Sunday, December 30, 2007

Where Did the Ice Go?

Environment Canada has chosen the Vanishing Ice at the Top of the World as its biggest weather story of 2007.
This Radarsat-1 image shows that in September Parry Channel was free of ice from almost one end to the other for the first time in recorded history.

Enviroment Canada say that there was "23 per cent less sea ice than the previous record of 5.3 million square km in 2005. It was as if an ice chunk the size of Ontario had disappeared in one year. Since 1971, and particularly since 1990, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been decreasing significantly on a hemispherical scale. But this year’s “big melt” was a shocker."
Until recently, climate scientists were not envisaging this sort of ice loss for another 30 years.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Greenest?

Depends on your definition, but Geist magazine has compiled this list of the 15 greenest cities in the world. And yes, there is a Canadian city on the list! But check out Barcelona, Spain, where 37% --check that! 37%-- of all trips are taken ON FOOT! That blows my mind!


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James Howard Kunstler

I'm not his biggest fan, but I have to say he gets climate change and oil dependence. I also like his intense hatred of suburbs and what they imply. Here are his Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society. If you haven't been thinking much about it, this is a good place to start.


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Alternet's Environmental Top Ten

Yup, just follow the link to the top ten environmental stories according to Alternet this year.


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Friday, December 14, 2007

Viral Advertising

Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit, PETA really understands viral media.They really are a textbook in how brains and tech savvy can put some serious hurt on massive international corporations. They've released a funny and very twisted video starring a detourned Full House cast in an attack on the fashion taste and production of the Olsen Twins. I suspect it was done on about $20 and a borrowed computer, but it is pretty effective. Certainly worth a look for many reasons.


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Known Knowns and Unknown Knowns

So, listening to testimony and the coverage thereof today, I began to wonder "what do we really know about this relationship?" As far as I can tell, what we know--even after all the testimony-- is that:
  • Karlheinz Schrieber said he knew Brian Mulroney
  • KS said he'd paid Brian $300,000 and that Brian hadn't done what he was supposed to do for it
  • The RCMP were looking into any relationship between the two, leading up to the infamous letter to the Swiss authorities asking to take a look at banking records
  • Brian freaked out and denied any relationship--denied KS three times or more-- and decided to sue the Canadian government of the day for allowing the RCMP investigation of the relationship between himself and KS
  • The government folded and ended up paying out $2.1 million to Lyin' Brian
  • Some time later, Lyin' Brian declared the money he had received from KS to Revenue Canada--fearing them more than the RCMP it would seem...
  • and really, that's about it
Everything since then has really just been restatements of these facts, with embellishments. The question really boils down to "what can be proven" and "who do you believe more?" Because on the one hand you have a known liar and lowlife with connections to the rich and powerful and on the other you have Karlheinz Schrieber. After all, there were reasons that Brian Mulroney had an approval rating under 18% when he left office, and as much as he's tried in the intervening years, there hasn't really been any rehabilitation of his reputation. The man is still a liar. But is he more of a liar than Karlheinz?
And honestly, Brian is known to talk regularly with Stephen Harper. So is it reasonable to believe that he never mentioned Schrieber to him? Really? Not saying the current PM had anything to do with anything, just saying that it really sounds like Brian is up to his old lyin' ways again.
So will we ever find out where the truth lies? i mean, I have plenty of reasons to despise the former Prime Minister of Canada, I really don't need a false one too. But if it is true, it will really confirm much of what I already suspected about the man, and I wouldn't want to miss out on that. And seeing brian behind bars? Priceless.....


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Folly and Madness

It is madness, absolute folly and madness.
Strictly economically speaking, it makes no sense for Canada to continue to support a fossil-fuel economy and not embrace a so-called "green" economy irregardless of what the Bush junta in America does. Canada will transform to a green economy because we have no other choice. We will either embrace and welcome it, or fight it kicking and screaming, but it will happen. The economic benefits of making that transition sooner rather than later far outweigh what the Bush approach of denial will benefit the United States. If Bush wants to speed up the fall of the American Empire with his Neanderthal antics, that's his choice; our choice should be to get on with the business of reducing our footprint on the planet. If we don't, there won't be any economy to worry about.
But this idiotic notion that our Environment Minister is spewing in Bali that we can't do anything without the United Stated signing on is vile sputum. Why the government is tying its fortunes to the policies of an increasingly irresponsible and reprehensible fool with delusions of demagoguery is unfathomable to me. It didn't work so well for John Howard or Tony Blair. Why does Harper think it will work for him?
Of course, it would be best for the United States and other major polluters to be on side. But we can't wait for these pig-heaed obstructionists to get their way. The latest estimates are that summer polar sea ice will completely melt in five years and new estimates of sea-level rise are two to three times what they used to be. We don't have a lot of time.
The irony is of course that America will have to transition to a green economy too -- they won't have a choice if they wish to stay competitive in the future global reality.
Canada used to have its own voice in the international arena. It grieves and saddens me that we are now perceived as Bush's boot lickers.

