pulls together some threads: the backlash against environmental regulation or research; the oil industry's vastly enhanced clout since their drones took over the WH; environmental racism in the US; and the usefulness of the "anti-terrorist" shtick in suppressing citizen inquiry, intimidating whistleblowers and pesky people's-tribune types.>Fontenot, Challenger of Environmental Racism in Louisiana, Ousted

When Abigail Walton asked whether a report on the incident was going to be written up and where it would be filed, she said one of the rent-a-cops "blew his top." The guard refused to answer her question, but began ranting at the group as if they were a band of eco-terrorists. He threatened to turn them over to the "Homeland Security" people who would detain them well into the night.

A public relations officer for ExxonMobil later said that the Maritime Transportation Security Act required the company to file a "suspicious activity report" with the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Center, which is then turned over for investigation by the US Coast Guard. But an official with the Coast Guard brushed this off, saying that it is not illegal to photograph industrial plants from public property.

After about an hour of cell phone calls and harassment, the corporate cops finally released the group.

The ordeal was over for the students from Antioch, but it was just beginning for Willie Fontenot. Shortly after the arrest, one of Exxon's cops called the Attorney General's office and griped about Fontenot being uncooperative with their security operation. Later that day, the sheriff's office lodged a formal complaint with the Attorney General about Fontenot.

The next day Fontenot was read the riot act at the Attorney General's office. After a short meeting, Fontenot was placed on administrative leave. A week later he was told to either resign or be terminated.

Fontenot has health problems. If he insisted on termination under protest, he would lose his health insurance. Another little benefit (to the plutes that is) of an overpriced health care system for which insurance is predicated on obedience to an employer.

The Homeland Security Agency has become the catch-all boogeyman to which any 2-bit rentathug or small town boughten cop can threaten to remand anyone they want to bully or run out of town. And taking a photograph of any oil or chemical facility while standing on a public street is considered sinister and reportable behaviour. Sweet, for industries who don't particularly care for citizen or governmental oversight in the first place.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 14 2005 1:22 utc | 63

And just one more...>There's a Cheaper Simpler (and less dangerous) Way

As summer approaches, US communities brace for another round of pesticide spraying. Though it is supposedly done to protect us from mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus (WNV), the spraying actually seems more like military maneuvers designed to persuade the populace to accept chemical warfare as a part of everyday life.

Since the US relies heavily on pesticide poisons and explores genetic engineering to attack mosquitoes carrying WNV, it is fascinating to see a low-tech approach bring even greater success. A program in Vietnam shows that predators can offer an extremely effective technique of mosquito control.

But of course, introduced predators and intelligent water management are not nearly such profit-generators for the oil/chem industry or the gene-vandals -- nor for the pharmacorps who clean up later on their extortionately-priced designer meds for the various systemic ailments resulting from low-level chronic exposure to neurotoxins, cholinesterase inhibitors, and the like. Hey, win-win-win! The System Works!

I repeat DeAnander's Law: it is always more profitable to do things wrong -- therefore when profiteers run/own the government everything will be done as stupidly, inelegantly, wastefully and expensively as possible.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 14 2005 1:32 utc | 64

I been saying that for years de, the system is not broke it just the way they want it... but, I'll remember "DeAnander's Law" <- that's a gotta laugh or I'd shoot someone

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 14 2005 3:48 utc | 65

Probably not news to anyone, but an interesting read about American media, nonetheless.


Posted by: Groucho | Apr 14 2005 3:53 utc | 66

@slothrop For example, what is a "good" treasury and fed chairman supposed to do to avert the coming problems? The trade deficit and domestic deficit problems are better, but not successfully, addressed by Congress, right? But even politically, what can Congress really do about the trade deficit?

