Saturday, December 30, 2006
NewsTrust is a citizen news service that helps people find good journalism online. This next-generation social network features some of the best news and opinions from hundreds of trusted online sources. NewsTrust members rate news stories based on journalistic quality, not just popularity.
It's a great way to get "news you can trust" all in one place. NewsTrust offers a fine selection of quality journalism on their free web site, which is now open to the public:
NewsTrust encourages both media literacy and civic engagement. NewsTrust review tools guide members through careful news evaluations, based on key journalistic principles such as fairness, balance, evidence, context and importance. Independent research studies show that citizen reviewers using these review tools can evaluate news quality reliably - and as effectively as experienced journalists.
NewsTrust publishes a quality ratings database for hundreds of mainstream and alternative news sources, to help the public identify trustworthy publications. This valuable online knowledge base about the news media was created to help citizens make more informed decisions about our democracy.
NewsTrust is non-profit, non-partisan and member-driven. NewsTrust's Executive Director, Fabrice Florin, is a former journalist and a digital media pioneer at Apple and Macromedia. The NewsTrust team includes award-winning journalist and media executive Rory O'Connor and former Lucasfilm project manager David Fox, who bring extensive track records in content and technology development. NewsTrust advisors include Dan Gillmor, Howard Rheingold and other digital media innovators from organizations like Google, Poynter Institute and the University of California
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
Typically, there have been log-in problems here just when I haven't been checking all the posts. It seems my account details changed with an upgrade to the new blogger interface which means the settings at other services like YouTube had to be manually updated.
Sadly, this also meant tht all my pre-cashmas extras didn't make it here. The above was sent as one of many tests and is the first to work. Happy holidays!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Some of you may not be seeing the OpEd listings here at the moment. The source site is currently moving to a new server and the change can take a while to filter through the increasingly complex network we call the web. It should reappear within a couple of days at the most.
Some other technical news ...
You may have noticed a slowdown on this blog and some changes to the other links.
First off is the new "Vod-Pod". This provides me with an extremely fasy way to publish eTV streams from a vast array of sources very quickly and in one place. Some highlights will still appear here, but the "pod" gives you a wider selection and allows for capturing more than can easily be embedded here.
The comment I used to publish here is now by and large in the link left to "Bloglines", with a vast array of uncommented daily links in "Hotlinks". The latter is also sent out as a daily headlines email, so let me know if you want to be on the list. Deloivered every morning courtesy of Furl.
Bloglines works using RSS feeds rather than normal webpages. This makes scanning items extremely fast. My blog also contains a vast selection of RSS links which, unlike those here, can be viewed as listings before you pursue the actual posts.
There are also new links for "Diggs" and "Tags". The former contains major items that are voted on by the network to increase exposure for less-than-obvious news, etcetera. The latter contains more permanent links via "delicious" and is a copy of my public bookmarks. As with "Blogmarks" this provides a very sppedy Web2 experience, especially when using the superb new Firefox browser on virtually any platform.
The "blogroll" is now filling up rapidly. This too is the result of automation which allows me to tag recommended blogs without coming here to modify the list. If youy want to submit a blog, please mail me a link at firstname.lastname@example.org rather than the usual address.
Last but not least, all links here now have a pop-up preview feature which allows you to see the destination without actually clicking on it. A time-saving feature if you are curious but want to avoid clicking away from this site.
So, until the next ...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Like cool man!
Heck - any excuse to run some awards for the modern consumer. The prizes were announced in Amsterdam last weekend.
Judging from remarks in his Webcameron blog (link in bloglines left), the Tory leader may have noticed potential in this booming industry. Nuff said.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
In her departing days, a Congresswoman has actually managed to file articles of impeachment against the Ape Emporer. Whether this will be pusued when the newly-elected congress takes over shortly remains to be seen, but it's a start!
In the UK, those worried about the surveillance stae might care to check out The Big Opt-Out here.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Last months report by Sir Nicholas Stern was the wake-up call both the government and industry needed with regard to the mechanics and implications of climate change. One would have thought the media coverage and the compelling nightmarish revelations would have been more evident in The Gorgon's budget proposals, but no such luck. As a result, in an ultimate snub, Stern has today announced he's quitting his job.
Talking of reports, across the Atlantic we have the Iraq Study Group proclaiming the reality of disaster. Whilst encouraging that incoming defense secretary Gates has effectively admitted Amerika is losing the battle, one sees little chance of any real shift whilst the Imperial Ape remains enthroned. Baker and many other so-called thinkers of a new approach all have vested interests in oil and associated companies - their less-publicised suggestions for the accelerated privatisation of Iraq's energy industry is actually an enhanced imperial agenda by way of corporate proxies. Given that this is the core source of resentment over Amerikan meddling in the Middle East, its continued promotion will probably just lead to more defeat for and agression against the occupying forces.
Others, in Iraq itself, have suggested that withdrawing troops from the country will actually better empower the local government to sort out the mess. The reason? Without the presence of imperial troops, Al Qaeda fighters will have no purpose in participating and fermenting the "insurgency". Their departure to other battlefields would thus offer Iraq itself a far better chance of bringing its civil war and partisan conflicts under control. Were Amerikan/Israeli corporate interests to maintain a presence, no doubt accompanied by "private" armies for protection, Al Qaeda and its ilk would still have very good reason to stay the course.
The Preacher himself took out a further overdraft on his carbon credits by jetting himself over to partake in the Baker report ceremonies. Whatver happened behind the scenes, the big press conference was a gloomy affairs indeed, brightened only by the BBC's political editor getting a chance to take Bush to task personally. The spectacle was largely one of two fading players intent on going down fighting. The difference is legacy - Blair desparately wants one whilst Bush couldn't give a shit" In the latter case, money in the bank is all and even that is held in non-dollar currency.
Much is now made of the need to help Palestine avoid obliteration from its Zionist occupiers but neither Bush or Blair have the wherewithall or reputation do do anything about the situation. One hint of change did come from the aforemention incoming Gates who effectively conceded that Amerika acknowledged Israel as a nuclear power. No real revelation in itself, the telling part is in Amerika's previous denial of that status - not to mention Israel's own! Acknowledgement will now make it diplomatically very difficult for Amerika to veto any action the UN authorise to remedy the illegality of such atomic development.
This is especially to the point if the international community wish to censure Iran, North Korea and others for developing a nuclear facility. Sadly, one leads by example and both Blair and Bush seem intent on opposing the non-proliferation treaties for their own purposes. Hardly the way to endear themselves to others for whom their decrees reek of hypocrisy.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
Memories really are not made of this - but it is kinda fun. Given the state of Britain under the Blair Regime (more-or-less and continuation of Thatcherism taken to extremes) the Iron Bitch sometimes doesn't seem so bad anyone. But I guess that's memory playing tricks!
A rather odd piece in the morning mail here.
China is a rapidly growing economy and is one of the world's worst polluters - indeed, their pollution grows in line with their economic growth. Yet, proportionate to its industrial base, green and clean projects are also booming. As part of the international community, they also have a stash of these new-fangled commodities known as "carbon credits", which, simply put, are the currency they are allowed to spend on continued pollution.
This report indicates the Western banks are buying up these credits for cash in order to sell them at a profit to client countries and businesses in the richer parts of the world. This sounds like a back-handed way for the huge multinationals to continue their rape and pillage of the planet to the detriment of pooper nations.