Another Warm Year

According to this BBC report, 2007 is the seventh-warmest year on record, and the second-warmest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere.
The eleven warmest years ever have all occurred within the last thirteen years.

The Top Ten:
1998 - 0.52C (above the 1961-1990 average)
2005 - 0.48C
2003 - 0.46C
2002 - 0.46C
2004 - 0.43C
2006 - 0.42C
2007 (provisional) - 0.41C
2001 - 0.40C
1997 - 0.36C
1995 - 0.28C

This Was Pretty Clear

but the current meeting in Bali has shown just how complicit our current PM is in the battle to encourage global warming.
Representative Henry Waxman has chaired a committee that's just released their report. From the intro:
"This report presents the findings of the Committee’s investigation. The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming."

The EU is pretty pissed at the heel-dragging going on in North America. So is Al Gore:
"Gore said the U.S. is "principally responsible" for the stalemate at the Bali talks over emission controls. He also heaped scorn on the idea that the world can only have an effective climate treaty if the U.S. signs on — the exact position articulated by Canada"(from The Guardian Online). John Baird, our environment minister, is also taking some heat in Bali. Not just Canada:
"There is a wrecking crew here in Bali led by the Bush administration and its minions," [Jennifer Morgan of the Climate Action Network ] told CBC News. "Those minions continue to be the governments of Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and others." (cbc.ca)
But yes, we're a "minion" now. But why? Well, look at Harper's home riding, and where the Reform Party started and drew so much of it's strength--Amerikan owned and operated Alberta. From the CBC:
"Canada is already the top exporter of oil to the American market, exporting the equivalent of one million barrels a day — the exact amount that the oilsands industry in Alberta currently produces."
Considering that there isn't really much other oil left in Alberta--according to this report (pdf) from the Alberta government there is only about 1.6 billion barrels of conventional oil left in the province, but 173.7 billion in the oil sands--is it any wonder that the Alberta government is doing anything possible to speed production in the tarsands? It's not doing the rest of us any good though--all that production is headed to the US (and under NAFTA, that's pretty much a guarantee for life). Oil production from the sands costs about $36/barrel and is currently fetching close to $100 per, leaving a daily net profit of some 50+ million dollars each and every day of the year. That kind of money makes people insane. And pays for more lobbying than all the environmental groups in the world can afford.
But the real costs are much higher. The oilsands use enough natural gas to heat 300,000 homes to free the bitumen trapped in the sand and clay. And while it may be better than coal, burning natural gas releases plenty of CO2 --as much or more CO2 is released in Fort MacMurray as is released by all the cars in Canada, making it the biggest source of new greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
That million barrels a day in conventional oil is then shipped south of the border to be burned--releasing the rest of the sequestered CO2. And production is slated to ramp up five-fold--to five million barrels a day. This really is nuts--but 250 million dollars per day in profits means that the Harper government will do nothing to stop this. in fact, this government will go out of its way to help--like gutting their own legislation to ensure it won't impact the sands.
There's a lot more at the CBC alone--none of this is being hidden. Just not discussed openly by our ruling "elite" (one of whom is answering questions today about the three one hundred thousand dollar cash payments he took from Karlheinz Schrieber).

What I Believe

Well, not me, you understand. But current GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney does. This little video explores the Mormon faith.

Humans are still evolving - and it's happening faster than ever

According to the Guardian:
"Humans are evolving more quickly than at any time in history, researchers say. In the past 5,000 years, humans have evolved up to 100 times more quickly than any time since the split with the ancestors of modern chimpanzees 6m years ago, a team from the University of Wisconsin found."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Surf Moose Jaw

Props to Louise for sending this one along....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The The Impotence of Proofreading

A Good Canadian Girl, Eh?

Check out Naomi Klein (the good Klein, not that Ralph one...) being interviewed by Keith Olberman on Countdown. Yeah, you could call a "corporate takeover with guns" "looting".

