Saturday, March 31, 2007

Saving Face

The increasingly heavy investment of "face" in the UK Marine capture situation is unquestionably adding to the danger of an inadvertent outbreak of open hostilities. One side or the other is going to be forced to surrender some of its pride if a more deadly confrontation is going to be averted. And there is no indication that the Bush administration is doing anything other than encouraging British recalcitrance.

Unless one’s basic intention is to provoke a hostile action to which the US and UK could “retaliate,” getting involved in a tit-for-tat contest with the Iranians is a foolish and reckless game, for it may not prove possible to avoid escalation and loss of control. And we seem to be well on our way there. If one calls Iran "evil,” arrests its diplomats, accuses it of promoting terrorism and unlawful capture, one can be certain that the Iranians will retaliate and raise the stakes in the process.

That is how the game of tit-for-tat is played in that part of the world. What British and American officials seem not to be taking into account is that the Iranians are the neighborhood toughs. In that neighborhood, they control the conditions under which the game will be played. They can change the rules freely any time they want; the UK cannot, and neither can Washington. Provocative behavior, then, can be very dangerous, unless you mean to pick a fight you may well regret.

Someone should recount to Tony Blair and Ayatollah Khameini the maxim quoted by former United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix just last week:

"The noble art of losing face Will someday save the human race."

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Extreme Sports Kiwi Styles

Looks like its going to be a nice day for Bob to do what's in every kiwis blood... Xtreme sports, note the lack of e in extreme, this indicates how crazymad we kiwis are....

Today I'm going bowling. Lawn Bowls that is none of the ten pin stuff... thats for lunatics

Friday, March 30, 2007

Typical... Bob it serves ya right.

Have a bit of a moan about having a flat week/month and my resulting day yesterday was a shocker... talk about a day that showed me a bad time.
Perhaps my grey mindset lead to me stupidly flooding the bathroom, and putting me in the way of rain on and off all day, getting nicely wet and indicating perhaps the week/month hadn't been too shabby at all. Serves ya right Bob ya moany old git.
It was a good day of rain here, been a while since we'd seen showers like that. Other than getting a bit wet myself it was all good.
Anyone find it ironic that the first Guantanamo Bay court appearence was by an Australian, a one time Kangaroo skinner to boot... a roo in a Kangaroo court. It'd be bloody funny if the whole situation wasn't so tragic and infuriating....

More irony in Britian crying wolf over her soldiers currently being detained by the Iranians, if these people hadn't trespassed into Iranian waters Britian should show the Iranians and the world the proof - no need to drag this situation out into more than it is or should be.
If Iran is in the wrong proove it then start yelling ya demands, simply yelling isn't very convincing considering Britian and her allies track record on truth telling of the past few years, especially in relation to this particular part of the globe.

Iran on the other hand continues to show they are very adept chess players, this doesn't mean they shall win this current series of games by any means.
Oh well Friday awaits, here's to a fun and silly weekend...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

keep passing the open windows

Its been one of them weeks. Actually one of them months....

Where the days seem to drag, the mind isn't focused as it might be, the weather is typically Auckland, I am constantly tired and well I seem to be in a funk.

I watched a few news bulletins last night and realised where-ever one looks in todays wired world the news all seems bad, of course this is what the media does, it tells us stories of tragedy, of human lives lost, of corruption, of natural disasters... its not a feel good time.

Each channels new service blurs into another, each talking head presents the news in a similar fashion, even the diversions aren't what they could be.

It is of course March, summer is gone, winter is coming... we don't really have a autumn in Auckland, one day the leaves will start falling and a few days later they will be gone, none of the glory and beauty of watching leaves turn golden then fall here.

There's a bridge you can drive across as you enter Wanaka down south, crossing this bridge in Autumn is breath taking, due to the back drop and tress all a golden yellow, you don't get anything like that here, rather some of the streets that I feel are the most attractive in the city are about to lose their lush green cover and look naked, just bare tress reminding us of warmer times.

I don't like winter in Auckland, its cold enough to know its winter but not cold enough for it to be well cold, proper cold, wrap up warm cold.... put long pants on cold.

There's something great about proper cold times, icy cold rains, winter storms and the possiblity of snow or if not that at least a vista of snow capped mountains to stun the eyes and chill the air. Tis the south islander in me.

There is an upside, winter is a more serious time, at least in my mind. Its a time when the ears seek more than soothing sounds to compliment a mood, its a time to critically listen to albums and songs and read serious books, a time to go a little bit bonkers when out on the town. When if at a gig or club the warmth of packed in human bodies is comforting not simply super uncomfortable.

I think I need a challenge, something I can get my teeth into, something I believe in, something significant to me and my world... I wish I knew what it was and from where it is coming or maybe more to the point where I should go to find it....

Yep its one of them weeks/months, nothing seems quite right.

Saying that its just after 7am, I'm listening to a Goons show CD prior to getting up properly and facing the day. I am giggling away like a school boy in a chipper mood. Its raining/drizzling, I am quite looking forward to a good walk getting wet, I love walking in the rain, even if being wet and bedraggled isn't the greatest look on arrival at my destination.... and yes some idiot will snigger and tell me I am wet and its raining... well done sherlock!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stupid Time Killers

Your results:
You are Superman

You are mild-mannered, good, strong and you love to help others.

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

I don't like superman and this copy and paste code thingy is going to look like crap :(

Some random stuff

- I couldn't help but wonder what was going through Tony Blair's head as he condemed Iran's capture of the British servicemen... I'm no body language expert nor proponent but didn't he look like he was lying or something? Something didn't seem right in my mid, and its not like Mr Blair isn't a very accomplished public speaker now is it.

Is this the spark that may inflame things to the point of a US attack on Iran?

The security council's sanctions on Iran - are we about to witness a similar sanctions regime akin to that which is responsible for at least 500,000 deaths in Iraq pre invasion?

and of course as per this time last year, will we actually see a attack on Iran - I hope not but the time is right now, for such a event...

Its disgusting the higher value we place on certain nationalities peoples lives

- the new allegations of sexual misadventures by the same people now serving time for rape

- can this can of worms get any worse for our Police force?

How many years will it take for us to learn to trust those whom should be above question?

- According to opinion polls 78% or there abouts oppose the 'anti smacking bill'.... I just don't get it.

Something stinks and its the media's representation of the bill and thus the publics view of it too.

I can't help but wonder if much of the opposition is due to it being Sue Bradford's bill

- Telecom sells the Yellow pages part of their business for 2.4 billion - wow!

Watch the money or a large chunk disappear offshore (to shareholders) and not into infrastructure that is woefully inadequate, criminally so - on the internet front

- South by Southwest, yawn....

- Miami Winter Music Conference, bigger yawn...

- David Hicks, where the fuck was Australia and Australians this whole time, he could have been released anytime if Howard's govt had demanded so...

Shame on you Australia he is one of your own

If he was a NZ'er I hope our govt would have the balls to do the right thing... I don't want to ever find out the answer to this... because it might not be that which I would want

- The Democrats in the US... showing their true colours... you were voted in because the US public is over Iraq.... remember?

A real opposition is a wonderful thing and politics is a shitty game

- carbon emissions, global warming and the like.... capitalism will not save the planet - the two are fundamentally oppossed

- sharing, is this a good thing?

- the weather has picked up some, which is bloody great, I wasn't keen on a early winter, not at all

- dear friends coming to stay... can't wait... come on down Miss Cambodia :)

- realisation that alcohol is not that big a part in my life anymore and as such I have reverted to a lightweight boozer status, oh the shame LOL

- ahh my spacing goes totally out of whack on this blogger thing every time i insert and then move an image - stupid!

Yep it must be tuesday, have a good one!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Piracy didn't kill the major label business model, choice did.

At some point in the future, earlier rather than later if the majors capitulate and agree to live in the present as opposed to the 1990s, music acquisition on the Net will be monetized. A great deal of revenue will be generated, but it will be distributed amongst a plethora of providers/acts.

The major labels, employing a push mentality, focused on ever-fewer records in an attempt to create blockbusters. Figuring their lock on exhibition and distribution would help them succeed. To get heard you had to be on terrestrial radio. To get bought you had to be in Best Buy. And the majors controlled those gatekeepers, indies were frozen out, therefore most of the public was unaware of other offerings in the marketplace, to the degree they existed.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 signed the death warrant for terrestrial radio. Consolidating, just like the major labels, radio aired fewer records and more commercials. A formula that might work in Bizarroworld, but was a recipe for disaster in reality. People didn't want to listen to the same records for months at a time, and they certainly didn't want over twenty minutes of commercials an hour, so they started tuning out.

And then came Napster. Not only could you almost instantly locate and download your favorites from the past, you could do the same regarding any title you read about or a friend told you about. No Jack format could equal this.

And then came the iPod, a place to store and carry your downloaded tunes.
And then everybody got a high speed connection. And they could listen to Internet radio.
And those that subscribed to satellite, they listened to the radio of their dreams, with niches never exposed on terrestrial, and many of them.