The greater issue of concern in this case however must be China itself. If any nation needs a good stash of these credits in hand, they probably come out pretty much on top of the list. At least, certainly until their rapid development stabilises enough for ecological concerns to take priority. The acquistion of their "credits" as a fiscal-driven ploy by outside interests is surely depriving China itself of this much-needed currency. If so, they may end up having to abdicate from the carbon-trading system itself. Then we have a situation where all these purchased credits have no value in themselves and simply act as an excuse for corporate short-term greed to continue its pursuit of planetary destruction.
Food for thought I think.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
This movie covers old territoty, but so what? It never hurts to revisit the reality of 911.
The reason I found this clip was very odd. Over at YouTube I have a load of music subscriptions besides the obvious political ones. This piece got delivered to my box marked "Quicksilver Messenger Service" (a great old rock band under normal circumstances) with the subtitle claiming it was an anti-establishment song. So while I approve of spreading the word on these things, my initial reaction was one of annoyance - I'd been defrauded in following the link!
I'll stay neutral on this for now, but I suspect that pure music fans downloading this to watch may have been less than pleased about the time-wasting. Their resentment would in many ways lead them to dismiss what is actually important information - thus making the whole subterfuge pointless. But hell, I'm an old acolyte of what Richard Neville originally described as "Playpower" and maybe this is it's electronic spirit living on.
A short video interview with a feminist blogger in Iran.
Last night I also attended an evening of illuminating talks at Imperial College here in London and organised by the NO2ID campaign. UK readers should check out the link regularly for latest news and events. More in Bloglines (left) too.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I don't know who this is, but he has a nice take on addiction recovery. His challenge? Giving up Amerika!
We've sadly lost Alan Freeman, the DJ also known as "Fluff". An essential accompaniment to the soundtrack of my youth, he later went a bit metal for my taste. Still, he will be much missed and I'm astonished he was actually 79 years old - he felt a lot younger. The carnival is over, pop-pickers.
For all the latest links, see "Bloglines" and "Latest Clicks" at left.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Here's one for British readers who will know doubt be familiar with "Frank", the Blair regime's anti-drug propaganda machine.
"Frank" recently launched a TV campaihn against Cannabis and featuring someone visiting a "Brain Warehouse" to replace his pot-addled one. This spoof revisits the warehouse and looks at all sorts of other things the government would do to our brains. Better still, the actors will seem familiar. Nice one.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
A rather funny video here from YouTube where a couple take the metaphor and make it reality. Risque, but harmless.
The re-org is still in progress here, just as the Imperial Homeland appears to close down for a few days holiday. News is quieter, but plenty of clicks in my bloglines link left.
The ape emporer started the proceedings by granting a "pardon" to two real-life turkeys. The animal kind - I kid you not! Exactly what they had done to be exempted from execution was unclear - but they're being sent to Disneyland instead. Poor animals - to escape death and then be condemned to a life sentence in voyeurism's fantasyland.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Recent reports have been suggesting that Tasers are just as lethal as guns in certain circumstances. We can be fortunate that as yet the UK police don't carry them around out of habit.
In Amerika under the Bush Regime, people aren't so lucky. This is what happened to an innocent student in his campus library. The affair, now caught on video and publicised, is of course being "investigated" - as if that will deter the authoritarian robo-cops enforcing the whims of the dictator's nightmare doctrine. Talk about a culture of fear!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
An archive clip to occupy you while I'm doing some re-organising. From the days of the "Beats". Jack Kerouac interviewed by Steve Allen who also accompanies him on piano for a poetry reading.
For latest links and comments see Bloglines at left.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Well, Bush has scarpered off to Vietman in an effort to make sure they don't do any against Amerikan interests. Tellingly, the White House posted his agenda with the flags of the nations we was scheduled to visit but obviously haven't woken up to the end of the vietman War. Thet thus delivered an unbelievavle insult by posting the old South Vietman flag which is pretty much tabboo in that country today. The would-be ape emporer also found time to natter with Putin in a Russian airport en route - presumably for a pep talk on what to expect from the old enemy.
Bush must be downright jealous of Blair right now - having a monarch to deliver one's words for the masses does a great deal to distract the audience. Royalists have every reason to be distraught - her majesty's mouth is not a fitting plave for Blair's ejaculate, even if it is the result of a final thrust for legacy. Just as the Bush Regime seems to have been put on a severe leash, the Prime Preacher's equilivent continues undeterred in its quest to compromise our long tradition of democracy, freedom of speech and social conscience. Almost all today's proposed legislation is conerned with drastic law and order measures which, as usual, have not been properly thought out or considered in the long term light.
Blair also also two other farewell projects to work on - who knows what debacles he'll make of them. Despite calling for Iran and Syria to help him out over the Iraq mess, he has clearly come up with nothing to address the root cause of the Islamist movement - namely the illegal occupation of Palestine. Today's video above, manages to deliver a fairly explicit description of what's going on in a clear enough way for anyone to understand. No co-incidence then that Israel's Olmert went running over to Amerika to make sure Bush wasn't about to do anything decent in the wake of his election defeat. Let';s hope the democrats manage to clean up the Israeli lobby at the same time as they try to purge the corporate ones. I won't put any bets on it, but unless Amerika starts to support UN resolutions on all international illegalities, their other foreign policy modifications will not be taken seriously on the global stage.
So, as Britain takes another "out-of-step" step toward totalitarianism and corporate governance in seeming contradiction of Blair's fanciful environmental aims, here in London I will sleep less well.
For everything else, check out the Bloglines link at left.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Inevitable I guess - yet more fun and games to celebrate the election changes in Amerika. This clip is a roundup of all the best comedy sketches.
In the UK, Sir Elton John has today called for the banning of all religion. He claims it leads to hatred of gays. I would argue that most doctine promotes "absolutism" and by extension a hatred of anything or anyone that does not conform to that particular subscription.
Interesting that Elton has spoken on what is known as Rememberance Sunday. I have no objection to honouring fallen soldiers, whether indeed they were forced to fight in either a just or an unjust war. What stinks is the religious imperative that pervades the whole proceedings, thus rendering it offensive to anyone who does not subscribe the retarded mythology under which the proceedings are conducted.
At least yesterday's brief Armistice Day silence for the most part refrained from undue pomp and circumstance. Today has simply become propaganda for the official state religion.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Here's another short clip about the enduring mysteries surrounding the events of 911.
Clearly America's new government will be able to do a lot to keep the executive ape in check, but with a lot of the new democrats swinging towards the right an emphasis is being placed on partisan co-operation. They have already compromised by agreeing not to pursue any impeachment proceedings against the would-be emporer himself (not that this is going to stop the various campaigns), so any kind of renewed oversight investigations into the events of 911 seem somewhat unlikely too.
No doubt the history books will one day reveal all, but suspicions of a "false flag" operation are bound to persist in the interim. It will be a shame if a re-focused American government, however the laudible their attempts to find solutions and new strategies for the problems we now face, choose to do so without addressing the truths of recent history wherein causes and possible crimes relating to those same problems seem to lie. A change in the fortunes and reputation of America will take some time - a policy of wiping out corruption and other crimes needs to come fast and a commitment to honesty and full investigation of the failed neo-con agenda would go a long way to repairing the damge sooner rather than later.
Transparency of governence and a less self-centred, less arrogant approach to the rest of the world, would also help counter the rising tide of both anti-American and anti-Western movements. A willingness to deal with Iran and Syria, instead of dictating to them, will be a fine start. Longer term though, the change must be a philosophical one and transcends the current imperative to simply clean up the mess they've made.