Increase the national saving rate of the US by:
- increase taxes, therby
- lower the budget deficit (which is national dissaving)
- legislation that disencourages people and companies taking on debt
- increase the price of money by
-- increasing the Fed overnight rate
-- limit leverage for banks and hedge funds (lower money creation)

This has not to be against the poor but can be done in ways to hit primarily the richer parts and companies (with record earnings).
This would lead to a small recession but probably avoid the big slump that is creaping up.

Quite simple, but they don´t care. Congress eliminates the estate tax and the Fed drops money from helicopters.

Posted by: b | Apr 14 2005 6:21 utc | 67

Species of slime-mold beetles named after Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld

How appropriate.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 14 2005 6:56 utc | 68

A new piece by Jérôme

Controlling Forward-Error Correction and Boolean Logic with Fin

Posted by: b | Apr 14 2005 10:31 utc | 69

I liked the name-generator. Thanks Groucho. I am hereby (trumpet: tadatadatada):

Sibling Howitzer of Sweet Reason

I like it.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Apr 14 2005 10:50 utc | 70

Drugs smugglers who imported Ecstasy from Europe to U.S.A. arrested

Step forward U.S. Air National Guard pilot Captain Franklin Rodriguez and Master Sergeant John Fong, in charge of loading and unloading cargo……

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 14 2005 12:57 utc | 71

@ Nugget Thanks for the interesting link, with punch line
"Authorities would not comment on who had paid Fong [$10,000]".
As frequently is the case, that well known anti-semitic rag Haaretz offers an

illuminating counterpoint
to what Americans get to read,
and just barely manages to stay within the parameters of quasi-truth by neglecting to mention the notorious Harari network of the Iran-Contra
era. Can the appearance of this "damage control" article in Haaretz at this time be sheer coincidence? An American war without sordid secret service involvement in drug trafficking would be an exception to the well-established rule, so much so that a cynic or conspiracy theorist might tend to think that wars happen precisely to permit war profiteering and drug trafficking, thereby inverting the causal sequence espoused by right thinking solid citizens.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Apr 14 2005 15:30 utc | 72

aka, beq. I like it.

Posted by: The Hand Grenade of Reasoned Discussion | Apr 14 2005 15:37 utc | 73

Correction: The Haaretz article
seems to date from last year,
so some of my ranting was just

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Apr 14 2005 15:49 utc | 74

Quite simple

Well, ok. I'm happy to be informed by you and others here as I try to understand these macro-econ puzzles.

But, your solutions I think are minor complements to the ongoing attempts to rationalize the management of the capitalist economy. I agree w/ the savings idea, and it is notable that economists like Herbert Stein have for years pointed out the stupidity of fiscal policy, from the Eisenhauer period onward, raiding surpluses through tax cuts benifitting the wealthy. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Yet, "savings" is idle capital is "overaccumulation." According to the gospel of nonbourgeois economics, "savings"=loss in demand=deflation, right? That is to say, by the logic of capital accumulation and need for constant expansion, "savings" is a "fetter" on accumulation and expansion. Further, when wedded to keynsian policies of demand side stimulus in times of economic woe, expanded consumption is usually (always?) inflationary.

As I attempt to internalize this leftist orientation to macroecon, your "quite simple" suggestions don't add up, though I'm completely willing at this point to accept I'm wrong, when shown.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 14 2005 16:30 utc | 75

chossudovsky: Is America Preparing for Martial Law? The Department of Homeland Security recently carried out an extensive anti-terrorist exercise entitled TOPOFF 3 (April 4-8, 2005)...The stated objective of the TOPOFF 3 "Full Scale Exercise" was to "prepare America" in the case of an actual bioterrorism attack by Al Qaeda...The purpose of the TOPOFF anti-terrorist exercises is not to "defend America" against terrorists, but to build a consensus within federal, State and municipal bodies, as well as within the business community and civil society (hospitals, schools, etc.) that this illusive outside enemy exists and that "the threat is real"...The objective is to sustain the war and national security agenda --and of course the possibility of martial law-- within the governmental, nongovernmental and corporate business sectors...The TOPOFF exercise prepares the Nation for an emergency under a Code Red alert. More specifically, it sets the stage within the various governmental bodies and organizations. The exercise moulds the behavior of public officials...Northcom's "command structure" would be activated in the case of a code red terror alert. But Northcom does not require, in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Defense Authorization Act (DAA), a terror alert, a terror attack or a war-like situation to intervene in the country's civilian affairs...existing legislation grants the military extensive rights to intervene in an "emergency situation", without the prior formal approval of the Commander in Chief.

