Sunday, May 28, 2006

Will biofuels always be hopeless?: "Fossil fuel emissions were up to about 8Gt/year and climbing fast.... Plants absorb about 120 Gt of carbon/year and turn it into sugars via photosynthesis (and then onto other materials). This is the gross primary production of photosynthesis in the biosphere."

"I do know that we've reached the point where defending our right to emit carbon on the scale we're doing it is several steps down the moral ladder from defending tobacco companies as innocent of causing cancer. On the contrary, I believe we are committing evil in emitting so much carbon, and we need to change. We are heading for disaster after disaster."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Guardian Ombudsman rules in favour of Chomsky and against Aaronovitch and Kamm: There is some justice in the world. These sorts of attacks have been going on for years but it always seems to be the same to me: Chomsky is a person of integrity and in fact one of the greats, whereas his enemies are dishonest hacks and/or paid propagandists.

Proportional Representation: Quota Notes reports on the British Columbia referendum, which gained 57% of the Vote for a change to STV, but narrowly failed to meet the difficult 60% double majority requirement.

QN also reports on Blair's victory in the British general election of 2005. With 35.2% of the vote, New Labor retained government with 55.1% of the seats in the House of Commons. "Coupled with the relatively low turnout of 61.3%, this was the lowest level of expressed support for a government since the 1832 Reform Act, and prompted The Independent newspaper to begin a “Campaign for Democracy” spearheaded by a petition for proportional representation."

This type of lopsided result is inherent in first past the post or single member systems, dearly beloved by the party or grouping that magically manages to transform a minority of votes into an absolute majority of parliament, but liked not so much by the majority of votes that acquired a minority. In these conditions, reform finally may become possible.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Taleban: 'Do not send your children here. We will kill them': "WE RAN into the Taleban guerrillas only 24km (15 miles) south of the British base at Gereshk, half a dozen of them brazenly manning a checkpoint on a road to Lashkar Gah. They were bristling with weaponry and had belts of ammunition slung over their shoulders. They ordered us to stop, surrounded our four-wheel-drive vehicle and demanded to know who we were."

"“Our country has been occupied by infidels,” said the commander as he sat in the shade of an apricot tree. “The Americans, the British, Canadians and others have destroyed Afghanistan. We are hunting every individual who supports this imposed democracy . . . We will also hunt the puppet Afghans who are the rented bicycle for the infidels.”"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Soil erosion, salinity: Devastating problems The illustration shows dramatically the enormous global extant of soil erosion, a problem which has been noted from ancient times: "Attica yielded far more abundant produce. In comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body; all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left. But in the primitive state of the country, the mountains were high hills covered with soil, and plains were full of rich earth, and there was abundance of wood in the mountains. Of this last traces still remain, for although some of the mountains now only afford sustenance to bees, not so very long ago there were still to be seen roofs of timber cut from trees growing there, which were of such a size sufficient to cover the largest houses; and there were many other high trees, cultivated by man and bearing abundance of food for cattle.

"Moreover, the land reaped the benefit of the annual rainfall, not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea, but, having an abundant supply in all places, and receiving it into herself and treasuring it up in the close clay soil, it let off into the hollows the streams which it absorbed from the heights, providing everywhere abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying. (Plato)"

The EB article says "Erosion in some regions it is so great that a tonne of produce comes at a cost of 20 tonnes of topsoil." This can rightly be compared to wood 'production' on Easter Island. The workforce is larger, tonnage and income and profits are up, according to the conventional measures. There is an obvious and urgent need to reformulate the national accounts to incorporate the value of the environment, so that destructive if not suicidal activities such as these are shown immediately as loss of value and national impoverishment.

Osama bin Laden humiliates US - again: "I begin by talking about the honorable brother Zacarias Moussaoui. The truth is that he has no connection whatsoever with the events of September 11th, and I am certain of what I say, because I was responsible for entrusting the 19 brothers – Allah have mercy upon them – with those raids, and I did not assign brother Zacarias to be with them on that mission.... Moussaoui was arrested two weeks before the events, and had he known anything – however little – about the September 11th group, we would have told the brother Commander Mohamed Atta and his brothers – Allah have mercy upon them – to leave America immediately before their affair was exposed."