People are more excited about music than ever, they're consuming more music than ever, but those who used to be in control of the business...their stranglehold has been broken.
And everybody's scattered in a different direction. You don't have to listen to Mariah Carey. Her gargantuan hit, "We Belong Together", went unheard by a huge segment of the population. Everybody wasn't listening to the same Top Forty radio station, everybody was no longer watching MTV, rather everybody was living in his niche, or multiple niches, listening oftentimes to tracks the purveyors of Mariah Carey had never heard of.

It's kind of funny how the top-down marketers still don't see the paradigm.
The iTunes Music Store is a failure because the tracks are too expensive and you can't test music out, not because of the proprietary DRM.

And merging satellite radio companies will result in blander, more homogenized programming that Mel Karmazin might use to dazzle those ignorant on Wall Street, but will never appeal to the masses.

If you want to get everybody on board, you've got to offer...EVERYTHING! Give me both XM and Sirius channels for the same $12.95. Don't slice off the bottom of the Internet dial with heinous copyright fees, let EVERYBODY play and collect the pennies as well as the dollars. Because what fat cats think is marginal, many people believe is nirvana.

Now there are winners and losers in this new sphere. The landscape is not completely flat. But the peaks...they're not as high. Because not that many people are interested in lowest common denominator offerings. And that which sold well in the past ten years had this characteristic. Or maybe not that many people are interested in rap, or other so-called dominant genres. Given the choice, people want something else. And they now have this choice.

Ubiquity no longer is. No one has dominance over American mindshare. God, it took Katrina for most of America to finally see George Bush's faults, and that was almost half a decade after he took office. What makes you think some POP song is gonna penetrate the popular consciousness?

Network TV ratings plunge. Why watch news at 6:30 when you can get it 24/7 on a cable channel? Why watch sanitized programming on network when you can see real life on pay cable?

But there are a limited number of TV channels on a system. And TV production is far from cheap.

And movies are even more expensive. And the majors have a stranglehold on distribution.
But music... Music production is cheap. And there's no cap on the number of acts in the marketplace. Sure, hype is expensive, which is why most indie acts let their audience do the selling for them, which is now possible with new technologies. Furthermore, the more you market, the more you try to become ubiquitous, the more your core, the revenue-generating machine that you depend on day by day, gets turned off. Become a huge star, and you're probably finished. Then again, if you grow organically over a decade, no one complains. But the point is you no longer need the major label as a bank, as a marketer, you don't need that much money and your fans do so much of the work for you. How do the majors compete in this new landscape? Good question.

Bob Lefsetz

Again some thought provoking words from Mr Lefsetz, as per not groundbreaking in his thinking but again as per good food for thought, for those on the business end of entertainment and/or in fact any industry that can be digitalised.

The landscape is changing quickly, you have more variety of music on the large commercial radio stations and less on the small 'niche' stations (someone isn't listening), you have the first drop in NZ music play (voluntary quota) for years and the first time I believe since it hit the 20% mark that its dropped. Why - lack of investment in derivitive made for commercial radio acts. Why because there is no budget (well there never really was) for new acts.

The number one album here is selling around 1000 copies a week, a tiny number, hell I used to sell that many of really fringe releases years ago in a week (not often but it di happen) - we wouldn't even chart register those releases as they wouldn't have made the top 40.

The future is speeding up, and what is current right this very second is history by the end of the week.

We have a culture that really does consume their music, at breakneck speed. Commerce has won but in doing so commerce has also lost.

The one thing no one is aying is the fact no one knows for sure where this is all heading. The only known facts are, people are consuming more music than ever (be it legally or not) and people here are flocking to gigs, concerts and shows like never before.

People will buy experiences but most will not buy objects in relation to music.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Helen Clark and Winston Peters: Apologists for Mass Terror

by Cameron Walker
March 25, 2007

In January 2007 Cabinet Minister Jim Anderton, in an interview about the Bush Administration’s decision to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq, with Christchurch's newspaper The Press, compared the occupation of Iraq with America's Vietnam 'fiasco'. He then added:

"One wonders whether the lessons I would have expected to be learnt from that fiasco have been learnt in any way at all. It is literally years since Mr Bush landed on an aircraft carrier and announced the war was over. I don't know whether he remembers that."

A fair comment from a Minister from a government that at election time proudly reminds the public that it kept out of the Iraq invasion one would think. Unfortunately not. Foreign Minister Winston Peters even made a special press release from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in the Philippines to strongly condemn Anderton. According to Peters "Jim Anderton's comments about United States President George Bush are ill-informed and regrettable"

"Mr Anderton is entitled to his own thoughts on world events but it is unfortunate he has chosen to make them public on this occasion." he added.

Prime Minister Helen Clark quickly distanced herself and the NZ Government from Anderton's comments. While during the 2005 election campaign Clark happily brought to the public's attention comments made by then National Leader, Don Brash, saying 'I would have done what President Bush did [in Iraq]', her reaction to Anderton’s comments show how superficial any anti-war position she takes is. Meanwhile ‘progressive outward looking’ National Party leader John Key said that Jim Anderton was probably just repeating the ‘anti-American’ comments he hears around the Cabinet table of this very ‘anti-American’ Labour Government.

After 9/11 the Labour led government happily sent SAS (Special Air Service) troops to join the USA's war of terror against Afghanistan. For nearly a year the government refused to answer what NZ troops were doing there but it turns out that since 2001 they've been doing things like illuminating targets to guide bombers, taking prisoners and other operations that the NZ government calls 'direct action missions".

All this makes New Zealand party to countless serious war crimes including but not restricted to:

The deaths of up to 200 civilians, who suffered blast trauma, ruptured lungs, blindness and blown off arms and legs, when the US Military dropped 15,000 Pound Fuel Air Explosives (FAEs) 20 miles from their villages in 2001[1]
The capture of innocent people who were then tortured and sent off to Guantanamo Bay to be imprisoned without trial
the dropping of cluster bombs on villages
the bombing of a wedding party, killing 48 people and wounding more than 100.

Before anyone writes to say 'but the Taliban did worse!' please take note that the warlords from the Northern Alliance, who the US allied with to oust the Taliban, committed all the same sorts of abuses as the Taliban. As an activist from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) said:

’The fact that the Taliban closed down schools was publicised, but it was the Northern Alliance that destroyed the schools. They were the first ones to throw acid at women who did not wear ‘burqas’. They posed democracy as a concept for ‘infidels’ (anti-Islamics) and said women were not part of general civil society.’ [2]

Criticising Jim Anderton’s comments on Iraq isn’t the first time Winston Peters has stood up for state terrorism. After the 1996 election he broke his election promise to not join a National Government and was then made Deputy Prime Minister, and Treasurer, a bit like how he slimed his way into being Foreign Affairs Minister after the 2005 election. Recently I was looking through some old newsletters of the New Zealand Free East Timor Coalition [3], who consistently spoke out against both Labour and National Government’s support for the brutal Indonesian Military occupation of East Timor. In 1997 some photos taken by Indonesian soldiers of the torture of five young Timorese women three of whom who were wearing school uniforms, were released to the outside World. To quote from the newsletter:

‘The photos show the young women with their heads covered by black hoods, tied up and undergoing beating, burning with cigarettes, being stripped naked and even having nails driven into their bloodied bodies. The military have written messages on the women's bodies - messages which mock their Christian faith and their support for independence. In one instance a young woman is laid out naked with a picture of Christ placed above her and a sign against her: "If you are God's child, try to come down and resuscitate your faithful”.’

When Winston Peters was questioned in Parliament that year as to why New Zealand was still inviting Indonesian Military personnel to visit NZ for training in light of these photographs and other evidence of mass state terror in East Timor he replied "our engagement ... is the training of dentists and other things of a humane quality".

In reality Indonesian Military officers were here learning things like ‘planning night infiltration attacks, how to do ‘military operations in urban terrain’ and other skills very useful for suppressing clandestine resistance and demonstrations. As the July 1998 Free East Timor Coalition newsletter goes on to mention ‘In East Timor the nights are feared because "pre-dawn" is the time when the military carries out raids and abductions.’

Many New Zealanders are well aware of the shocking abusive nature of US and British foreign policy. It’s time we had a close look at our own country too.

1 Dr Helen Caldicott (2002) ‘The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military Industrial Complex, Carlton North, Scribe


3 The Website of the Free East Timor Coalition is no longer updated but kept online for historical purposes

We shouldn't be in Afganistan, our attempt at being seen to be helping and also not being involved will one day haunt us.

The war on terror and all the subsequint crappy wars of the Bush administration are not our wars, we should have no part of them.

We'll never have a free trade deal with the US until we have something they can't source from anywhere else easily. So why do we keep talking like if we suck George's cock we'll get one...

Stupid politics.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

From the how-nice-of-them dept

This Isn't The New Business Model We Were Hoping The RIAA Would Adopt

Lately, the RIAA has been on a high-profile campaign to get college students that the RIAA believes have been involved in illegal file trading to settle lawsuits against them at a "discount". As part of this strategy, the company has tried to enlist universities to help them identify and turn over the names of offending students. But it's heartening to see that some universities aren't spinelessly acquiescing to the RIAA's demands.