Posted by: b real | Apr 14 2005 19:03 utc | 76

Earth to Humnkind:Back Off by Morford

It's one of those stories that sort of punches you in the karmic gut, about how they just completed this unprecedented, four-year, $24 million, U.N.-backed study involving 1,360 scientists from 95 nations who all pored over thousands of satellite images and countless scientific reports and reams of stats, and they all distilled their findings down to one deadly, heartbreaking summary.

And here it is: We, humankind, people, sentient carbon-based biped creatures, only us and no one else but us because it sure as hell ain't the goddamn lions or caribou or meerkats or rhododendrons, we humans have, in our shockingly short time on this wobbly sphere, used up a staggering 60 percent of the world's grasslands, forests, farmland, rivers and lakes.

Posted by: beq | Apr 14 2005 19:04 utc | 77

b real

these savages are capable of anything under any guise at all that will be then faithfully sanitised by cnnfoxnewsbbc

each day brings new terrors, insaner lies & history as whored out to caricatures of power

the scenes now so sordid i have neither the stamina nor sometimes the imagination to cope with it. in those times i retreat a little to the phantoms & ghosts that haunt our lives & are a base for anna missed's art

after work i often read a whole series of on line journals in different countries & in different languages & i am not surprised at how similar they are. they tell the same story - the story that even your mark twain hinted at - we are being fucked - noi we are being fucked - royally

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 14 2005 20:50 utc | 78

i give two writing workshops(atalier d'écriture) on thursday. one is with students of the conservatoire that want to become teachers of music & need its diploma & the other atelier is at a mens foyer of a hardness that i am not capable of giving description here

with the students - mostly from middle classe or 'secure' family situuations - i cannot believe their self satisfaction before the world we are living & their infantile reaction to it. i am astounded by their lack of common sense & their hiding behind what can cruelly be called virtuosité. the best of them merely underline the absence. today i worked with them on sun ra & on xenakis -they had a minimal knowledge of both & this is from people who have been in music every day for the last 10-18 years. i wanted to cry

i then go to a foyer that is in essence - the antechambre to either the psychiatric hospital or the prisons - but where the participantsoffer, initiate & improvise with incredibly complex computations of text time & space & have a very profound sense of what politics means. it means the same to them as it does to me. breath

these people that the society throws out on to the margins are blessed with a sense & an an instinct & yes a sense of the sacred that is the foundation of any creative work. they are human enough to understand the fragility not only of themselves & of creation but of the world itself. they teach me wonder

but my conservatoire students make me frightened - really quite frightened what is happening amongst elites especially cultural elites - they are satisfied with less & less scholarship & are really cultivated by the misery of popular culture in the worst possible sense

whenever i work with the 'professional' classes i am surprised at both their indolence & their naiveté both of which they regard as virtues. i have always this sense they are 'ptretending' to be what they are - that they wake up in the middle of the night sweating that they will be found out

i cannot write one poem without being aware of what is happening in mosul or kirkuk or fallujah. it is not possible for me to forget. they people my nights . i do not expect engagement in these young 'artists' but what i do expect is humanity & a bare minimum is i expect an awareness - that has come through knowledge & life. what i see too often is emptiness

what we speak of here at moon or lespeakeasy is not something distant but very very close - in every sense

i have never been so aware of lived reality as both an artist & as a man - it is totally integrated in my teaching. i have always followed marx's dictum for the theses on feurbach - that the educator themselves must be educated

