Politics isn't enough

Pain and Conscience, by Charles Sullivan

It is evident that a substantial majority of U.S. citizens are, in principle, opposed to the most destructive governmental policies stemming from the nation’s capital. These include, but are not limited to—the continuing war and occupation of Iraq, as well as the pervasive consumer fraud that preys upon the innocent and the unwary and causes them undue hardship. These charges are born out by the abysmal approval rating of Congress and the president. It is equally evident that the government, while pretending to be sympathetic to these views, continues to carry forth those same policies both at home and abroad. It does so without the consent of the people and, therefore, it has abrogated its responsibility to them.

These destructive policies are formulated in the various branches of government and in the corporate board rooms of America.

In some respects the presidency serves as a distraction from the machinations that are operating behind the scenes to spew forth one disastrous policy after another.

Military Inflation

The character of US media that annoys me most is while so many parade their opinion so few peer over the shoulders of the sources. The web helps, making it possible to discover more than the rank of toothless populism.

New Zealand’s Toni Solo noticed that for every cent the dollar has fallen against the Euro, the cost of oil increased $2. In fact, there’s that word, this correlation is managed policy. Why? It pays for war.

Western Bloc central banks and financial and investment corporations are locked into an inflationary dynamic in order to sustain their system’s militarist imperialism. The Bloc’s European and Pacific components offer supportive economic collaboration. In exchange, the US serves as the Bloc’s global enforcer.

The US Treasury, Federal Reserve and corporate financial houses work together boosting dollar zone money supply, devaluing the dollar. Their partners take compensatory steps, intervening in G7 financial markets. They seek to keep their currencies in some kind of sustainable relationship for purposes of mutual trade and finance equilibrium so as to support US budget and current account deficits.

The US Federal Reserve and the US Treasury will carry on increasing the money supply, devaluing the dollar. They do so to fund US government military spending, other components of the US budget deficit and to prevent insolvent banks and financial corporations from going under. The European Central Bank will continue to set its money supply and accompanying policies to sustain recent trends in the Euro’s relationship to the US dollar and bolster its own shaky corporate financial markets.

John Barrie of Ann Arbor brings it to ‘the citizen’ in us:

We can do incredible things with fossil fuels. Just a handful of people can grind mountains down to nothing in the Canadian north with just a few of the right tools and enough diesel fuel. We can move entire cities halfway around the globe and keep them humming along as long as we can input billions of BTUs of heavy fuel every day. We build sky scrapers, take the kids to soccer games and drive through our favorite fast food joints all by burning dead dinosaurs. It’s really a miracle, too bad there has to be a downside.

And the downside is this: (ok these) pollution, global warming, increasingly scarce resources, oil spills, acid rain, water pollution, thermal pollution… What most of us don’t consider is the cost of securing our oil supply from the Persian Gulf. A quick look at US Energy Information Agency data on oil output from the Gulf, about 23 million barrels per day, and the cost of maintaining our military presence in the area, estimated to be from 40- 50 billion per year, plus adding the cost of our wars in the area, 61 billion for Desert Storm and 3 trillion total for the current Iraq war, plus add in the cost of health claims for Gulf War Syndrome at 263,000 claims as of 2000, and 20,000 severely wounded in battle who will need care and prosthetics and it looks like we spend about $20 to $40 per barrel just for providing “security”.

So, when oil prices go above $120.00 per barrel, remember that doesn’t include an additional $20 – $40 security tax, and this still doesn’t account for the human cost taken in people’s lives. The human cost is in my mind the greatest of all and I can’t begin to express it in any terms that could possibly make sense.

While ‘wingers’ on the left or the right wail about American values, is our leadership doing something tremendously different? Are we at war not only for oil, but for mere business too?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a set of thinly veiled warnings to China on Saturday, cautioning that it could risk its share of further gains in Asia’s economic prosperity if it bullied its neighbors over natural resources in contested areas like the South China Sea.

“We should not forget that globalization has permitted our shared rise in wealth over recent decades,” he said. “This achievement rests above all on openness: openness of trade, openness of ideas, and openness of what I would call the ‘common areas,’ whether in the maritime, space or cyber domains.” [story]

“The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America”

The Pornography of Power—why pornography?