"I state the fact, about which I also am certain, that all the prisoners of Guantanamo, who were captured in 2001 and the first half of 2002 and who number in the hundreds, have no connection whatsoever to the events of September 11th, and even stranger is that many of them have no connection with al-Qaida in the first place, and even more amazing is that some of them oppose al-Qaida’s methodology of calling for war with America."

"...Bush and his administration are aware of this fact, but they avoid mentioning it, for reasons not hidden to the discerning. Among these reasons is that it is necessary to create justifications for the massive spending of hundreds of billions on the Defense Department and other agencies in their war against the Mujahideen. My mentioning of these facts isn’t out of hope that Bush and his party will treat our brothers fairly in their cases, because that is something no rational person expects, but rather it is meant to expose the oppression, injustice and arbitrariness of your administration in using force and the reactions that result from that. This is from one perspective, and from another perspective, perhaps there will one day come from the Americans someone who desires justice and fairness, and that is the path to security and safety, if you are interested in it."

Bush has killed 10,000 or more people in Afghanistan, and 100,000 or more in Iraq, none of whom had any connection with 9/11. Who is the greater terrorist? But of course, the crimes of our side are not counted, while we focus with laser-like precision on the crimes of official enemies. And things have reached a pretty pass when a mass murdering terrorist like Bin Laden has more credibility and coherence than the President of the United States.

List of tapes from Bin Laden since 9/11

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hundreds turn out for Chomsky lecture: "Chomsky gave a lecture to a packed house at the University of Cyprus last night on ‘Imminent Crises’, which was attended by at least 500people inside and outside, where a projector had been set up, you could have heard a pin drop as the audience clung to his every word.... Human survival was now at stake only no one seemed to care.

"He blamed this on what he called a prevailing moral and intellectual crisis, which was at the root of all the others “and is scarcely discussed at all”."

"Chomsky said the two countries were at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves and were recognised by Washington 60 years ago “to be a stupendous source of strategic power, the strategically most important area of the world and one of the greatest material prizes in world history and constitute critical leverage against industrial rivals Europe and Asia.”

"“For years the pretext was that the threat was Russia but that was a routine reflex all over the world and rarely stands up to scrutiny,” he said. “The huge military system is no longer meant to contain Russia but it has to be expanded because of the technological sophistication of third-world powers.”"

"Chomsky also said the US was eerily able to intimidate Europe when it “shakes its fist” but he said China refuses to be intimidated. “They have a 4,000 year history of contempt for the barbarians,” he said, adding that Washington’s biggest fear is that at current growth rates China will match the US economy in a decade."

"He said the Eastern Mediterranean had evolved in much the same framework. “Turkey is serving that plan right now. Cyprus of course was of course a major British military base and was used for the overthrow of the regime in Iran in 1953, for the Suez invasion in 1956, and for the US-British military actions in response to the coup in Iraq in 1958,” said Chomsky. “As British Prime Minster Anthony Eden put it: ‘Without Cyprus Britain would have no certain facilities to protect our oil’. Of course ‘our oil’ just happens to be somewhere else by accident.”

"Asked specifically about Cyprus, Chomsky said: “The strong do as they can and the weak suffer as they must and the rest of the theory of international relations is either footnote or disguises.”"

"Chomsky said the current moral and intellectual crisis in the West was nothing more than subservience to power."

Nuclear debate a diversion: Garrett: "'The prime minister's creating one his great false debates, flying kites, making mischief, and covering up for the fact that he's done absolutely zip on climate change - nothing in the budget for it,' Mr Garrett told ABC radio.

"'(He) abolishes the Australian Greenhouse Office. We've seen half a billion dollars worth of investment in wind farms and alternative technologies go overseas because of this government's lack of action. 'The prime minister comes back from America as a nukes enthusiast, but he's just clouding the debate and covering his own deficiencies.... more importantly, why isn't this government investing in technologies that are good for the country?'"

Since when did Howard, who joined with Bush in refusing to sign the Kyoto treaty and invading Iraq, care about global warming? There's a suggestion that its a tactic to divide the Labor party, which looks likely to succeed with its rudderless leadership and lack of commitment.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Prodi: War in Iraq Was 'Grave' Mistake: "Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Thursday the war in Iraq was a 'grave' mistake, but said Italy would remain on the front lines in the war against terror.

