Posted by: brothermartin | February 3, 2009

at long last, the promised change!

…and i’m not talking about the obama administration, i’m talking about me putting up a site for stories i want to bookmark…

you can find them on stumbleupon, at

http://amosgsiddi.stumbleupon.com/

enjoy!

mh

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Posted by: brothermartin | August 16, 2008

BLOG GOING ON HIATUS

First of all, I’m going on the road for a week or two, and for the most part will be without computer access.  Second, this little chronicle has grown to take entirely too much of my time.   I would rather be a musician who sometimes makes prose comments on the news, not a news commentator who, once in a great while, gets to write, play and record some music.

My two main sources have been Carolyn Baker and the Climate Crisis Coalition.  Carolyn has just gone into subscription-only mode, and i would highly recommend her as someone worth sharing your money with.  The CCC is still running on donations, and, yes, I have donated.

Considering the way I go about things in life, I have probably chosen to bookmark news stories for sharing in a fairly labor-intensive way.  I hear sites like Digg and others may offer something closer to mouse-click notation.  If you, gentle reader, fool with such critters, please let me know about your experience, and I will take it into account in September when I return.

Happy trails to you

Posted by: brothermartin | August 11, 2008

AMERICA–THE YARD SALE

LOST SOVEREIGNTY

OIL-RICH FUND EYEING US HOMES

There’s a new land grab starting in America.

Foreign money, which up to now has focused its attention on investing in iconic commercial real estate – like Barneys New York and the Chrysler Building – is now moving to scoop up tens of thousands of discounted foreclosed homes across the country.

One sovereign fund, said to have earmarked $29 billion to purchase foreclosed residential real estate, recently hired a West Coast mortgage broker and is starting to search for bargains, The Post has learned.

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Q:  Why on earth would they do that?

A:  Gotta do something with all them wheelbarrow loads of shrinking dollars….

Posted by: brothermartin | August 11, 2008

THE INVISIBLE PLANT

I don’t agree with everything this guy says….he seems to think that Stalin was relatively benign, and I think he’s dead wrong there–but overall I think he has a good point about how bizarrely and conveniently we’re ignoring a plant that could answer a lot of our energy problems.

SEE NO HEMP, HEAR NO HEMP, SPEAK NO HEMP

PT. 1

by Rand Clifford

8/10/08

Molders of public opinion work in such insidious ways that their actual methods and means usually go unnoticed. While inculcation of propaganda, lies, and disinformation do much of the shaping, simple omission has profound effect—might even be the favorite because it is, after all, nothing. It’s hard to imagine nothing ever accomplishing so much, but consider that for most people under common awareness manipulation, whatever corporate media (CorpoMedia) omits, to a large extent doesn’t exist.

Flag-draped coffins streaming home in the dead of night from our war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan are under media blackout, and so mean as little to most Americans as the actual reasons for the invasions, or even the hideous war crimes themselves. By its nature, omission is all but limitless; its application by CorpoMedia has grown to enormous proportions as celebrities and sports overpower hard news. So this article focuses on omission of—the calculated disappearing of a single thing that for thousands of years has profoundly benefitted the health and well-being of people all over the world, and today offers so much more: Cannabis hemp.

6/26/08, the Economist newspaper published: Better Living Through Chemurgy. http://www.truthabouttrade.org/content/view/11985/54/ A decent article overall, at the end of paragraph one it points out that chemurgy is an ugly word; subtle implications being that there might actually be something ugly about chemurgy itself? Chemurgy is a branch of applied chemistry focused on preparing industrial products and consumer goods from agricultural raw materials. The term first appeared in William J. Hale’s 1934 book The Farm Chemurgic. The National Farm Chemurgic Council was formed a year later to foster greater industrial use of agricultural raw material—something ugly in ravenous petrochemical empire eyes….