Because it’s not the real thing. It’s a trick. It’s like—I liken it to a lap dance. You know, you’re promising something that doesn’t exist. They’re promising security. These defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, they pretend they’re dealing with real issues in the world, and they’re not. They’re just getting your money, and they’re deceiving you. And at the end of the day, you wonder, how did I end up in this grimy, dangerous place, and forking over ever more money, and it has nothing to do with making me happy. So I use the pornography symbol as example of what they’re doing.

And that’s really what this hijacking of 9/11 is all about. These guys who did the hijacking, what we do know about it is they used $3 implements that you could buy at Home Depot. They didn’t use F-22s, F-35s. They didn’t use subs or anything else. So there’s no enemy in sight. The military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about was in big trouble. George Bush’s father had cut the defense budget by 30 percent. It was going way down. We were finally going to get a peace dividend. And then they jumped over 9/11. They said, “Wow! This is our new opportunity. Let’s dust off all the ships and planes that are no longer needed, and we’ll build them now.” And we are going deeply into debt to building these things that have absolutely no use.

To study how we see

Penance for the title of previous post, here’s imomus with things to say “about structural narcissism (“men dream of women, women dream of themselves being dreamt of”), the difference between nakedness and nudity, and the institutionalised misogyny deep in our culture — the tendency of men to desire women and simultaneously blame them for provoking that desire.”

We can be seen by others; there are Lost Ways of Looking.

I actually find it rather disturbing that — despite our claims to be a culture that’s increasing freedom of choice all the time — we haven’t come up with anything quite as astute, subversive or beautiful as Ways of Seeing since. Not on the BBC, and not even — especially not — on the internet. Download it while you still can.

Episode 1 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Episode 2 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Episode 3 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Episode 4 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Douche the Press!

On Wednesday night, CNN’s Jessica Yellin talked to Anderson Cooper:

“The press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings,” Yellin said.

“And my own experience at the White House was that the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives — and I was not at this network at the time — but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president, I think over time….”

But then a shocked Cooper jumped in, asking, “You had pressure from news executives to put on positive stories about the president?”

“[T]hey would edit my pieces,” Yellin said. “They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical, and try to put on pieces that were more positive.”

Big Media is chinked. Posts, threads, comments and rants are appearing all across the web. Maybe a few heads will roll, but maybe too late to ‘get’ Bush & Cheney. More very likely, the media will be forced to toughen up and these same “corporate execs”, as they too often are hidden, will pile onto Obama to destroy our next President.

Start here: Michael Calderone.

A good rant here too:

Currently, our mainstream media is so dreadfully bad, so corrupt, that it’s actually starting to border on criminal. And today, it appears some in the media are starting to sheepishly come out of hiding to let the world know that their corporate overlords have been using them as puppets for some time.

Gawd! What a sexist title on this post. I would change it but I think invoking vinegar is better.

So get on with us

“One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.” — Franklin Thomas

Gee Whiz. Why not?

World’s first Vibrating Braille cell phone developed in Japan:

A former teacher at a school for the blind and a professor from Tsukuba University of Technology have developed a cell phone that sends out vibrations representing Braille symbols to enable people with sight and hearing difficulties to communicate.

The phone, reportedly the first of its kind in the world, was created by 73-year-old former teacher Sadao Hasegawa, Tsukuba University of Technology professor Nobuyuki Sasaki and other developers. When a caller pushes numbers on the keypad corresponding to Braille symbols, two terminals attached to the receiver’s phone vibrate at a specific rate to create a message.

Bark Analysis

That’s what it is.

DogGuard systemBased on the premise, “When your dog barks, it may be trying to tell you something”, the DogGuard program has been created by Bio-Sense Technologies.

The system uses a sensor in a 15-yard radius of the dog to determine a dog’s stress based on the sound of its bark. If an emergency is detected by a bark, an alarm sounds.

