Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
By George Monbiot
December 16, 2009 The Guardian
This is the moment at which we turn and face ourselves. Here, in the plastic corridors and crowded stalls, among impenetrable texts and withering procedures, humankind decides what it is and what it will become. It chooses whether to continue living as it has done, until it must make a wasteland of its home, or to stop and redefine itself. This is about much more than climate change. This is about us.
The meeting at Copenhagen confronts us with our primal tragedy. We are the universal ape, equipped with the ingenuity and aggression to bring down prey much larger than itself, break into new lands, roar its defiance of natural constraints. Now we find ourselves hedged in by the consequences of our nature, living meekly on this crowded planet for fear of provoking or damaging others. We have the hearts of lions and live the lives of clerks.
The summit's premise is that the age of heroism is over. We have entered the age of accommodation. No longer may we live without restraint. No longer may we swing our fists regardless of whose nose might be in the way. In everything we do we must now be mindful of the lives of others, cautious, constrained, meticulous. We may no longer live in the moment, as if there were no tomorrow.
This is a meeting about chemicals: the greenhouse gases insulating the atmosphere. But it is also a battle between two world views. The angry men who seek to derail this agreement, and all such limits on their self-fulfilment, have understood this better than we have. A new movement, most visible in North America and Australia, but now apparent everywhere, demands to trample on the lives of others as if this were a human right. It will not be constrained by taxes, gun laws, regulations, health and safety, especially by environmental restraints. It knows that fossil fuels have granted the universal ape amplification beyond its Palaeolithic dreams. For a moment, a marvellous, frontier moment, they allowed us to live in blissful mindlessness.
The angry men know that this golden age has gone; but they cannot find the words for the constraints they hate. Clutching their copies of Atlas Shrugged, they flail around, accusing those who would impede them of communism, fascism, religiosity, misanthropy, but knowing at heart that these restrictions are driven by something far more repulsive to the unrestrained man: the decencies we owe to other human beings.
I fear this chorus of bullies, but I also sympathise. I lead a mostly peaceful life, but my dreams are haunted by giant aurochs. All those of us whose blood still races are forced to sublimate, to fantasise. In daydreams and video games we find the lives that ecological limits and other people's interests forbid us to live.
Humanity is no longer split between conservatives and liberals, reactionaries and progressives, though both sides are informed by the older politics. Today the battle lines are drawn between expanders and restrainers; those who believe that there should be no impediments and those who believe that we must live within limits. The vicious battles we have seen so far between greens and climate change deniers, road safety campaigners and speed freaks, real grassroots groups and corporate-sponsored astroturfers are just the beginning. This war will become much uglier as people kick against the limits that decency demands.
So here we are, in the land of Beowulf's heroics, lost in a fog of acronyms and euphemisms, parentheses and exemptions, the deathly diplomacy required to accommodate everyone's demands. There is no space for heroism here; all passion and power breaks against the needs of others. This is how it should be, though every neurone revolts against it.
Although the delegates are waking up to the scale of their responsibility, I still believe they will sell us out. Everyone wants his last adventure. Hardly anyone among the official parties can accept the implications of living within our means, of living with tomorrow in mind. There will, they tell themselves, always be another frontier, another means to escape our constraints, to dump our dissatisfactions on other places and other people. Hanging over everything discussed here is the theme that dare not speak its name, always present but never mentioned. Economic growth is the magic formula which allows our conflicts to remain unresolved.
While economies grow, social justice is unnecessary, as lives can be improved without redistribution. While economies grow, people need not confront their elites. While economies grow, we can keep buying our way out of trouble. But, like the bankers, we stave off trouble today only by multiplying it tomorrow. Through economic growth we are borrowing time at punitive rates of interest. It ensures that any cuts agreed at Copenhagen will eventually be outstripped. Even if we manage to prevent climate breakdown, growth means that it's only a matter of time before we hit a new constraint, which demands a new global response: oil, water, phosphate, soil. We will lurch from crisis to existential crisis unless we address the underlying cause: perpetual growth cannot be accommodated on a finite planet.
For all their earnest self-restraint, the negotiators in the plastic city are still not serious, even about climate change. There's another great unmentionable here: supply. Most of the nation states tussling at Copenhagen have two fossil fuel policies. One is to minimise demand, by encouraging us to reduce our consumption. The other is to maximise supply, by encouraging companies to extract as much from the ground as they can.
We know, from the papers published in Nature in April, that we can use a maximum of 60% of current reserves of coal, oil and gas if the average global temperature is not to rise by more than two degrees. We can burn much less if, as many poorer countries now insist, we seek to prevent the temperature from rising by more than 1.5C. We know that capture and storage will dispose of just a small fraction of the carbon in these fuels. There are two obvious conclusions: governments must decide which existing reserves of fossil fuel are to be left in the ground, and they must introduce a global moratorium on prospecting for new reserves. Neither of these proposals has even been mooted for discussion.
But somehow this first great global battle between expanders and restrainers must be won and then the battles that lie beyond it – rising consumption, corporate power, economic growth – must begin. If governments don't show some resolve on climate change, the expanders will seize on the restrainers' weakness. They will attack – using the same tactics of denial, obfuscation and appeals to self-interest – the other measures that protect people from each other, or which prevent the world's ecosystems from being destroyed. There is no end to this fight, no line these people will not cross. They too are aware that this a battle to redefine humanity, and they wish to redefine it as a species even more rapacious than it is today.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Lord of the Rings country trades on its natural beauty, but emissions have risen 22% since it signed up to Kyoto
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 November 2009
As the world prepares for the Copenhagen climate negotiations next month, it is worth checking out the greenwash that has followed the promises made 12 years ago when the Kyoto protocol was signed.
A surprising number of countries have succeeded in raising their emissions from 1990 levels despite signing up to reduce them. They include a bundle of countries in the European Union, which collectively agreed to let some nations increase their emissions while others (mainly Britain and Germany) cut theirs. Step forward Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece — all with emissions up by more than a quarter.
Then there are the US and Australia, which both reneged on the protocol after signing it. And Canada, which never reneged but still has emissions up by a quarter (worse than the US) and shows no sign of contrition or of being called to account by the other signatories.
But my prize for the most shameless two fingers to the global community goes to New Zealand, a country that sells itself round the world as "clean and green".
New Zealand secured a generous Kyoto target, which simply required it not to increase its emissions between 1990 and 2010. But the latest UN statistics show its emissions of greenhouse gases up by 22%, or a whopping 39% if you look at emissions from fuel burning alone.
Some countries with big emissions growth started from a low figure in 1990. Arguably, they were playing catchup. There is no such excuse for New Zealand. Its emissions started high and went higher.
They are today 60% higher than those of Britain, per head of population. Among industrialised nations, they are only exceeded by Canada, the US, Australia and Luxembourg. In recent years a lot of Brits have headed for Christchurch and Wellington in the hope of a green life in a country where they filmed the Lord of the Rings. But it's a green mirage.