From Pot TV (now synched via YouTube) here is Marc Emery looking at the marijuana initiative results in the US elections. Pot law reform didn't fare that well except for local law changes in some areas. Fortunately, the right to abortion and the implementation of a minimum wage fared rather better.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
For the second day running the morning has brought cause for optimism. Today it's the news that the Democrats have taken the Senate without the need for a recount. Now the rabid ape is restrained by two leashes. Can we sacrifice the Dick today too?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Breaking news - Rumsfeld is out as Bush tries to approach the Democrats with his tail between his legs. The main victors will be invited for lunch at the White House it seems.
I went to bed last night as reports were pouring in about all sorts of dirty tricks and faulty ballots in the great amerikan election machine. Yet, the obsticles aside, I woke up to news that the Democrats has still managed to take the House with almost double the 15 seats they were chasing. A sign maybe that the tide is turning as the homeland despairs of its incompetent emporer. We still await a recount to see if his Senate control falls too.
The elections involved more than the two principal houses of government. Local governors changed and so did some legislation on the ballot. It was a night for women too - the House now has its first ever woman speaker, Hillary Clinton swept New York, anti-abortion legislation failed to pass and the Democrats probably owe much of their success to the mobilisation of previously uninterested single female voters.
How much the testosterone-fuelled ape is tempered by all the changes remains to be seen. Just because they've put a condom on him, the rape and pillage he practices on the international stage could be just as painful for the next 2 years as it is now. Still, it's an agenda dictated by ignorance, arrogance and greed - something a newly invigorated government might have it within its power to curtail. The harder part will be to repeal the draconian legislation and appointments already in place. That will take time, but at least the prospect of John Bolton continuing at the UN will almost certainly be an early welcome casualty of the change.
Another welcome sight is the fragmentation of the religious power-base. The indications are that corruption in both government and the churches are what stirred the voters most - foeign policy, the war in Iraq and the failing economy actually played a lesser part in people's decisions. Elections are all-too-often a reflection of the sheer self-interest of modern-day western voters and less to do with conscience, idealogy or concern for the future. Yet last night it was that same self-interest of the Bush Regime and its cronies that got called into question and ended up hi-jacked by its own promotion of the same fallacy.
For five years we've been peddled a culture of fear. If the next two can halt the slide toward totalitarianism so much the better. But the real test will be the mood went Amerika next elects its executive branch - the future needs not only a change of the presidency, but also a change of the entire mindset that goes with it.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
I can't wait for this US election be be over. Take this clip - a democrat and a republican squabbling with each other, getting louder and louder until it's near impossible to hear either message as they talk over each other. Even the interviewer sounds exasperated - just listen to her voice.
Cheney will be taking election day off for his first hunting trip since shooting a colleague in the face. Maybe Bush could join him for an encore.
In the UK, it looks like Blair has finally lost his "gift of the gab". In a press conference today he was asked about the Saddam hanging sentence and managed to say he was against death sentences but at the same time pleased with the verdict. Good to see the Preacher Prime finally get his knickers in a complete twist in public.
In Canada, a poll shows that over 70% of the p[opulation want marijuana legalised. The figure rises to an astonishing 93% with regard to medical use. It runs somewhat in the face of current British and Anerikan attempts to re-demonise the herb in pursuit of their authoritarian agendas.
Also in Amerika, today we hear the republicans have been spending a fortune using robot telephony to cold-call voters throughout the continent. Using a fake pretext of opinion-polling, they have been using psy-ops to implant a "vote republican" imperative in the minds of the receivers.
Nothing will surprise me as the voting gets underway for real.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I've spent the week online at the Internet Governance Forum in Athens and even found one of my questions put to the security panel. I've also been trying to get to grips with some of the detail in Monday's Stern Report. As a result there hasn't been time to update this blog, although there are plenty of items in the Bloglines and Latest Clicks sections - see links at left.
There is also another slight problem recently - the updates to this blogspot are not being published immediately anymore. Other users of Blogger have reported similar problems. The lack of immediacy rather conflicts with the concept of instant publishing but maybe more disturbing is the feeling that somebody or something is screening posts prior to putting them online. On the other hand, Blogger is owned by Google - who do no evil, right? Let's hope it's just a temporary technical glitch.
With luck, normal service from this writer's point of view will now be resumed. So ...
Monday, October 30, 2006
Today sees the start of a five-day Internet Governance Forum in Athens. It is as discussion and advisory conference focusing on the public stakeholding of the web and unaligned to political or corporate pusuits. Tune in live at the above link.
As I write, the sessions have started with a look at the role of women using the web around the world.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
No doubt most of you have seen Al Gore's movie, but here's another feature on the future. The programme is aimed at an Amerkian audience but can equally be applied here in Britain and elsewhere. In particular it looks at how the rise of suburbia has created a culture that in almost every way is at war with the very planet we live on.
This is very much a continuation of what I wrote below, but it also supports my contention that we must return to de-centralised and self-sustaining communities if the waste inherant in ytansport and marketing infrastructure is to be adequately addressed.
Last Thursday I attended the annual Earthwatch debate here in London. Although a great number of the attendees were scientists, the onus was on ways in which we can all change our lifestyles before life on this planet vecomes doomed. I was astonished just how many academic theorists were not actually paying too much attention to their own behaviour, whilst commendably promoting alteratives in their professional doctrine. The buzz behind the scenes was a mixture of fear and exitement - largely due to an impending report by Sir Nicholas Stern which will be published tomorrow.
It will make unpleasant and somewhat urgent reading for the government and its conclusions affect all of us. Indeed, climate change and global warming may have been on the popular agenda for a while now, but we knew about it back in the late 1960s and, as usual, sucessive governments took no heed as they kept us seduced by a consumer economy. Today's papers have revealed some of what we might expect tomorrow - warming us up, no doubt, for what to all extents and purposes will be a declaration of a "State of Emergency". In Britain, but worldwide too.
Sad to say, some of the solutions will be ripe for inclusion in the Blair Party's authoritarian dream. I actually remember early cricicisms of the "green" movement for its alleged "totalitarian" policies. Certainly, saving the planet always involved some harsh measures and legislation for a collective lifestyle change would have been part of the scenario. The new reality is that such legislation will now have to be even more drastic as we catch up with the failure of recent decades.
Like the proposed abuse of ID cards and the attempted establishment of a surveillance state, we must oppose any moves that adversly affect our human freedoms, opinions and self-determination. On the other hand, we must not be so obsessed with the fundamentals that we inadvertently hinder restrictions on social freedom and environmental abuse that are now needed. It is said that no law is worth its salt unless it is to protect indivuduals from endangerment and exploitation by others. By extension, if our living space, in this case Planet Earth, is being endangered and exploited, it is fair to demand society create the laws to prevent it.
It will mean personal compromises and changes, but failure to do so will be handing the fate of our children and future generations to a culture of criminality whose short-term greed is little more than the now not-so-longer-term pursuit of armageddon.
No doubt I'll have more to say when the report becomes public.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
I'm not at all sure what the painted pin-ups really have to do with the message here, but they're dated, they're art and they're relatively harmless. Less harmless is the Bush family and its self-centred corrupt behaviour and behind the images and nice music here there are plenty of facts. This is part one.