“It collects the dogs’ barks through microphones… and sorts and grades them,” explained Noam Tavor, head of the Israel Prisons Service canine unit. “It relays only the barks that are significant in terms of security—barks that reveal stress or aggression in the dog.”

The first DogGuard system was developed in 2005, and three more have been installed in Israeli prisons.

From New Launches

Dumb US Department

Depleted Uranium is a waste product of uranium enrichment, containing approximately one-third the radioactive isotopes of naturally occurring uranium. Because of its high density it is used armor and tank piercing ammunition.

Depleted Uranium (DU) has been classified as an illegal weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations and DU particles are highly toxic when inhaled or ingested.

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority has estimated that around 50 tons of DU dust from the first gulf war will lead to 500,000 cancer related deaths. Compare this to the 250,000 deaths caused by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

To date over 2000 tons of DU dust has been generated in the Middle East alone. DU has a half life of 4.5 billion years so Middle East will be radioactive for almost Eternity.


Change, Currency, and China

Year GDP(yuan) GDP growth Yuan per USD China GDP China+HK/Ma US GDP
2007 24.66 11.9% 7.3 3.38 3.7 13.8
2008 27.3 10.2% 6.35 4.3 4.5 14.0 Pass Germany
2009 30.1 9.8% 5.62 5.4 5.6 14.2 Pass Japan
2010 33.7 9.5% 5.11 6.6 6.8 14.6
2011 37.0 9.5% 4.64 8.0 8.2 15.0
2012 40.6 9.5% 4.26 9.5 9.8 15.4
2013 44.2 9.0% 3.91 11.3 11.6 15.9
2014 48.2 9.0% 3.72 13.0 13.2 16.4
2015 52.0 8.0% 3.54 14.7 15.0 16.9
2016 56.2 8.0% 3.53 16.7 17.0 17.4 Passing USA
2017 60.4 7.5% 3.38 18.8 19.1 17.9 Past USA
2018 64.2 7.0% 3.20 20.9 21.3 18.4
2019 69.2 7.0% 3.09 23.0 23.4 19.0
2020 74.0 7.0% 3.0 25.2 25.5 19.6
2021 78.4 6.0% 2.9 27.2 27.6 20.2
2022 83.1 6.0% 2.9 29.4 29.8 20.8
2023 87.3 5.0% 2.8 31.5 31.9 21.4
2024 91.7 5.0% 2.8 33.7 34.2 22.0
2025 96.3 5.0% 2.7 36.1 36.6 22.7
2026 101.1 5.0% 2.6 38.7 39.2 23.4
2027 106.1 5.0% 2.6 41.4 42.0 24.1
2028 111.4 5.0% 2.5 44.4 44.9 24.8
2029 117.0 5.0% 2.5 47.5 48.1 25.5
2030 122.8 5.0% 2.4 50.9 51.5 26.3 Close to double USA

Projecting recession, depression, and other tomorrow, here.

Changing it

There may be said to be two classes of people in the world; those who constantly divide the people of the world into two classes, and those who do not. – Robert Benchley

Backyard Airport

Great little movie of a small plane that takes off and lands in less than 100 feet. Small crowd elated. Though private aviation is hampered by extremely high liability insurance coverage, many dedicated experimenters continue to innovate.


thumbnail, STOL airplaneWanting to reduce remote and tribal poverty without huge industrial cost or impact, more than 15 years ago I set up a program to fabricate 10,000 Short Take Off & Landing (STOL) airplanes in the Philippines. Some components were European, some American, with fabrication planned near Manila.

Because of isolation due to a lack of roads or other access to income, indigenous and artisan regions are hampered, youth run to city slums and locals become suspicious and angry – a permanent challenge for island nations.

Even with a cargo of only 500-1000lbs, for many regions a STOL freight infrastructure is a smart policy.

(But o’ woe, it seemed that somebody big in PI was against the idea. There’s always somebody big in PI. We learned the containerized shipment of our sample plane was held in Philippine Customs and we were unable to release it after more than two years….!

Offshore Angstrom Shock

Gamers and e-tailers also quake learning Intel’s production stopped at its chip facility just 55 miles from the epicenter of the massive earthquake that rattled Sichuan, China.