To rub our noses in it, last year New Zealand signed up to the UN's Climate Neutral Network, a list of nations that are "laying out strategies to become carbon neutral".
But if you read the small print of what New Zealand has actually promised, it is a measly 50% in emissions by 2050 – something even the US can trump.
Where do all these emissions come from? New Zealand turns out to be mining ever more filthy brown coal to burn in its power stations. It has the world's third highest rate of car ownership. And, with more cows than people, the country's increasingly intensive agricultural sector is responsible for approaching half the greenhouse gas emissions.
You might expect the UN Environment Programme to throw New Zealand off its list of countries supposedly pledged to head for climate neutrality. Sadly no. These steely guardians of the environment meekly say that the network "will not be policed... nor will UNEP verify claims".
Indeed, it seems to go to great lengths to deny reality. Check the UNEP website and you will find an excruciating hagiography about a "climate neutral journey to Middle Earth", in which everything from the local wines to air conditioning and Air New Zealand get the greenwash treatment.
After extolling the country's green credentials, it asks: "Have you landed in a dreamland?" Well, UNEP's reporter certainly has. He cheers New Zealand's "global leadership in tackling climate change", when the country's minister in charge of climate negotiations, Tim Groser, has been busy reassuring his compatriots that "we would not try to be 'leaders' in climate change."
This is not just political spin. It is also commercial greenwash. New Zealand trades on its greenness to promote its two big industries: tourism and dairy exports. Groser says his country's access to American markets for its produce is based on its positive environmental image. The government's national marketing strategy is underpinned by a survey showing that tourism would be reduced by 68% if the country lost its prized "clean, green image", and even international purchases of its dairy products could halve.
The trouble is, on the climate change front at least, that green image increasingly defies reality.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
By following the simple advice I heard on a Medical TV show, I have finally found inner peace.
A Doctor proclaimed the way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started.
So I looked around my house to see things I'd started and hadn't finished, and, before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of shhardonay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of vocka, a pockage of Prunglies, tha mainder of bot Prozic and Valum scriptins, the res of the Chesescke an a box a choclits.
Yu haf no idr who fkin gud I fel.Peas sen dis orn to dem yu fee AR in ned ov inr pis
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 16th November 2009
I don’t know when global oil supplies will start to decline. I do know that another resource has already peaked and gone into freefall: the credibility of the body that’s meant to assess them. Last week two whistleblowers from the International Energy Agency alleged that it has deliberately upgraded its estimate of the world’s oil supplies in order not to frighten the markets(1). Three days later, a paper published by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden showed that the IEA’s forecasts must be wrong, because it assumes a rate of extraction that appears to be impossible(2). The agency’s assessment of the state of global oil supplies is beginning to look as reliable as Mr Greenspan’s blandishments about the health of the financial markets.
If the whistleblowers are right, we should be stockpiling ammunition. If we are taken by surprise; if we have failed to replace oil before the supply peaks then crashes, the global economy is stuffed. But nothing the whistleblowers said has scared me as much as the conversation I had last week with a Pembrokeshire farmer.
Wyn Evans, who runs a mixed farm of 170 acres, has been trying to reduce his dependency on fossil fuels since 1977. He has installed an anaerobic digester, a wind turbine, solar panels and a ground-sourced heat pump. He has sought wherever possible to replace diesel with his own electricity. Instead of using his tractor to spread slurry, he pumps it from the digester onto nearby fields. He’s replaced his tractor-driven irrigation system with an electric one, and set up a new system for drying hay indoors, which means he has to turn it in the field only once. Whatever else he does is likely to produce smaller savings. But these innovations have reduced his use of diesel by only around 25%.
According to farm scientists at Cornell University, cultivating one hectare of maize in the United States requires 40 litres of petrol and 75 litres of diesel(3). The amazing productivity of modern farm labour has been purchased at the cost of a dependency on oil. Unless farmers can change the way it’s grown, a permanent oil shock would price food out of the mouths of many of the world’s people. Any responsible government would be asking urgent questions about how long we have got.
Instead, most of them delegate this job to the International Energy Agency. I’ve been bellyaching about the British government’s refusal to make contingency plans for the possibility that oil might peak by 2020 for the past two years(4,5), and I’m beginning to feel like a madman with a sandwich board. Perhaps I am, but how lucky do you feel? The new World Energy Outlook published by the IEA last week expects the global demand for oil to rise from 85m barrels a day in 2008 to 105m in 2030(6). Oil production will rise to 103m barrels, it says, and biofuels will make up the shortfall(7). If we want the oil, it will materialise.
The agency does caution that conventional oil is likely to “approach a plateau” towards the end of this period(8), but there’s no hint of the graver warning that the IEA’s chief economist issued when I interviewed him last year: “we still expect that it will come around 2020 to a plateau … I think time is not on our side here.”(9) Almost every year the agency has been forced to downgrade its forecast for the daily supply of oil in 2030: from 123m barrels in 2004, to 120m in 2005, 116m in 2007, 106m in 2008 and 103m this year. But according to one of the whistleblowers, “even today’s number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this.”(10)
The Uppsala report, published in the journal Energy Policy, anticipates that maximum global production of all kinds of oil in 2030 will be 76m barrels per day. Analysing the IEA’s figures, it finds that to meet its forecasts for supply, the world’s new and undiscovered oil fields would have to be developed at a rate “never before seen in history.”(11) As many of them are in politically or physically difficult places, and as capital is short, this looks impossible. Assessing existing fields, the likely rate of discovery and the use of new techniques for extraction, the researchers find that “the peak of world oil production is probably occurring now.”
Are they right? Who knows? Last month the UK Energy Research Centre published a massive review of all the available evidence on global oil supplies(12). It found that the date of peak oil will be determined not by the total size of the global resource but by the rate at which it can be exploited. New discoveries would have to be implausibly large to make a significant difference: even if a field the size of all the oil reserves ever struck in the USA were miraculously discovered, it would delay the date of peaking by only four years(13). As global discoveries peaked in the 1960s(14), a find like this doesn’t seem very likely.
