Saturday, March 31, 2007

Once Upon a Time...: Sleepwalking to the End of the World: Arthur Silber hitting his straps now with some powerful and distinctive writing. Good stuff! and of course, all too true.

There is a saying in anarchist circles which is equivalent to Arthur's argument, that parliament never introduces reform, reform has to be imposed on parliament from without. There is far too much naivete in the 'blogosphere' and elsewhere about what the Democrats or the opposition can or will do. Obviously, not much. They are the problem.

Kissinger's extradition to Uruguay sought over Operation Condor: Since the death of Nixon, Kissinger would be the world's biggest living anti-humanity criminal, due primarily to the huge scale of the Indo-china atrocity. Even little George Dubya Bush has got a way to go to match that yet.

Jeff Vail: Stormy Weather: Jeff Vail is getting concerned about a possible attack on Iran. my god, its starting to look inevitable. Jeff is also concerned about the housing boom going bust, with the fabled 'financial weapons of mass destruction' bringing down the whole house of cards.

Gabriel Kolko: Israel's Last Chance: The clock is ticking for the 'Jewish State'. You negotiate from a position of strength. Israel needs to cut a comprehensive peace deal now, or face collapse from corruption, military defeat and social disintegration.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Climate Change: John 'Neville' Howard Still Doesnt Get It

It is interesting to contrast the global warming 'initiatives' of the Howard Government as announced over the last few days with the coincident visit of Nicholas Stern, the economist who has put the problem of global warming in terms, one might say, that even a conservative politician could understand. If we invest now, we will save a lot in the future. If we dont pay now, we will pay hugely in the future, "on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century."

One can only conclude that Howard simply has no intention of stopping or reducing emissions, but will spend taxpayer's money to give the impression that he is doing something. It is politics of the lowest and lousiest sort, the apotheosis of 11 years of the meanness and lack of vision of Howardism.

Emissions are killing the planet, and what is needed is to dramatically cut emissions in a specified timeframe, by 30% from 1990 levels by 2020, according to Stern; and by 60-90% by the year 2050, again according to Stern. But the Prime Minister is flatly declaring he will do no such thing. I didn't think that Howard could ever top the folly of Iraq, but perhaps on this issue he can. It would be hard to imagine a more irresponsible stance, and a person more unfit for leadership in the 21th Century.

Its like Europe in 1939: Hitler has already invaded Poland, and John 'Neville' Howard is saying, 'dont worry, it'll be all right, we dont have to do anything, we have environment in our time'.

At least Chamberlain did finally declare war on Hitler. Howard is effectively promising to do nothing at all, other than vote-catching cosmetic gestures, no matter what the evidence.

"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."

Monday, March 26, 2007

War with Iran?: "The baseless claims being made about Iran are if anything far more extreme than most of what was said about Saddam Hussein. Not only that they have a nuclear weapons programme, but that they are a natural enemy, would risk substantial destruction to themselves for the chance to wipe out Israel, are actively participating in the Iraqi insurgency (on wafer-thin evidence), and so on. It's a ferocious, ceaseless, concerted effort, and it suggests that preparations for a military attack quite soon are underway. It was suggested in the newspapers not long ago that the US could attack by Spring if it wanted to. This is Spring, and they want to."

It still seems improbable that the US would actually attack Iran, but it is remarkable, given the likely consequences of such a war, how little attention is given to this topic by the political and media system.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

At last, first Howard Minister sacked

AdelaideNow... Burke affair sparks ministry reshuffle: Stepping into action after an inspirational meeting with the toughest lawman in the West, Wyoming's Deadeye Dick Cheney, PM John Howard opened up and.... gunned down one of his own ministers.

Yes that's right. Howard gunned down one of his own ministers. Good job, PM. Do you need some more ammo?

After years of the most tremendous scandals, including 'children overboard', refugees in prisons and concentration camps, children in prisons and concentration camps, Australian citizens in prisons and concentration camps, Iraq war, $300m bribe to Saddam Hussein etc the Opposition had been unable to get a single scalp. But thanks to the PM's deadly blast now they have.

I guess you have to take your scalps anyway you can.

I can see Howard's loyal followers and heirs apparent Abbott, Costello and Turnbull quietly taking a further step backward from the Prime Minister. You wouldn't want another accident now, would you? Or maybe it wasnt an accident, from the 'cleverest politician of his generation.'

And as for Kevin Rudd, I imagine that right now he is trying to arrange meetings with all of the biggest crooks, spivs and lowlifes in the country in an effort to stimulate the PM into further action. In the words of John 'Dubya' Howard's hero, the Great Dubya himself, Bring it On!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

10 Institutions That Ruin The World - #5: Lord knows how I came across this, but here we have an authentic rightie who thinks that the Social Justice movement, the Peace movement and the Environmental movement are among the top 10 institutions that ruin the world but the Pentagon (which has MILLIONS of victims to its credit) and the fossil fuel industry (which is literally killing the planet) don't even rate a mention.

