- Peace Garden: 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008

A Dire Look Ahead

Monday, December 31, 2007

Insights from Jim Kunstler
I shudder to imagine how things will play out now as we turn the corner into 2008. Not to put too fine a point on it, but my little walnut brain can't imagine any scenario in which the US economy doesn't end up on a gurney in history's emergency room. It's not necessary to rehash the particulars of the Greenspan bubble-blowing disaster. The outcome is what concerns us. The web cables have been blazing for months with arguments as to what form the workout will take. There's little disagreement about the fundamentals at the housing end of things. The housing market is in a death spiral. Eventually, the median price of a house will have to fall back to the median income, and it has a very long way to go, perhaps 50 percent. Until that happens, houses will be generally unsellable. At the same time, of course, an anxious finance sector will be offering fewer mortgages and on much more rigorous terms, so there will be far fewer qualified buyers even for distress sales. And the median income itself may soon not be what it has been. The whole equation has changed.
But to return to my point, something like 40 percent of all new jobs after the year 2000 were created in the final burst of suburban expansion -- everything from the excavators to the framers to the sheet-rockers, and then the providers of granite countertops, the sellers of appliances and furnishings, and cars to service the far-out new subdivisions, and so on. This is the end, therefore, not only of the production "home-builders," but perhaps everything from Crate and Barrel to WalMart, too, eventually.
Others have said (and I concur) that 2008 will be the year that the issue of Peak Oil not only takes stage in the forefront of American politics, but pushes global warming aside as the most immediate threat to the "modern" way-of-life. There is every reason to believe that the world has arrived at its all-time oil production peak -- and some statisticians would even pin-point the exact moment as July 2006. Since then a few new and crucial story-lines have emerged to allow us to understand what is happening out there on the world oil scene.
In any case, whoever ends up in the oval office will preside over one king-hell of a clusterfuck. In the immortal words of TV's erstwhile "Mr. T," I pity da fool who gets elected into this mess. There will be a whole continent full of bankrupt, re-poed, and idle former WalMart shoppers, many of them with half of their skin tattooed and many of that bunch all revved up to "roll heavy and gun up" against the folks who screwed them.
Which leads me to my penultimate observation of the moment: 2008 will be the year that celebrity wealth goes into hiding. A land full of people crying into their foreclosure notices will take a dim view of the Donald Trumps and P. Diddys luxuriating out there and may come looking for scalps -- though in the case of Mr. Trump they'll be sorry they woke up the wolverine that lives on his head. Basically, though, I'm not kidding. Conspicuous displays of wealth will be so "out" that Mr. Diddy might take to club-hopping in a 1999 Mazda. Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton may have to double-up living in a minuteman missile silo to keep the angry mobs of fans-turned-vengeful-berserkers away.
Something to think about as you pop the bottle of bubbly. For some of us, it may be our last.


Following W's logic

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Iraq: Al-Qaida 75 percent gone
Iraq's interior ministry spokesman said Saturday that 75 percent of al-Qaida in Iraq's terrorist network had been destroyed this year, but the top American commander in the country said the terror group remained his chief concern.
So shouldn't our troop be cut by 75%? Isn't Al-Qaeda the "reason on the day" to be in Iraq?


What timing!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

US to expand military presence in Pakistan

EARLY next year, US special forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counter-terrorism units, according to American defence officials involved with the planning, reports Washington Post.
US Central Command Commander Adm William Fallon alluded to the agreement and spoke approvingly of Pakistan’s recent counter-terrorism efforts in a recent interview.
I guess Willy wasn't involved in those meeting as to where to lay the blame for today's assassination.

So who approved these troop moves?


al-Qaeda and Bhutto?

Pakistan: Al-Qaeda claims Bhutto's death

spokesperson for the al-Qaeda terrorist network has claimed responsibility for the death on Thursday of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
“We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen,” Al-Qaeda’s commander and main spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location, speaking in faltering English. Al-Yazid is the main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.
It is believed that the decision to kill Bhutto, who is the leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), was made by al-Qaeda No. 2, the Egyptian doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri in October.
But there are other candidates for the one who pulled the trigger.