Regional oil supplies have peaked when about one third of the total resource has been extracted(15): this is because the rate of production falls as the remaining oil becomes harder to shift. So the assumption in the IEA’s new report, that oil production will hold steady when the global resource has fallen “to around one-half by 2030″(16) looks unsafe. The UKERC review finds that just to keep oil supply at present levels, “more than two thirds of current crude oil production capacity may need to be replaced by 2030 … At best, this is likely to prove extremely challenging.”(17) There is, it says “a significant risk of a peak in conventional oil production before 2020.”(18) Unconventional oil won’t save us: even a crash programme to develop the Canadian tar sands could deliver only 5m barrels a day by 2030.(19)
As a report commissioned by the US Department of Energy shows, an emergency programme to replace current energy supplies or equipment to anticipate peak oil would need about 20 years to take effect(20). It seems unlikely that we have it. The world economy is probably knackered, whatever we might do now. But at least we could save farming. There are two possible options: either the mass replacement of farm machinery or the development of new farming systems, which don’t need much labour or energy. There are no obvious barriers to the mass production of electric tractors and combine harvesters: the weight of the batteries and an electric vehicle’s low-end torque are both advantages for tractors. A switch to forest gardening and other forms of permaculture is trickier, especially for producing grain; but such is the scale of the creeping emergency that we can’t afford to rule anything out.
The challenge of feeding 7 or 8 billion people while oil supplies are falling is stupefying. It’ll be even greater if governments keep pretending that it isn’t going to happen.
2. Kjell Aleklett et al, 2009. The Peak of the Oil Age - analyzing the world oil production Reference Scenario in World Energy Outlook 2008. Energy Policy. http://www.tsl.uu.se/uhdsg/Publications/PeakOilAge.pdf
3. David Pimentel, Marcia Pimentel and Marianne Karpenstein-Machan, 1999. Energy Use In Agriculture: An Overview. Agricultural Engineering International: The CIGR EJournal., Volume I. http://www.cigrjournal.org/index.php/Ejounral/article/viewFile/1044/1037
4. I first began pestering the government about this in May 2007, as you can see here: http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/05/29/what-if-the-oil-runs-out/
After that, I lodged an FoI request, and returned to the theme in these articles:
6. International Energy Agency, 2009. World Energy Outlook 2009. Page 73.
7. Figure 1.5, page 82.
11. Kjell Aleklett et al, 2009. The Peak of the Oil Age - analyzing the world oil production Reference Scenario in World Energy Outlook 2008. Energy Policy. http://www.tsl.uu.se/uhdsg/Publications/PeakOilAge.pdf
12. Steve Sorrell et al, 2009. Global Oil Depletion: An assessment of the evidence for a near-term
peak in global oil production. UK Energy Research Centre. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/Global%20Oil%20Depletion
14. See Figure 2.8. page 24
16. International Energy Agency, 2009, ibid, p80.
17. Steve Sorrell et al, 2009, p169.
20. Robert L. Hirsch, Roger Bezdek and Robert Wendling, February 2005. Peaking Of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management. US Department of Energy. Available at http://www.hubbertpeak.com/us/NETL/OilPeaking.pdf
Monday, November 16, 2009
Population history of American indigenous peoples
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
By Dilip Hiro
While the tone of the Obama administration is different from that of its predecessor, and some of its foreign policies diverge from those of George W. Bush, at their core both administrations subscribe to the same doctrine: Whatever the White House perceives as a threat -- whether it be Iran, North Korea, or the proliferation of long-range missiles -- must be viewed as such by Moscow and Beijing.
In addition, by the evidence available, Barack Obama has not drawn the right conclusion from his predecessor's failed Iran policy. A paradigm of sticks-and-carrots simply is not going to work in the case of the Islamic Republic. Here, a lesson is readily available, if only the Obama White House were willing to consider Iran's recent history. It is unrealistic to expect that a regime which fought Saddam Hussein's Iraq (then backed by the United States) to a standstill in a bloody eight-year war in the 1980s, unaided by any foreign power, and has for 30 years withstood the consequences of U.S.-imposed economic sanctions will be alarmed by Washington's fresh threats of "crippling sanctions."
Most important, the Obama administration is ignoring the altered international order that has emerged in the wake of the global financial crisis triggered by Wall Street's excesses. While its stimulus package, funded by taxpayers and foreign borrowing, has arrested the decline in the nation's gross domestic product, Washington has done little to pull the world economy out of the doldrums. That task -- performed by the U.S. in recent recessions -- has fallen willy-nilly to China. History repeatedly shows that such economic clout sooner or later translates into diplomatic power.
Backed by more than $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, the state-owned Chinese oil corporations have been locking up hydrocarbon resources as far away as Brazil. Not surprisingly, Iran, with the second largest oil as well as gas reserves in the world, looms large in the strategic plans of Beijing. The Chinese want to import Iran's petroleum and natural gas through pipelines across Central Asia, thus circumventing sea routes vulnerable to U.S. naval interdiction. As this is an integral part of China's energy security policy, little wonder that Chinese oil companies have committed an estimated $120 billion dollars -- so far -- to Iran's energy industry.
During a recent meeting with Iran's first vice president, Muhammad Reza Rahimi, in Beijing, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries when it comes to hydrocarbons and trade (at $29 billion a year, and rising), as well as "greater coordination in international affairs." Little wonder, then, that China has already moved to neutralize any sanctions that the United States -- backed by Britain, France and Germany -- might impose on Iran without United Nations authorization.
Foremost among these would be a ban on the export of gasoline to Iran, whose oil refining capacity falls significantly short of domestic demand. Chinese oil corporations have already started shipping gasoline to Iran to fill the gap caused by a stoppage of supplies from British and Indian companies anticipating Washington's possible move. Between June and August 2009, China signed $8 billion worth of contracts with Iran to help expand two existing Iranian oil refineries to produce more gasoline domestically and to help develop the gigantic South Pars natural gas field. Iran's national oil corporation has also invited its Chinese counterparts to participate in a $42.8 billion project to construct seven oil refineries and a 1,000 mile trans-Iran pipeline that will facilitate pumping petroleum to China.
Tehran and Moscow
When it comes to Russia, Tehran and Moscow have a long history of close relations, going back to Tsarist times. During that period and the subsequent Soviet era, the two states shared the inland Caspian Sea. Now, as two of the five littoral states of the Caspian, Iran and Russia still share a common fluvial border.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, relations between the Islamic Republic and Russia warmed. Defying pressures from both the Clinton and Bush administrations, Russia's state-owned nuclear power company continued building a civilian nuclear power plant near the Iranian port city of Bushehr. It is scheduled to begin generating electricity next year.
As for nuclear threats, the Kremlin's perspective varies from Washington's. It is far more concerned with the actual threat posed by some of Pakistan's estimated 75 nuclear weapons falling into militant Islamist hands than with the theoretical one from Tehran. Significantly, it was during his recent trip to Beijing to conclude ambitious hydrocarbon agreements with China that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, "If we speak about some kind of sanctions [on Iran] now, before we take concrete steps, we will fail to create favorable conditions for negotiations. That is why we consider such talk premature."
The negotiations that Putin mentioned are now ongoing between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the U.S., Britain, China, France, and Russia) as well as Germany. According to Western sources, the agenda of the talks is initially to center on a "freeze for freeze" agreement. Iran would suspend its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for the U.N. Security Council not strengthening its present nominal economic sanctions. If these reports are accurate, then the chances of a major breakthrough may be slim indeed.
