Oh, and there’s an eclipse of the full moon tonight.
I take these as good omens.
Oh, and there’s an eclipse of the full moon tonight.
I take these as good omens.
Is everyone still basking in the glow of last weekend’s Climate March in New York? (provided you were able to find any coverage of the 400,000 person march in the news of course.)
Well, 350.org along with something calling itself “The Climate Group” which bills itself as a non-profit made up of governments and 80 of the world’s largest corporations, were the primary organizers behind last weekend’s feel good display.
I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of hard to reconcile actual climate activism and even the existence of a “movement” when your main event is put on by the like this rogues gallery:
Arup, Austin Energy, Baker & McKenzie, Barclays Bank, Better Place, Bloomberg, BP, Broad Air Conditioning, British Sky Broadcasting, British Telecommunications, Cadbury, Catalyst Paper, Cathay Pacific Airways, CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc., China Mobile, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light Group, Google, HDR, HSBC, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan Chase, Lenovo Group, Greater London Authority, Man Group, Marks & Spencer, Munich Re, MWH, Nestle Waters North America, News Corporation, Nike, PepsiCo, Pratt Industries, Standard Chartered Bank, Starbucks, Suntech, Swire Pacific, Swire Properties, Swiss Re, Target, Tesco, Timberland, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin
#RalphNader has been talking about the need for a Left-Right alliance. Our new doc #PUMPTheMovie is getting great reviews from the likes of Hannity AND HuffPo. Sounds like we can all agree that we need to break the oil monopoly with choice.
Robert Fisk is probably the very best journalistic source for real information in the Middle East. He lives in Lebanon and he’s been “on the ground” reporting throughout the Middle East for decades. His book “The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East ” is required reading for anyone trying to understand the political and historical situation.
ISIS is a serious change in the situation. Their immediate goal looks to be the total destruction of the borders of the Middle East in effect since the Sykes–Picot Agreement, and they are accomplishing that goal. It seems clear that they are not at all what they appear to be. Their military successes in Iraq against the Iraqi military are not surprising necessarily, though their victories against the Kurdish peshmerga are startling. While we’ve all been watching the genocidal actions of the Israeli military in Gaza, new ISIS members from the former al-Nusra group in Syria have ramped up their fight and crossed into Lebanon. ISIS’ leader, this former US prisoner and reported “street thug” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has formed a so-called Islamic State(IS) that is in control of areas spanning from Arsal in Lebanon to at least Mosul in Kurdish held Iraq. It hardly seems possible that this al-Baghdadi could pull this off without serious support from somewhere, but from where.
Iran is certainly not helping this mostly Sunni movement especially given how much damage ISIS has done to the Shia Crescent, effectively cutting it in half . Right now there seems to be two theories and a few other possible scenarios. Of course, everybody’s first choice for puppet master is Saudi Arabia. The monarchy there has been funneling money and support to Wahhabist and Salafist groups for decades and they would love to see Iran’s power decimated throughout the Middle East. They may or may not be working with others of the Gulf Emirates, but if this is the case what is their ultimate goal? Once this Islamic State gets settled, it will likely end up being a dire threat to those corrupt old monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia with the two most holy sites in Islam within its borders.
The second scenario is already a favorite with the conspiracy theory prone “Arab Street”; it holds that Israel is somehow guiding ISIS, apparently in order to set up a boogeyman that the IDF can then dispatch with superior weapons, maybe even including nuclear, and thus create a vast buffer zone for Israel—or something. I don’t really see the upside for Israel in creating this monster. It seems to me that ISIS taking over Lebanon on their border and eyeballing Jordan is their worst nightmare. It’s worth noting that Palestinians are predominantly Sunni. As are the Arab Brotherhood in Egypt who so recently suffered major set backs thanks to current president and new recipient of million in military aid from the US, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. ISIS is very bad news for just about every current regime in the Middle East if they actually prevail.
Other theories range from ISIS being supported by Russia or China or a combination of Russia and China in a bid to destabilize what’s left of our American empire by exacerbating our oil dependance problem. Time will tell.
One thing is definitely for certain and strangely enough it comes to us from an Israeli military historian. Martin van Creveld writing back in 2005 in the Jewish daily Forward had this to say about President George W. Bush’s war with Iraq in 2003:
"For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president’s men. If convicted, they’ll have plenty of time to mull over their sins."