"'We consider the war and occupation in Iraq a grave error that hasn't solved _ but has complicated _ the problem of security,' Prodi said in his first address to the Senate as prime minister. 'Terrorism has found a new base and new excuses for internal and external terrorist action.'

"Prodi said his government would participate in anti-terror operations if they are sanctioned by international organizations, such as the United Nations. 'We are convinced participants in the war against terrorism, even militarily, when it is legitimized by an international organization to which we belong.'"

The statement is generally true but he should drop the 'War on Terror' terminology - there is no such thing as a 'war on terror' and such language legitimates real wars such as the invasion of Iraq (which has nothing to do with terror).

We must move to nuclear fuel: PM: "Nuclear power costs twice as much as coal power ... Academics at NSW University and the University of Technology Sydney said no private investor would take on the risk without huge government subsidies.... The NSW Greens MLC Ian Cohen said that after 50 years, the nuclear industry still had not found a way to store its waste safely. "We don't want it back and we don't want to create it here.""

No figures given on the real solution, renewable energy.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tanya Reinhart reports on the struggle to stop The Wall: "The army decided to treat this action with the harshest of measures, perhaps to send a signal to Israeli activists to stay out of the Palestinian struggle. The soldiers immediately started firing live rounds. A sniper, identified in Ha’aretz as N.,[16] aimed carefully at the knee of one of the protestors, Gil Na’amati; Na’amati was shot in the knee, and the thigh of his other leg. This careful targeting of the smallest parts of the body, like the knee, requires extensive training and it is part of a technique developed by the Israeli army in the occupied territories since the early stages of the present intifada. It is designed to severely injure and disable people, without killing them."

"This Saturday evening hundreds of furious demonstrators, many of them young, blocked the road in front of Tel Aviv's Defense Ministry for hours... "

"Paradoxically, the army’s attempt to scare the Israeli activists, and put an end once and for all to their presence in the Palestinian villages, gave considerable momentum to the struggle against the wall in Israel. This was the first time the army had used live ammunition against Israeli demonstrators - and this in a situation where there was absolutely no danger to the soldiers. There was a widespread feeling that a line had been crossed. Though Israeli society tolerated such violence against Palestinian demonstrators, and even remained relatively passive over the cases of the various internationalists shot earlier in the year, this episode could not so easily be ignored. The event, the anarchist participants, their parents and the subsequent protests, were covered heavily in the Israeli media."

"The people of Budrus did manage to organize, unite and sustain the struggle, despite the lack of support, and even obstacles, put in their way by the Palestinian Authority. Indeed this time, unlike in Mas’ha, the village’s Fatah party joined the struggle. Budrus provided the first successful model for a popular grassroots struggle in the West Bank, clearly defining the principles of non-violent civil resistance."

The Deep Breath Before the Plunge: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just announced that starting this July, Iran will stop trading oil for dollars. Instead, anyone who wants to buy oil from Iran will have to pay for it in euros. Coming on the heels of the Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB), an energy exchange Iran just registered on the Island of Kish on May 5, this looks like a calculated effort to undermine the US dollar."

"In related news, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a similar plan: he is calling for Russia to establish an oil exchange denominated in rubles. Depending on how Russia is prepared to go in its requirements for selling oil, this could prove far more damaging to the global market for petrodollars."

"The best outcome for all would be a smooth, managed transition from a pre-eminent petrodollar system to a basket of oil trading currencies, including the dollar, euro, ruble, renminbi, and others. However, the Bush administration has made it very clear that it is not prepared to share power.

"It remains to be seen just how far the United States will go diplomatically and militarily to preserve its hegemony, and how far Iran, Russia, and other potential rivals waiting in the wings will go to break that hegemony up.

"Analysts from all over the political spectrum are speculating that this round of increasingly aggressive posturing could escalate into a major conflict, even another world war. The potential for global devastation is so appalling that whatever its likelihood, the parties involved should be doing everything they can to let careful diplomacy map a way out."

The dollar's falling, gold soaring, markets falling, war plans forming - there's almost an air of inevitability about the coming catastrophe.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The British lose Basra: "Iran, which has long held imperial designs on Basra as part of its dream of a grand Shi’a alliance, offered sky-high prices for copper, leading locals to tear up cables and pipes to sell them for scrap."