The University of Wisconsin has told the RIAA that it has no obligation to rat its students out unless it's compelled to do so by a subpoena. Meanwhile, the University of Nebraska has told the RIAA that it can't help them identify many of the students accused of file trading. The school's system changes a computer's IP address each time its turned on, and it only keeps this information for month. After that month, the school has no way of associating an IP address with a computer or its user. The RIAA is angry about this, and a spokesman for the group criticized the university for not understanding "the need to retain these records". This is a ridiculous complaint. The university doesn't have a need to retain these records, and there's no reason it should do so out of some obligation to the RIAA. If there were any doubt that the university is really irritated by the RIAA's requests, it has requested that the RIAA pay the university to reimburse its expenses from dealing with this (good luck with that).

If all of this back and forth sounds familiar, it's because it very closely resembles what happened a few years ago when the RIAA tried getting ISPs to share data on their users. Fortunately, the ISPs stood up for their users and told the RIAA to get lost. It's too bad the group didn't seem to learn its lesson.


I believe RIANZ the New Zealand version of the RIAA has been trying to do similar things - the ISP part.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I must stop watching breakfast TV

Just saw the Clean being interviewed... Robert & Hamish

I love the Clean but don't want to see my heroes in a filler piece for the masses... not a bad piece by breakfast TV standards but its always cringeful to see people interview others whom they know nothing about

*puts Great Unwashed Collection back on shelf for the day and picks up Pin Group retrospective compilation on Stiltbreeze in its place*

and whilst in rant mode, fuck you blogger or whatever it is that makes me have to re-edit every damn post to get the spacing right.... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr twice for this one short post, argh

Should we be internet pirates?

I'm in lazy mode today, a quick copy and paste of someone elses text shall fill the void that is my daily update.

For many whom pop by the following is nothing new, in fact its embarrassingly old talk, but for many whom are new to this internet lark, this digital music lark, this downloading lark, this poor chaps experience highlights so much about why the music industry resembles a headless chicken.

How I Became A Music Pirate

I thought I was the music industry's dream consumer.

As a 40 year old male with a long-standing passion for "all things music," I've spent a bundle on my collection. In college most of my waking hours were spent wandering around record stores, swap meets and record conventions, much to the dismay of the women I was ostensibly dating. Then again, the fact that I also worked as a DJ at the radio station and hung out with obsessive record collector types probably didn't help matters in the romance department.

Then while in grad school in the 1990s, I became busy replacing many of my vinyl releases with CD's. At the same time, entrepreneurial music industry types began to exploit the market for out-of-print recordings by reissuing long out-of-print records on CD formats, which of course I
instantly snapped up.

So here I sit circa 2007 with a house filled with over 1000 vinyl records and around 800 CD's. If you figure about $12 per recording as an accurate average, that's somewhere around $20,000. Not a bad chunk of change for the music business, I say.

Last week while I was busy importing my CD's into iTunes so I could listen to them on my iPod (a most tedious task), I hopped on the internet. iTunes was busy importing a Luna CD, one of my favorite bands, so I decided to see what they were up to since they disbanded a few years back. After a few clicks in Google, I found a blog site describing a posthumous, internet-only release of a collection of covers the band had recorded throughout their career. While I already had many of the songs (they were often featured on b-sides and imported singles, etc.), I couldn't resist tracking down this compilation. As I read further on the blog site I encountered a link to a .zip file containing the entire collection ripped as 128kbps mp3's.

While I must admit being tempted to simply click away and download the collection, I though to myself, "Well, if I buy the music it's only $10, and this way I will get high quality .WAV files. Besides, it's not like Luna were getting rich off of their careers, they could use the money..."

So I headed to Rhino's online store, purchased the music, and downloaded the files.

A little later that evening, I tried to move the .WMA files into iTunes, when I received an error message telling me that iTunes could not import them because they were copy protected. I downloaded the files again (which took another 12 minutes) and again, the same message.

So I called Rhino customer support and after an 8 minute wait spoke with a representative. She informed me that the files were indeed copy protected so that I could only play them on specific music players, most notably not iTunes.

"You don't understand," I said, "These files were not copied or pirated, I actually purchased them."

"Well" she responded, "You didn't actually purchase the files, you really purchased a license to listen to the music, and the license is very specific about how they can be played or listened to."

Now I was baffled. "Records never came with any such restrictions," I said.

She replied, "Well they were supposed to, but we weren't able to enforce those licenses back then, and now we can"

She later went on to explain that I could burn the songs to a CD and listen to them in a regular CD player, but I would need an additional Windows based music player to listen to them on my computer. But either way, she suggested there was no way the files could be played on my iPod.

Frustrated, I hung up and began my search for a Windows application to allow me to burn the music to a CD. After downloading Nero and firing it up, imagine my frustration when I receive another error message telling me it cannot locate the licenses for the music I purchased.

I call Rhino again, and this time speak to a young male CSR. He explains that I need updated licenses in order to burn the music and often the problem is that many firewalls will allow the music to pass through the firewall, but not the licenses because of their encryption schemes. Lest you think I am exaggerating, I included below the following text from their website (apparently this is a big enough problem that it warrants mentioning in their FAQ):

1. Temporarily disable all firewall and pop-up blocker software you may be running on your computer.

2. Attempt the download again

If the Licensing portion of the download is still hanging, please update the Digital Rights Management (DRM) component on your computer via the following URL:

The friendly CSR representative then suggests that I try once more to download the files and licenses and if I still have no luck to try accessing the internet from other providers such as a local coffee shop, library, or work computer.

"Basically, just keep downloading the music until you find a gateway that let's your licenses through without problems"

While I would like to say I responded with something witty, I must admit to being completely flummoxed. There I sat, a loyal music fan who has shelled out actual money to a business that is supposed to be having financial problems, and the best they can do is tell me to wander the streets of Seattle looking for different internet providers who might allow me to download the music that I have already paid for, music that I have spent the better part of three house trying to listen to, and which is still unusable?

How on earth have things come to this?!?!?!

Honestly, if this is the best you can do, you're business is in really, really serious trouble.

I mean, could you imagine the consumer response if Coke could only be consumed from specific Coke-approved equipment, and then only in the specific ways that the folks at Coke wanted the product to be consumed. "drinking Coke with fast food is no problem, but we must warn you that your license forbids the mixing of Coke with any alcoholic beverages..."

In the end, I never was able to get the music to play on anything--my computer, on a CD or on my iPod. I invested $10, several hours of my time, and my reward was, well, nothing.

I'd like to say I was outraged, but in the end I must admit to feeling remarkably sad and deflated over the whole process. See, the thing is, I was raised on music. I was saved by music. I (used to) live for music. Lester Bangs wasn't my idol, he was my soul mate (in a matter of speaking).

I've devoted a not-inconsequential chunk of my life to collecting music; to tracking down obscure records, cassettes, 8-Tracks and CD's of all genres and styles. And now apparently that is all but over. Music has somehow evolved from tangible things into amorphous collections of 1's and 0's guarded over by interested parties as if they were gold bullion. How so very sad.

I would like to think that someone at a place like Rhino would care enough to not let these kinds of things happen. But alas, my suspicion is that anyone who would have been cool enough to work at Rhino in their heyday some twenty years ago would never be so callous, foolish or shallow to allow these kind of absurdities to occur.

Since I've resigned myself not to waste any more time with the music business, I suppose I'll have to resort to purchasing used CD's & records, or having my friends occasionally make me a copy of one of their newer CD's.

Call it piracy. Call it whatever you want. But at least I tried. I gave you several chances and you failed miserably at every level.


The spooky thing and perhaps why I've posted this in its entirity (other than the being lazy action) is the similarities this chap has to myself, in his passion for and background coming into this thing called music.

I've lived through enough format changes to realise that the format is but a passing thing, except in the case of vinyl thus far, MP3s will not be here for ever or for long, their ones & zeros will be replaced by a better file format or broadband will eventually be of a quality that WAV files will be the format that dominates - why fork out for substandard formats?

We haven't done that since the demise of the cassette tape -well CDs are a crappy format and one that is def on the way out, not due to it having run its course but because people don't need nor want them, the i-pod has seen to that, well other digital devices have also paid a part, but its still that flawed piece of kit, the i-pod, that is associated with digitial devices - oh how I look forward to the day the i-pod no longer is fashionable for music is more important than the playback device.... at least to me it is.

There are many things I miss in my life, with regards to music:

One is the thrill of the purchase - I miss being able to wander round a series of record stores, chatting to the staff and other customers, listening to tunes and walking out with a slab or six of wax that I'd just found or at worst some gems I wanted but hadn't intended purcahsing. I miss standing in BPM and realising there was nothing new I wanted which happened from time to time, so I'd grab a moodymann 12" I didn't have instead. For anything close to this experience musically now I can only get it in Auckland via the internet stores, for the physical ones simply on't cater to people like me anymore, yes there are some exceptions that do a grand job in vinyl etc but not for my very varied and eclectic tastes.