especially so in this world -- where the calibrations of terror & fear are notched up on a daily basis - i do not think i have ever thought so hard to retain my humanity - to not slide into cioranian misanthropy. self evidently i do not always win

here & at lespeakeasy - i see so many honest questions - so much reaching out to believe what is almost inexplicable - to rummage through the forest of shit that information has made of communication

there is so much knowledge & so little wisdom

the poor & the disenfranchised, the marginalied need to be defended against the calibrations of fear & if we forget them because we are in terror or in fear pr we hide behind our 'expertise' then we deserved to be thrown aside & believe me that day will come - as a young maoist - i never believed it - i believed you could defeat empires simply because in reality they were so weak - they were paper tigers - they could & were defeated

but today following deananders law - i cannot believe this recklessnees with life with history & if you like with destiny cannot continue in the way it has this last 'historical' moment - worse sometimes i feel i am not living through history but history as it might have been lived on gilligans island

afyer all there has been a frankfurt school, there has been an albert ayler & there has been an arshile gorky

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 14 2005 21:28 utc | 79

r#giap - thanks

Posted by: b | Apr 14 2005 21:47 utc | 80

In case there was any doubt as to the reason for the Iraq war

In Monday’s Financial Times, Ian Rutledge puts some facts behind what many suspect to be the ultimate motivation behind the Iraq war. While no doubt the stage was set by the general impulse toward world domi-, um, “leadership” as the Project for a New American Century calls it, the specifics were in evidence several months before 9/11.

In a crucial report to President George W. Bush by the US Council on Foreign Relations in April 2001, the president was warned that: "As the 21st century opens, the energy sector is in a critical condition. A crisis could erupt at any time . . . The world is currently close to utilising all of its available global oil production capacity, raising the chances of an oil supply crisis with more substantial consequences than seen in three decades."

. . . [The] council stated that it was absolutely imperative that "political factors do not block the development of new oil fields in the Gulf" and that "the Department of State, together with the National Security Council" should "develop a strategic plan to encourage reopening to foreign investment in the important states of the Middle East".

. . .[The council] acknowledged that "there is strong opposition to any such opening among key segments of the Saudi and Kuwaiti populations".

However, there was an alternative. . . .William Kristol, the Republican party ideologist, in testimony to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East on May 22 2002 [said] that as far as oil was concerned, "Iraq is more important than Saudi Arabia".

So when, according to the former head of ExxonMobil's Gulf operations, "Iraqi exiles approached us saying, you can have our oil if we can get back in there", the Bush administration decided to use its overwhelming military might to create a pliant - and dependable - oil protectorate in the Middle East and achieve that essential "opening" of the Gulf oilfields.

But. . . the continuing violence of the insurgency has prevented Iraqi exports from even recovering to pre-invasion levels.

In short, the US appears to have fought a war for oil in the Middle East, and lost it.

(Still can't get those "snips" to show up.)

So what next? On to Iran?

Posted by: liz | Apr 14 2005 22:41 utc | 81

The Hand Grenade of Reasoned Discussion,
it suits you.


Posted by: Sibling Howitzer of Sweet Reason | Apr 14 2005 22:48 utc | 82

i have always this sense they are 'pretending' to be what they are - that they wake up in the middle of the night sweating that they will be found out

Not at all coincidentely, a top cause of anxiety and worry among students at least here is that they will be found out, that somebody will understand that they are faking. I guess later they learn to suppress that feeling or they do something else, and then do not enter the 'professional' classes. This is one big factor in conserving a class system when there is free education and government support during studies (as it is in Sweden). Those who do not know that despite the feeling of being fake they might succeed, those who have no siblings or parents who can tell them this are of course overrepresented amongst those that drop out of the university and find other occupations. Also those who generally find they do not fit in - wrong gender, wrong sexuality, wrong clothes, wrong taste in music - often have an enhanced feeling of being fake. They do not even fit - or want to fit - the stereotype and thus are less sure it will turn out all right.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Apr 14 2005 23:02 utc | 84

Arizona pharmacist conscience bill vetoed

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 0:36 utc | 86

Well, now this is fun.