At the heart of this issue lies Iran's potential ability to enrich uranium to a level usable as fuel for a nuclear weapon. This, in turn, is linked to the way Iran's leaders view national security. As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran is, in fact, entitled to enrich uranium. The key point is the degree of enrichment: 5% enriched uranium for use as fuel in an electricity generating plant (called low enriched uranium, LEU); 20% enriched for use as feedstock for producing medical isotopes (categorized as medium enriched uranium, MEU); and 90%-plus for bomb-grade fuel (known as high enriched uranium, HEU).
So far, what Iran has produced at its Natanz nuclear plant is LEU. At the Iran-Six Powers meeting in Geneva on October 1st, Iran agreed in principle to send three-quarters of its present stock of 1,600 kilograms (3,500 pounds) of LEU to Russia to be enriched into MEU and shipped back to its existing Tehran Research Reactor to produce medical isotopes. If this agreement is fleshed out and finalized by all the parties under the aegis of the International Atomic Energy Agency, then the proportion of Iran's LEU with a potential of being turned into HEU would diminish dramatically.
When it comes to the nuclear conundrum, what distinguishes China and Russia from the U.S. is that they have conferred unconditional diplomatic recognition and acceptance on the Islamic Republic of Iran. So their commercial and diplomatic links with Tehran are thriving. Indeed, a sub-structure of pipelines and economic alliances between hydrocarbon-rich Russia, Iran, and energy-hungry China is now being forged. In other words, the foundation is being laid for the emergence of a Russia-Iran-China diplomatic triad in the not-too-distant future, while Washington remains stuck in an old groove of imposing "punishing" sanctions against Tehran for its nuclear program.
Tehran and Washington
There is, of course, a deep and painful legacy of animosity and ill-feeling between the 30-year-old Islamic Republic of Iran and the U.S. Iran was an early victim of Washington's subversive activities when the six-year-old CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Muhammad Mussadiq in 1953. That scar on Iran's body politic has not healed yet. Half a century later, the Iranians watched the Bush administration invade neighboring Iraq and overthrow its president, Saddam Hussein, on trumped-up charges involving his supposed program to produce weapons of mass destruction.
Iran's leaders know that during his second term in office -- as Seymour Hersh revealed in the New Yorker -- Bush authorized a clandestine CIA program with a budget of $400 million to destabilize the Iranian regime. They are also aware that the CIA has focused on stoking disaffection among Sunni ethnic minorities in Shiite-ruled Iran. These include ethnic Arabs in the oil-rich province of Khuzistan adjoining Iraq, and ethnic Baluchis in Sistan-Baluchistan Province abutting the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.
Little wonder that Tehran pointed an accusing finger at the U.S. for the recent assassination of six commanders of its Revolutionary Guard Corps in Sistan-Baluchistan by two suicide bombers belonging to Jundallah (the Army of Allah), an extremist Sunni organization. As yet, there is no sign, overt or covert, that President Obama has canceled or repudiated his predecessor's program to destabilize the Iranian regime.
Insecure regimes seek security in nuclear arms. History shows that joining the nuclear club has, in fact, proven an effective strategy for survival. Israel and North Korea provide striking examples of this.
Unsure of Western military assistance in a conventional war with Arab nations, and of its ability to maintain its traditional armed superiority over its Arab adversaries, Israel's leaders embarked on a nuclear weapons program in the mid-1950s. They succeeded in their project a decade later. Since then Israel has acquired an arsenal of 80 to 200 nuclear weapons.
In the North Korean case, once the country had tested its first atomic bomb in October 2006, the Bush administration softened its stance towards it. In the bargaining that followed, North Korea got its name removed from the State Department's list of nations that support international terrorism. In the on-again-off-again bilateral negotiations that followed, the Pyongyang regime as an official nuclear state has been seeking a guarantee against attack or subversion by the United States.
Without saying so publicly, Iran's leaders want a similar guarantee from the U.S. Conversely, unless Washington ends its clandestine program to destabilize the Iranian state, and caps it with an offer of diplomatic acceptance and normal relations, there is no prospect of Tehran abandoning its right to enrich uranium. On the other hand, the continuation of a policy of destabilization, coupled with ongoing threats of "crippling" sanctions and military strikes (whether by the Pentagon or Israel), can only drive the Iranians toward a nuclear breakout capability.
During George W. Bush's eight-year presidency, the U.S. position in the world underwent a sea change. From the Clinton administration, Bush had inherited a legacy of 92 months of continuous economic prosperity, a budget in surplus, and the transformation of the U.N. Security Council into a handmaiden of the State Department. What he passed on to Barack Obama was the Great Recession in a world where America's popularity had hit rock bottom and its economic strength was visibly ebbing. All this paved the way for the economic and political rise of China, as well as the strengthening of Russia as an energy giant capable of extending its influence in Europe and challenging American dominance in the Middle East.
In this new environment expecting the leaders of Iran, backed by China and Russia, to do the bidding of Washington means placing a bet on the inconceivable.
Dilip Hiro is the author of Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Oil Resources (Nation Books), among other works. His forthcoming book, After Empire: The Birth of a Multipolar World, will be published in January 2010, also by Nation Books.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I guess they don't have Internet down in Oklahoma.
Or maybe Garth Brooks is still on dialup, or is too busy taking his kids to school to know what's really going on.
Apple destroyed the music business. Apple must be stopped.
Isn't that like fighting in Afghanistan when Al-Qaeda is in Pakistan?
But this is the same government Mr. Brooks wants to protect and save the music business.
That damn Apple, allowing people to BUY single tracks! Things were much better prior to the iTunes Store, when listeners just STOLE THEM! Hell, why don't we wipe out not only iTunes, but Amazon, let's forgo licensing any Internet distribution, that'll solve the problem!
As for half a day of silence... Only an old fart residing in the nineties would believe that radio still has that kind of power, that everybody's still listening. Under the first sale doctrine, we own our music, and we're listening on our iPods without worrying about what the broadcasters are purveying in between the twenty two minutes of commercials per hour.
Well, we've got to ban the iPod too!
But didn't the RIAA already try that? Suing to stop its predecessor, the Diamond Rio? They didn't win that one...
I sympathize with where Mr. Brooks is coming from. Creators should be compensated. Then again, how much? Just because you're a musician, are you entitled to be rich, to fly on a private jet?
Tell that to every other industry that's been mauled by the Internet...
No more online travel booking! You can't use Orbitz, you must go to a travel agent!
And while you're at it, no more Internet news. You've got to buy the aged news in the newspaper every morning. Or worse, listen to the inane talking heads on TV. Less information is better!
Funny how those who used to have power don't like the Internet flashlight, that sends a beam into the nooks and crannies of the power elite's business.