Amerika Flies Against the Rotation of the Earth

...in order to turn back time (thanks, Superman!).
As this post from GottaLaff points out, Amerika is headed backwards in time as fast as possible. Pre-Enlightenment if possible.
A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.
You know, unity in the face of lunacy just might work....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Robert Dziekanski: Shock Treatment

So the RCMP have killed another person for no good reason (and so soon after Ian Bush) and are using an "investigation" to avoid having to charge their own officers with manslaughter or worse.
But why was Robert Dziekanski even in Canada? Well, the other Naomi, Naomi Klein, helps with a little background.


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Nothing new here

You know that those profiting from the destruction of the planet are not goin gto go gently into that good night. Here's one more example from last night's CNN/Youtube Republican debate.


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Tired of me saying this yet?

We need to pay attention to Naomi Wolf. Amy Goodman interviewed her yesterday on Democracy Now. You can read the rush transcript or download the segment or whole show.



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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So much food...

...just walking around undigested. Check out the latest MRSA strain that's being contracted by people outside of hospital. And a new superbug causing cystitis. So much food....


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Oooooo.....

Check out this Australian greenhouse calculator. Answer the questions as honestly as you can, and check out the final step. I can't imagine anyone else putting this final step into a greenhouse calculator--it's truly astonishing!


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Beds Are Burning

John Howard's right-wing Bush-supporting government has apparently gone down quite decisively in the recent federal election in Australia. Howard himself faces defeat in his own riding.
Part of the reason for the defeat appears to be the Howard government's continued denial of the science behind global climate change. The citizens, facing unprecedented drought and bush-fires, seemed to consider the science differently, electing a party who have said they will immediately sign on to the Kyoto Protocol and will also begin pulling Australian soldiers out of Iraq.
Other good news? Former Midnight Oil front man Peter Garrett was elected. You can read more about the election here.

Update: Garrett has been Labour's Shadow Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Heritage, and the Arts. It is widely expected that he will be the new Minister for the Environment in the Rudd government.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

How it's done pt. 1

This quick 55 seconds out of Australia should be required viewing in media literacy classes.



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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Can't say it enough

...you really HAVE to read Naomi Wolf. This interview with her is scary in the extreme. And don't think for one second that this couldn't happen here. We have a ruling elite that wants it to happen here. It's that simple.


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There's a lot of things we have to change

...and this is just one of them. WARNING-- the footage is NOT for the faint of heart or for anyone who cares how their food is treated. Undercover footage from a Butterball slaughterhouse, and footage from a generic slaughterhouse. There has got to be a better way.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Asper Nation

The Tyee is publishing excerpts from an important new book by Marc Edge called Asper Nation: Canada's Most Dangerous Media Company. If you hadn't noticed that CanWest Global is actually functioning like Fox does in the U.S., maybe it's time to put down the remote and have a read.


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Monday, November 05, 2007

We'll Keep Trying Until We Get It Right part II

The following is a partial list of U.S. military interventions from 1890 to 2003 compiled by Zoltan Grossman. Things like the DEA overflights of southern BC are not counted. Those of us outside of Amerika remember that Iraq is not unique--it's just part of the same old same old of the Amerikan Empire.

Zoltan Grossman is an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire (Box 4004, Eau Claire, WI 54701 USA). His peace writings can be seen at http://www.uwec.edu/grossmzc/peace.html


Zoltan Grossman's 'A Century of American Military Interventions from Wounded Knee to Afghanistan'


South Dacota, 1890-?

Troops: 300 Lakota Indians massacred at Wounded Knee


Argentina, 1890

Troops: Buenos Aires interests protected


Chile, 1891

Troops: Marines clash with nationalist rebels


Haiti, 1891

Troops: Black workers' revolt on US-claimed Navassa Island defeated


Idaho, 1892

Troops: Army supresses silver miners' strike


Hawaii, 1893-?

Naval, troops: Independent kingdom overthrown, annexed


Chicago, 1894

Troops: breaking of rail strike, 34 killed


Nicaragua, 1894

Troops: Month-long occupation of Bluesfields


China, 1894-5

Naval, troops: Marines land in Sino-Japanese War


Korea, 1894-6

Troops: Marines kept in Seoul during war


Panama, 1895

Troops, naval: Marines land in Colombian province


Nicaragua, 1896

Troops: Marines land in port of Corinto


China, 1898-1900

Troops: Boxer Rebellion fought by foreign armies


Phillipines, 1898-1910(-?)

Naval, troops: Siezed from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos


Cuba, 1898-1902(-?)

Naval, troops: Siezed from Spain, still hold navy base

Puerto Rico, 1898-?

Naval, troops: Siezed from Spain, occupation continues


Guam, 1898-?