The Economist article lauds American scientist George Washington Carver for developing hundreds of industrial products from peanuts…then comes disinformation: “In the 1930s, Henry Ford started using parts made from agricultural materials, and even built an ‘all-soy car’”. Sorry, not “all-soy”—Ford made a car in 1941 of mostly resin-stiffened hemp fiber, with hemp plastic windows, and powered by hemp ethanol. Soy resins were used, but it has always been known as Ford’s Hemp Car. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxlj6fgQ-ZU

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Posted by: brothermartin | August 11, 2008

ANYWAY

Sharon Astyk’s Post on the Theory of Anyway

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Do the Right Thing

My friend Pat Meadows, a very, very smart woman, has a wonderful idea she calls “The Theory of Anyway.” What it entails is this – she argues that 95% of what is needed to resolve the coming crisis in energy depletion, or climate change, or whatever is what we should do anyway, and when in doubt about how to change, we should change our lives to reflect what we should be doing “Anyway.” Living more simply, more frugally, using less, leaving reserves for others, reconnecting with our food and our community, these are things we should be doing because they are the right thing to do on many levels. That they also have the potential to save our lives is merely a side benefit (a big one, though).

This is, I think, a deeply powerful way of thinking because it is a deeply moral way of thinking – we would like to think of ourselves as moral people, but we tend to think of moral questions as the obvious ones “should I steal or pay?” “Should I hit or talk?” But the real and most essential moral questions of our lives are the questions we rarely ask of the things we do every day, “Should I eat this?” “Where should I live and how?” “What should I wear?” “How should I keep warm/cool?” We think of these questions as foregone conclusions – I should keep warm X way because that’s the kind of furnace I have, or I should eat this because that’s what’s in the grocery store. Pat’s Theory of Anyway turns this around, and points out that what we do, the way we live, must pass ethical muster first – we must always ask the question “Is this contributing to the repair of the world, or its destruction.”

So if you told me that tomorrow, peak oil had been resolved, I’d still keep gardening, hanging my laundry, cutting back and trying to find a way to make do with less. Because even if we found enough oil to power our society for a thousand years, there would still be climate change, and it would be *wrong* of me to choose my own convenience over the security and safety of my children and other people’s children. And if you told me tomorrow that we’d fixed climate change, that we could power our lives forever with renewables, I would still keep gardening and living frugally. Because our agriculture is premised on depleted soil and aquifers, and we’re facing a future in which many people don’t have enough food and water if we keep eating this way, and to allow that to happen would be a betrayal of what I believe is right. And if you told me that we’d fixed that problem too, that we were no longer depleting our aquifers and expanding the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, I’d still keep gardening and telling others to do the same, because our reliance on food from other nations, and our economy impoverishes and starves millions, even billions of poor people and creates massive economic inequities that do tremendous harm. And if you told me that globalization was over, and that we were going to create a just economic system, and we’d fixed all the other problems, and that I didn’t have to worry anymore, would I then stop gardening?

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Posted by: brothermartin | August 11, 2008

THE DEATH OF A RIVER

THOUSANDS RALLY TO MARK “DEATH” OF AUSTRALIAN RIVER

SYDNEY (AFP) — Thousands of people rallied in southern Australia Sunday to protest the dwindling water levels in one of the country’s greatest rivers, claiming the loss was causing an environmental disaster.

The 5,000-strong crowd gathered near the mouth of the 2,530 kilometre (1,569 mile) Murray to hold two minute’s silence to mark the ‘death’ of the river, which forms part of Australia’s most important agricultural region.

Kym McHugh, mayor of the local Alexandrina Council, said the ceremony near the South Australian town of Goolwa was to “underscore this eleventh hour bid to save the nation’s greatest river.”

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Posted by: brothermartin | August 9, 2008

RUSSIA GAMBLES ON AMERICAN IMPOTENCE

RUSSIA INVADES GEORGIA

by J. R. Nyquist

Weekly Column Published: 08.08.2008

Print

A s these words are written, Russian mechanized troops are moving against the Republic of Georgia. The Georgian leadership has been taken by surprise. They did not think the Russians would go this far. So the question has to be asked: Why is Russia invading Georgia now? What would a war between Georgia and Russia accomplish?