Interesting suggestion, can this be verified? How cleverly has Iran played its hand compared to the ignorance, brutality and hubris of the US?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Where is the global outcry at this continuing cruelty?: "Israel is 58 years old today. Israelis have already celebrated with barbecues and parties. And so they should, for they've pulled off an amazing stunt: the creation of a state for one people on the land of another - and at their massive expense - without incurring effective sanction. Some of those not celebrating, the Arab citizens of Israel, were also there, demonstrating to remind the world that Israel displaced 250,000 to take their land without compensation. Millions more Palestinians will demonstrate today in the refugee camps of Gaza, the West Bank and neighbouring Arab states against their expulsion by Israel. The world, however, is not listening, any more than it did in 1948, when most of Palestine's inhabitants were expelled to make way for Jewish immigrants."

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Principles of Geonomics (does this come before the review, or after, as a summary?)

Definition of Geonomics - rule or law or management of the earth: an explicitly global or environmental discipline which replaces economics, the management of the household (land, slaves/ labor, capital) or the firm.

Humans, Resources, Production, Products, Capital.

Theory of Value - economy of effort. Exchange including credit at equal value.

Space, Time, Toil

Rent, Wages, Interest: Money/Credit and 'the economy.' Self-ordered allocation ('invisible hand').

The function of government is to collect the rent and invest in the earth. The word invest is used advisedly: invest with a view to return - higher revenues. Physical Infrastructure (right of way): transport, water, sewer, power, communications. Social infrastructure: justice, health, education, pension. And last but not least: the environment or the earth itself.

Physical infrastructure is a necessity that must not be neglected. It has first call on revenue, ahead even of social infrastructure (except justice). Social infrastructure is a function of wealth and abundance.

Conquest and enslavement: Land Monopoly (optional slavery).

Robbery through taking of man, product, or land. Exploitation, unearned income.

Kapital: 'capitalised or exchange value of politically created unearned income'.

Alienation of the physical product, reduced production, wasteful or luxurious consumption, land and financial speculation and manipulation.

Summarise in the Geonomic Table - Healthy and Sick (Land Monopoly)

Review of Economic Theory - Aristotle (Oikos nomos, 2 uses), Quesnay, Ricardo, Marx, George, NCE (Gaffney), Pearce.

Integration of Geonomics with Political and other Philosophy - Liberalism, anarchism, socialism, environmentalism.

Geonomics and Geopolitics - Dialectical Materialism and False and True Consciousness (Marx, Hegel)

Review of current situation - hegemony and global military, fiscal, financial, political and environmental collapse. (Chomsky, Hudson).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Save the Internet: More on net neutrality: "The cable and telephone industry see enormous revenues as operators of a private internet toll-road. How has the internet -- so diverse and unwieldly -- fallen into their hands? The answer is (of course) the Bush administration. Heavily lobbied by the cable and phone giants, the Bush Federal Communications Commission has been eliminating the rules that required the internet to operate in a nondiscriminatory manner."

We will have to watch to see if the Howard government will follow policies as destructuve as this.

Review of Medialens' 'Guardians of Power': "The authors conclude by arguing that a corporate-media system whose prime motivation is the increment of profit will always fall in line with the ideology of the state and business sector, of which it is part. While they argue that it is possible to influence and pressurise journalists' performance, this does not resolve the central issue of the media's structural flaws. Yet for Edwards and Cromwell, democratic and compassionate media are already beginning to have some considerable influence. They cite the example of South Korea where the Internet has played a fundamental role in that country's recent democratic opening. For the first time ordinary people have access to insightful and brilliant journalism from all over the world. Many 'alternative' media organisations, like Z Magazine and its web counterpart ZNet, are non-profit and don't advertise yet produce excellent articles challenging Thatcher's maxim that 'there is no alternative.' Such organisations are becoming increasingly influential and important for those sick and tired of the mainstream acquiescence to elite interests."

Somehow the broad masses of the public have to come to realise that corporate journalism is not information but propaganda comparable (but different) to Pravda and Goebbels' Ministry of Progaganda. 'Alternative', non-profit, principled reporting has to become the mainstream.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Chomsky on attacking Iran: "My assumption all along has been that they would not attack Iran, and I strongly suspect that the Pentagon and US intelligence (and their British counterparts) are trying to leak dire warnings in the hope of cutting it off at the pass. I suspect that's the basis for what Seymour Hersh recently reported, and other reports like it at about the same time.

