World Social Forum 2009

  6:27 am

“From January 27th to February 1st 2009, the city of Belem will host the World Social Forum. During six days, the city assumes the position of being the center of planetary citizenship and a global reference for those who don’t agree with inequality, injustice, intolerance, environment destruction and prejudice.”

Sounds a lot like a giant planetary council meeting! Should be interesting.


Nuclear power and the economic collapse

  9:36 am

One critical consideration in the debate as to whether nuclear power can be safely considered as a climate friendly alternative to fossil fuels is whether or not our civilization will remain intact long enough to manage the radioactive waste and other threats.

Recently, a sudden downturn of the economy was so severe that even ‘free-market’ ‘thinkers’ joined the call for unprecedented massive bailouts to prevent global collapse. Obama will be calling for further bailouts, and really there is no guarantee that these measures will stabilize the situation.

If the economic system implodes and society begins to unravel, who will manage the radioactive threat these power plants pose? This type of question reveals the arrogance of nuclear proponents, who believe that our young and extremely experimental civilization is dependable in the long run. Even a relatively short lived failure of our ability to maintain solvency could result is severe environmental disasters.

For this and the usual laundry list of reasons, nuclear power remains a very dangerous idea, despite global warming. Public education and regulation towards energy conservation should be strongly encouraged by policy makers.


War is Terrorism

  7:49 pm

Warning trapped civilians that the war against them is going to be escalated is by definition terrorism. This is basically what the Israeli military has just done, dropping leaflets into Gaza warning of an escalation - “brace yourselves - stay away from Hamas and do what we say". The goal is to break their tie to Hamas, their elected representation. Using violence against civilians to terrify them into behaving this way or that way is very close to the clinical definition of terrorism.

Humans are so prone to group identification and tell all sorts of stories to justify their group’s need for violence against the other. They are terrorists, but our state sponsored violence is ice cream.

Let’s make it simple. Stop killing people.


All’s well that ends well

  6:51 pm

Well, Bush has successfully destroyed his repugnant party, as well as the military ’strength’ and readiness of the United States, the economy, and on and on. At least that is the illusion of the moment. Of course the elephant party will rebuild and return, just as so many old Nixon era cronies returned to poison boy Bush’s reign. There has been far too much accumulation of wealth and power over these record breaking exxon profit years to assume that a simple election can sweep that machinery under the rug. As for the bewildered boy wonder, you can pity him or not, but really the pity should be for his victims, which to some extent includes us all and of course the helpless unborn he would so dearly have liked to have protected.

Anyway, let’s see if the Obama hope balloon can fly. For now, perhaps I’ll relax and enjoy some potentially delusional positive thinking that change really might be possible despite some rather obvious policy contradictions and enormous economic handicaps which the dems now inherit. Perhaps a much needed spine could be found on that inheritance list. Anyway, now is the time to celebrate and set aside the cynicism. We can always deal with reality later.


Election Song! Get Out The Vote!

  8:31 am

From a Saturday night party around the world in Beijing, a group of ex pats chime in on the election, with a rousing version of “Get out the Vote".

Features banjo, mandolin, guitar, and everybody singing. A few simple tweaks in the post production and it sounds compelling. Get out there and vote!

Short and sweet at 1:19, an easy download for high speed connections at 1.85mBytes.

Get out the vote mp3

Lyrics etcs

Pass it along! Get out the Vote!


God’s Plan - Song for the Market Crash

  7:00 am

Here’s a song fresh off the press by Oakland based band llamachew which ties it all together. God, war, the economic collapse, and the worker on main street who can’t manage to pay all those bills. Starts with a Sarah Palin quote about how the war is God’s Plan!

llamachew God’s Plan webpage with lyrics

Download/Listen here

Download highest quality for broadcast (.wav - 43 megabytes)


More of the McSame?