While we're at it, why don't we bring back Tommy Mottola! And J. Lo! You can't watch videos online, you've got to sit endlessly in front of the television, waiting for them to come up on MTV! And if you like a niche act, not a superstar like Mr. Brooks, if you like Steve Earle more than Brad Paisley, you never get to see him at all! Tough noogies!
Vegas is the right place for you Garth. It's where all the has-beens go.
I don't mind a conflicting opinion. It's ignorance I abhor.
You've got to start with the facts. People can steal music at will. How do you create a better mousetrap, that allows everyone to partake whilst paying? That's the Spotify model, that's the MOG model, that's the future we're working towards.
But you'd rather jet us back to the past.
It's like Michael J. Fox sitting at home watching reruns of "Family Ties", doomed to endure the terrible effects of Parkinson's disease. Mr. Fox didn't ask to get sick. Just like the Internet was not founded to allow people to steal music. But rather than accept his fate and stay in the past, Mr. Fox has established a foundation, he's fighting Parkinson's, he wants to go back to the FUTURE! Where he's no longer twenty, but he's older and disease free.
You get to a better place not by quelling rebellions, by denying technology, but by starting in the present and working towards the future. Isn't that the model you employed Garth? Seeing KISS and recasting their success in country music?
I've seen you perform. You're phenomenal.
But like the progenitors, your inspiration, the men in make-up, you're a has-been. And few want your new music. The way you earn our trust is making it less about you, and more about us. Hey, isn't that what the Net's about? Stop talking horseshit about retirement and truly get in the game. Create some great new material. Start tweeting, employ Facebook to get the message out. See what it's really like out there before you start running your mouth, commenting when you're clueless.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009
The guidelines for the creation of the mix were: Mixes are limited to 45 minutes each like half a T90 tape. If you go over, listeners will encouraged to stop listening at the 45 minute mark to turn the tape over. Mixes can be made in any way you see fit on any medium. House is a feeling, so stray where you will genre-wise but beware that by venturing into particularly niche territory you may give the game away.
Stan Freburg – excert from a radio show
Jeffrey Lewis – I Ain’t Thick
Beat Happening – Our Secret
Quixote feat Lisa Li Lun – Before I Started To Dance (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
Arab Strap – The First Big Weekend
Vorn – Employee Assistence Program (excert from)
The Pin Group – When I Tell You
Tall Dwarfs – Paul’s Place
The Clean – End Of My Dreams
Davy Graham – I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Sometime
The Fall – Container Drivers
King Biscuit Time – C I Am 15
Deskee – Let There Be House
Download it from Stink-finger home of the BMP.
Download link (right click – save as): http://www.stink-finger.com/audio/StinkFingerPodcast5.mp3
Filesize: 41 MBLength: 00:42:41
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
By Les Leopold
October 05, 2009 "Alternet' -- It's great to know that during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans, according to Forbes, actually increased by $30 billion. Well golly, that's only a 2 percent increase, much less than the double digit returns the wealthy had grown accustomed to. But a 2 percent increase is a whole lot more than losing 40 percent of your 401k. And $30 billion is enough to provide 500,000 school teacher jobs at $60k per year.
Collectively, those 400 have $1.57 trillion in wealth. It's hard to get your mind around a number like that. The way I do it is to imagine that we were still living during the great radical Eisenhower era of the 1950s when marginal income tax rates hit 91 percent. Taxes were high back in the 1950s because people understood that constraining wild extremes of wealth would make our country stronger and prevent another depression. (Well, what did those old fogies know?)
Had we kept those high progressive taxes in place, instead of removing them, especially during the Reagan era, the Forbes 400 might each be worth "only" $100 million instead of $3.9 billion each. So let's imagine that the rest of their wealth, about $1.53 trillion, were available for the public good.
What does $1.53 trillion buy?
It's more than enough to insure the uninsured for the next twenty years or more.
It's more than enough to create a Manhattan Project to solve global warming by developing renewable energy and a green, sustainable manufacturing sector.
And here's my favorite: It's more than enough to endow every public college and university in the country so that all of our children could gain access to higher education for free, forever!
Instead, we embarked on a grand experiment to see what would happen if we deregulated finance and changed the tax code so that millionaires could turn into billionaires. And even after that experiment failed in the most spectacular way, our system seems trapped into staying on the same deregulated path.
Instead of free higher education, health care and a sustainable economy, we got a fantasy finance boom and bust on Wall Street which crashed the real economy. We have our 400 billionaires, and we have 29 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. We have an infrastructure in shambles. We have an environment in crisis. We have a health care system that would make Rube Goldberg proud. And we have the worst income distribution since 1929.
I hazard to guess that each and every Forbes 400 member could get by with a net worth of $100 million. I don't think that would kill their entrepreneurial drive or harm our economy--in fact it would be a major boon to the economy to step back from the edge of such massive concentration of wealth. The real problem is getting there form here. A wealth tax that kicks in when you become worth more than $100 million would be a good start. The Eisenhower tax rate on adjustable gross income over $3 million a year would help as well.
And please let's not call it socialism, now that we've placed the entire financial sector on welfare to the tune of over $13 trillion in subsidies and guarantees. (By the way, the yearly budget outlays for means tested programs for low income citizens is about $350 billion per year. So Wall Street's welfare is about 37 times as large as welfare for poor.)
So if narrowing the income/wealth gap isn't socialism, what is it? It's the America that thrived in the 1950s and 1960s. It's the America that created a middle-class and vowed never to let the financial gamblers return us to another depression. It's an America that put its people to work and built an infrastructure that was the envy of the world.
Where's Dwight David Eisenhower when we need him?
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading
By Robert Fisk
October 06, 2009 The Independent
In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.
The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken place – although they have not discovered the details – are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China's former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. "Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable," he told the Asia and Africa Review. "We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security."
This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region's conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.
The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations," he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China's extraordinary new financial power – along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America's power to interfere in the international financial system – which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states.
Brazil has shown interest in collaborating in non-dollar oil payments, along with India. Indeed, China appears to be the most enthusiastic of all the financial powers involved, not least because of its enormous trade with the Middle East.
China imports 60 per cent of its oil, much of it from the Middle East and Russia. The Chinese have oil production concessions in Iraq – blocked by the US until this year – and since 2008 have held an $8bn agreement with Iran to develop refining capacity and gas resources. China has oil deals in Sudan (where it has substituted for US interests) and has been negotiating for oil concessions with Libya, where all such contracts are joint ventures.
Furthermore, Chinese exports to the region now account for no fewer than 10 per cent of the imports of every country in the Middle East, including a huge range of products from cars to weapon systems, food, clothes, even dolls. In a clear sign of China's growing financial muscle, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday pleaded with Beijing to let the yuan appreciate against a sliding dollar and, by extension, loosen China's reliance on US monetary policy, to help rebalance the world economy and ease upward pressure on the euro.