Perhaps this line sums up better than anything the utter wrongheadedness of the writer: "Try finding a mainstream media organisation that hasn't bought into the Global Warming debate on the side of 'the science is settled'."

The science IS settled, and has been for some years now; and it is the corporate media which has been retailing the 'jury not in' line for many years in the face of the scientific consensus.

In the case of governments like the Bush/Cheney administration or corporations like Halliburton (hey, its that man Cheney again!), greed and lust for power conventionally provide and explain the motive for their criminal and inhuman acts. But in the case of the these righties and warbloggers, who presumably get none of the spoils in either riches, power or glory, what excuse or explanation is there for moral depravity? Do they ENJOY war and mass killing as a spectator sport, and LOOK FORWARD to the destruction of the planet?

Update: Language of post modified.

A 'warblogger' repents

What Went Wrong?: Normally I dont read these 'warbloggers' - even when 'repenting' it is virtually unreadable, delusional nonsense. But I struggled through to the end of the article and a few of the comments.

The Iraq war was an illegal, criminal act of aggression based on a pretext of ludicrous lies against a virtually defenceless nation the purpose of which was to establish a reliable client state and seize direct control of the region's oil reserves.* There were no weapons, no links to Al-Qaeda, and no concern for democracy in Iraq (or anywhere else for that matter). The propaganda was fixed around the policy decision to invade which had been taken somewhat earlier in the piece.

All this was obvious at the time to any observer with a computer and a modem connection, and if a person could not or cannot perceive this (either then or now) then that is a subject worth examining. Anyone familiar with either history (especially war and imperialism) or political science (especially either clasical liberalism or anarchism - not to mention common sense understanding of human nature) could see at once what was happening and how it could not be any other way.

Its back to elementary education and a probable 'deprogramming' if an intelligent, educated person did not or cannot see this.

* Yes that's right. After reading or skimming the article and comments I did a search on 'oil' and could not find a single mention, either in the article itself or in the comments. How can anyone think like this? We've got 15,000 plus words of twaddle on the biggest international issue of the modern world, and not a single mention, direct or indirect, or even by way of denial, of the crucial factor underlying the whole affair. How's that for ideological discipline?

Monday, March 05, 2007

'Clean Coal' and 'Safe Nuclear' both non-existent and no use even if they did exist

The countdown to climate change: "Nicholas Stern, former World Bank chief economist, in his report to the British Government last year, which warned that the world has only 10 to 15 years to avoid catastrophic climate change. As Greens senator Christine Milne points out, the fact of the matter is that neither the nuclear nor geosequestration options will deliver any cuts to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in the next 15 years.

"According to Stern, it is likely that within 15 years, with "business as usual", global warming will reach a "tipping point" where global warming will be positively reinforced by a series of related events such as the melting of the Arctic ice cap, so that global warming will spiral out of control irrespective of what measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gases."

"Geosequestration is further away and arguably more unsafe than the nuclear option. Its problems include: there is no evidence to show it can be done on a commercial scale; nobody knows what it will cost; and it can't be retrofitted, so all existing coal-fired power stations would be redundant."

"While the chances of accidents are low, and nuclear power plants have a better safety record than coalmines, there is the possibility of a catastrophic accident. Which means plants are uninsurable.

"Last week the Greens published a research paper on nuclear risk, which showed that Australian insurers have nuclear exclusion clauses. Nuclear power reactors are so risky that companies won't build them without government indemnities. In other countries, where indemnities are granted, the government accepts financial responsibility by removing the requirement to prove negligence in common law cases involving nuclear damages. In Australia the Government has failed to do this (Lucas Heights), in effect pushing the risk onto home owners.

"The paper reached the tart conclusion that "the coal industry has prospered by not paying for its pollution; now it seems the nuclear industry will not pay for its risk"."

"Taking real steps to deal with climate warming before 2020 doesn't require multibillion-dollar investments in nuclear power or geosequestration. It requires relatively conservative tax and subsidy changes to modify household and business behaviour to flatten the demand for electricity... savings could be expedited by a carbon tax or "cap and trade" to boost the price of electricity, backed up, if necessary, by regulation."

This is a real crisis and the policy response of both Government and Opposition is pathetically inadequate. They are playing 'politics as usual' in the face of disaster. They are serving their corporate masters in the coal, uranium and mining industries, and not the public. Neither party is prepared to confront the coal industry and tell the public the truth: coal is killing the planet and has to be phased out in a specific timeframe. Neither party is willing to immediately introduce a carbon tax to start sending price signals; neither is prepared to commit to the steps necessary to achieve major reductions in energy consumption, and rapid uptake in renewable energy production.