I also miss the talking about music, that has dominated my life since about the age of 16. I used to have a very large circle of friends that our primary talk was centered all around music. I guess its only natural that this disipates over time as my friends grew up and got lives. There's still a few souls I can and do talk music with a lot, and I treasure these conversations and their friendships. And whilst its no big deal to a middle aged chap for this to not be the primary aspect of conversation in my social circles anymore I also get the feeling for many younger people music isn't as dominant a talking point as it once was, and here I am thinking about the music nutters, not 'normal' people.

What was once will possibly never be again, I've lived through a time that is not to be repeated, I am by all intents a dinosaur and have paid the price for being redundant in this modern world.

Yet I can't help but dream of earlier days, of times when a album was a friend for life, a time when many evenings were spent with firneds simply lisening to music and talking about our very different takes on what we liked and oh how we shared our collections and passions for artists works.

I often think back to my University days when with a couple of friends (on ya Phil!!) and I would travel up to Auckland to go record shopping, nothing more. We'd spend all our money and drive home debating who got first dibs on the stereo and on arrival home we'd take turns playing our purchases to each other whilst drinking and smoking whatever was at hand. Simple and bloody marvelous times.

I wish the younger generation had something similar, a virtual trip to juno or beatport its simply not the same.

I also remember a time when one could keep up with pretty much all the developments in music, the various genres and artists and developments... nowadays you're doing bloody well if you can keep up with a sub genre of a sub genre and its not for lack of resources, information is easier to get than ever, but the proliferation of music is simpy too vast and daunting for all but the obsessed to keep up with in any manner and even then no one can keep on top of anything in general.

I'm rambling... so I'll shut up now... if you do anything to do with music today might I suggest that you listen to something you haven't heard for years, find a old friend and relive the rush of discovery and the wonderment and joy of catching up with a dear old friend.

I've grabbed my Great Unwashed collection on CD to revisit today and for something new another listen to the fucking wonderful Grinderman album.

Rock on and remember beer and music do go together.

As I go to post this I have just checked my email and I see one that covers some of what I've just waffled on about... awesome tomorrow's blog post is sorted now too.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

On the listening pile at the mo

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver

Fatdog - downloaded mix (hat tip to faith)

Combat88 mix3 - downloaded mix (hat tip to Combat88's blog)

David kilgour - Feather In The Engine (so much better than The Far Now)

Assorted Henrik Schwarz tracks and remixes

Invader Tron - Maha Maya

Grinderman - Grinderman (hat tip to Wayde)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How do you celebrate four years of occupation?

With a execution, how else?

BAGHDAD — Saddam Hussein's former deputy was hanged before dawn Tuesday, the fourth man to be executed in the killings of 148 Shiites following a 1982 assassination attempt against the former leader in the town of Dujail.

Taha Yassin Ramadan, who was Mr. Hussein's vice-president when the regime was ousted, went to the gallows on the fourth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

Bassam al-Hassani, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said the execution went smoothly, although Ramadan appeared frightened and recited the two shahadahs — a declaration of faith repeated by Muslims — “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet.”

Mr. al-Hassani said precautions were taken to prevent a repeat of what happened to Mr. Hussein's half brother and co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim, who was inadvertently decapitated on the gallows during his January execution.
Associated Press

Victors justice is a wonderful thing, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Four Years On

Since the invasion of Iraq by the Coalition of the Willing
Four years of hell on earth for the Iraqi people
Four years of lies, deception and criminal activity from the regime in the whitehouse
Four years of needless death and mayhem
Four years!!!!

What we’re going to do right here is go back

One of the wonderful things about the internet is the randomness of it all, you start at one point and never know where you will end up.

The other day whilst engaging in talk on DJ History about This Mortal Coil I followed a link to a old rave track that had sampled Song To The Siren and discovered a wonderful site.

Well wonderful if you liked or lived through the rave era.

My first real introduction to club culture outside of New Zealand was at the tail end of rave, breakbeat culture was morphing into jungle and the big outdoor parties that circled London were drawing to a close, ecstasy was twenty five quid a pop.

It was a exciting time and I was fortunate for it to cross my path whilst doing my OE (Overseas experience).

Anyways, I found this site and spent a highly enjoyable hour there on Friday afternoon listening to many of the tracks I remember with fondness from days gone by. Please note many of the tracks are no longer there to play, which is a bummer but there are still plenty to make one smile or if not familiar with the music of the time perhaps scratch ones head thinking WTF.

Simpler times they were, possibly a lot more fun too.

I'd love to be able to take some of my friends to a good old fashioned English rave, they'd love it and possibly go a little bonkers.

Raving...we're raving

Song To the Siren:

On the floating, shapeless oceans
I did all my best to smile
til your singing eyes and fingers
drew me loving into your eyes.

And you sang "Sail to me, sail to me;
Let me enfold you."

Here I am, here I am waiting to hold you.
Did I dream you dreamed about me?
Were you here when I was full sail?

Now my foolish boat is leaning, broken love lost on your rocks.
For you sang, "Touch me not, touch me not, come back tomorrow."
Oh my heart, oh my heart shies from the sorrow.
I'm as puzzled as a newborn child.
I'm as riddled as the tide.
Should I stand amid the breakers?
Or shall I lie with death my bride?

Hear me sing: "Swim to me, swim to me, let me enfold you."
"Here I am. Here I am, waiting to hold you

Monday, March 19, 2007

Why do TV ads sound louder and more urgent than the programmes?

Sounds bad
by Russell Brown

Why do TV ads sound louder and more urgent than the programmes? Because they’re heavily compressed. It’s a process that’s also affecting the music we listen to.

It takes only a modest grasp of the technology to realise that the digital files we download from the internet or rip from our own compact discs are inferior in quality to CD sound itself. Such is the reality of the “lossy” compression that reduces the sound files to a manageable size. Information is lost from the recording, and with it, sharpness and dynamic range.

In most cases this doesn’t matter too much, especially if the music is played on small devices (on the other hand, listen to a 128k MP3 file on a high-quality system, against the same track from a CD – you might be shocked). And if we want real range and richness we can always just buy the CD.

Or can we?

I’m indebted to Chris Hart, the founder of Real Groovy Records, for alerting me to a trend that is a hot topic in audiophile circles: the crushing of CD sound.

“CD quality has diminished hugely and a lot of new releases sound so compressed that they are wearying to listen to,” he says. “In fact, I’ve gone back to LPs – the new Lucinda Williams is the latest to hit the platter. And that’s fine for me, but a lot of people don’t have the luxury of 100 tonnes of vinyl in their basement at work!”

Before we explore this question, it’s useful to note the difference between data compression (making files smaller, usually by stripping out information) and audio compression.

The latter is carried out at mastering, the stage where a recording is prepared for production on CD, and it effectively makes the quiet parts of a recording louder. But because the loudest parts of a recording can’t be made any louder without distorting, the difference between the quiet parts and the loud parts – the dynamic range – is reduced. The recording sounds louder overall because the quietest parts are much louder than they were before compression. This is why TV ads sound louder and more urgent than the programmes – they’re heavily compressed.

It doesn’t matter whether you turn the stereo up or down; as a listener you’ve lost the ability to hear the light and shade in the original recording. This can be an advantage on the radio – broadcasters have long used audio compression themselves to make music sound punchier and more immediate on small systems.

With the balance of music-industry revenue shifting away from physical sales towards rights revenue, there is further incentive for the labels to concentrate on CDs that squawk urgently out of TV speakers or sound tolerable in a YouTube clip.

You may already have had the experience of buying a CD on the basis of radio or TV play and finding something irk‑some about it at home on the stereo. I did, with the heavily compressed debut album by the Arctic Monkeys, which seems to have been mastered for MySpace and MTV. You might even say that this music is being processed to function as an ad.

The serious music listeners who care about this usually describe this new listening experience as “tiring” or “wearying” to the ears. They also complain about the other main means of making a “hot” CD – mastering it so loud that the highest levels distort. (The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication album is reckoned to be a particular offender on that score.)

But ordinary consumers probably won’t know or care, and are even quite likely to subjectively prefer a loud CD over a quieter one. Some commentators hold that the hotting-up process began with the heyday of Motown Records, which had its records pressed loud for urgency. Listen to Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street”.

Such are the market imperatives that drive the “loudness war”. The new high-fidelity formats that offer deeper, richer music playback – SACD and DVD-Audio – have basically been flops in the mainstream market. And perhaps we’re simply consuming music more as an environmental factor than a sit-down listening experience.

It still seems a shame that an album recorded in the 1960s and remastered since should sound worse now than it did then. As more than one wag has suggested, perhaps this will prove to be the music industry’s salvation: they’ll start mastering uncompressed versions and invite us to buy the music all over again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Daylight Saving

Is here....

Bah, humbug.

Not the nicest of days today, I was thinking about heading off the Grey Lynn Park to attend the Red Bull Daylight Savings gig with the Recloose Band, Shapeshifter and a few others but due to it not being a lovely day I'll pass on that action.

Changes clocks

Finds book, sits down....