Ever since the Bretton Woods agreements – the accords after the Second World War which bequeathed the architecture for the modern international financial system – America's trading partners have been left to cope with the impact of Washington's control and, in more recent years, the hegemony of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.
The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar. But Chinese banking sources say their discussions have gone too far to be blocked now. "The Russians will eventually bring in the rouble to the basket of currencies," a prominent Hong Kong broker told The Independent. "The Brits are stuck in the middle and will come into the euro. They have no choice because they won't be able to use the US dollar."
Chinese financial sources believe President Barack Obama is too busy fixing the US economy to concentrate on the extraordinary implications of the transition from the dollar in nine years' time. The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.
The US discussed the trend briefly at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh; the Chinese Central Bank governor and other officials have been worrying aloud about the dollar for years. Their problem is that much of their national wealth is tied up in dollar assets.
"These plans will change the face of international financial transactions," one Chinese banker said. "America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate."
Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
October 03, 2009 Asia Times
The United States and Western "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" crowd - hysteria running at fever pitch ahead of Thursday's multilateral nuclear talks in Geneva - could do worse than have a word with Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
Lula actually talked to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad face-to-face for over an hour on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week. He invited Ahmadinejad to visit Brazil in November. About the meeting, he went straight to the point, "What I wish for Iran is what I always wanted for Brazil - a peaceful, civilian nuclear program."
Lula is an island of common sense in an ocean of hysteria. French President Nicolas Sarkozy publicly gave a December deadline for Iran not to make a "tragic mistake", as in provoking Armageddon. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini reiterated the Group of Eight was giving Iran only three more months.
United States President Barack Obama - now running three wars (Iraq and the AfPak combo) - demanded that Iran (which is not at war with anybody) demonstrate "its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu announced to the UN, "the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fundamentalism and the weapons of mass destruction". Impervious to irony, Netanyahu obviously forgot that Iran - like Iraq in 2003 - has no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Israel not only has WMDs, but still refuses to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or allow its weapons to be inspected, as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rushed to clarify. As for religious fundamentalism, Zionism is more than a match to Iran's Shi'itism.
As if this was not hysteria enough, leaks in Britain revealed that the head of M-I6 Sir John Scarlett and the head of Mossad Meir Dagan may have established that Saudi Arabia is ready to allow Israel to bomb Iran. The House of Saud remained mute. But not the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) - which de facto controls Iran's missile program. They successfully tested long-range Shahab-3 and Sajjil solid-fuel missiles with a maximum range of 2,000 kilometers. Ergo, even more hysteria.
General Hoseyn Salami, commander of IRGC's air force, told the IRINN TV network that Iran had a firm "no first strike" policy in terms of a missile war with Israel, and defended the tests as linked to the approaching anniversary of the 1980 Iraqi attack on Iran - the beginning of a horrible eight-year war that killed at least 250,000 Iranians. (The US, by the way, supported in that war a character who later personified the "new Hitler", Saddam Hussein.)
Now compare all this to the Western reaction to what's happening this Thursday in Beijing on China's National Day parade for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China; an array of two types of surface-to-surface conventional missiles, a new land-based cruise missile, surface-to-surface intermediate and long-range missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, and nuclear intercontinental missiles will all be shown off in an asphalt catwalk. Not a peep from the West. It's as if this was part of Beijing Fashion Week.
A non-secret secret
The all-out hysteria reaches ludicrous overtones when it comes to the disinformation campaign around the now iconic Iranian back-up nuclear enrichment plant, built at the base of a mountain inside an ultra-protected underground facility controlled by the IRGC some 30 kilometers northeast of the holy city of Qom. The plant was built with heavily reinforced concrete and is about the size of a football field, enough to hold 3,000 uranium-refining centrifuges.
The site was duly reported by Tehran in a letter to the IAEA, according to the rules this is done six months before a site becomes operational. Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, also the head of Iran's nuclear program, has stressed there was never anything "secret" about the plant; and justified its construction because of "threats" against Iran.
Ahmadinejad - an engineer - for his part stressed the plant would only be operational in 18 months. And it will be open to IAEA inspections according to a timetable already being discussed. This is the bottom line: if the IAEA inspects, there's no way the plant will churn out nuclear weapons.
From Tehran's point of view, this all makes sense; a back-up plant protected by the IRGC near Qom is a given after the George W Bush administration and Israel have repeatedly threatened to bomb Iran. Location is everything; imagine Israel bombing the outskirts of Qom. It's as if the Pentagon bombed the Vatican.
As for Washington, it might have known about this "secret" plant during the George W Bush administration - as those usual suspects, "senior officials", confirmed to US corporate media. But that raises the question: why did Israel and the US not expose it when it was "secret", that is, still not reported to the IAEA?
Anyway, what remains excluded from the hysteria-saturated news cycle is that the new not-so-secret plant will not enrich uranium beyond 5% - the suitable level in a civilian energy program. A nuclear weapon demands 90% enrichment. The plant will not produce uranium hexaflouride, or UF6, which is used for enrichment. The bottom line, once again; the Qom backup plant changes nothing in terms of Iran's nuclear program as recognized by the IAEA.
Talk first, bomb later
And that brings us back to Lula. Brazil, just like Iran, is a signatory of the NPT. Just like Iran, it is enriching uranium. Just like Iran, it does not allow unlimited, invasive IAEA inspections. And just like Iran, it has in the past kept some aspects of its nuclear technology "secret".
Brazil enriches uranium to less than 5%, as part of its $1 billion nuclear industry, which will invest on seven new atomic plants to diversify the country's consumption of oil and hydroelectric power. Brazil plans to start exporting enriched uranium before 2014. Brazilian centrifuges could be used to produce highly enriched uranium. But that's a matter of political will. The letter of the Brazilian constitution effectively forbids the building of nuclear weapons.
In Iran the situation is actually similar. Both the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have made it very clear that nuclear weapons are against Islam.
Obviously, the US State Department will always dismiss any comparisons between Tehran and Brasilia. After all, Brazil is a Western-style democracy and Iran is now, after the last presidential elections, a military dictatorship of the mullahtariat. Brazil may be a natural leader in South America, but it's not threatening anybody; while Iran, a regional leader, threatens Israel's "secret" nuclear hegemony in the Middle East. But in both Iran's and Brazil's case, the heart of the matter is the same: running a successful nuclear program is, above all, a question of national pride.
Sanctions cannot possibly work. And once again the current hysteria glaringly shows how, when it comes to Iran, double standards rule.
Washington was forced to admit sanctions did not work with the dictatorship in Myanmar. Now Washington wants to talk. Sanctions will not work on Iran either. It's ridiculous, for instance, to imagine Iraq joining a Western-enforced gasoline embargo on Iran. Besides, Persians are too proud and loaded with too much history to succumb to threats.