Sorry about the absence of this blog for a couple of days. The author is somwhat less than invigourated - blame it on the changing season or something. Here in the UK we switch to official "wintertime" tonight so the hibernation mandate will really kick in.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
A rather offbeat link here since it is a business report, but it has set me thinking. Vietnam;s soaring economy makes it set to become a player on the wortld stage, in much the same way as market forces now drive regimes like China.
Vietnam is no longer "communist" of course. The south, along with its Amerikan puppeteers lost the imperial war, but in the goodness of time things have balanced of their own accord. China on the other hand has adopted the strategy of a market economy as an effective global weapon. But time is changing the balance there too - the demands of those same market forces are leading to a slow reformation of the political regime.
So to Iraq, probably Iran and maybe even ultimately, North Korea. Not to mention a few other remaining "enemies" of capitalism or Amerikan imperial design. War is folly and whoever wins or loses subsequent events tend to follow a path of their own. Iraq is the latest misguided adventure of the Amerikan-driven industrial-military complex which is itself becoming obselete in the face of planetary environmental changes which dictate the end of the exploitation potential of traditional resources. It is another failed enterprise which will particularly damage the reputation of Britain and Amerika for decades to come.
"Cut and run" would now be a very irresponsible thing to do, but a withdrawl from the meddling has finally been deemed essential even by the imperial warrior-caste whose beligerence has created the mess that country finds itself in. It is time for Iraq to pursue its own destiny again and there are plenty of ways the world can continue to help from afar or with the co-operation of neighbouring states. Indeed, the Amerikan-led "alliance" owes it the aid needed to recover from the devastation and destruction it itself has wrought.
Amerika clearly did not learn the lessons of its war in Vietnam. If not for that war, who is to say that the current resurgance would not have occurred of its own accord far sooner? The lesson is not just the futility of violence but also that nations adapt and survive as like the people themselves.
The Soviet Union fell not just because the propaganda and seduction of materialism gained ascendency, but because its government was incapable of finding a strategy that enabled it to play on the same game field. In many ways, the "Cold War" and the detente it brought is sorely missed as a stabilising factor on the world stage. Communism, especially as a tool of totalitarianism, is in decline - but one look at Russia shows how abrupt change from one system to another has not served its people well. We now see a return towards some form of centralised power in that region - it is not ideal but it has popular support for now in a nation desparate for renewed leadership.
Iraq too is desparate for a return to something that resembles its rememberence of normality. That will not be the same as the idealogy of its present occupiers. Yet, like Vietman, left to its own devices it may carve its own destiny in a way that will eventually aloow it to adapt to the world around it.
The so'called Islamist renaissance is but a blip on the radar of time. No nation, no people, can deny the commonality of human progress and interaction indefinately. War-mongering and territorial invasion is simply stalling and impeding the process of the diplomatic "policing" volatile situations require.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Ok - so this is becoming a habit nd why not? Keith Olbermann is rapidly becoming the voice of something almost forgotten - a sensible Amerika.
With the Bush Party using every cheap trick it can find to up the fear agenda in pursuit of ignorant votes,, Olbermann tears apart the partisan advertising for what it is - the propaganda of deceit.
Better still, it looks like CNN may be stirring. The Repulsivans as a correspondant calls them, have been squarking rather loudly about recent lack of censorship in the war coverage from the channel - they don'y like the Amerikan people seeing the reality. Now on the defensive, I imagine CNN will simply up the ante and fight their corner. What one might call a "nothing left to lose" scenario.
I'm beginning to think Amerika is now being better served by its mainstream media than here in Britain. ITN, the independent television news leaders (who also produce our excellent Channel 4 News programmes) have now been denied battlefield warzone access by the British military. The reason? Independent reporting that doesn't subscribe to the propaganda rulebook. Maybe they too will fight back with an increase in lesser-censored stories.
To top it all, the major news item today has received barely any coverage by telvision broadcasters. The departing Blair has left another mark by starting the machinery that will put all UK citizens on the national DNA database whether willingly other otherwise. For links and more comment on all this, click the button for "My Bloglines" at left.
In "Latest Clicks" you'll also find a link to Alex Jones site in the US which additionally reports that DNA scanners are to be introduced to British pubs, with all customers being tagged before entry. It sounds far-fetched but I'm not so sure - it could be implemented and excused under the auspices of controlling "yob" behaviour and such. Particularly pertinent in a week where it's been "revealed" (planted?) that most British adults are scared of teenagers and unwillingly to confront their behaviour. My question would be, if such a scheme were implented tomorrow, just how long before a similar fate awaited us all on a trip to the supermarket? It takes just one such first step to set easily in motion the ones that will logically follow.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Somehow we just can't get away from 911 - the new bodies found showing just how laz the investigation in the aftermath was. So wre those events Bush's equivilent of Hitler's Reichstaf Fire? As the revelations leak out is seems more and more likely.
Dr Morgan Reynolds was a Bush adminstration insider at the time and in this clip tells us his thoughts.
A while back I posted a clip of Keith Olbermann laying into Bush. As the act which repeals Habeus Corpus amongst other things was finally signed into law last week, he delivered another one. This is it, plus some interesting comments on past presidents.
You may need to bost your sound volume for this one, but it's well worth the effort. The subject is the continued use of Depleted Uranium by the US, Britain and others.
In effect, Depleted Uranium is nuclear waste and can simply be a by-product of nucear power. It can't be got rid off for several billion years and is, of course, radioactive. As the world dances on hot coals at the thought of North Korean getting a bomb, an awful lot of pressure is being mounted on Iran just because it wants its own nuclear power. There is a justification in this, becuase the waste from nuclear power is increasingly used to "tip" conventional weapons, making them into a form of nuclear weapn themselves. They leave a kind of macrocosmic "ground zero" where ever they are deloyed and used in sufficient quantity must qualify as WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in themselves.
In the aftermath of the first Gulf War, much was made of the "Gulf War Syndrome" experienced by returning soldiers. Naturally the media and government tried o avoid the issue and when addressing it at all cited Iraq's previous and thus assumed use of chemical agents. In hindsite, we now know the the major cause was our own troops being forced to handle our very own "depleted uranium" arsenal.
I've been here before, but in the current mess of Iraq, where civil war rages and those who can afford to are fleeting their own country, the very environment is contaminated. In certain areas, radioactivity pervades the water and food supplies and is, of course, gradually spread by transportation. Whatever the outcome of the violence and the attempted rape of local resources, the land itself will remain contaminated for more years than the human mind can easily imagine. Literally thousands of generations.
Isreal too has used these weapons in the middle east. We are currently using them in Afghanistan. They were even used to some extent in Kosovo and the Balklans. By extension, even though we have not yet dropped nuclear warheads anywhere since Hiroshima, the west has actally commited the worst of drimes - the first use of nuclear weaponary in conflict.
We need to oppose all nuclear technology and the way to do it is outlaw such things from the face of the planet. Out of Earth's orbit too!
One thing we can't continue to do is arrogantly flaunt the weapons and technology in the face of those who so far have neither been inclined or able to exploit them. The threat of such power to enforce subservience will only be met with defiance and defense. It is we who must set the example if we want others to follow.
The worst of dictators and corrupt leaders do not want to detroy themselves. Even where crimes like the intent of genocide exists, few would act to destroy entire future generations. It is contary to the whole human imperative to reproduce and spread. There are those who view suicide as martyrdom, but even martyrdom has a purpose that does not ultimately deny longevity of our race. It would take time, but consensus on nuclear eradication could be possible. It would need commitment and nations acting in parallel. It would also mean the largest arsenals going first.