Naval, troops: Siezed from Spain, still used as base


Minnesota, 1898-?

Troops: Army battlers Chippewa at Leech Lake


Nicaragua, 1898

Troops: Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur


Samoa, 1899-?

Troops: Battle over succession to throne


Nicaragua, 1899

Troops: Marines land at port of Bluefields


Idaho, 1899-1901

Troops: Army occupies Couer d'Alene mining region


Oklahoma, 1901

Troops: Army battles Creek Indian revolt


Panama, 1901-14

Naval, troops: Broke off from Colombia 1903, annexed Canal Zone 1914-1999


Honduras, 1903

Troops: Marines intervene in revolution


Dominican Republic, 1903-04

Troops: US interests protected in Revolution


Korea, 1904-05

Troops: Marines land in Russo-Japanese War


Cuba, 1906-09

Troops: marines land in democratic election


Nicaragua, 1907

Troops: 'Dollar Diplomacy' protectorate set up


Honduras, 1907

Troops: Marines land during war with Nicaragua



Panama, 1908

Troops: Marines intervene in election contest


Nicaragua, 1910

Troops: Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto


Honduras, 1911

Troops: US interests protected in civil war


China, 1911-41

Naval, troops: Continuous occupation with flare-ups


Cuba, 1912

Troops: US interests protected in Havana


Panama, 1912

Troops: Marines land during heated election


Honduras, 1912

Troops: Marines protect US economic interests


Nicaragua, 1912-33

Troops, bombing: 20-year occupation , fought with guerrillas


Mexico, 1913

Naval: Americans evacuated during revolution


Dominican Republic, 1914

Naval: Fight with rebels over Santo Domingo


Colorado, 1914

Troops: Breaking of miners' strike by Army


Mexico, 1914-18

Naval, troops: Series of interventions against nationalists


Haiti, 1914-34

Troops, bombing: 19-year occupation after revolts


Dominican Republic, 1916-24

Troops: 8-year marine occupation


Cuba, 1917-33

Troops: Military occupation, economic protectorate



World War I, 1917-1918

Naval, troops: Ships sunk, fought Germany


Russia, 1918-22

Naval, troops: five landings to fight Bolsheviks


Panama, 1918-20

Troops: 'Police duty' during unrest after elections


Yugoslavia, 1919

Troops: Marines intervene for Italy against Serbs in Dalmatia


Honduras, 1919

Troops: Marines land during election campaign


Guatemala, 1920

Troops: 2-week intervention against unionists


West Virginia, 1920-21

Troops, bombing: Army intervenes against mineworkers


Turkey, 1922

Troops: fought nationalists in Smyrna (Izmir)


China, 1922-7

Naval, troops: Deployment during nationalist revolt


Honduras, 1924-5

Troops: Landed twice during election strife


Panama, 1925

Troops: Marines supress general strike


China, 1927-34

Troops: Marines stationed throughout the country


El Salvador, 1932

Naval: Warships sent during Faribundo Marti revolt


Washington, DC, 1932

Troops: Army stops WWI vet bonus protest


World War II, 1941-5

Naval, troops, bombing, nuclear: Fought Axis for 3 years; first nuclear war



Detroit, 1943

Troops: Army puts down Black rebellion


Iran, 1946

Nuclear threat: Soviet troops told to leave north (Iranian Azerbaijan)


Yugoslavia, 1946

Naval: Response to shooting-down of US plane


Uruguay, 1947

Nuclear threat: Bombers deployed as a show of strength


Greece, 1947-9

Command operation: US directs extreme right in civil war


China, 1948-9

Troops: Marines evacuate Americans before Communist victory


Germany, 1948

Nuclear threat: Nuclear-capable bombers guard Berlin airlift


Phillipines, 1948-54

Command operation: CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion


Puerto Rico, 1950

Command operation: Indepentence rebellion crushed in Ponce


Korea, 1950-53

Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats: US and South Korea fight China and North Korea to stalemate; A-bomb threat in 1950, and vs. China in 1953. Still have bases


Iran, 1953

Command operation: CIA overthrows democracy, installs Shah


Vietnam, 1954

Nuclear threat: Bombs offered to French to use against siege


Guatemala, 1954

Command operation, bombing, nuclear threat: CIA directs exile invasion after new government nationalizes US company lands; bombers based in Nicaragua


Egypt, 1956

Nuclear threat, troops: Soviets told to keep out of Suez crisis; Marines evacuate foreigners