Israel, sundry Sunni Arab puppet rulers and dictators, the pathetic American right and the European right, these all fear Iran's regional clout and want to bring the regime down. The nuclear dossier could not be a more convenient cover story for regime change.
As much as the military dictatorship of the mullahtariat may be distasteful for the world and for a lot of Iranian citizens, the end does not justify the means. And the means won't lead to the desired end, as an attack on Iran will make the whole population rally behind the regime. Something is profoundly rotten in the so-called "international community" kingdom - minus Russia and China, by the way - when it lets global policy be determined by someone like Netanyahu.
Obama and Lula meet this Friday in Copenhagen to see whether Chicago or Rio will win the race to host the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. The chemistry between them is excellent. Obama could do worse than check up on Lula on his face-to-face meeting with Ahmadinejad.
But as it stands, it's more like the "international community" is being led in an Olympic race to bomb Iran.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
Friday, October 02, 2009
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
They voted in Reagan and the era of greed and selfishness that now entraps us all
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Developed by Ronald D. Moore
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Edward James Olmos
Composer(s) Bear McCreary
Running time 88 minutes (aired), 126 minutes (DVD)
Production company(s) NBC Universal Cable
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Distributor Universal Studios Home Entertainment (DVD)
Original channel Syfy
Original airing 2010
Preceded by "Daybreak"
Followed by Caprica
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan is a television film set in the reimagined version of the Battlestar Galactica fictional universe. Consisting of newly filmed material and compilation of clips from the TV show and miniseries, it reveals the Cylons' plan.
The film will premiere exclusively on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download on October 27, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Only Obama, it seems, fails to get the message that we’re losing Afghanistan
By Robert Fisk
September 19, 2009 The Independent
Obama and Osama are at last participating in the same narrative. For the US president's critics - indeed, for many critics of the West's military occupation of Afghanistan - are beginning to speak in the same language as Obama's (and their) greatest enemy.
There is a growing suspicion in America that Obama has been socked into the heart of the Afghan darkness by ex-Bushie Robert Gates - once more the Secretary of Defense - and by journalist-adored General David Petraeus whose military "surges" appear to be as successful as the Battle of the Bulge in stemming the insurgent tide in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq.
No wonder Osama bin Laden decided to address "the American people" this week. "You are waging a hopeless and losing war," he said in his 9/11 eighth anniversary audiotape. "The time has come to liberate yourselves from fear and the ideological terrorism of neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby." There was no more talk of Obama as a "house Negro" although it was his "weakness", bin Laden contended, that prevented him from closing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In any event, Muslim fighters would wear down the US-led coalition in Afghanistan "like we exhausted the Soviet Union for 10 years until it collapsed". Funny, that. It's exactly what bin Laden told me personally in Afghanistan - four years before 9/11 and the start of America's 2001 adventure south of the Amu Darya river.
Almost on cue this week came those in North America who agree with Osama - albeit they would never associate themselves with the Evil One, let alone dare question Israel's cheerleading for the Iraqi war. "I do not believe we can build a democratic state in Afghanistan," announces Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the senate intelligence committee. "I believe it will remain a tribal entity." And Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, does not believe "there is a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan".
Colin Kenny, chair of Canada's senate committee on national security and defense, said this week that "what we hoped to accomplish in Afghanistan has proved to be impossible. We are hurtling towards a Vietnam ending".
Close your eyes and pretend those last words came from the al-Qa'ida cave. Not difficult to believe, is it? Only Obama, it seems, fails to get the message. Afghanistan remains for him the "war of necessity". Send yet more troops, his generals plead. And we are supposed to follow the logic of this nonsense. The Taliban lost in 2001. Then they started winning again. Then we had to preserve Afghan democracy. Then our soldiers had to protect - and die - for a second round of democratic elections. Then they protected - and died - for fraudulent elections. Afghanistan is not Vietnam, Obama assures us. And then the good old German army calls up an air strike - and zaps yet more Afghan civilians.
It is instructive to turn at this moment to the Canadian army, which has in Afghanistan fewer troops than the Brits but who have suffered just as ferociously; their 130th soldier was killed near Kandahar this week. Every three months, the Canadian authorities publish a scorecard on their military "progress" in Afghanistan - a document that is infinitely more honest and detailed than anything put out by the Pentagon or the Ministry of Defense - which proves beyond peradventure (as Enoch Powell would have said) that this is Mission Impossible or, as Toronto's National Post put it in an admirable headline three days' ago, "Operation Sleepwalk". The latest report, revealed this week, proves that Kandahar province is becoming more violent, less stable and less secure - and attacks across the country more frequent - than at any time since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. There was an "exceptionally high" frequency of attacks this spring compared with 2008.
There was a 108 per cent increase in roadside bombs. Afghans are reporting that they are less satisfied with education and employment levels, primarily because of poor or non-existent security. Canada is now concentrating only on the security of Kandahar city, abandoning any real attempt to control the province.
Canada's army will be leaving Afghanistan in 2011, but so far only five of the 50 schools in its school-building project have been completed. Just 28 more are "under construction". But of Kandahar province's existing 364 schools, 180 have been forced to close. Of progress in "democratic governance" in Kandahar, the Canadian report states that the capacity of the Afghan government is "chronically weak and undermined by widespread corruption". Of "reconciliation" - whatever that means these days - "the onset of the summer fighting season and the concentration of politicians and activists for the August elections discouraged expectations of noteworthy initiatives...".
Even the primary aim of polio eradication - Ottawa's most favored civilian project in Afghanistan - has defeated the Canadian International Development Agency, although this admission is cloaked in truly Blair-like (or Brown-like) mendacity. As the Toronto Star revealed in a serious bit of investigative journalism this week, the aim to "eradicate" polio with the help of UN and World Health Organization money has been quietly changed to the "prevention of transmission" of polio. Instead of measuring the number of children "immunized" against polio, the target was altered to refer only to the number of children "vaccinated". But of course, children have to be vaccinated several times before they are actually immune.
And what do America's Republican hawks - the subject of bin Laden's latest sermon - now say about the Afghan catastrophe? "More troops will not guarantee success in Afghanistan," failed Republican contender and ex-Vietnam vet John McCain told us this week. "But a failure to send them will be a guarantee of failure." How Osama must have chuckled as this preposterous announcement echoed around al-Qa'ida's dark cave.