War-mongering aside, there is also no justification for genrating nuclear power. It is at best a short-term fix to propagate a few extra years of energy wastage at the expense of future generations. Even the greedy corporations make take financial benefit in selling us more than we need to survive will ultimately find their wealth useless when the now futile model of consumerism becomes unsustainable. Again, it is our children who will suffer.
Some of us dread that the only arsenal left for Bush, his corporate masters and his colonial dupes, will be the nuclear one. There are no conventional ground forces left for his planned conquest of Iran and other resource-rich regions. One would like to think he would no be so stupid as to use the final option, but when one considers the "secret" nuclear wars with depleted uranium, one realises how the fine line may now have simply become a matter of degree.
Humankind faces the urgent task of first rescuing and then preserving spaceship Earth. It is after all our only home at present.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Probably the only thing that would tempt me to vote for a version of the British Labour party would have been a scenario where Clare Short had been it's leader. Since her opposition to Blair's Iraq adventure, she has unfortunately been sidelined and this breaking news suggests she will now be leaving the fold. The news is not yet fully confirmed, but it is reported she will still stand for parliament as an independent candidate.
Maybe she should start a new party of her own. She might well recover the traditional voters recently hijacked by the Blairite movement.
Meanwhile in Russia, Putin is busy backtracking on his remarks about being "jealous" of the Israeli president's ability to perform rape! His enviromental authorities are busying themselves in another direction entirely - finding out who allowed the visiting King of Spain to shoot one of their "drunk" bears. Amazing what world leaders think they can get away with.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
In all the fuss over Google and the takeover of video expression sites like YouTube, the "Second Life" network has been pioneering what may be the real future of internet participation. It's not free, but nor is it expensive, and creative types especially have been adopting this virtual universe of ever-evolving worlds to become part of a vibrant community that truely lives in cyberspace.
The feature link above leads to New York Times with an article on how the forces of rampant capitalism have belately woken up to an offshoot of the web that has until recently escaped the attention of the oversized breed of commercial interests. That looks set to change and it could happen rapidly because such companies have the investment power to exploit the more complex programming skills needed for the network to reach its full potential.
It will be a shame because one of the beauties of wandering around these virtual worls is the ability to experience the contributors' own idea of a utopia or near-perfect world. Few of these landscapes are adorned by the billboards or jukeboxes we associate with stealth attempts to hijack our adventures - rather, they conveys a world of art, crafts and inspirational pursuit. When the high-tech decorators move in with their cosumer gizmos, all this will be lost.
As in the real world, our habitats will slowly become little more than something purchased off the shelf. Originality will be forsaken as we prostitute ourselves to a new virtual "norm".
I'm reminded of a very old "Dr Who" episode I watched as a kid. It involved a kind of "wristwatch" devive that allowed the user to teleport to another location at an instant. The technological equivilent is easily possible in cyberspace. In my "Second Life" I could no doubt purchase one for my arsenal of personal virtual equipment - extending the technology of the search engine to deliver me to a required place instantaneously. Then I realise that the same toy has a tracking device hidden in it and that the corporate empire and their government puppets are monitoring my every move.
There's no longer any hiding place - even in our own fantasies.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
An article from Alex Jones, above link, suggests that it may not just be the Bush Regime and Global Megacorps who are trying the interfere with our freedome on the internet. It seems the EU beaurocrats have some tricks of their own ready to go, including preventing us from uploading video without being registered as a TV station.
I bet Bush is jealous he didn't "fink" this one up first!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
A week or so back I posted another clip by Keith Olbermann which was a serious indictment of the Bush regime. This one limits itself to be highly cynical and is reveals the act with which the Ape Emporer managed to suspend Habeus Corpus amongst other things.
This is a couple of weeks old now but I've resurrected it because today Bush actually signed the thing and brought it into law. The actual paw-to-paper bit had been delayed whilst Bush was on the election trail.
A reminder that all my news links and comments are now at "Bloglines" (see link left) which uses RSS technology for rapid scans and posts. "Latest Clicks" also has an automated link listing which is largely compiled as I attend the morning mail and headlines.
Friday, October 13, 2006
This is one of those astonishing turns that even the mainstream media cannot avoid. British readers will already know that the head of the army has delivered the ultimate blow to the Blair Party government by effectively saying that our continued presence in Iraq is creating a greater problem with every passing hour. Whitehall are exhibiting a very uncharacteristic silence - it;s clearly going to take a while to work out a "spin" agenda for this one.
Repeating the obvious here is largely for the benefit of those readers elsewhere. Scanning the Amerikan papers I find little mention of what is clearly a major indictment of our following the Bush Regime's imperial campaign.
So you thought Abu Grahib was bad news? The latest edition of Democracy Now with Amy Goodman concentrates on abuses involving, amongst other things, rape and dogs inside Amerika's own penal institutions. It includes some very unpleasant video footage which can also be found posted separately at their website. See link left.
Prisons are increasingly promoted as a tool by the newly authoritarian state, but the folly of incarcarating those whose "crimes" are not those of endangerment to the greater society has long been in question. The government are not willing to cough up the funding the maintain a remotely humanitarian standard of living for those locked up yet wonder why marginal "offenders" emerge from such places "hardened" to criminal culture itself. With the exception of friends and family, Joe Public doesn't give a damn or pay much attention to the issue - out of sight is out of mind!
When, as now and despite advance warning, the whole system overflows its already stretched capacity, the animation in charge does a Bush-like knee-jerk and proposes to redeploy the overflow in the most inappropriate locations possible. Police cells without long-term welfare provision and abandoned military camps are hardly going to foster a culture of "rehabilitation". They are more likely to incubate a hidden future menace to everyone.
The prison population spans a gamut of different people. There are murderers and child molesters. There are also some who are little more than dissenters, non-conformists or those who contravene the "fake laws" which exist simply to constrain independent behaviour that harms nobody except the individual concered, if even that. Yet, with minor environment differences, they are all subjected to the same machinery if isolation, indifference and neglect.
How long before the likes of the Blair Regime too come to the conclusion that dogs will be cheaper than human guards. How long before they seek to economise still futher by administering even more dangerous pscho-depressant drugs than in use already and cut the food rations to less than those required for full life sustainability. How long indeed until British society has its own legion of "the disappeared"? The engineers of such nightmares step slowly, but ever more methodically.
One is surprised Blair himself has not taken an interest. After all, when the war-crimes and corruption of those entrusted to manage our affairs on our behalf come fully to light, he and his elite conspirators may one day find themselves living in the prison system themselves.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Salman Rushdie has angered Islam before - remember the "Satanic Verses" ballyhoo in pre-terror-infected times? Now, rightly in my opinion, he has taken the side of Jack Straw and others, citing the wearing of the veil as the issue it really is - the oppression of women.
The whole concept of head-dressing here is one of enslavement to men's desires and domestic fascism. It has no religious mandate and is a gross distortion of what was an ancient habit practised to protect one's face when travelling in a desert sandstorm. For those newly adopting the habit there can only be two intentions - a statement of "separation" or a device for the "disguise" of identity. It is not, in a million years, a "fashion statement". Indeed, it symbolises a refusal of communication that one associates more with retards like George Bush than civilised society.
This matter goes beyond predjudice against free expression through the use of headgear. I myself used to get flack for wearing my "director's" baseball cap in a corporate environment with the result I deliberately made a habit of it. There used to be opposition to men wearing the turban - let alone the other cultural headwear displayed by Arab (and indeed, African) cultures. Some were "fashion" statements, some were religious imperatives of a dubious nature and most were just cultural tradition. They were not used for disguise, nor were they used for the suppression of another's individuality.