"That doesn't mean that Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush will follow that advice. They have created a major catastrophe in Iraq, not only for Iraqis but even for themselves, and they may be desperate to prevent what could turn into a real nightmare for them. A man-eating tiger in your backyard is not very pleasant. A wounded one is a lot worse."

Blair clings to power and sacks Jack Straw: "Jack Straw made two crucial mistakes in his dealings with Tony Blair: one involved the prime minister's relationship with Gordon Brown and the other Iran. Mr Straw has said repeatedly that it is 'inconceivable' that there will be a military strike on Iran and last month dismissed as 'nuts' a report that George Bush was keeping on the table the option of using tactical nuclear weapons against Tehran's nuclear plants. But Mr Blair, who sees Iran as the world's biggest threat, does not agree with his former foreign secretary.... Downing Street phoned the Foreign Office several times to suggest Mr Straw stop going on the BBC Today programme and ruling it out so categorically. His fate was sealed when the White House called Mr Blair and asked why the foreign secretary kept saying these things."

My God they have got to get rid of that disastrous conman, liar and war criminal Blair sooner rather than later. How could he possibly hang on so long?

Interview with Dr. Faber: "We are in a global boom but it doesn't change the fact that it is an imbalanced boom and it's driven largely by credit creation in the US, leading to overconsumption, leading to a growing trade deficit, current account deficit, the accumulation of reserves in Asia and a global boom. But it is nevertheless an imbalanced boom and one day there will be a problem, certainly with the US dollar. The US dollar is a doomed currency. Doomed? Doomed. Will be worthless. Actually each one of your listeners should buy one US Treasury bond and frame it - put it on the wall so they can show their grandchildren how the US dollar and how US dollar bonds became worthless as a result of monetary inflation."

Every Tom, Dick and Harry has been predicting the fall of the dollar for years now, but it just keeps hanging up there. But with the Bush Administration threatening war against Iran and the booming gold price, maybe soon now.....

Windows XP EULA in Plain English: As Danny Yee says, "I'll take this anyday." It's not about 'open source', it's all about the license.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What’s Really at Stake with Net Neutrality: "Broadband will soon deliver nearly all television, radio, phone service – and of course the Web – to most Americans. This transition is our big chance to do an end run around 24-7 lapdog journalism, low-brow entertainment, celebrity gossip, and rampant commercialism that has left the public in a fog of Brangelina, windbag pundits, sound bytes and little knowledge about what’s happening in the world and what our elected officials actually think or stand for.

"If we lose this net neutrality battle, we lose the greatest opportunity of our lifetimes to get critical journalism and diverse media into living rooms across the nation, as the largest cable and phone companies turn the Internet into modern cable TV: they control what you see and how much it costs."

Chalmers Johnson on the failure of 'democratisation': "On the eve of our entry into World War I, William Jennings Bryan, president Woodrow Wilson's first secretary of state, described the United States as 'the supreme moral factor in the world's progress and the accepted arbiter of the world's disputes'.

"If there is one historical generalization that the passage of time has validated, it is that the world could not help being better off if the American president had not believed such nonsense and if the United States had minded its own business in the war between the British and German empires. We might well have avoided Nazism, the Bolshevik Revolution, and another 30 to 40 years of the exploitation of India, Indonesia, Indochina, Algeria, Korea, the Philippines, Malaya and virtually all of Africa by European, American and Japanese imperialists."

"The Federation of American Scientists has compiled a list of more than 201 overseas military operations from the end of World War II until September 11, 2001, in which we were involved and normally struck the first blow.... The current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not included. In no instance did democratic governments come about as a direct result of any of these military activities."

Robert Fisk interviews Sy Hersh: Once again, Hersh is quite alarming about Bush and Iran: they are deluded, powermad and out of touch. A conventional or even nuclear attack is a frightening possibility.

Property investors hit hard: "A GROWING band of Sydney home owners who bought near the peak of the property boom in late 2003 are facing negative equity as property prices sag.... Prices have now fallen 9.6 per cent on average since property prices turned, slashing the city's median home value from $570,000 to $516,000."