Tomorrow is election day here in California. I’m betting a lot of you have forgotten this if you ever knew it to begin with. Normally I do a long post about what’s on the ballot and how I’m planning to vote, etc. I’m not going to get into that much detail tonight. But I will tell you how to have a little fun tomorrow should you be one of the something like 15% of the population that will actually turnout to decide who will be receiving public money to make and enforce laws backed up by supposedly legitimate coercive force on our behalf.
It’s no secret that I’ve become disillusioned with our democracy in the last few years. It’s hard not to when you consider that many of our governmental policies are actually completely counter to polls of actual people. For instance, over 70% of Americans were and are in favor of single payer healthcare that would effectively eviscerate private, for profit health insurance models. Instead, we got the Affordable Care Act(known as “Obama Care” by “low information voters”, or as I call them—the stupid) which was actually written by the health insurance lobby. Or, take a look at the fact that we are now going to be in Afghanistan until 2016, but I digress.
I am still going to go and vote tomorrow for a couple of reasons. One, as I mentioned above so few people actually bother to vote during a mid-term primary that those who do have an outsized effect. Two, I want to cause serious trouble. That’s right. Strategic voting or even disruptive voting is what I will be doing tomorrow morning on my way to work.
Most of my friends know that I am an agnostic, meaning I don’t know if there is some God or gods or a computer simulation running the whole universe. I also do not KNOW that there is no God. Further, I seriously doubt that anyone else knows either. However, there is one thing on God’s(strike that) Green Earth that really does give me pause regarding this spiritual question. Irony. Sometimes an irony will crop up that is just too rich for there not to have been some devious comedian behind the curtain somewhere. There are usually several of these ironies that crop up in any given year. Now bear with me a little longer here, I don’t wonder into this religion area just so I can mix it with politics and irritate low information voters.
The latest of these little ironies comes in the form of the name of one of the candidates running for the Republican nomination to head the top of the ticket as governor. I say little because as these things go, it’s kind of cute but not really Earth shaking. One of the two candidates likely to be the Republican nom for gov is Neel Kashkari. Mr. Kashkari was actually an investment banker for Goldman Sachs. I know, right. Kash Kari and he’s a banker. Cute. This is the same Neel Kashkari who was appointed by one frightening, six foot-five, bald homunculus of pure greed, Hank Paulson, to oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program(TARP) which was one of the teats provided by the Bush Administration to help keep the bankers afloat back during the collapse of 2008. Couldn’t let them suffer after nearly destroying the global economy, now could we. He’s an investment banker who oversaw a fund to give free money to banks. His name is Kashkari for fuck sake. Talk about a tin ear. Like I said, cute but maybe the atheists are right after all.
If you are still reading, you may be wondering what I meant by disruptive voting. Well, here it is. The other guy running for the Republican nomination for Governor to the great state of California is an Assemblyman from Twin Peaks(!), California named Tim Donnelly. Never mind that he is apparently from a fictional town in a half forgotten television drama, he it the Tea Party darling and he’s got the moderates(can we just do away with this fucking term please and replace it with corporatist already?) like Kashkari freaked out. They’re not freaked out that he’s from the Tea Party faction of the party though. They’re freaked out big time because this guy started the fucking Minutemen here in California!(I’m usually loath to employ an exclamation point, but I think that one was warranted.) The Fucking Minutemen!(Okay, maybe that one wasn’t.) See if you think about it, this guy getting the nomination to be at the head of the Republican ticket as the GOP’s candidate for Governor here in California would be like the party throwing a deep vein thrombosis while driving a Wall•Mart truck cross-country thereby jackknifing off the I-5 into that cattle feedlot above Kettleman City in August just after they started fracking on the shoulder of the highway using the last of the water in the Delta.