DeAnander came up with a good one (actually two counting De's Law) -- how long until we all start dubbing each other with such monikers?

- Jonku

Posted by: Tattered Speaker Cone of Former Certainty | Apr 15 2005 1:57 utc | 87


the american press is so erotically charged by its own power

A lot of journalists are not so much dumb and lazy, but the the acumen needed to succeed, especially in broadcasting, has nothing to do w/ creativity and erudition, but more to do w/ presentation. Add the usual problem of access--that journalists not alienate themselves from powerful people--and you have a fourth estate derailed.

blogs might save us.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 15 2005 2:34 utc | 88

@b - Dont's miss this atol article"

Posted by: DM | Apr 15 2005 2:39 utc | 89

geez...would anybody here seriously argue a return to a gold standard?

I thought not.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 15 2005 2:46 utc | 90

The difference between "I promise to pay the bearer on demand one pound Sterling" (14 oz silver) Vs. "This bit of paper is legal tender for all debts public and private - but be careful - it might be worthless before you have a chance to redeem it".

Money having some intrinsic tangible value works for me. Worked for Adam Smith too.

Posted by: DM | Apr 15 2005 3:22 utc | 91

Article 2

The value of the Saudi Riyal shall be equivalent to 0.197482 grams of fine gold. This value shall be known as "the parity rate". The parity rate shall not be amended except by a Royal Decree and in accordance with the provisions of international agreements to which Saudi Arabia is a party.

Posted by: DM | Apr 15 2005 3:34 utc | 92

OK. Taking the extreme risk of making a public fool of myself with bad arithmetic - maybe some financial guru can tell me where I am going wrong here.

The USD / Riyal (SAR) FX rate is 1 : 3.75
That makes it about 1 USD for 3.75 Riyal - equiv. to 0.74 grams gold

Current USD/Gold rate is $458 / ounce.
Approx 28 grams / ounce. That makes about USD 16.35 / gram
Which gives (roughly) USD12 worth of gold for USD1.

So. Is it OK to buy Saudi Riyal and cash them in for fine gold?

Posted by: DM | Apr 15 2005 4:01 utc | 93

If anyone has put the

Ivory Coast Spook cd-rom

which was the source for the article in Le Monde on line I'd like to have the link.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Apr 15 2005 5:22 utc | 94

At least thirteen die in Paris hotel fire

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 5:41 utc | 95

Turkish troops kill 21 Kurdish rebels

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 6:01 utc | 96

Tennessee state senator backing marriage amendment getting divorce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A state senator sponsoring a constitutional amendment aimed at "solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman" is accused in a divorce case of cheating on his wife.

State Sen. Jeff Miller, a Republican from Cleveland, is accused of "inappropriate marital conduct" in a divorce complaint filed Feb. 25 in Bradley County….

"He is very hypocritical, fighting for the sanctity of marriage and not keeping his own," the senator's wife of 15 years, Bridgitte Suzanne Miller, said in a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press….

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 6:29 utc | 97

if it is true you better do it quickly before the news is spread. I thought no country had a gold standard right now, are you sure of your source for the Saudi gold standard?

And by the way, even though gold has been popular for a long time, I can not see that it has an intrinsic value. Sure you can use it in electronics, but then again you can use the pieces of paper to write stuff on.

And I thought it said "This bit of paper is legal tender for all debts public and private - but be careful - it might be worthless before you have a chance to redeem it. However it is needed to pay your taxes and keep yourself out of jail thus creating a certain demand"

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Apr 15 2005 9:49 utc | 98

Don't know shit about this stuff, and I don't really expect they would let me cart off sackfulls of gold - but although the FX rate is pegged to the US dollar - according to this - their money is backed-up with "a full cover in gold and foreign currencies convertible into gold".