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bob (not me) sums it up nicely

Why Are CD Sales Tanking?
by Bob Lefsetz

1. The iPod
After you've got an iPod, why do you need a CD?
CDs are voluminous, not only in size, but content. They take up too much space with too much music you don't want to hear. Better off to cherry-pick, just put what you WANT to hear on an iPod. Which holds the equivalent of more CD booklets than you can pack in a suitcase.

As for the sound...

Sure, CDs sound better than MP3s, but CDs sound like shit compared to vinyl. They're cold, they're brittle... Better to hear a facsimile rather than the tinny, compressed, real thing.

2. Radio

The problem facing the sellers of recorded music is more one of EXPOSURE than theft.
Where do you hear the new music? Terrestrial radio may be the dominant format, but it has burned the trust it had with the listener. Everybody now knows radio is about commercials. People used to think the spots were an intrusion, now they think the MUSIC is an intrusion. The deejays are jive, what they play doesn't touch them, people are DONE!

3. MTV

Music video... A format that exploded and then died. Last time I checked, you HEARD music, you didn't SEE it. So there's nowhere to go with music video. Whereas with movies and television shows you can execute endless plots. In music video you can have the bitches and the ho's and the cash. You can have pretty people. You can have special effects. But you've got no soul.

Music video is dead. Except as evidence of what an act looks like.

But that's not enough to sustain a video channel, just ask MTV. Better yet, VH1.
Music video especially in the eighties, and even up through much of the nineties, was a train-wreck that demanded attention. It was a way to break acts. But the public has moved on.

4. People Don't Know What To Buy

Despite the rags and blogs, music is just not a general topic of conversation amongst the public now. Oh sure, young 'uns are still music passionate. But too often the music is just the grease, what you dance to, make love to. As for the oldsters, they're positively lost. They want to buy, but they don't know WHAT to buy.

You used to trust the deejay.

For a minute there you trusted Starbucks.

Until there's a trusted outlet with some mass and momentum, music sales will remain in the dumper. Rather than wine and dine programmers, labels should develop and support new gatekeepers. Who tell people what to buy!

5. Price

CDs are perceived as a rip-off.

Don't tell me how long you practiced, about your talent, the actual recording costs... When you can buy a DVD of a hit movie for a few dollars more than the CD, sometimes for even the same price, record companies appear to be ripping you off.

6. Lack Of Hit Acts

Most of the country thinks white gone black Justin Timberlake is a joke, not that they have to pay attention, in today's world you can AVOID everything you don't like.
A hit act is one that demands attention, that you want to focus on. There aren't enough of these. And those that are around don't live up to the hype.

7. Availability

There are fewer stores selling fewer CDs. This is a recipe for more sales?

Nail, head, hit

Nothing that insightful in his reasons nor reasoning, but well summed up IMO.

For his solutions and conclusion check the full article - some of his points are debatable and its very US centric

Meanwhile in the real world those whom have the power to enact change continue to hide under their desks, praying they last til their next bonus payment... perhaps.

I haven't brought any music this week, or this month, but I have downloaded about 7 DJ sets and about 5 tracks for free.... one of which I would buy if I could find it in a shop here.

Once upon a time I would have brought at least 2 mix CDs a month on average and some months it would have been at least one a week - and this doesn't even count the free ones I used to get, most of which I would have paid for quite happily, my job of the time meant I got an obscene amount of music for free as part of my work.

The digital revolution... is all about you and how you choose to get your files...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hello hero, hero hello

Sometimes its nice to know where something is for future reference

What would you admit to?

After four years in a secret CIA run prision(s)?

Key 9/11 suspect 'admits guilt'

Me, I would be surprised if by day three I hadn't admitted to pretty much anything and everything...

Perhaps this man is guilty... but can we ever know for sure due to the means no doubt employed to get this mans confessions (and he's claiming a lot), perhaps like other long time US Detainees the chaps simply lost his mind...

One thing that is par for the course is the timing... its great timing for the Bush regime.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

One of them weeks that...

...the weather reminds us winter is not far away mind seems to be on vacation and thus I can't remember what day it is, what I'm doing and keep doing frustratingly stupid little mistakes that are doing my head in

...I am bored, simply bored, not in a bad way, just bored

...little irratating chores get done, which is great

...I don't follow so closely current affairs and let my usual reading patterns slip, tis nice

...the internet simply seems dull and lifeless even though I know its not

...where to try and prove the above wrong I spend time on youtube, not a huge fan of watching video on the nerd, connection speeds here are sometimes/often too slow for it to be completely painless

...I think too much about stuff that need not be in my mind

...I'd rather be spending time with the family down in the Bay Of Plenty than stuck in the 'big smoke'

...Coronation street has been good and I am trying to break my street habit

...I keep getting a REM song stuck in my head and its not welcome, not a bad song mind you

...I wish I could find my Paperclip people album but like so many times before it alludes me, hiding in a box sniggering away, probably hanging with some cali punk band being tainted with inane thoughts

...the writing of lists can be quite enjoyable, liberating and also surprising

...where the microsoft updates painfully downlaod and install themselves, far too slowly and muck with my nerd time making browsing and the like frustrating

...I got the blue screen of death, which very rarely happens on me laptop, go go Bob pushing his graphics card far too hard

...I am bored by music, which isn't that uncommon... Bob wants to hear something he has never heard before and for it to blow his mind (a very common desire)

...I prefer silence to music much of the time, to someone whose adult life is rarely without background noise (usually music or the drone of the telly) of some sort, the sound of silence is a special kind of music

...I think again about tackling some books I have never finished

...worry about firends, revel in some friends awesome good fortune (hard work), remember people who were once friends and wonder what happened to them

...getting up is harder than usual

...going to bed is simply too easy, might have had too many early nights... Bob braces himself for a night of no sleep as a consequence

...I look forward to a sleepless night as its been a while (maybe I have finished with this insomnia lark) as I can do so much in those sleepless hours

...I get some physical paper mail, that isn't a bill nor is it exciting but its still a rare event (so thats what letter boxes are for...)

...I lose the Delete key, it fell off me puter, I miss it terribly and hope it finds a new keypad to grace

...I play the 'theme' album (Dead Kennedys - Fresh fruit For Rotting Vegetables) and remember a awesome period of my life from days gone by memory bugs me, I forget so much that I don't want to and remember so much that seems unimportant

...I listen to all the advertising targeting first year students on the radio and remember fondly that time of my life and wish I could repeat it but also glad I can't

...I think seriously about downloading all the BattleStar Galatica episodes and wonder why the hell this idea keeps popping into my mind

...I contemplate a trip into town, a big deal if you lived anywhere than where I do, for me its a 5 minute walk, but I do hate Queen St (what I call town, showing his regional upbring perhaps)

...I'm a bit grumpy and contemplative and blame the changing weather

its one of them weeks

Could be better and could be worse

*looks forward to the weekend*

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Things that make you go...

George Bush in Latin America.... dude they ain't buying your shit

Hugo Chavez's tour of Latin America... respect

The Iranian-Syrian-US-Iraqi talks in Baghdad at the weekend produced this from Mr Fisk

But old habits die hard. During Saturday's talks, Mr Satterfield pointed to his
briefcase, claiming it contained documents that proved Iran was arming Shia
militias in Iraq, a remark that earned him a stinging rebuke from the Iranian
envoy. "Your accusations are merely a cover for your failures in Iraq," Mr Aragchi replied.

Internet Explorer 7, cheers for the updates Microsoft, its now a piece of shit.. yeah yeah yeah... firefox.... yeah yeah yeah

First cold night of the year... yep winter its now a reality on its way, time to dust off the snowboots

The way reality is well weirder than fiction, Orwells 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World, Kafka’s The Trial, turn off the box and read these books, you may well freak out at the similarities to our world...

Bob Lefsetz's email list (hat tip to the Opinonated Diner), love his sentiments, enjoy his views and so don't get his music taste... thankfully

Flight Of the Conchords, don't find them funny in the least, but had a listen to their radio show (just released on CD) this week and its bloody funny.. so its just the songs I find daft then

AK07, they are closer than ever to getting this arts festival stuff right this time round, well done, but still needs work....

Dinah Lee's The Bluebeat, she's touring the country with Max Merrit, not interested in the show at all but by god I love this song, which their tour reminds me of

Cold mornings, had to put socks on... needs slippers and a pipe bob

Paying bills rather than going to the Clean, yep acting like a grown up really does suck

The knowledge that only a fool doesn't grab music from Soulseek, Limewire and the like and still I can't bring myself to do it, yet I happily grab songs from Blogs and the like - does not compute... you're a weirdo bob and only missing out on that which you'd never buy

The question of is this the year the major record companies will retreat back to OZ... been saying this for years but still its not a reality... maybe this year, it makes sense on every level

The disappoinment that still the indies here do not much more than try to emulate the majors, needs more clever thinking and strategising me thinks...