Lebanon, 1958

Troops, naval: marine occupation against rebels

Iraq, 1958

Nuclear threat: Iraq warned against invading Kuwait


China, 1958

Nuclear threat: China told not to move on Taiwan isles


Panama, 1958

troops: Flag protests erupt into confrontation


Vietnam, 1960-75

Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats: Fought South Vietnam revolt and North Vietnam; 1-2 million killed in longest US war; atomic bomb threats in 1968 and 1969


Cuba, 1961

Command operation: CIA-directed exile invasion fails


Germany, 1961

Nuclear threat: Alert during Berlin Wall crisis


Cuba, 1962

Nuclear threat: Naval blockade during missile crisis; near-war with USSR


Laos, 1962

Command operation: Military build-up during guerrilla war


Panama, 1964

Troops: Panamanians shot for urging canal's return


Indonesia, 1965

Command operation: Million killed in CIA-assisted army coup


Dominican Republic, 1965-6

Troops, bombing: Marines land during election campaign


Guatemala, 1966-7

Command operation: Green Berets intervene against rebels


Detroit 1967

Troops: Army battles Blacks, 43 killed


United States 1968

Troops: After King is shot; over 21,000 soldiers in cities


Cambodia, 1969-75

Bombing, troops, naval: Up to 2 million killed in decade of bombing, starvation, and political chaos


Oman, 1970

Command operation: US directs Iranian marine invasion


Laos, 1971-3

Command operation, bombing: US directs South Vietnamese invasion, 'carpet-bombs' countryside


South Dakota 1973

Command operation: Army directs Wounded Knee siege of Lakotas


Middle East, 1973

Nuclear threat: World-wide alert during Middle East War


Chile, 1973

Command operation: CIA-backed coup ousts elected Marxist president


Cambodia, 1975

Troops, bombing, gas: Captured ship, 28 die in helicopter crash


Angola, 1976-92

Command operation: CIA assists South African-backed rebels


Iran, 1980

Troops, nuclear threat, aborted bombing: Raid to rescue Embassy hostages; 8 troops die in helicopter-plane crash. Soviets warned not to get involved in revolution


Libya, 1981

naval jets: Two Libyan jets shot down in manoeuvers


El Salvador, 1981-92

Command operation, troops: Advisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war, soldiers briefly involved in hostage clash


Nicaragua, 1981-90

Command operation, naval: CIA directs exile (Contra) invasions, plants harbour mines against revolution


Lebanon, 1982-4

Naval, bombing, troops: Marines expel PLO and back Phalangists, Navy bombs and shells Muslim and Syrian positions


Hondura, 1983-9

Troops: Manoeuvres help build bases near borders


Grenada, 1983-4

Troops, bombing: Invasion four years after revolution


Iran, 1984

Jets: Two Iranian jets shot down over Persian Gulf


Libya, 1986

Bombing, naval: Air strikes to topple nationalist government


Bolivia, 1986

Troops: Army assists raids on cocaine region


Iran, 1987-8

Naval, bombing: US intervenes on side of Iraq during war


Libya, 1989

Naval jets: Two Libyan jets shot down


Virgin Islands, 1989

Troops: St. Croix Black unrest after storm


Phillipines, 1989

Jets: Air cover provided for government against coup


Panama, 1989-90

Troops, bombing: Nationalist government ousted by 27,000 soldiers, leaders arrested, 2000+ killed


Liberia, 1990

Troops: Foreigners evacuated during civil war


Saudi Arabia. 1990-1

Troops, jets: Iraq countered after invading Kuwait; 540,000 troops also stationed in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel


Iraq, 1990-?

Bombing, troops, naval: Blockade of Iraqi and Jordanian ports, air strikes; 200,000+ killed in invasion of Iraq and Kuwait; no-fly zone over Kurdish north, shiite south, large-scale destruction of Iraqi military


Kuwait, 1991

Naval, bombing, troops: Kuwait royal family returned to throne


Los Angeles, 1992

Troops: Army, Marines deployed against anti-police uprising


Somalia, 1992-4

Troops, naval, bombing: US-led United Nations occupation during civil war; raids against one Mogadishu faction


Yugoslavia, 1992-4

naval: NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro


Bosnia, 1993-5

Jets, bombing: No-fly zone patrolled in civil war; downed jets, bombed Serbs


Haiti, 1994-6

Troops, naval: Blockade against military government, troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup


Croatia, 1995

Bombing: Krajina Serb airfields attacked before Croatian offensive


Zaire (Congo), 1996-7

troops: Marines at Rwandan Hutu refugee camps, in area where Congo revolution begins


Liberia, 1997

Troops: Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners


Sudan, 1998

Missiles: Attack on pharmaceutical pland alleged to be 'terrorist' nerve gas plant


Afghanistan, 1998

Milliles: Attack on former CIA training camps used by Islamic fundamentalist groups alleged to have attacked embassies


Iraq, 1998-?