  6:46 pm

No, a Presidential McPain would be different, and in the event his temper flares, potentially much worse. We’ve had it very bad, the empire is flailing at the moment, but they didn’t use the bunker busters against Iran. In other words there are worse states of hell for those foolish enough to pursue them.

And in the event McCain’t is incapacitated by disease, he leaves ‘ready, willing, and able’ Pain to replace him, to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all. She is a frightening pit bull with lipstick in part due to her “God’s Plan” fundamentalism, which always seems to leave out the ‘thou shalt not kill’ part and embrace nationalistic militarism. An ideology of ‘end times’ and the suitcase shouldn’t be in the same room. Well neither should a torture survivor with an anger management problem.


Greed Stampede

  5:54 am

To be brief:

Money is among other things, a form of power and a means to keep track of distributions of power.

Congress is preparing to promise to give away control over an enormous amount of money, hence power, in this moment of financial terror.

The value of money is not based on gold or silver anymore, but rather upon a widespread agreement or shared understanding that it has some value. In other words, there is a ’social contract’ of sorts that we will share power, resources, etc. based on the distribution of money. Our understanding of the value of money is like a language that we all speak.

Despite the tremendous inequality that this system of wealth maintains (and even exacerbates around the world), people generally accept this situation unquestionably and don’t perceive it to be unfair, despite the violent historical processes out of which the current distribution of wealth emerged (slavery, war, land theft, colonialization, etc).

This agreement isn’t working out very well at the moment. All the major investors are now fully alert to the possibility that all their assets will dramatically lose value. Soon the run on the imaginary money in the empty banks will begin in earnest, i.e., the greed stampede. In this extreme case, it can become apparent that money is basically a collectively maintained belief, a shared language of sorts. When the fear becomes strong enough, and everyone grabs for the pot simultaneously, this economic language fails and money has no value at all.

At that point we will experience financial anarchy, and a tremendous power vacuum will emerge, which would likely be quickly filled with some authoritarian military presence, martial law, etc. Perhaps some new form of temporary currency will be issued within nation states to coordinate production and distribution during the crisis, these could be called ‘coupons’ or ’stamps’ or whatever.

An interesting side point is that despite the crisis of a capital meltdown, the global infrastructure, material resources, and labor required to create all the things that people actually need and use remains intact. Perhaps that reminder isn’t very helpful. Even a perfectly functioning body can’t do any work when the mind goes into a coma. Would be nice to keep the heart beat and other vital functions working though.


Fear and the blank check

  6:43 am

Private presentations by the Fed are terrifying congressional leaders, motivating a decision to commit some $700 Billion dollars to prop up failing financial institutions.

Their financial records are not transparent to the government, and it seems the banks themselves have no way to know with any certainty the extent of their own predicament. Perhaps the books have been overcooked so long as to be completely illegible.

Sadly, this is bailout request is reminiscent of the ‘blank check’ Bush was given by Congress to pursue the disastrous Iraq war. The cost of that war now includes an estimated 1 million murdered Iraqi people, 5 million displaced Iraqi people, over 4000 murdered and killed U.S. troops, an estimated financial cost of 3 trillion dollars, and many other costs which include a dramatic loss of U.S. credibility in the region. Bush’s ’smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud’ was in fact a dramatic propaganda ploy for which we will all be paying a hefty price for years to come.

Now the alarming news is that these secretive and under-regulated institutions have brought the entire U.S. economy, and potentially the global economy, to the brink of a cataclysmic breakdown. Despite the cruel inequalites and unjust priorities of our globalized economic system, certainly a meltdown of this order would result in untold hardships for countless people around the world, a severe punishment not limited to McCain’s “greedy” Wall Street investors.