Skyscrapers, still going through my obsession with them... why are all the cool new buildings in Asia or the Middle East... come on Europe & the US, I thought youse were the flashy rich bastards

Seeing Stewart Island on the news, how I love that place and worry that which I love about it will be lost due to development and the worship of the almighty dollar... needs less foriegn tourism

The Rugby World Cup being blissfully ignorant of anything but the fact its happening... tis great

Cliamte change... being on the news is not a solution

Our TV news medias promotion of itself... come you are fooling no one... just serve up some news please

The original post punk bands, so much more exciting than the current wave of imitators

Combat88's blog and the wonderful tracks and mixes available there, cheers

The realisation that Cambodia also does dinner, or is rumoured to

White facial hair, yep you gots to shave Bob... not as young as you'd like maybe.... am fascinated by this change of hair colour, christ I've only just reached a point where I need to shave semi regularly... it really is quite cool

English humour, it really can't be beaten

Having no money, I really am bored and sick and tired of being poor - in a NZ context, why the fuck didn't I just become a corporate drone or something where I might have been paid what I am actually worth and why is it that I can't seem to get ahead - is it because of my past career choices or just cause I is a munter :(

Changing the phasing on the set of lights I walk through every day, it now takes around 5 minutes to get across the bloody road, I don't like this change

Bacon & Eggs in the morning, bliss, bliss I'm telling ya... vegetarians you're missing out on heaven

George Monibot, yep lets shoot the messenger rather than think he has a very valid point

Dreaming of a simpler life

Missing people for the wrong reasons

The fact this post begs for links and I can't be arsed putting them in, ha!

Lists, easier than writing something more significant

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What the.... clearing the mind

More NZ troops for Afganistan :(

Sure we have bugger all people on the ground but thats not the point

What good can come of our presence in that land - other than on the international front where we can be seen to be part of the team by our 'allies' and traditional trade partners

We're being wishy washy, just so we don't have trade doors slammed in our face I would wager

Understandable as that is, its still the wrong direction to be headed IMHO

I wish Helen Clark was not going to visit Bush, sure we need to engage with this nation but a meeting between leaders with a large list of things that can't be discussed is a waste of her time.. oh well at least Winston isn't doing the meet on our behalf.... sheesh he's a liability

I was planning to write about the sad and continuing demise of the NZ music industry (in the traditional sense) and music industry in general, I have a lot of thoughts on this, some reflect those of my peers around the globe and some don't

Its a subject I think a lot about and often makes me angry as I see people repeat the same mistakes over and over and those whom should be embracing a new era are simply desparate to have their tiny time in the sun under the current out of date system

Everyone keeps going on about empowerment and how the artist and their manager can create their own path - its true, its simple and its not happeneing because few have the balls to go it alone, unless they are already financially secure or so obscure they have no choice anyway

Meanwhile the major companies continue in their tailspin to doom

more redundancies here

Can't be long before the majors are a MD and a accounts dept - no doubt the ideal structure for the corporates... shame its 100% anti music and everything these huge companies should be about and maybe doing

Every week I look at the release sheets from the majors and wonder who the fuck is buying their 'product' and when will they release some music - they did once and surely they can again?

The indies are perhaps in a worse state, they can't weather any downtime financially, and theres too much downtime

Oh fuck, Lisa Gerrard is on breakfast TV this morning - this is simply wrong, awesome artist but never going to be a big seller.... far too beautiful and esoteric for the masses

Needs more generic rock

I'm sick to death of cliched reagge acts but glad we haven't got a over abundance of 'electro' acts like our cousins across the ditch

I wish our promoters would stop bring these acts over to our clubs... we need more nurturing of our scene not quick easy and cheap nights of bland hits

Why is the music industry in such disarry when there seem to be simply more people seeking music out in every avenue bar the traditional... oh yeah, lead a creative industry by accounting and marketing departments and see where ya end up.... capitalism is not creative in a positive sense

I have a new Carl Craig remix, of Canadian act Junior Boys, its cool.... its an MP3, its not as cool as if it was on wax

We need a revolution

We might get it but its not the one I crave

I hate shaving

It poured down last night - it was cool, it doesn't really rain like buggery enough in Auckland, too many showers and drizzle

I was hoping for thunder and lightening as predicted but alas there was none

Happy Anniversary Nat and Wayde, hope ya had a awesome night

Why is it always lunchtime in Cambodia?

Well thats a little off my mind, best I get up and stumble through the day

Looks like its going to be lovely, might even be a shorts day

one can only hope

Monday, March 12, 2007

War, what is it good for?

One can't help but feel a sense of deja vu with all the Washington rhetoric being aimed at Iran...

One can't help but worry that there is a very real chance we'll see nuclear weapons used in my lifetime.

One can't help but be deeply concerned at all of this as I live close to one of the US's main allies, a country that has shown itself at the leadership level to be morally corrupt and a wanna be mini US to boot.
One can't help but worry about the pressure our government will face from its closest neighbour and that big bully the US to join them in the plight to secure the middle east's resources for themselves... will they share with us if we do join them?

yeah right

I can't help but feel that the west's time of liberalism is coming to a end. I hope like hell I don't see the sorts of things one can imagine is coming in my lifetime.

I am not holding my breath, positive thinking is not enough.

Bob changes blog overnight to pro US sentiment and lots of happy god stuff....

just in case

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I'd never been to the Speedawy before. So it was quite an adventure to be heading out to Waikaraka Speedway with Nat & Wayde to watch cars go round and round.

I didn't really expect to enjoy the racing, as I am not a car guy nor do I enjoy racing, of any sort. I am up for trying different things and the thought of a bad hot dog, good company and some people watching was all to much to pass up.

Waikaraka Speedway was nothing flash, a simple and small (it seemed) course, a stand with a smallish crowd and the course flanked by grass, which is where we sat.

We arrived as a race was in progess and as we wandered around the track to find a spot to sit the cars were, um, roaring by. Loud and all very carish and then we got a dose of the track as they flew round the corner tossing mud everywhere. The mud explained why at one of the corners all the people sitting there had blankets and the like to cover themselves - I had originally thought it was for warmth, but no it was cause of the mud. I was also impressed by the aprents with little ones who had those ear protectors like construction workers use, to block out the noise - for it was quite loud, in a engines ain't quiet kinda way.

The races themselves were quick with bugger all mucking around between each one, so the action kept coming, which I appreciated as I my only fear for the evening was I'd get bored.

I had a twenty-seven and a half foot american hot dog for food and watched all the races quite happily, enjoying some of the cars more than others (don't ask me what sort, they came in small, medium and big....).

All in all it was a bloody good night out and one I'd happily repeat.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday is slow

I wnet to a friends bithday drinks last night - happy birthday Renee! - which was very pleasant, Wayne Anderson sung happy birthday to Ren and a bunch of us chatted and drank as ya do.

I bailed for a time to go and check out a band competition I was obligated to go to, which was horrific, worst beer ever and a very hot and muggy venue, a competition that was 'made' for TV and thus the event whilst I was there was stop/start as presenters got their lines right and the crowd was prompted to do that screaming thing ya see on the telly.

Now I don't get why people scream at these things or in general, I've been to hundreds if not thousands of gigs in my time and not once I am aware of there being screaming (well in that yoff TV kinda way). I mean I was at a band competition, why would people scream - except at perhaps them that aren't very good - bands that is.

Being on a VIP list and getting free booze all night was not an incentive to stay any longer than the one and a half beers I got down me - worst beer ever too, mash or mashed lager.... if ya see it just say NO, water is preferable.

With my cynical hat on I can't help but wonder what the fuck it was all about, it certainly wasn't the bands... the brand(s) involved more like. As I continue to gaze at a industry in a nose dive this certainly isn't going to do anything but hasten its demise.

In short - Renee's bithday drinks rocked and the band thing didn't.

To make things worse I feel slow and sluggish today, it might be due to the pints of Newcastle Brown at the thirsty dog... but I feel its them crappy mash beers.

JUST SAY NO to crap beer and anything that cheapens music.

Off to see cars tonight

whoop whoop

Friday, March 09, 2007

If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail

AMY GOODMAN: Well, for the rest of the hour, we’ll hear General Wesley Clark in his own words on the possibility of a US attack on Iran; the impeachment of President Bush; the use of cluster bombs; the bombing of Radio Television Serbia during the Kosovo War under his command; and much more. I interviewed General Clark on Tuesday at the 92nd Street Y in New York.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, let’s talk about Iran. You have a whole website devoted to stopping war.


AMY GOODMAN: Do you see a replay in what happened in the lead-up to the war with Iraq -- the allegations of the weapons of mass destruction, the media leaping onto the bandwagon?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, in a way. But, you know, history doesn’t repeat itself exactly twice. What I did warn about when I testified in front of Congress in 2002, I said if you want to worry about a state, it shouldn’t be Iraq, it should be Iran. But this government, our administration, wanted to worry about Iraq, not Iran.

I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” -- meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office -- “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

AMY GOODMAN: I’m sorry. What did you say his name was?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I’m not going to give you his name.

AMY GOODMAN: So, go through the countries again.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia and Sudan, and back to Iran. So when you look at Iran, you say, “Is it a replay?” It’s not exactly a replay. But here’s the truth: that Iran, from the beginning, has seen that the presence of the United States in Iraq was a threat -- a blessing, because we took out Saddam Hussein and the Baathists. They couldn’t handle them. We took care of it for them. But also a threat, because they knew that they were next on the hit list. And so, of course, they got engaged. They lost a million people during the war with Iraq, and they’ve got a long and unprotectable, unsecurable border. So it was in their vital interest to be deeply involved inside Iraq. They tolerated our attacks on the Baathists. They were happy we captured Saddam Hussein.