Here’s the situation. The Republican Party here in CA has just posted their lowest ever registration numbers in this state’s history. They are somewhere around 28% of registered voters. And only about 50% of the eligible voters in this state are even registered at all!(So yeah, that’s 14%. Exclaimation definitely warranted.) So there’s no way either of these geeks is going to beat Jerry Brown. With this in mind, tomorrow I’M VOTING FOR TIM DONNELLY. No, not because I’m some kind of racist who hates immigrants from Latin America and dreams of walking up and down the border of California fondling my gun while draped in some species of inappropriate camouflage for the desert. I’M VOTING FOR TIM DONNELLY because I love causing chaos in the ranks. Just for a moment imagine Donnelly gets the nomination. The guy who founded the fucking MINUTEMEN here in California?!(Probably unsupportable grammatically, but fuck-it, oh—and not the band either—they were great. I’m talking about the xenophobic, militia-style group of clowns peopled by jacked-up, wannabe gyrenes with type-2 diabetes and/or no chin whatsoever.) Can you even imagine the hue and cry that would erupt by November? Just imagine the endless hours of entertainment that could be derived from and otherwise unbearably dull mid-term election cycle. The outrage. The indignation. It would be phenomenal. And here’s the really insidious, strategic part; sure Democrats have much higher registration numbers then the GOP but they usually fail to vote during mid-terms. Now I think it’s because they are just too busy trying to get by to be bothered with a non-Presidential election, but let’s face it, the only people who vote are seniors, right-wing fanatics and religious zealots, so yeah—The Tea Party. Oh, and anarchists like me. But seriously, what could possibly be a better Get Out The Vote strategy for Democrats then having Tim Donnelly, the founder of the Minutemen here in California, at the top of the ticket for the Republicans? What would the Latino turnout be like if he were the face of the California Republican Party? Just spitballing here, but it’s possible that Republican House members in Congress from here in California could actually lose their seats as a result of this perfect storm in the making.
So join me and VOTE TIM DONNELLY for GOVERNOR at your polling place.
Over 30% of the worlds song birds migrate to and from the boreal forest of Canada where huge swaths are completely leveled so giant machines can can dig down to bedrock and scoop up the sand which contains the rock hard bitumen tar. The sand is then heated using fracked natural gas plants so the tar will ooze out. In order to facilitate this process huge quantities of water and proprietary chemicals are added to the sand and tar mixture to separate out the bitumen and make it into a liquid slurry.
It is this incredibly toxic and even radioactive slurry that is to be put into the Keystone XL pipeline and pumped two-thirds of the depth of the North American continent over rivers, farmlands and the Ogallala Aquifer down to tank farms in Oklahoma and then on to refineries along the Gulf Coast. A little known fact is that the tank farms, pipeline infrastructure, refineries and about 1/2 of the produced oil(bitumen) all belong to Koch industries. This oil will then be refined into Diesel fuel. It cannot be refined into anything else. This diesel fuel is slated to be shipped to South America, Asia and Europe provided the Obama Administration is able to get the EU to relax its global warming standards and allow the importation of the product of world’s dirtiest oil.
The Koch’s stand to make upwards of $100 billion on this deal. They’ve already spent over $140 million lobbying(READ: corrupting) our corrupt government and President.
Here’s more on the politics and corruption behind this whole thing.
Yeah, sure seems like there’s no net effect on the environment.
|—||I’m reading Eric Schlosser’s new book Command and Control about our nuclear strategy and weapons during the cold war. The book is very enlightening and I am increasingly stunned that we have made it to this point without an accidental nuclear detonation. One of the interesting revelations is the degree to which the US government and military is willing to lie directly to its citizens. It has been taken as a matter of course since the beginning of the so called national security state after WWII. The above quote is from a RAND report that underpins the policy of every administration including the current one since 1956. The report was concerned with the safety of nuclear weapons, or the lack there of, and what to do if one should accidentally go off. Still trust your government?|
Let’s consider our role as consumers vis-à-vis a our role as citizens for a moment. Suppose there is an item you want and you tend to purchase this class of item at least once a month. Further, suppose there are five places to purchase this item. There are three “brick and mortar” establishments at varying distances all within five miles of your house. There is one “brick and mortar” establishment 20 miles from your house and there is one website.
In order to level the playing field for the website, we’ll assume you don’t need the item immediately.
As a CONSUMER you are taught that the only thing that matters is the price. Using this math, you would naturally shop at the “Big Box” or the website. If you and all of you neighbors behave in this manner, your local shops will go out of business, people you know in our community will go bankrupt and become unemployed, money will be siphoned out of your local economy increasing poverty and capital will be consolidated in ever fewer hands, your governments will be corrupted and hard won reforms and progress will be turned back.
As a CITIZEN… what should you do?