The "hoodie" is commonplace in today's environment, but the expression will probably not last. It may have originated as a method of disguise for street gangs but it really has morphed into fashion statement and will eventually be subjected to changing trends. Nor is it total - in close proximity one can still communicate with the wearer. Indeed, we all wear hoods from time to time to protect us from the weather. For those who make the comparison, it is not remotely the same issue.
Anyone who hides their identity in a way that is designed to preclude personal communication with me is, where I'm concerned, offering me a direct insult. As such, they are not worth my attention. Yet, in an environment where there are those who would deliberately conceal themselves with intent to do me or my fellow persons harm, I am forced to give them my attention - not as individuals, but as a potential social menace. Thus, the issue becomes one of antagonism!
It may sound like an odd counterpoint and maybe it's not my place to comment - I am, after all, a male of the species. But here goes ...
In the women's liberation movement of the late sixties and early seventies it became a statement of freedom from oppression to "burn your bra". Despite the profusion of contemporary "high-tech" support wear and the difficulties of transition that detered those of what I'll dare to describe as of a "heanyweight" physique, the actuality of the rebellion has endured. It is no longer a social obligation to wear what many considered to be more a symbol of male demands than one of necessity.
There is no reason why women who are being forced to adopt the veil cannot take a similar approach to what many "western" women did back then. Throw off the shackles of oppression! The result won't be absolute, but the false imperative can be rendered into history. Best of all, such action would not even result in the temporary outrage of conventionial greater society - it would actually be seen as a positive force toward integration and assimilation. Anything else is actively promoting segregation and isolationism and will only do harm to the standing of the community that subscribe to such a futile cause.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Having spent a few weeks complaining about the plans, the empire now switches tack and complains about the event. Forgive me for saying nothing much seems to have changed.
Thanks to the agression of the likes of Bush and Blair, the rest of the world has realised the need to watch their asses. The idea of non-proliferation of the global stockpile of nuclear weapons has been turned to farce by both the end of cold war detente and the behaviour of Britain and Amerika in renewing, expanding and rebuilding their stocks. No surprise then that vulnerable territories feel compelled to retaliate they announcing publicly their possession of the ultimate tool of warfare. In a vague sense, it is almost an attempt to revive detente itself.
Whether this will temper the rhetoric of empire or compound the intent of the new world warriors remains to be seen. I hate the very idea of nukes but they can't exactly be "un-invented" and promoting the idea of related technology as the "saviour" of our greedy energy requirements sends entirely the wrong message to disenfranchised states eager to compete with the arrogant rich nations who are rapidly becoming their "would-be" masters.
Most of the so-called incentives to stall the development of nuclear technologies have centred on the principle of "don't worry - we'll supply you with what you need". This is, as the potential recipiants know, simply a ploy to "sell" product (probably at inflated prices) and force fiscal enslavement to the empire's corporate agenda.
Until someone takes the lead in eradicating the nuclear threat from the very surface of our planet, it is difficult to see how the new proliferation will end. I'm no friend of North Korea, but at least they have made a statement in denial of the planet's bully-boys.
Obviously everyone's now concerned about Iran - a much larger, resource-rich and influencial land who seem set on taking a similar approach to deter the forces on conquest. During the last week we have witnessed multiple ineffective meetings where the dubiously named "international community" have attempted to reach a resolution on how to manipulate the situation in favour of all the vested interests except those of Iran itself. Little progress has been made and in their obsession with purported "diplomacy", the media machine has paid scant attention the the fact that the amassed naval forces of Amerika (which left the homeland around two weeks ago) are now building up a considerable presence in the Persian Gulf.
These are of course, like the new Bush-named warship we were treated to a few days back, nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed.
Devoid of manpower now undeployed elsewhere and with little more weaponary other than a nuclear arsenal to fall back upon, my greatest fear is that the idiot in charge will perform the most serious crime of all. Reaching for the dreaded "red button".
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Here in Britain we have a TV personality whose public persona is hard to define. Part camp, part clown, part commentator and quite an effective interviewer. He's embedded in the mainstream, but comes across as an oddity rather than the norm. He's a consumate proffessional and has, as they say, "done the rounds".
I've never seen him ever come close to losing control or in any other way exhibit behaviour that would suggest he is "under the influence" of anything other than the requirements of a TV studio. News that he thoroughly enjoys a myriad of "drug" experiences is to my mind proof that its not the drugs that are the problem - its the personality and environment of the taker.
These revelations by Norton are curious. The BBC haven't so far taken the knee-jerk reaction they usually do and "sacked" him. Indeed, they are defending him on the basis he is an "adult" entertainer. Given his high profile, even I would dispute that one! Cynics say he might even have been trying to break his contract - he's seems to like moving on quite frequently.
No doubt the media will run and run with this one - they love celebrity scandals! Whether Norton keeps his present position and status remains to be seen. In reality, the whole affair is a matter of total inconsequence and, regardless of any other consequences, will have been great PR for Norton himself.
It will be a shame if his employers bow to convention and try to distance themselves from controversy by removing him from the air. They'll probably be doing him a favour and themselves none.
Friday, October 06, 2006
One of the most astonishing, concise, out-spoken and well-produced indictments of the Bush regime to appear in Amerika's mainstream. This is closing comment from Keith Olberman at Coundown on MSNBC and says it all.
Correspondant Dan Frazier says: "This guy has balls. Let's hope some others grow them too!"
Thursday, October 05, 2006
The piece below started as a comment at Op Ed News on the article "Pitiful Oz" by Richard Neville. An acquaintance of mine from his days in Britain, I thought Richard's tone less optimistic than usual, but what was intended as a short reply to both the article and Rob Kall's comment suddenly started me off on a whole chain of thought. This is the result.
As America accelerates toward its midterm elections, there are signs that the balance of power may shift away from the Republican Party, even if it amounts to a little more than a re-colouring of the administrative process. The fate of her Emperor himself is still some years away and in the sense that we can see the damage done, some have asked whether change in the American regime will have any profound effect on the behavior of her allies. I don't see any "Yes or "No" answer to this - there will be changes of government elsewhere both before and after the fall of Bush and all will undoubtedly react to the situation as it exists when that time comes. Moreover, I suspect that the future is now dependent on a more massive change to protect "Spaceship Earth" and restore some semblance of harmony to international relations. The long years of the "Cold War" had, in retrospect, a huge moderating influence on global tensions - albeit with moments of tension itself. In its aftermath, opportunists in America, but also elsewhere, have grasped the absence of any mediator to hijack the progress in planetary equilibrium to pursue their own and corporate agendas. Corruption in the institutionalized nature of governments themselves is something that arguably needs to be addressed - worldwide, but especially in nations who increasingly lay false claim to being "democracies".