Bombing, missiles: Four days of intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions


Yugoslavia, 1999-?

Bombing, missiles: heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo


Yemen, 2000

Naval: Suicide attack on the USS Cole


Macedonia, 2001

Troops: NATO troops shift and partially disarm Albanian rebels


United States, 2001

Jets, naval: Response to hijacking attacks


Afghanistan, 2001

Massive us mobilization to attack Taliban, bin Laden. War could expand to Iraq, Sudan, and beyond.



Source: http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Interventions.htm



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Left Behind? Apparently Not...

Is there nothing old that cannot be made "new" again? Or rather, any bullshit that can't be used to fleece the sheep one more time? If you've ever wondered who Tim LaHaye was before he authored the Left Behind series, this article from Katherine Yurica (excerpted from her book The New Messiahs) might help.

Katherine Yurica is a news intelligence analyst. She was educated at East
Los Angeles College, the University of Southern California and
the USC school of law. She worked as a consultant for Los Angeles
County and as a news correspondent for Christianity Today
plus as a freelance investigative reporter. She
is the author of
Bloodguilty Churches and The Despoiling
of America as well as the unpublished book,
The New Messiahs,
which is presently represented by her literary agent, Ken Sherman
(of Ken Sherman Associates). Katherine is also the publisher
of the
Yurica Report.



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Monday, October 15, 2007

We'll Keep Trying Until We Get It Right

This came my way courtesy of the print version of Curious Times...
William Blum notes in his book Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II that the United States has bombed 23 nations since the end of WWII. The countries bombed include China (1945-6), Korea (1950-3), Vietnam (1961-73), Libya (1983), Panama (1989) and Iraq (1990-present).
Of the 23 countries bombed by the US during this time, exactly zero have formed democratic governments as a result of the bombings.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mirror, Mirror....

According to this CNN report, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is quoted as saying, "In any country, if you don't have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development."
She added, "I think there is too much concentration of power in the Kremlin. I have told the Russians that. Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary. There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media and there are, I think, questions about the strength of the Duma (the Russian parliament)."
Has she looked in a mirror lately?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Are you f**king kidding me?

Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood reports--in an article titled Warner's Robinov Bitchslaps Film Women; Gloria Allred Calls For Warner's Boycott-- that after the underperforming of two female-lead films this summer (Jodie Foster in The Brave One and Nicole Kidman in The Invasion) "Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree
that "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead"."
I can't help but notice that films with men in the lead are still going to get greenlighted--and the past summer has seen its share of truly awful films with male leads. This isn't about films, this is clearly about something else. A new climate in Amerika apparently, where racism, and misogyny are back in play.



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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Is it over?

Or can Amerika be saved from itself? Naomi Wolf is scared blind, and so should be anyone with half a brain. But then, considering the assault on American social and political intelligence since the Sixties put The Fear into the Ruling Class, I don't hold out any hope at all. The goal now is to stop it all from pouring over the border at the hands of Amerikan puppets like Stephen Harper. South of the border, the majority are as likely as the Germans to simply welcome the sounds of breaking glass and jackboots. It's the sound of order, of stability. The creative anarchy that is democracy will simply be swept away under the rising chant of "Amerika über alles!" Around the world, we will all be expected to salute. I expect to use my middle finger.


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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

If Iran isn't nervous...

...well, they should be. Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to Defence Secretary Robert Gates, said this past week (to a group of British MPs) "In any case, I hate all Iranians." The MPs were, after the meeting, of the opinion that "some in America are looking for an excuse to attack Iran. It was very alarming."

Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to Defence Secretary Robert Gates

The Pentagon denied the statements by Ms Cagan, claiming "She doesn't speak that way." Three MPs at the session confirmed the remarks.

You can read the Daily Mail article here.



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Well, I'm impressed

An articulate and intelligent interview with Naomi Klein about her new book The Shock Doctrine conducted by John Cusak. Yes, that John Cusak.


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Monday, October 01, 2007

How will global climate change affect me?

Well, Alternet carries this article about the top 100 ways climate change will affect us. Not the most comfortable of reading.