"Late last year an American pro-growth consultancy named Demographia announced that the median house in this city cost 8.5 times the median household income. This was up from a multiple of five in the 1980s, which even then was steep. Demographia defines "affordable" as a multiple of no more than three. The 2005 result meant housing in Sydney was the sixth least affordable of 100 cities looked at around the world."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Review of Gabriel Kolko's 'Age of War': "A fuller list, such as one provided by ZNet, numbers at least 60 US military and/or covert interventions since 1950, excluding shows of naval/air strength, covert action and/or the use of proxy forces where the United States did not have command, and US pilots flying foreign warplanes. Instances in which the US has used proxy forces and/or covert action for regime change, for propping up 'friendly' rulers, or to fight communism include scores of countries around the globe: Angola, Cuba, Venezuela, Indonesia, the Philippines, Namibia, Iran in 1953, Afghanistan in the 1980s, Iran again in 2006, to name just a very few.

"And all this for what? As Kolko writes, everywhere it has intervened, militarily, covertly, or by providing funding, arms and training for 'friendly' repressive regimes and their state-terrorist organs, the US has created enemies. Hardly anywhere has Washington's desired political outcome been achieved, despite - or because of - the staggering human, social and financial costs. In many cases, all the US has achieved has been stalemate (eg, Korea), defeat (eg, Vietnam), or blowback (eg, from its onetime proxy in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden). In other cases it has set in motion unforeseen and uncontrollable developments (eg, the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia). The US itself is at greater risk than ever, as it discovered in 2001 when war came to its shores. Its enemies are now far more diverse than they were during the Cold War. They are harder to identify, let alone attack, and threats and potential threats to the US are harder to see and foresee."

They call this nakedly aggressive, imperialistic, resource-dominating, hegemonic project a 'War on Terror' and people take them seriously. The power of state-sponsored propaganda, disinformation, mass delusion and self deception is staggering. This is a salutary lesson which every adult person must learn. In fact it should be taught from childhood.

The Return of the Death Squads - by John Pilger Pilger argues that the incitement of civil war and the breakup of Iraq is original war aim of the US. Many people will find this hard to accept, but when one considers the hideous reality of the Vietnam 'Phoenix Program' or the Central American 'Death Squad Democracies' it is more than possible.

The breakup of Iraq gains in inevitability every day, but I am not convinced this was the 'original war aim'. A revised war aim, maybe.

Moussaoui Trial Leaves Questions Unanswered: "Now that the trial has concluded, Moussaoui will be transferred to the federal maximum security prison at Florence, Colorado. And the world will be left to ponder why the main organizers of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh – both of whom are in U.S. custody – have never been put on trial."

Laurence Britt: Fascism in America? Interview with Dr Britt, author of the widely circulated 14 common characteristics of fascist regimes.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Let's calm down. Messianic Bush isn't about to rain down nukes on Iran: So David Aaronovitch blithely reassures us, dismissing Seymour Hersh in the process.

Hersh's article was based largely (exclusively?) on anonymous sources. This is a discredited tactic in American journalism and Hersh, because of his track record and reputation for integrity, is one of the few who could get away with using it on a major story like this. The journalist's reputation is why it became world news.

It remains to be seen whether Bush will indulge in the supreme folly of a nuclear or conventional attack on Iran. I think it possible but unlikely. Hersh's view is that the US administration definitely wants to do it but may (or may not) be deterred in the end by the consequences, the complications, and resistance from other sectors of the US elite.

The Turkish FM has come out with a forthright statement which should be emulated by all countries including Australia:

"Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Sunday that his country refused a request from the United States to attack Iran from its Air Force base in Incirlik, despite the U.S. offer of a nuclear reactor, according to a report in Al Biyan.

"In an interview for the United Arab Emirates newspaper, Gul noted that America’s efforts to attack Iran are “imaginary” and that Turkey’s stance is “strategic” and refuses the use of its land for any belligerent activity against neighboring countries."

Appeasement of US aggression must end.

Nuclear no cure for climate change, scientists warn: "The cost of building the large number of nuclear power stations needed to even partly replace coal as a source of electricity would be so heavy no private investor would take on the risk without huge government subsidies."

This isnt news. Nuclear power cannot survive without massive corporate welfare. Nuclear power advocates, who are essentially 'welfare queens' trying to put the industry on the public teat, should always be asked, can your industry survive without corporate welfare?

It is typical of course that Treasurer Cosello should come out in favour of corporate welfare.