Some observers have stated that Russia wouldn’t dare invade Georgia. Such an invasion would bog them down in an endless fight against Georgian guerrillas. From the Kremlin standpoint this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad outcome. First, the suppression of ragtag forces is always possible if the invader is persistent and determined. In Chechnya the Kremlin’s determination has been unwavering and brutal for almost nine years. Nobody thinks Russia has lost the war in Chechnya.

During World War II one of Hitler’s generals fretted about Russian partisans. Hitler corrected the general. Fighting partisans was a sign of victory, he explained. It meant that the enemy’s main forces were defeated. It meant that Germany’s losses would be comparatively minor. Only those who cannot keep the field in regular warfare hide in caves and snipe at convoys from the underbrush. In totalitarian terms, the Russian action is entirely rational.

One thing is certain: the Russian invasion of Georgia, if it continues, will mark a turning point. Why are the Russians acting in such a bold manner? Some may speculate that it’s about the price of oil, as the world’s second-longest oil pipeline passes through Georgia. And this point should be considered. But more than anything, the invasion impacts U.S.-Russian relations in a decisive manner. It changes the political atmosphere in Europe and the Far East, in Washington and London and Tokyo. The Kremlin strategists already know that the global economy is headed for trouble. This means growing political weakness within the democratic countries.

Already America has been weakened on many fronts. In strategic terms, this may be the perfect moment for Russia to break with the United States. There may never be a better moment to paint America as an imperialist aggressor. In Washington D.C., however, there is no desire for a break with Russia. American policy-makers have long assumed that Russia is a friendly country. They have assumed that disagreements can be worked out, and peace will prevail. There has been no real preparation for a renewed Cold War. Western politicians pose the following questions: Why should the Russians shoot themselves in the foot? Why should they damage their own economic chances? But these questions misunderstand the real situation.

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Analysis: energy pipeline that supplies West threatened by war Georgia conflict

The conflict that has erupted in the Caucasus has set alarm bells ringing because of Georgia’s pivotal role in the global energy market.

Georgia has no significant oil or gas reserves of its own but it is a key transit point for oil from the Caspian and central Asia destined for Europe and the US.

Crucially, it is the only practical route from this increasingly important producer region that avoids both Russia and Iran.

The 1,770km (1,100 miles) Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which entered service only last year, pumps up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from Baku in Azerbaijan to Yumurtalik, Turkey, where it is loaded on to supertankers for delivery to Europe and the US. Around 249km of the route passes through Georgia, with parts running only 55km from South Ossetia.

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Posted by: brothermartin | August 9, 2008

WHY I’M VOTING GREEN

A Ritual of Justifying Biases

ON VOTING

By MANUEL GARCIA, Jr.

….

The Democratic and Republican parties are the official political organizations of the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC). They prosecute the interests of US capitalism’s ownership class by managing the dollar-area empire, both parties vying for each four-year contract to operate the national government. These two parties are called “the major parties” because they share a joint control of the political apparatus, extending to all three branches of government: executive, judicial and legislative. The relative proportions of managerial power allotted quadrennially to the major parties reflects the consensus of political opinion among the many constituencies making up the MICC (adjustments may occur through mid-term elections). It is important to remember that the domestic component of MICC capitalism is economic class warfare, capital’s unrelenting attack on the working class (“labor,” “wage earners,” or most accurately “wage slaves”), and the foreign component is imperialism by militarized dollar-area economics (see my previous article, “Oiling The War Machine” http://www.counterpunch.org/garcia07112008.html).

Voting for a major party candidate is an endorsement of MICC capitalism, both in its domestic assaults on popular democracy and the working class, and in its imperialistic aggression. Expressing a preference for a Democratic or Republican candidate is accepting MICC capitalism with an endorsement of one of its two proposed management styles. The major parties have been called collectively a “duopoly.”

****

So, you have three choices: 1, vote for the empire led by John McCain with a lumbering regressive politics; 2, vote for the empire led by Barack Obama with sophisticated regressive politics; 3, vote against the empire.