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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why I don't hate Americans

...even though I am dead opposed to Amerikan Empire, Amerikan exceptionalism. It's because of people like this, publications like Mother Jones magazine, and Bob Dylan. People are just people. Often a majority of them are amazingly stupid and hate-filled, but when they're good, they're very very good. It's mostly when they're thick that they're horrid. But when the lunatics (the hate-filled right-wingers, the anti-democracy politicians and those who own them, the religious nutbars, the fascist wealthy, etc. etc.) take over the playhouse (as they did very quickly in Amerika, running the show for more than a century now) that things become rage-inducing. But the population, well, they're just like the rest of us; one minute they've picked up torches and headed up the road to burn a witch, the next they're donating time, energy, and money to rebuild someplace they'd never heard of five minutes earlier. We're a weird species, but somehow, in the depths of all this cynicism, I still find hope (yeah, I'm talking to you, Naomi Klein, Gwynne Dyer, and Wal-Mart Watch).


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The Net is SO over...

Seriously, how long did you think that unmediated communication would last? This quote from the International Herald Tribune:

"PARIS:
In the name of counterterrorism, Western countries are moving to erect
online security borders with aggressive proposals to block Web sites
and to unleash Trojan e-mails containing spyware that would monitor
jihadists.


Critics warn that the security measures could lead to censorship and
privacy invasion, but governments are pressing for legislation aimed at
thwarting attacks and walling off Web sites that espouse illegal
activities or are "likely to have the effect of facilitating" crime."

You can read the rest here.



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Saturday, September 29, 2007

By The Numbers

Last year, according to this USA Today story, Gen. John Abizaid, then commander of military forces in the region, estimated the Sunni insurgency to be 10,000 to 20,000 fighters. He said the Shiite militia members were in the "low thousands."
Interestingly, there are 25,000 detainees in US military custody in Iraq and the US esitmates that 19,000 militants have been killed in fighting with coalition forces.
In other words, the US has killed or captured at least twice the number of people that it estimates are fighting against US forces.

Must be seen...

...to be believed. The Lego Bible. Yeah, pretty much as insane as you think. Of particular interest is the section "The Law" which tells you when to stone your children, your whole family, and when to marry your sister-in-law.


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In case you thought I was kidding...

...about slavery being back on the table for discussion in the US, check out this piece of writing from Michael Medved. Thankfully, there is a rebuttal by Jillian posted to Alternet.


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Friday, September 28, 2007

Don't argue. The Corporation knows what's good for you

As this article in the NY Times explains, Verizon refused NARAL access to its short code texing service. This would have allowed people to sign up for the receipt of text messages from NARAL (the National Abortion Rights Action League). Verizon claims the denial was based on;

"[An] "internal policy” that “was designed to ward against communications such as anonymous hate messaging and adult materials sent to children.” The policy, Mr. Nelson said, had been developed “before text messaging protections such as spam filters adequately protected customers from unwanted messages.”

Let's be clear. Once again, this was a service that people had to request. Verizon has now changed the policy in regards to NARAL, and claims to have instituted a new policy, but refuses to make that new policy public. But it also needs to be noted that "[T]he company did not retreat from its position that it is entitled to decide what messages to transmit."

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blackwater

...usually refers to sewage, which is about right. Steve Benen provides an entry point into the whole Blackwater mess in Iraq. Check out also the Washington Post story about the divisions that Blackwater is generating between the State Department and the Pentagon.
The deeper issue, that the US government has now got a private army that is unaccountable to Congress or the Senate (note that the State Department has asserted that information possessed by Blackwater (including the terms of their contract) belongs to the State Department and cannot be disclosed to anyone) isn't discussed. The only thing discussed is how to recover from this "black eye" that Blackwater has given the US forces in Iraq by shooting two dozen unarmed civilians, killing 11. As Naomi Wolf pointed out both in her book The End of America and on The Colbert Report the other evening, this is one of the ten historic signals that a country has descended into fascism. Wolf seems to think that the collapse of Amerika can be reversed. The rest of us under the boot of the Amerikan empire certainly hope so--as our business and political elites have bound us to tightly to the Empire.

Update: As reported on Yahoo News, "Blackwater has argued in court that it is immune to [...] a lawsuit
because the company operates as an extension of the military and cannot
be responsible for deaths in a war zone." Clearly, Blackwater believes it is a private military force above any oversight by anyone except it's own CEO. No laws restricting it, no rules it must follow.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Everything's Going Good in Iraf


Just a thought

Maybe James Lovelock is right with his Gaia theory. This story on the BBC website points out that these guys,


(image from the BBC website)

Salmonella typhimurium, when flown on the space shuttle in weightless conditions, become three times more virulent, and change the way they express 167 genes.