A radical change in America might well bring a shift in the attitude of her so-called allies, even a few of her supposed "enemies", but cultural and economic dependency as it stands needs to be re-examined from scratch. Re-painting the edifice may have some cosmetic appeal, but it borders on folly if the landscape remains shrouded in darkness. Enlightenment is what we need! Indeed, like America, Britain and Australia in particular need a sea-change in government mindset that will see self-interest in the long-term served better by global harmony and equality rather than the present obsession with short-term opportunism. We elect leaders to be responsible managers of our heritage, well-being and legacy. They are caretakers of society who should be pursuing the local, national and global good. They should not be adopting this role as a profession in itself and they should certainly not be prostituting themselves and those they serve to corporate or military agendas. History may remember Bush favourably for one thing - in his idiotic and intellectually-challenged approach to world affairs he has made transparent both the imperial design and dictatorial intent that America has been practising since at least the end of WW2. Sure, the mass consumers of energy, consumer trinkets and propaganda may still remain blindly unaware of this reality, but free-thinkers can increasingly see that something has gone seriously wrong with planetary organisation. Even the United Nations has succumbed to maintaining the status quo rather than seeking fairness and justice. Charity has replaced obligation and even that runs in narrow focus if not concealed self-interest. The lessons of history and the science of survival are removed from the lifestyle curriculum, whilst dissent is romanticized and then marketed as a stylistic abstraction.
In a world of automation and information overload, freedom of expression is almost encouraged simply to compound the confusion of an increasingly shallow-headed audience. Behind the scenes, the corporate networks grow and electronic filters monitor every aspect of our lives. The propaganda of fear is employed as a viral addiction, with fundamentalism promoted as the sole cure. Governments, elected or otherwise, are increasingly subservient to the same machinery themselves - although it is remarkable how often they fail to understand the nature of the technologies they are dealing with and its limitations. When even military forces are trained in cyberspace with combat simulations, is it any wonder they come unstuck dealing the the real world? Silicon is not carbon, not yet organic - it is blind to the real-world blood and guts it callously ejaculates from its command structure. The Pentagon has become a hive of robotics, supervised by human retards! Misguided objectives are bad enough, but there is seemingly no memory with which to adequately implement a real life strategy. The very arrogance of the directive is a statement of its inevitable failure. The depressive state of play is as much at work here in the UK. Whilst we still hold on to the vanity of "the Commonwealth", our own imperial strategies were finally ended with the advent of the Second World War. It took a while, but in the final lead-up to WW2 we refused to appease the forces of fascism. In the sixties, we had more sense than to subscribe to America's pressure on us to engage in the Vietman adventure. Yet now we have a shallow-headed, egotistical preacher at the helm who has been more than happy to lead us into a dark and complex mess woven by commercial forces for whom democracy is the real enemy. One of those forces is of course the almighty Murdock - a rampaging beast of Australian origin who literally controls the greater part of the propaganda machine that the likes of Howard, Bush and Blair hide behind. That we are increasingly tempted to view our plight in nationalistic terms is an illusion - the real problems lie with international movers whose mindset is one of material greed and the denial of humanity's future. Climate damage and resource shortages are the real threat "terrorising" the globe. No leader or power-broker in the rich part of the world will address this in real terms. Instead they spin the long-term "pussy-footing" to look like concerned commitment and secretly put off the inevitable by continuing campaigns to rape and pillage the third world for whatever is left to be grabbed. "Statesmen" have become an almost obselete breed - they were of a fading tradition that would have employed some degree of moral and ehtical code in their decision making, usually without undue religious bias. "Policicians" thus rule the roost, subserviant to corporate cartels who seem wholly intent on destroying the foundations of natural trade on which they were originally built. Those who attack "western values" have a point - we have become complacent and self-obssesed. That an "opposing fundamentalism" has emerged as a method of the inevitable response is one of the great tragedies of our times. Actions and responses have created a huge polarization where regressive tendencies are the norm on both sides of the proverbial coin. The absolute nature of these doctrines are themselves an impediment to progress - they must all be overcome in order to protect the planet's future. In the 21st Century, capitalism has outgrown its capacity to recycle itself. It has become a nightmarish machine plunging headlong into its own endgame. The market forces it claims to uphold as its foundation have become devoid of substance and the illusion of a thriving fiscal economy is only sustained by non-recoverable levels of debt and the artificial propping up of the bankrupt dollar. The irony is that so much of this decadent system has itself become dependent on the likes of China and Saudi Arabia who have virtually embraced the model as a weapon of world domination themselves. As the likes of India and other "slave" nations realise the power of our dependency on them, the culture of exploitation may be in for a rude shock. A market-driven ecosystem can possibly survive the end of capitalism, but "profits" and greed need to be replaced by recycling, redistribution and equitable reinvestment. Quality of life needs to replace the motivation for "possession" and entire lifestyles need to change within a single generation. The tragic games being played by Australia, America and Britain (not to mention many others) will probably, if continued, be lost! It is not a case of whether, but when! It may be a future we ourselves are not around to see, but we owe it to future generations to ease the passage to a very different future. This is the real dilemma with our governments. Some have seized power. Others have been elected, but under a system where every choice on the political menu is what I refer to as "the same pudding with a different sauce". Yet they all have one thing in common - blind belief in in the pre-existing social and economic infrastructure. Sadly, if they cannot see beyond what is now an antiquated reality, they are not fit for purpose. Tellingly, when Blair addressed his party conference for the final time, he told the faithful they need to keep changing. He also told them not to change in any way that might upset America - because "They don't take lightly to partial commitments - you're either with them or not!" One imagines the same sentiments must be shared by the leaders of puppet states elsewhere. In all likelihood it seems Bush will soon fall under the weight of his own facade and maybe these are the dark hours just before dawn. His downfall cannot come soon enough for some of us - hopefully taking PNAC and the other neocon forces with him. Whether that changes things dramatically for Britain, Australia and others functioning in the shadow of the world's big bully-boy will depend on his successor's willingness to confront the corruption inherant in the status quo. A "different sauce" on the pudding is not enough!
In America, the very electoral process has problems of its own. Electronic voting systems, which could if implemented properly could provide a fast, ever-evolving mechanism for true democracy, have been introduced with major software failings and a built-in bias toward the incumbent administration. Even if this obstacle is overcome, the Democrats are the only party on the menu as an alternative - the question is whether its leadership will be "Neocon Lite" or one prepared to tackle corruption and help carve the brave new world we need. In Britain, there is at least a third party which could make inroads that will affect the balance of power in parliament, if not immediately compete with the two party menu for government itself. Blair's going, but not yet gone and it will be a couple of years here too before we find out whether his party perpetuates its ethical decay to the point of total un-electability. A change would be to the right - even though its doing its best to look like the left. I don't know enough about Australia, but suspect it can be diagnosed with similar symptoms. In all these countries, progressives need to seize the media - not just for the propaganda of counterpoint, but as an educational tool that can warn of the dangers in a way that articulates them for the consumerist masses. Above all, we need to stifle the resurgence in organized religion by whatever creed it goes. Faith is a matter of personal choice and has no place in affairs of state. Nor does spirituality have anything to do with subscription to belief systems engineered by others for their own, usually sinister, reasons.
In the Islamic world and elsewhere there are very different problems and solutions. Yet there are also many similarities. Modernity needs to be encouraged, but presented in such a way as to not imply adherence to "western values". Other parts of the world have their own cultures too and the variety is the spice of humanity. But here again, religion needs to be expelled from affairs of state. Look at Japan - it can live without state religion. Look at China - it can function and thrive without Democracy. It's far from our notion of the ideal, but the corrupted version of "democracy" we are exporting is itself a lie - we don't recognize elected governments unless we like the result! So long as nations work to overcome oppression and slavery, forge fair and equitable societies, it is probably not our place to decree what model it uses to run its affairs. We will trade and we will communicate, but we will not aggressively interfere in another's business or forcibly impose our will upon them. Foreign policy should be about dealing fairly for what we want based on what we can give in return. The "profit" motive cannot be allowed to endure on such a massive global scale - the disparity between winners and losers is, with the possible exception of religion, the very thing that brings us to a state of war.