****

Objectively, I realize that Ralph Nader will not win the election. So, is my vote wasted? Since it is my vote and I prefer to apply it to the support of the people who carry on the platform of ideas I would wish this nation to adopt, no. I understand how presumptuous Democrats may wish to commandeer my vote, with the excuse that as a leftist I should be a captive of their party, and vote for O’Clinton to spite McBush. They will wail that my vote for Nader is a wasted vote, perhaps even contributing to a Republican victory. But, I repeat, I will never again vote for war, and I will never again endorse the empire. I don’t care if I’m the only person in the country who votes against the empire. That will never be a wasted vote. “I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it, than vote for what I don’t want and get lots of it.”

If I can do this, then so can you, and so could a majority of US voters, once they wake up.

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Posted by: brothermartin | August 9, 2008

CRIMES OF THE BUSH JUNTA, CONTINUED….

THE FORGED IRAQI LETTER:  WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

posted August 5, 2008

What just happened? Evidence. A secret that has been judiciously kept for five years just spilled out. All of what follows is new, never reported in any way:

The Iraq Intelligence Chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush — a man still carrying a $1 million reward for capture, the Jack of Diamonds in Bush’s famous deck of wanted men — has been America’s secret source on Iraq. Starting in January of 2003, with Blair and Bush watching, his secret reports began to flow to officials on both sides of the Atlantic, saying that there were no WMD and that Hussein was acting so odd because of fear that the Iranians would find out he was a toothless tiger. The U.S. deep-sixed the intelligence report in February, “resettled” Habbush to a safe house in Jordan during the invasion and then paid him $5 million in what could only be considered hush money.

In the fall of 2003, after the world learned there were no WMD — as Habbush had foretold — the White House ordered the CIA to carry out a deception. The mission: create a handwritten letter, dated July, 2001, from Habbush to Saddam saying that Atta trained in Iraq before the attacks and the Saddam was buying yellow cake for Niger with help from a “small team from the al Qaeda organization.”

The mission was carried out, the letter was created, popped up in Baghdad, and roiled the global newcycles in December, 2003 (conning even venerable journalists like Tom Brokaw). The mission is a statutory violation of the charter of the CIA, and amendments added in 1991, prohibiting the CIA from conducting disinformation campaigns on U.S. soil.

So, here we go again: the administration is in full attack mode, calling me names, George Tenet is claiming he doesn’t remember any such thing — just like he couldn’t remember “slam dunk” — and reporters are scratching their heads. Everything in my book is on the record, with many sources. And so, we watch and wait….

source

AMERICA’S ANTHRAX COMES HOME TO ROOST

….On December 12, 2001, media scrutiny of international treaties and U.S. law forced the U.S. Army to make an embarrassed admission: contrary to government propaganda, which had it that the U.S. had ceased producing or storing anthrax, according to terms of treaty signed by President Richard Nixon, 1969, substantial stocks of anthrax bacilli were, in fact, being stored at Dugway Proving Ground, Tooele county, Utah, with “limited quanties” still being produced, toward “defensive research” against possible airborne attacks by hostile sources. Army sources at the Dugway facility reported to FBI that all stocks of anthrax were secure and accounted for, following a thorough inventory. The same could not be said for elsewhere.

International media–tipped off by British sources at a biochemical warfare research facility in Porton Down, Salisbury, England–were informed that an investigation was underway at Porton Down, of stocks of a unique form of anthrax sent to that facility via the U.S. Army, Ft. Detrick. From the Porton Down admission, not only was it acknowledged that the U.S. government was exporting anthrax abroad, but via the “FBI’s interest in a CIA contractor” who worked at the Porton Down facility, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began, as is its charter and scope, to investigate the Central Intelligence Agency, on grounds of domestic terrorism. Porton Down was later cleared of involvement in the U.S. anthrax outbreaks, after all stocks were accounted for, but not before British involvement laid the U.S. clean with a very black eye.

And still, according to the London Telegraph, and despite Tom Ridge’s admission that the Florida and New York samples were identical and were that of “the Ames strain,” held only at US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, Ft. Detrick, Maryland, FBI persisted in reporting that it “believes the attacks, which have killed five people, to be the work of a domestic terrorist, although they have not ruled out links with Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa’eda network.”