But they're building up their own network of influence, and to cement it, they occasionally give some military assistance and training and advice, either directly or indirectly, to both the insurgents and to the militias. And in that sense, it's not exactly parallel, because there has been, I believe, continuous Iranian engagement, some of it legitimate, some of it illegitimate. I mean, you can hardly fault Iran because they're offering to do eye operations for Iraqis who need medical attention. That's not an offense that you can go to war over, perhaps. But it is an effort to gain influence.

And the administration has stubbornly refused to talk with Iran about their perception, in part because they don't want to pay the price with their domestic -- our US domestic political base, the rightwing base, but also because they don't want to legitimate a government that they've been trying to overthrow. If you were Iran, you'd probably believe that you were mostly already at war with the United States anyway, since we've asserted that their government needs regime change, and we've asked congress to appropriate $75 million to do it, and we are supporting terrorist groups, apparently, who are infiltrating and blowing up things inside Iraq -- Iran. And if we're not doing it, let's put it this way: we're probably cognizant of it and encouraging it. So it's not surprising that we're moving to a point of confrontation and crisis with Iran.

My point on this is not that the Iranians are good guys -- they're not -- but that you shouldn't use force, except as a last, last, last resort. There is a military option, but it's a bad one.

Full Article with audio here

If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.... sums up US foreign policy neatly

*wonders what Britney would think*

Spears: "I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A new start

Anyone want to buy a shitload of weird music.... I need money to get me some Britney?

For I love Britney,

I really really do.

Not in a creepy old man wanting to touch a lovely young things bottom kinda way...

Oh no sir.

I respect her, I respect the way she lives her life... I want to protect her.

Not in a creepy old man wanting to 'protect' a lovely young things bottom kinda way...

No sir.

I want to protect her from those whom wish to cause her harm.

I want to support those whom support her.

I shall spend money with them whom profit by her life and as they have a vested interest in her I applaud the manner in which they seek to help her in times of crisis.

I think the world is lovely and love everybody.

Except for the creepy terrorists whom hate the fact I have Britney in my life and they don't.

I feel a load has lifted from my shoulders.

I've never felt so freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Enough is enough

Enough reading of the left leaning non mainstream media Bob

They are depressing, humourless doom mongers.

War, famine, economic collapse, climate change, nuclear war....

I'm going to start focusing on sport and start reading more about the lives of the rich and famous.

Perhaps if I apply myself I shall find that ever elusive thing called happiness.

Sure my mind will first numb and eventually stop working altogether but such is the price one pays to be ignorant and happy.

Tune in tomorrow when I shall, depending on my media exposure, support and defend poor Britney or slag her off...

I can't wait

I feel a load has lifted from my chest

I am free

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Things that can make a day special

Some random events that have made me smile over the past few days

- getting a email from a friend you haven't heard from in a while (hey Pando)

- getting two pieces of technology that haven't been 'talking' to talk (kiss and makup software and hardware... ooooo puter p0rn)

- eating a water melon after its suitably chilled (yah for fridges)

- doing 300 press ups every morning after a 2 hour run (this might be a blatant lie)

- deciding that after five days of trails that the raspberry (?) and lime fruju is a piece of shite - though I am still tempted to continue the test, I think I have issues

- having a email buddy one can discuss all sorts of stuff with during the course of a day (on ya Websta)

- cooking a roast meal, what was I thinking it was lovely last night and I cooked a roast, needs more salad bob

- sorting some stuff out which will take away some dreary chores for the next two week, ha victory is mine...

- not falling foul of the thought of buying long pants once again, take that adult world!

- thinking about a departed loved one

- the little asian man I pass walking every now and then as I wander the streets - we now say hello.... its the little things (now if more european kiwis could do similar)

- early mornings, I love the morning... afternoons can and should be banned for all but drinking and eating

- chatting with friends overseas on googletalk, even though I prefer emails one can and does make exceptions

- seeing Arcade Fire on Breakfast TV, smiling in a wtf manner (they can't be cool anymore obviously)

- adding tags to the blog, for the sake of it - I'm an all options kinda guy

- the intelligent discussions (and people) on Public Address System, must try and find time to post

- having a good early morning routine I enjoy (refer to running and press ups)

- new episodes of the Simpsons and Boston Legal Tuesdays (two of my telly weaknesses)

- Helen Clarks response to the police rape trial, its great to have a Prime Minister who is human and cares

- not being the target market for most of these reunion tours (still debating if I should go to the Slits)

- finally coming to the point where I don't care if I ever do radio again, would be killing me if them which I listen too hadn't got real dull of late, REAL DULL

- knowing enough people who actually care about me rather than just pretending to

- caring about enough people for my life to be rich and rewarding in the most vital areas

- wearing a hat (in the confines of my room, no need to inflict that action on the general public)

- knowing I am the only normal person in the world (take that ya abnormal freaks!)

- emailing my sister about Doctor Who repeats (hey Belinda)

- sunny days

have a good one :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Words None Dare Say: Nuclear War

By George Lakoff

A familiar means of denying a reality is to refuse to use the words that describe that reality. A common form of propaganda is to keep reality from being described.

"The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete."-Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, April 17, 2006

"The second concern is that if an underground laboratory is deeply buried, that can also confound conventional weapons. But the depth of the Natanz facility - reports place the ceiling roughly 30 feet underground - is not prohibitive. The American GBU-28 weapon - the so-called bunker buster - can pierce about 23 feet of concrete and 100 feet of soil. Unless the cover over the Natanz lab is almost entirely rock, bunker busters should be able to reach it. That said, some chance remains that a single strike would fail." -Michael Levi, New York Times, April 18, 2006

A familiar means of denying a reality is to refuse to use the words that describe that reality. A common form of propaganda is to keep reality from being described.

In such circumstances, silence and euphemism are forms of complicity both in propaganda and in the denial of reality. And the media, as well as the major presidential candidates, are now complicit.

The stories in the major media suggest that an attack against Iran is a real possibility and that the Natanz nuclear development site is the number one target. As the above quotes from two of our best sources note, military experts say that conventional "bunker-busters" such as the GBU-28 might be able to destroy the Natanz facility, especially with repeated bombings. On the other hand, they also say such iterated use of conventional weapons might not work, e.g., if the rock and earth above the facility becomes liquefied. On that supposition, a "low yield" "tactical" nuclear weapon, say, the B61-11, might be needed.

If the Bush administration, for example, were to insist on a sure "success," then the "attack" would constitute nuclear war. The words in boldface are nuclear war, that's right, nuclear war - a first strike nuclear war.

We don't know what exactly is being planned - conventional GBU-28s or nuclear B61-11s. And that is the point. Discussion needs to be open. Nuclear war is not a minor matter.

The Euphemism

As early as August 13, 2005, Bush, in Jerusalem, was asked what would happen if diplomacy failed to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear program. Bush replied, "All options are on the table." On April 18, the day after the appearance of Seymour Hersh's New Yorker report on the administration's preparations for a nuclear war against Iran, President Bush held a news conference. He was asked,

"Sir, when you talk about Iran, and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike? Is that something that your administration will plan for?"

He replied,

"All options are on the table."

The President never actually said the forbidden words "nuclear war," but he appeared to tacitly acknowledge the preparations - without further discussion.

Vice-President Dick Cheney, speaking in Australia last week, backed up the President.

"We worked with the European community and the United Nations to put together a set of policies to persuade the Iranians to give up their aspirations and resolve the matter peacefully, and that is still our preference. But I've also made the point, and the president has made the point, that all options are on the table."

Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain, on FOX News, August 14, 2005, said the same.

"For us to say that the Iranians can do whatever they want to do and we won't under any circumstances exercise a military option would be for them to have a license to do whatever they want to do ... So I think the president's comment that we won't take anything off the table was entirely appropriate."

But it's not just Republicans. Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards, in a speech in Herzliyah, Israel, echoed Bush.

"To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table. Let me reiterate - ALL options must remain on the table."

Although, Edwards has said, when asked about this statement, that he prefers peaceful solutions and direct negotiations with Iran, he has nonetheless repeated the "all options on the table" position - making clear that he would consider starting a preventive nuclear war, but without using the fateful words.

Hillary Clinton, at an AIPAC dinner in New York, said,

"We cannot, we should not, we must not, permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons, and in dealing with this threat, as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table."

Translation: Nuclear weapons can be used to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Barack Obama, asked on 60 Minutes about using military force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, began a discussion of his preference for diplomacy by responding, "I think we should keep all options on the table."

Bush, Cheney, McCain, Edwards, Clinton, and Obama all say indirectly that they seriously consider starting a preventive nuclear war, but will not engage in a public discussion of what that would mean. That contributes to a general denial, and the press is going along with it by a corresponding refusal to use the words.