And the US Dollar is backed-up with Saudi and Iraqi oil.

There is an intrinsic value is gold - or we could move back to copper (as in Roman times). You know, save it up until you need to re-wire your house.
Since July 1986, the Saudi Riyal has been pegged to the U.S. dollar with a fixed exchange rate of SR3.75 to U.S. $1.00.
Article 2
The value of the Saudi Riyal shall be equivalent to 0.197482 grams of fine gold. This value shall be known as "the parity rate". The parity rate shall not be amended except by a Royal Decree and in accordance with the provisions of international agreements to which Saudi Arabia is a party.
Article 6
a. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency shall keep a full cover in gold and foreign currencies convertible into gold equal to the value of the currency it issues.
b. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency shall, under no circumstances, issue currency without full cover to be kept in safe custody in the Kingdom; however, cover other than
gold may be kept in deposit with first class banks abroad.
c. The cover shall be valued in accordance with the rate fixed in Article 2 of these Regulations.

Posted by: DM | Apr 15 2005 11:08 utc | 99

In the Kulturkampf thread, B asked a question about why there isn't more discussion or focus on union and workplace issues in US politics. Because the answer was so off thread, I put it here in the Open Thread.

B:Those same issues have baffled me, too - and I live here and work for a union. There are several reasons for the media and politicians ignoring what I consider the engine of progressive movements - a functioning labor movement.

The primary reason is that union density has dropped from close to 40% of the private sector workforce in the mid-1950's to somewhere around 8% today. Unions have mitigated these losses to some extent by expanding in the public workforce - teachers unions, police unions, federal employee unions, etc. - but they are not a large enough piece of the overall workforce to really offset our losses. And they are limited in all sorts of practical ways from acting with the same range of political and economic options as unions in the private sphere (i.e. - limited rights to strike, to bargain collectively, to engage in political activities, etc.) In sum, unions are just a small piece of the economy now, and are struggling to remain relevant.

But there are other factors. The entertainment industry and business in general has maligned unions for years (granted, with help from some corrupt unions). See The Godfather, see On the Waterfront, etc. This taint lingers although the corruption, outside of petty things, has really been cleaned out in the last 15 years. Unions cleaned themselves up, government helped (somewhat), and there was diminishing returns in corrupting unions, too. As I always tell people, if you're an ambitious hood, are you going to sell drugs or become involved in the union movement? A no-brainer.

Another big factor - and this goes back to what this thread is about - is that the ones who run society - corporations - have no interest in discussing or portraying class issues. Discussions of rich and poor or the structure of our economy have been effectively killed. If you discuss ways to address the growing gap between rich and poor, the debate ends when a right-winger shouts "Class War!" People who think that a more progressive tax system is desireable don't have the money to buy politicians; but those for a less progressive tax system do. Even trying to fight tax cuts for the very rich - like the argument over the elimination of the estate tax in this country - will bring out a bunch of chin-tugging economists from the Federal Reserve, business schools, brokerage houses, etc. - who will opine in stentorian tones that failing to cut the taxes on Paris Hilton's bracket will bring about ruin. There is no-one authoritative there to challenge them - no cohesive philosophy or organization to challenge that.

And meanwhile, of course, we have this idiot "culture war" going on that keeps a lot of people distracted. Yes, many people's lives in this country are utterly degraded by McJobs, poor schools, inadequate health care, lack of time to spend with children and family, consumerism run amok, limited opportunities for political expression - but the Right has brilliantly managed to focus a lot of people on one of the minor symptoms of this degradation - execrable mass entertainment - rather than the roots - lives robbed of dignity.

They've done this through their fundimentalist/evangelical churches, which offer people a way to restore dignity and meaning to their lives - but that is a subject for another post!

Posted by: NickM | Apr 15 2005 13:26 utc | 100

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