The highly-milled, “weaponized” anthrax which killed five known persons, sickened dozens of others, and to which perhaps even hundreds were exposed, was not Iraqi, nor Soviet in origin. Martin Hugh-Jones, a biological researcher from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, was quoted by the UK’s New Scientist that, “while many laboratory animals are immunised with the vaccine now being given to thousands of American troops are exposed to anthrax, many are still killed by the Ames strain.”

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THROWING THE BOOK AT ‘EM

no kidding…this is a long-ass article!

18. Duke Cunningham convicted of receiving $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion, the MZM connection. Mitchell Wade the founder of the defense contracting firm MZM purchased Cunningham’s Del Mar home for $1,675,000 then put it back on the market a month later for $975,000. Cunningham lived in Washington on a yacht owned by Wade. In exchange for these kinds of bribes and favors, Cunningham steered contracts to MZM. One of the first in July 2002 was for $140,000 for computers and office furniture for Vice President Cheney which turned out in actuality to be for anthrax screening (for which MZM had zero expertise). Another in September 2002 was for a data storage system for CIFA (see item 158 on CIFA’s domestic spying). $5.4 million of the $6.3 million contract was profit. As it turned out the system was incompatible with CIFA’s and was never installed. As often happens in these kinds of arrangements, Lt. Gen. James C. King who helped set up CIFA went to work at MZM and became its President in June 2005 replacing Wade. By the time that Cunningham pled guilty on November 28, 2005, he had managed to steer $150 million in contracts to MZM, a firm which before Cunningham and Wade hooked up received no important government contracts.
.
Another player in the Cunningham scandals was Brent Wilkes who founded ADCS a data conversion firm. He too won contracts through Cunningham and according to Wade set up a prostitution ring for the benefit of Cunningham and other legislators at the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels. On November 5, 2007, Wilkes was convicted in federal court on all 13 felony counts he was charged with. These included conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and wire fraud. In addition to paying for flings in Hawaii and Las Vegas for Cunningham, Wilkes was accused of giving Cunningham $100,000. Wilkes said it was to buy Cunningham’s boat although the deal never went through and Wilkes never asked for the money back. Wilkes also passed along $525,000 to help cover a mortgage for a house in Santa Fe for Cunningham. In exchange for these bribes, Wilkes’ company received about $80 million dollars in contracts. The government lost $30-60 million and Wilkes made about $46 million as a result of his deals with Cunningham. On February 19, 2008, US District Court judge Larry Burns went against probation and prosecutorial recommendations and sentenced Wilkes to 12 years in prison. He could have gotten 60.

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Posted by: brothermartin | August 9, 2008

LOOKING FOR A GOOD BOOK?

Words of warming

As the world hots up, so does the market for books about climate change. Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers, looks at the latest works on the crisis, and sizes up their solutions, from nuclear energy to genetically engineered trees

In this summer of 2008, it feels as if our future is crystallising before our eyes. Food shortages, the credit crisis, escalating oil prices, a melting Arctic ice cap and the failure of the Doha trade negotiations: one or all of these issues could be the harbingers of profound change for our global civilisation. And just 16 months from now, in December 2009 in Denmark, humanity will face what many argue is its toughest challenge ever: to agree the fundamentals of a climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto protocol.

It all seems to have happened so quickly. Just two years ago we received warning of an imminent disaster – a climatic shift that “could easily be described as hell: so hot, so deadly that only a handful of the teeming billions now alive will survive”. The Cassandra was no deep green fundamentalist, but James Lovelock, the acclaimed scientist, pro-nuclear advocate and past adviser to Margaret Thatcher, who, 27 years earlier, had surprised the scientific community with his book Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (OUP). At a time when reductionist science (which breaks down the world into small units in order to understand it) prevailed, Lovelock took the opposite approach, describing Earth as a single, self-regulating entity, whose function can be disturbed by human activities. It became one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

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