The lost elephant in the room here is the question of trust. Just as the government of the United States deceived its own people to begin an unjustifiable war, these crumbling financial giants have hidden their unsound practices from external regulation and apparently even from themselves. Congress now proposes to solve the problem with a staggering commitment of $700 Billion dollars. If this problem is really just about bad housing loans, $700 Billion would be enough to directly enable every endangered homeowner become solvent enough to complete their mortgages, and that aspect of preserving bank solvency could be addressed. But of course the problem goes way beyond unrecoverable home loans, it’s just that the visibility and certainty of missed monthly mortgage payments has drawn attention to this corrupt house of cards and broken mirrors like a gust of cold wind, shaking the imaginary foundation.

This financial implosion can be likened to the collapse of the twin towers, with the momentum of the falling floors from above slamming through the ones below, ultimately bringing down the entire structure. The top floors of the economy have already begun to fall, and Congress is scrambling to stop the cascade, throwing billions upon billions of devalued dollars into the wreckage.

This is an historical moment where the ‘free’ market neo-liberal economic model has utterly failed. Without enormous government intervention, this economic system is broken, and therefore this is a critical turning point. When one model falls, others can and will emerge to replace it. Ideally the new economic model would be chosen carefully and democratically. More likely, in panic, both the democrats and republicans will capitulate to the demands of the power, writing yet another blank check for which future generations will be responsible for, while gaining little in the deal except perhaps breathing room to ascertain the extent of the damage before the next floor falls.


Perot on McCain as “Opportunist”

  2:17 pm

“After he came home, he walked with a limp, she [Carol McCain] walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona [Cindy McCain, his current wife] and the rest is history.” Ross Perot


McCaint’s VP choice

  6:33 am

McCain’t picks a younger woman - again!


As predicted by Psychic Al Gore

  9:14 am

Will Global Warming drown us all in our own ignorance, reckless overconsumption and greed?

Sort of like a slow mo detonation of all that freeze dried nuclear nation state domination psychology.


a crack in the ice

  5:18 pm

thank god


Anti-War Songs

  6:54 am

Some interesting new anti-war songs from Oakland based rock band llamachew:

Nation at War (2:47)

You Bet Your Life (3:01)

Listen/Download here:

You Don’t Win A Mistake

  6:51 am

So the Repugnants are rhetorically accusing the Dems of not having a “plan for victory".

They pointedlessly ask in TV panel discussions “Do you want the United States to win?”

What the $&^! do they think this is - Monday Night Football?

This $*&%^$&# war is a mistake of unprecidented proportions. There is no winning a mistake. Best hope is to ‘fix it’ somehow. Do whatever can be done to protect the civilians living there. The mentality of ‘winning’ reflects the delusional cruelty of the warmakers. We don’t have good stats, but it looks like at least 100,000 dead, a country in civil war, millions of Iraqi civilians caught in an ongoing crossfire.

Problem is, to fix it, you need some legitimacy, which the U.S. occupying army, despite the best efforts of many trusting soldiers, sorely lacks.
Why? Several serious incidents eroded any hope of trust amoung the Iraqi people, including the rape and murder of a 14 year old girl by a group of U.S. soldiers, the Abu Ghraib torture and abuse, the endless harassment and violence at checkpoints, the ongoing miscalculations and accidents where civilians are shot, bombed, etc.

The United States doesn’t have the necessary legitimacy to fix this mess. The Iraq war, an experiment in the doctrine of pre-emptive war, is a tragic mistake, and the United States lacks the ability or wisdom to fix it. Everyday the war continues, more mistakes are made, and more Iraqi civilians are hurt. The troops are under severe stress, with a large percentage suffering from psychological effects of war. So let’s abandon the talk about winning a mistake and own up to what an awful mess has been created.

And as doctor Phil says, you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.

Election Time Again

  6:21 am

Amidst major collapses of the cornerstone of the Repugnantican empire, Americans are once again called upon to steer the course.

Unhappy Haggard suddenly goes down in flames scorching the already demoralized Christian right wing, Sadam is convicted of War Crimes, George Bush hasn’t even been put on trial yet, and the nuclear weapons remain safe in their silos for the time being. Global warming has progressed from a suspicious theory to an irreversable trend.