"Wherever humans go, microbes go; you can't sterilise
humans. Wherever we go, under the oceans or orbiting the Earth, the
microbes go with us, and it's important that we understand... how
they're going to change," Cheryl Nickerson, from the Center for
Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at Arizona State University, US,
told the Associated Press.

Now this is wild-ass baseless speculation, but maybe Gaia doesn't want this plague of humans spreading through space. Maybe this is one more step in containing the cancer. I realize that I'm just poking at a bruise here, but maybe all that great SF taking place in human colonies on other planets, on generation craft, and the like, maybe the planet, maybe the universe, aren't all that interested in letting us out. This is, after all, just one of the many many microbes we carry around with us. If we hit space and they all start going bugfuck on us, well, then maybe the enviro's are correct. Maybe we have to deal with our life here at home, 'cause Earth might be the only planet we get. Just a thought....



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Monday, September 24, 2007

Finally Revealed: Why the US Invaded Iraq

Finally, someone's come up with the answer, with that someone being Gwynne Dyer:

"I have written tens of thousands of words on the Bush
administration's motives for invading Iraq, but in the end I do not know
why they did it. I suspect that they don't, either. It just seemed like a
neat idea at the time."

What means this "rich"?

An income of at least $89,000 was needed to be in the top five per cent of earners in 2004, Statistics Canada said Monday.



This "five per cent club" earned 25 per cent of the income Canadians
declared in 2004 — up from 21 per cent in 1992. They paid 36 per cent
of the personal taxes collected in 2004.



The country's 1.2 million high-income earners — those among the top
five per cent — were predominantly male (75 per cent), aged 45 to 64
(54 per cent) and married (78 per cent), Statistics Canada said.

That's what rich is--the consumption of an inordinate share of the available resources. 89K means you are in teh top 5% of income earners--and that means you consume 25% of the available pie.

But in Amerika it's different:

In the U.S., an income of at least $165,000 was the requirement to join the "five per cent club."



Statistics Canada said the income differences between the two
countries became even bigger farther up the income distribution ladder.



In Canada, the top .01 per cent of income earners made at least $2.8
million, while in the U.S., you couldn't join that super-elite club
unless you had an income of at least $9.4 million.

Keeping in mind the differences between the two countries, of course.....




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I pretty much knew this

as do many of the people living in Oilberta. But even so, the extent and intensity of the impact the tar sands have on the world environment is huge.


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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hillary Compares Cheney to Vader

Two nights ago while speaking at a fund-raiser, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton compared "Vice President" Dick Cheney to well-known movie villain Darth Vader.
Clinton said, "Vice President Cheney came up to see the Republicans yesterday. You can always tell when the Republicans are getting restless, because the Vice President’s motorcade pulls into the Capitol, and Darth Vader emerges."
Cheney is not reported to be upset at the comparison. In fact, he's made it himself, once telling CNN in 2006, "I suppose people sometimes look at my demeanor and say, well, he's the Darth Vader of the administration."
However according to B. Oba Fett, a Lucasfilm representatives, The Dark Lord of the Sith was not amused. "Mr. Vader is very upset at this comparison. While Mr. Vader, like Mr. Cheney, has endorsed the use of invasion and torture in the service of an evil and tyrannical Emperor, Mr. Vader feels that his actions were due to a bad childhood, separation anxiety and a life spent suffering from various physical disabilities, whereas Mr. Cheney, who has had a life of riches and privilege, is just a fat and greedy bastard who is giving the Dark Side of the Force a bad name."

Cognitive Dissonance

Okay, first head off to see this video clip from Current TV. It's funny, snide, and quick. Oh, and in the intro, see if you can catch what is on the Office Assistant panel that pops up on the CRT.

Alright, you're back? Good. Now, that the clip really shows off the two Amerikas isn't so suprising or shocking. It just is what it is. What slays me is when Sherri Shepard is asked what she will tell her child when asked if the world is flat. ~"That will mean a trip to the library,"~ she says.
Let's just think about that for a minute; the assumption that very smart people have put the knowledge she might need in books, that's automatic, she doesn't have to think about that. When you need to know something, the information is there. But at the same time, she's quite willing to reject out of hand anything she reads in a book (written by those very smart people who have put the knowledge into the book just for her). The facts may contradict recieved knowledge. Knowledge may contradict superstition. But comfort is more important than reality.
Cognitive dissonace, my friends. Cognitive dissonance.


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

midwestteensexshow

Seriously. midwestteensexshow is a terrific flash-powered site that had us laughing. Should be compulsory in schools--but it's probably better if kids find it for themselves, and it spreads virally. Check it out.

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