Even as we hunker down to enjoy the creature comforts we have come to expect in "The West", the evidence of ills that plague the planetary stage are in view in microcosm on our doorsteps. They are symptomatic of the same infection. Greed and the "profit" motive have extended polarization even within the societies of our precious "rich" nations. America has no sense of social equality in it's constitution - "fighting" to survive and better oneself is almost the over-riding absolute in its social infrastructure. It is an aggressive attitude that breeds disregard, if not contempt, of others. It is a deplorable character trait that has also become the predominant cultural export of the last half-century. Britons, Europeans, Australians and plenty more of us have taken to worshipping this false ideal and our own societies have evolved to reflect it. Hence the polarization we see around the planet can also be seen in the poverty of inner cities, failing healthcare for those can't afford it and the violence of those disenfranchised by their inability to "compete" in the cut-throat environment we promote. In times of war, "terrorism" is a norm - it is a method of warfare. Injustice is the cause of the "terror" on our streets in the guise of muggers, joy-riders, knife-wielders and gun-slingers. On the larger stage, injustice is the cause of the "terror" using evermore horrifying methods of attacking the global infrastructure that has created it. The only difference is in the scale. Inequality and injustice has always been with us, but where it emerges it never survives the test of time. How long it endures is another matter - hiding truths and manipulating information can, with cunning management, conceal the reality from view. Even so, an upheaval will come eventually.
We may be fortunate in that the upheavals we see today have been brought to light by very less-than-cunning management. Our saviour comes in the form of someone whose entire live has indeed been a catalogue of failed enterprise. The masquerade is over and the propaganda machine is relying on re-runs. The only audience are those still asleep. Time for the alarm clock I think - but hoping desperately that doesn't come in the form of another "false flag" operation designed to perpetrate the existing mess.
There is a place for America in the world and it would not be fitting that it return to its isolationist past. On the other hand, as a hollow shell of its former promise, there is no place on this planet for either its current administration or a future one that employs mere variations on the same policies. Were America to enter a renaissance period, where true freedom (and the social obligations that brings) to become its hallmark, then I suspect questions about the rest of the world could be answered rhetorically by saying that nations often follow others historically, especially when they set a good example. The recent emergence of new philanthropists is a sign that some are willing to move in the right direction, provided there is no hidden agenda. Or preaching! The alternative is that its so-called allies will indeed change direction of their own accord, actually enforcing a new isolationism on America. It would then have no choice but to opt for self-sustainability - something a continent its size should surely be able to handle.
Bush has sown "the seeds of disruption". The hard work is now in realising it and engaging in a race to find a remedy for the consequences of both his actions and the corruption of purpose his behavior has revealed. If we can bring about a revolution in our perception, build a "fair" global trading system and forsake our demand for wasting resources - well, these menacing times may just prove to be the catalyst needed for a decent future.
I'll end with a quote I've always liked. It's a quote within a quote from one of Frank Herbert's "Dune" sequence novels ...
"Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual."
So here I am, part of Google. Elswhere I'm available as part of MySpace, YouTube and others. I actually figure on speading myself thin - keeping all the avenues open and not relying on any one of them in particular.
This video simply considers the nature of the new journalism and whether we should allow corporations to control it.
The ape emporer comes from some place called Texas. As this documentary shows, it is a very weird plave indeed and women in particular have to watch what they say when they're out shopping. A farce by any other name.
For links to other current stories, read my new annotated links blog using the "Bloglines" button at left.
Monday, October 02, 2006
A fine article at AlterNet's Rights & Liberties portal on the new Amerikan laws. Of particular note is the quote from US Attourney General Albert Gonzales whose latest advice is "Federal Judges should not substitute their personal views for that of the President!"
Hopefully the revocation of these same laws will also someday find its equal mark in history. 'Nuff said!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
A link to a major feature at the Washington Post in which Bob Woodward looks at the disparity between recent official reports and the propaganda spewed by the Bush regime. Woodward was of course involved in exposing the Watergate Scandal of the Nixon Era and his new book, "State Of Denial" is generating great interest. A fine article - read it while you still can.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
There must be thousands of links which could serve as today's headline, so the above piece at AlterNat is just one of many that I'm reading.
It has fo course been a horrendous few days. Midweek I was in a optimistic mood and what would have been the previous posts here morphed into an article published at Op Ed News. There seems to have been an editorial glitch in the formatting, so I reprint it in full in the Undercuurent blog (see left) next week.
I was remarking on the increasing transparency of the Bush regime. Sadly, what I perceived then as a facade exposed and corruption revealed has taken on an entire new light. Or rather - a darkness!
As of Thursday, I and you, everyone on the planet, can be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" at the whim of the Bush administration. With the right of Habeas Corpus now revoked, we have returned to pre "Magna Carta" times where one can be detained not just without charge but without the right to know why. We can all, under Amerikan law, effectively disappear without a trace and with no questions asked. Amerikan law is assumed to supercede and over-ride any other laws and the interpretation of international law is now at the sole discretion of the Amerikan president. He himself, together with his administration, are now constitutionally exempt from international law (Including the Geneva Conventions) and can pretty much do as they want with inpunity. Disclosures about the true nature of what the neo-Empire is up to are of lesser consequence - the masquerade has been replaced by imperial decree.
How this happened I'm not wholly sure. The moves to exempt Bush and pals from future war crimes prosecution were under way but contentious. The revisions to both the torture bill (and its definition) and the wiretapping provisions were being debated and looked set for a slight favourable compromise. The trap seems to have lain in the combination of legislation and the fact that some Democrats turned "traitor" and backed Bush with their votes. Some commentators are remarking that after only 6 years, Bush has effectively managed to "trash the constitution" and most are horrified it was done with such stealth.
Where this leaves Amerika's electoral process is anyone's guess. Polling will take place using electronic voting machines with known software faults that appear to exhibit a bias in favour of the Republican Party. A new "false flag" event could additionally swing a public living in fear toward a nationalistic figurehead of false benevolence. A, possibly nuclear, strike against Iran could do a similar trick. Even if Democrats made inroads into the parliaments they can effect little while Bush holds the White House. Beyond that, Bush has made changes and appointments which cannot be undone by a simple change of government.
Seeing Democrats switch sides and vote for such draconian legislation is distressing in itself, but almost worse is considering how such people would behave even if there were a change in the "flavour" of government. Bush's latest accumilated legislation could I gather be revoked by a future government - whether there's anyone left in the existing political system that could be trusted to deny themselves such absolute powers is another matter.
The world itself will probably not tolerate this for long, anymore than they did the Nazi Reich and Hitler's Europe. With the exception of their nuclear capacity, Amerika's forces are all fully deployed and the country technically bankrupt with huge debts. Defaulting on the latter and bringing back the draft could change this, but only with time. Sanctions could hit hard if applied at a time when the bully-boy remains impotent. Yet all this depends on the world waking up and seeing clearly what's going on.
The problem is here in Britain, in Australia and in the other nations that consider themselves allies of the Empire. Our own governments are blindly following Amerika's propaganda little realising its administration will betray friendships and agreements at a whim. The American people have been duped and we are becoming stupidly gullible.
For more check out OpEd News and Amy Goodman on the left. Also the "Latest Clicks" button as always.
Later. I promise. Unless I disappear!