So feeling very empowered we all check off our electronic boxes and trust that good things will follow. May the best humanity win.


Safe, Safer, Not Entirely Safe

  7:59 am

From AP: “I think it’s clear that we are safe — safer — but not really yet safe,” Rice said.

Perhaps the internal coordination of counter-terrorism intelligence has been improved, and we should take their word for it, for FEMA’s prompt and well coordinated response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the extent of this type of progress.

However, the perceived (and real) collapse of U.S. military ethics has dramatically undermined the security of US citizens at home and abroad. Remember, U.S. soldiers are implicated in rape, murder, humiliation, and torture. Furthermore, the U.S. government supported Israels bombardment and invasion of Lebanon, and thus is seen as sharing responsibilty for the resulting death of hundreds of civilians. This support include providing cluster munitions and vetoing UN motions to call for an immediate cease-fire.

The ability of the United States to detect and counter the efforts of terrorist cells may well have improved, but unfortunately, the aggressive military campaigns have made new enemies, as the popular bumper sticker proclaims, “faster than we can kill them".


Goodbye cruel world

  7:48 pm

Sorry folks,

the mad rush to self-destruction is in full swing.

According to Wikipedia, the sixth commandment is as follows:

“Thou shalt not murder”
Killing an innocent human being is a capital sin.

What is the point in having a democracy when counting the votes is abandoned because it is inconvenient and time consuming?
What is the point in having a religous state if the violence of state policy sharply contradicts the foundations of the religion itself?

The fact is that greed and power have eroded all this away.

Perhaps the dangerous bait of civilian lives dangling in the balance is being used here to try to draw Syria or Iran into all this, as an excuse for a much broader war is sought. Then all the ugliness that we have been saving up for so many years could be revealed. What might appear to be an excercise in power by these military madmen is in fact an expression of supreme powerlessness - the inability to avoid becoming indistinguishable from one’s own worst enemy.

Peace begins with respect for the lives of others. On all sides. For example, even in the midst of this sickening horror, one could try to find something commendable even in one’s enemies: “those awful killers love their own people so much that they are willing to throw away their own sense of what is morally right or wrong to do what they imagine will protect them. Of course it is a dillusional state, but look at the courage and dedication to their friends". Is this ridiculous? Probably. I’m trying to find the bright side here, but really I fear that very little has been learned over the years. Where is the sense of principle that could prevent a world war? Is fear and the desire for self preservation the only ally of peace? I’m afraid that will not be enough.

Nationalism is based on a false identification, which of course needs defending precisely because it is false. Without tension it would dissolve. This false identity and resulting polarization is threatening the survival of our world. Sounds like an overly dramatic comic book story, but isn’t it true?


All options for global suicide on the table

  6:12 am

When asked in the press conference to rule out a nuclear strike on Iran, Bush dodged a direct answer to the question, refusing to rule out any options, probably hoping to further pressure Iran to give up any nuclear ambitions and cooperate.

The only possible value in nuclear weapons in as a threat, since their horrific use is by any sane standard absurd. However, as the boy who cried Wolfowitz in Iraq knows, sooner or later a threat loses its impact if it is not used, and herein lies the real danger of this type of sloppy communication.

These cute vague references to a nuclear first strike are essentially weakening the prohibition of their use.

Again, another tragic mistake by the failing administation. Could the threat help in the short run? Maybe. But in the long run, it is suicidal.

And this isn’t the first time these vague threats of nuclear attack were imployed. Before the Iraq war, there were indirect threats to respond to the imagined chemical or biological threat with a nuclear attack.

The democracy supposedly based on checks and balances is constantly bouncing checks.


SF demonstration for peace

  3:16 pm

SF demo
march 18, 2006
10,000 demonstrate in San Fransisco to commemorate 3 years of the Iraq war.

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