2009 Independent News and Media.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
2. Afro Cuban Band - Something's Gotta Give (Todd Terje Rekutt)
3. Alicia Keys - You Don't Know My Moonflowers (Todd Terje Edit)
4. America - Horse With No Shame (Todd Terje aka Wade Nichols Edit)
5. Andreas Vollenweider - Belladonna (Todd Terje Re-Edit)
6. Antena - Camino Del Sol (Todd Terje Remix)
7. Arbeid Adelt - Death Disco (Todd Terje Edit)
8. Astrud Gilberto - Black Magic (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
9. August Darnell - Friendly Children (Todd Terje Edit)
10. Azoto - Havah Nagilah (Prins Thomas & Todd Terje Mix)
11. Bangles - Dub Like An Egyptian (Todd Terje Edit)
12. Bappi Lahiri - Jimmy Jimmy Aja (Todd Terje Edit)
13. Barrabas - High Light (Todd Terje Rekutt)
14. Belle Epoque - Bamalama (Todd Terje Omskjæring)
15. Blehorkestar Bakija Bakic - Fizheuer Zieheuer (Todd Terje Edit)
16. Boney M - Nightflight To UR Anus (Todd Terje Tynneterje Edit)
17. Brothers Johnson - Ain't We Funkin´Now (Todd Terje Radio Miks)
18. Canned Heat - Wanda Rode Again (Todd Terje aka Wade Nichols Edit)
19. Chaka Khan - Fate (Todd Terje Tynneterje Edit)
20. Chaz Jankel - Glad To Know You (Todd Terje Re-Edit)
21. Cherrelle - Dub On You (Todd Terje Edit)
22. Chic - I Want Your Love (Todd Terje Edit)
23. Chilly - For Your Love (Todd Terje Re-Edit)
24. Chris Rea - On The Beach (Todd Terje Edit)
25. Claudja Barry - I Wanna Dance (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
26. Common - I Am Music (Todd Terje Edit)
27. Curtis Mayfield - Give Me Your Love (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
28. David Astri - Dancing Digits (Todd Terje Mix)
29. Dee Dee - Easy money (Todd Terje Re-Kutt)
30. Demis Roussos - I Dig You (Todd Terje Housemix)
31. Dennis Parker - Like An Eagle (Todd Terje Mix)
32. Devadip Carlos Santana - Golden Hours (Todd Terje Tangoterje Mix)
33. Diana Ross - Love The One You're With (Todd Terje Edit)
34. Disco Very - Get It On (Todd Terje Tangoterje Re-Edit)
35. Discognosis - Step By Step (Todd Terje Re-Step)
36. Dolle Jolle - Balearic Incarnation (Todd Terje's Extra Doll Mix)
37. Double - Woman Of The World (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
38. Earth, Wind & Fire - Kalimba Tree (Todd Terje Edit)
39. Edwin Birdsong - Cola Bottle Baby (Todd Terje Rekutt)
40. Emotions - Love Vibes (Todd Terje Rekutt)
41. Fatback Band - Street Dance (Todd Terje Rekutt)
42. Felix Laband - Whistling In Tongues (Todd Terje Remix)
43. Fox N Wolf - Claws Against Knives (Todd Terje Remix)
44. George McRae - I Get Lifted (Todd Terje Tangoterje Re-Edit)
45. George Shearing - Aquarius (Todd Terje Tangoterje Re-Edit)
46. Giorgio Moroder - Utopia (Todd Terje Edit)
47. Glen Larson & Stu Phillips - Night Rider (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
48. Guns 'n' Roses - Welcome To the Jungle (Todd Terje Re-Edit)
49. Herbie Hancock - Magic Number (Todd Terje Edit)
50. Herbie Mann - High Jack (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
51. Hypnosis - Bormaz (Todd Terje Edit)
52. Imagination - Just An Illusion (Lindstrom Vs Todd Terje Dub)
53. Isaac Hayes - Zeke The Freak (Todd Terje Rekutt)
54. Jose Gonzalez - Killing For Love (Todd Terje Brokeback Mix)
55. Kaoru Inoue - The Secret Field (Todd Terje Remix)
56. KC & The Sunshine Band - Boogie (Todd Terje aka Wade Nichols Edit)
57. Kitty Winter - New Morning (Reworked) (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
58. Kraftwerk - Home Computer (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
59. Krikokos - Life Is A Jungle (Todd Terje Re-Edit)
60. Lindstrom - Another Station (Todd Terje Remix)
61. Lindstrøm & Solale - Let's Practice (Todd Terje aka Wade Nichols Dub Mix)
62. Madeline Bell - That's What Friends Are For (Todd Terje Tangoterje Mix)
63. Massara - Margeritha (Todd Terje Edit)
64. Michael Henderson - Let Love Enter (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
65. Michael Jackson - I Can't Help It (Todd Terje Tangoterje Remix)
66. Modern Talking - You're My Heart You're My Soul (Rune Lindbaek & Todd Terje Edit)
67. Moodymann - Lake Shore Drive (Todd Terje Rekutt)
68. Nina Hagen - Cosma Shiva (Todd Terje Jackmix)
69. Paul Simon - Diamonds (Todd Terje Tangoterje Dub Remix)
70. Peech Boys - Don't Make Me Wait (Todd Terje Edit)
71. Quantic - Mishaps Happening (Todd Terje Remix)
72. Reverso 68 - Piece Together (Todd Terje Spinning Star Mix)
73. Rinder & Lewis - Willie And The Hand Jive (Todd Terje Re-kutt)
74. Rogue Cat - Magic Journey (Todd Terje Remix)
75. Rolling Stones - Under My Dub (Todd Terje Remix)
76. Roni Griffith - Love Is The Drug (Todd Terje Edit)
77. Sam-Jam - Dance N Chant (Todd Terje Tangoterje Remix)
78. Simon Baker - Plastik (Todd Terje Tuerkatech Remix)
79. Skip Jackson - Microwave boogie (Todd Terje Re-kutt)
80. Stealers Wheel - Stuck In The Middle With You (Todd Terje Edit)
81. Stevie Wonder - All I Do (Todd Terje Edit)
82. Stevie Wonder - Superstition (Todd Terje Edit)
83. Studio - Lifes A Beach (Todd Terje Beach House Mix)
84. The Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancin' (Todd Terje Edit)
85. The Bottom Line - Abracadobro (Todd Terje aka Wade Nichols Edit)
86. The Crusaders - My Lady (Todd Terje Tangoterje Edit)
87. The Osmonds - I, I, I (Todd Terje Edit)
88. The Turtles - Happy Together (Todd Terje aka Wade Nichols Edit)
89. Thin Lizzy - Fox On The Run (Todd Terje aka Wade Nichols Edit)
90. Titanic - Macumba Macumba (Todd Terje Tangoterje Rekutt)
91. Turtles - Sjefen Sjefen (Todd Terje aka Wade Nichols Re-Edit)
92. Wally Warning - Land Of Hunger (Todd Terje Edit)
93. Wham - Club Tropicana (Todd Terje Edit)
94. Willow Band - Willowman (Todd Terje Re-Edit)
95. Zaza - Dschungel Liebe (Todd Terje Edit)
96. Zoo - Roboterotikk (Todd Terje Edit)