If the consequences of nuclear war are not discussed openly, the war may happen without an appreciation of the consequences and without the public having a chance to stop it. Our job is to open that discussion.

Of course, there is a rationale for the euphemism: To scare our adversaries by making them think that we are crazy enough to do what we hint at, while not raising a public outcry. That is what happened in the lead up to the Iraq War, and the disaster of that war tells us why we must have such a discussion about Iran. Presidential candidates go along, not wanting to be thought of as interfering in on-going indirect diplomacy. That may be the conventional wisdom for candidates, but an informed, concerned public must say what candidates are advised not to say.

More Euphemisms

The euphemisms used include "tactical," "small," "mini-," and "low yield" nuclear weapons. "Tactical" contrasts with "strategic"; it refers to tactics, relatively low-level choices made in carrying out an overall strategy, but which don't affect the grand strategy. But the use of any nuclear weapons would be anything but "tactical." It would be a major world event - in Vladimir Putin's words, "lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons," making the use of more powerful nuclear weapons more likely and setting off a new arms race. The use of the word "tactical" operates to lessen their importance, to distract from the fact that their very use would constitute a nuclear war.

What is "low yield"? Perhaps the "smallest" tactical nuclear weapon we have is the B61-11, which has a dial-a-yield feature: it can yield "only" 0.3 kilotons, but can be set to yield up to 170 kilotons. The power of the Hiroshima bomb was 15 kilotons. That is, a "small" bomb can yield more than 10 times the explosive power of the Hiroshima bomb. The B61-11 dropped from 40,000 feet would dig a hole 20 feet deep and then explode, send shock waves downward, leave a huge crater, and spread radiation widely. The idea that it would explode underground and be harmless to those above ground is false - and, anyway, an underground release of radiation would threaten ground water and aquifers for a long time and over a wide distance.

To use words such as "low yield" or "small" or "mini-" nuclear weapon is like speaking of being a little bit pregnant. Nuclear war is nuclear war! It crosses the moral line.

Any discussion of roadside canister bombs made in Iran justifying an attack on Iran should be put in perspective: Little canister bombs (EFPs - explosively formed projectiles) that shoot a small hot metal ball at a humvee or tank versus nuclear war.

Incidentally, the administration may be focusing on the canister bombs because it seeks to claim that the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 permits the use of military force against Iran based on its interference in Iraq. In that case, no further authorization by Congress would be needed for an attack on Iran.

The journalistic point is clear. Journalists and political leaders should not talk about an "attack." They should use the words that describe what is really at stake: nuclear war - in boldface.

Then there is the scale of the proposed attack. Military reports leaking out suggest a huge (mostly or entirely non-nuclear) airstrike on as many as 10,000 targets - a "shock and awe" attack that would destroy Iran's infrastructure the way the U.S. bombing destroyed Iraq's infrastructure. The targets would not just be "military targets." As Dan Plesch reports in the New Statesman, February 19, 2007, such an attack would wipe out Iran's military, business, and political infrastructure. Not just nuclear installations, missile launching sites, tanks, and ammunition dumps, but also airports, rail lines, highways, bridges, ports, communications centers, power grids, industrial centers, hospitals, public buildings, and even the homes of political leaders. That is what was attacked in Iraq: the "critical infrastructure." It is not just military in the traditional sense. It leaves a nation in rubble, and leads to death, maiming, disease, joblessness, impoverishment, starvation, mass refugees, lawlessness, rape, and incalculable pain and suffering. That is what the options appear to be "on the table." Is nation destruction what the American people have in mind when they acquiesce without discussion to an "attack"? Is nuclear war what the American people have in mind? An informed public must ask and the media must ask. The words must be used.

Even if the attack were limited to nuclear installations, starting a nuclear war with Iran would have terrible consequences - and not just for Iranians. First, it would strengthen the hand of the Islamic fundamentalists - exactly the opposite of the effect U.S. planners would want. It would be viewed as yet another major attack on Islam. Fundamentalist Islam is a revenge culture. If you want to recruit fundamentalist Islamists all over the world to become violent jihadists, this is the best way to do it. America would become a world pariah. Any idea of the U.S. as a peaceful nation would be destroyed. Moreover, you don't work against the spread of nuclear weapons by using those weapons. That will just make countries all over the world want nuclear weaponry all the more. Trying to stop nuclear proliferation through nuclear war is self-defeating.

As Einstein said, "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war."

Why would the Bush administration do it? Here is what conservative strategist William Kristol wrote last summer during Israel's war with Hezbollah.

"For while Syria and Iran are enemies of Israel, they are also enemies of the United States. We have done a poor job of standing up to them and weakening them. They are now testing us more boldly than one would have thought possible a few years ago. Weakness is provocative. We have been too weak, and have allowed ourselves to be perceived as weak.

The right response is renewed strength -- in supporting the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, in standing with Israel, and in pursuing regime change in Syria and Iran. For that matter, we might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions -- and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement."

-Willam Kristol, Weekly Standard 7/24/06

"Renewed strength" is just the Bush strategy in Iraq. At a time when the Iraqi people want us to leave, when our national elections show that most Americans want our troops out, when 60% of Iraqis think it all right to kill Americans, Bush wants to escalate. Why? Because he is weak in America. Because he needs to show more "strength." Because if he knocks out the Iranian nuclear facilities, he can claim at least one "victory." Starting a nuclear war with Iran would really put us in a worldwide war with fundamentalist Islam. It would make real the terrorist threat he has been claiming since 9/11. It would create more fear - real fear - in America. And he believes, with much reason, that fear tends to make Americans vote for saber-rattling conservatives.

Kristol's neoconservative view that "weakness is provocative" is echoed in Iran, but by the other side. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted in The New York Times of February 24, 2007 as having "vowed anew to continue enriching uranium, saying, 'If we show weakness in front of the enemies, they will increase their expectations.'" If both sides refuse to back off for fear of showing weakness, then prospects for conflict are real, despite the repeated analyses, like that of The Economist that the use of nuclear weapons against Iran would be politically and morally impossible. As one unnamed administration official has said (The New York Times, February 24, 2007), "No one has defined where the red line is that we cannot let the Iranians step over."

What we are seeing now is the conservative message machine preparing the country to accept the ideas of a nuclear war and nation destruction against Iran. The technique used is the "slippery slope." It is done by degrees. Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water - if the heat is turned up slowly the frog gets used to the heat and eventually boils to death - the American public is getting gradually acclimated to the idea of war with Iran.

* First, describe Iran as evil - part of the axis of evil. An inherently evil person will inevitably do evil things and can't be negotiated with. An entire evil nation is a threat to other nations.
* Second, describe Iran's leader as a "Hitler" who is inherently "evil" and cannot be reasoned with. Refuse to negotiate with him.
* Then repeat the lie that Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons - weapons of mass destruction. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei says they are at best many years away.
* Call nuclear development "an existential threat" - a threat to our very existence.
* Then suggest a single "surgical" "attack" on Natanz and make it seem acceptable.
* Then find a reason to call the attack "self-defense" - or better protection for our troops from the EFPs, or single-shot canister bombs.
* Claim, without proof and without anyone even taking responsibility for the claim, that the Iranian government at its highest level is supplying deadly weapons to Shiite militias attacking our troops, while not mentioning the fact that Saudi Arabia is helping Sunni insurgents attacking our troops.
* Give "protecting our troops" as a reason for attacking Iran without getting new authorization from Congress. Claim that the old authorization for attacking Iraq implied doing "whatever is necessary to protect our troops" from Iranian intervention in Iraq.
* Argue that de-escalation in Iraq would "bleed" our troops, "weaken" America, and lead to defeat. This sets up escalation as a winning policy, if not in Iraq then in Iran.
* Get the press to go along with each step.
* Never mention the words "preventive nuclear war" or "national destruction." When asked, say, "All options are on the table." Keep the issue of nuclear war and its consequences from being seriously discussed by the national media.
* Intimidate Democratic presidential candidates into agreeing, without using the words, that nuclear war should be "on the table." This makes nuclear war and nation destruction bipartisan and even more acceptable.

Progressives managed to blunt the "surge" idea by telling the truth about "escalation." Nuclear war against Iran and nation destruction constitute the ultimate escalation.

The time has come to stop the attempt to make a nuclear war against Iran palatable to the American public. We do not believe that most Americans want to start a nuclear war or to impose nation destruction on the people of Iran. They might, though, be willing to support a tit-for-tat "surgical" "attack" on Natanz in retaliation for small canister bombs and to end Iran's early nuclear capacity.

It is time for America's journalists and political leaders to put two and two together, and ask the fateful question: Is the Bush administration seriously preparing for nuclear war and nation destruction? If the conventional GBU-28s will do the job, then why not take nuclear war off the table in the name of controlling the spread of nuclear weapons? If GBU-28s won't do the job, then it is all the more important to have that discussion.

This should not be a distraction from Iraq. The general issue is escalation as a policy, both in Iraq and in Iran. They are linked issues, not separate issues. We have learned from Iraq what lack of public scrutiny does.

George Lakoff is a Senior Fellow at the Rockridge Institute. Lakoff is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley.

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