Nuclear power: Costly, toxic, non-renewable and not the answer. Any public funds available should be put into genuinely renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal etc. The debate is over and the time is now. And to make renewable energy more competitive, carbon taxes should be imposed on the coal industry, which currently gets a free ride in the classic corporate sense of costfree devastation of the commons.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mini-Microsoft: Vista 2007. Fire the leadership now!: "Vista is the biggest software development failure of all time"

Fun gossip about Microsoft Vista and the 'slippage'. If free software like linux, Open Office and Firebird are fully functional and fully legal, I dont understand why they are not installed by default on every computer. Proprietary, purchased software can only be justified where there is a proven need for functionality not otherwise available.

Chomsky: Democratic collapse in the face of crisis issues: "We began by considering four critical issues that should rank high on the agenda of those concerned with the prospects for a decent future. Two of them are literally matters of survival: nuclear war and environmental disaster. The first danger is ever-present, beyond imagination, and in principle avoidable; practical ways to proceed are understood. The second is longer-term, and there is much uncertainty about how a serious crisis can be averted, or at least mitigated, though it is clear enough that the longer the delay in confronting the tasks, they harder they will be. And again, sensible measures to proceed are well known. The third major crisis is that the government of the global superpower is acting in ways that enhance these threats, and others as well, such as the threat of terrorism by enemies. That conclusion, unfortunately all too credible, brings to prominence a fourth critical issue: the growing democratic deficit, the gap between public will and public policy, a sign of the increasing failure of formal democratic institutions to function as they would in a democratic culture with vitality and substance."

When one looks at the Iraq war, a act of naked aggresion based on lies that would do Goebbels proud, and the miserable failure or complicity of parliament, press and institutions in stopping or objecting to the war, one could indeed be deeply concerned about the decline of late Western democracy.

Stephen Colbert comedy routine at White House event (9mbvid): Evidently Bush didn't find this funny. A real tyrant would have to have the clown killed. Power cannot afford to be laughed at unless it is at its end.

Billmon has some good commentary on this:

"Colbert's routine was designed to draw blood -- as good political satire should. It seemed obvious, at least to me, that he didn't just despise his audience, he hated it. While that hardly merits comment here in Left Blogostan, White House elites clearly aren't used to having such contempt thrown in their faces at one of their most cherished self-congratulatory events. So it's no surprise the scribes have tried hard to expunge it from the semi-official record -- as Peter Daou notes over at the Huffington Post."

"It's becoming harder and harder to conceal the ruthlessness of the struggle for power, or ignore the consequences of losing it. There were people at last night's dinner who really could end up in jail -- depending on Patrick Fitzgerald's theory of the case and/or the results of the next two elections. Things have been done over the past five years that can't be undone; crimes committed that can't be uncommitted. If Colbert faced a tough crowd last night, it was probably because so many of them understand that the Cheneyites and the Rovians really are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenberg, and that if the airship goes down in flames their own window seats are going to get pretty toasty. Jobs are at stake. Careers could be at stake. For all we know lives could be at stake. It's an ugly moment, and expecting people like that to laugh at their own misfortunes isn't very realistic."

Only Politically Correct Refugees Allowed: "The Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, has written an extraordinary piece for The Australian newspaper (which unfortunately does not appear to be online). Amazingly, after starting off saying “there needs to be increased understanding of our protection visa obligations,” she then goes on to say that “it is the Government’s strong preference that protection is not offered in Australia to Papuan separatists” – a statement which is a blatant contradiction of the provisions of the Refugee Convention, and therefore of the Migration Act which the Minister is supposed to be overseeing."

The Howard government has adopted Hansonism, which is a revived version of the White Australia policy, because it is seen to be a vote winner. Remember that Hanson attracted one million votes in an earlier election, many of them former conservative voters.

Report: Turkey won’t let U.S. attack Iran from its land: "Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Sunday that his country refused a request from the United States to attack Iran from its Air Force base in Incirlik, despite the U.S. offer of a nuclear reactor, according to a report in Al Biyan.

"In an interview for the United Arab Emirates newspaper, Gul noted that America’s efforts to attack Iran are “imaginary” and that Turkey’s stance is “strategic” and refuses the use of its land for any belligerent activity against neighboring countries."

Describing the US plan to attack Iran as 'imaginary' is humiliating for Bush and the neocons. This principled stand of non-cooperation with proposed aggression should be adopted by all countries including Australia.