Let's think about this report. This throws a damper on our Iran Adventure plans - no al-Qaeda in Iran. Now we may have to focus our attention on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This clearly plays into the hands of Mussharraf - a great reason to re-institute martial law. Also plays into the hands of our politicos who love to play the "islamo-fascist". fear. "they will be here if we don't kill them there" crowd.


Gravel Sings

Monday, December 24, 2007

If the media and the party won't let him talk, let's spread his words.


It's the End of the World...

and W feels fine.

Hell, he is bringing it about.


Happy Solstice

Friday, December 21, 2007

A perfect opportunity to understand and explore our connection with all of nature.


Impeach Now

Former CIA Analyst Says Evidence Abounds for Impeachment
The evidence for impeachment of the president and vice president is overwhelming, former CIA analyst and daily presidential briefer Ray McGovern told a room full of people at the Portsmouth Public Library Monday night.
McGovern, who provided daily briefings for former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush as well as other high ranking officials during his 27 year CIA career, said he has witnessed a “prostitution of his profession” as the Bush administration lied to the American people about the evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
“Don’t let anyone tell you the President was deceived by false intelligence … they knew,” McGovern said.
So why wait?
He added that although an impeachment bill currently in Congress is gaining more support, Democrats are shying away because of the influence of lobbies and political analysts telling them to “wait it out” until the election.
The problem with waiting it out gives this regime more time to involve us in Iran, drive our economy further into the crapper, piss off more nations, destroy more of our environmental laws...


We all know what happened to Tricky Dick

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Maybe Dumb George will follow his example.

Analysis: CIA Tape Case Evokes Watergate

Administration officials refuse to shed light on whether White House lawyers talked to the CIA about whether to destroy interrogation videotapes of two terrorism suspects but bristle at questions into the affair and complain about news coverage. That puts the White House in an awkward position. The very vision of White House officials sitting around a table talking about such an inflammatory course of action evokes echoes of Nixon and Watergate.
The secret destruction of the CIA tapes in late 2005 has drawn fire from both a federal judge and from Congress. The tapes purportedly documented harsh interrogation techniques approved by the White House, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning.
Destruction of the tapes was “totally improper behavior that smacks of efforts by past administrations to destroy evidence as quickly as possible,” said Paul C. Light, professor of public policy at New York University. “Even if it didn’t violate specific law, it violates the spirit of transparency.” “It brings up the schooling that the Nixon administration received regarding the destruction of the secret White House tapes,” Light said, referring to published reports that senior White House lawyers were involved in back-and-forth discussions with the CIA between 2003 and 2005 over whether to destroy the tapes.
"Schooling" - a nice word for kicking the regime out.


Time for a complete change

Democrats again impotent to rein in Iraq war funds
Democrats failed again this week in their efforts to influence Iraq war policy, showing themselves incapable of carrying out the mandate of voters who gave them a majority in Congress one year ago.
If they cannot get the job we all want done, then...


If past logic is an indicator

the Saudi's better watch out.

Saudis biggest group of al Qaeda Iraq fighters

Most al Qaeda fighters in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and Libya and many are university-aged students, said a study released on Wednesday by researchers at the U.S. Army's West Point military academy.


Thoughts with Kucinich

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kucinich's brother found dead

Perry Kucinich, brother of Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, was found dead Wednesday morning at his eastside Cleveland home, officials said.
His body was discovered by another brother, Larry, about 9 a.m., a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Coroner told CNN.


Thanks Henry Kennedy

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Judge orders CIA interrogation video hearing
A federal judge has ordered a hearing on whether the Bush administration violated a court order by destroying CIA interrogation videos of two al-Qaida suspects.
U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy rejected calls from the Justice Department to stay out of the matter. He ordered lawyers to appear before him Friday morning.
Someone who seems to have the spine to stand up to Constitutional abuse. Let's hope he can see fit to follow through.


You forgot Kucinich!

Richardson Says He Will Bring Troops Home, Obama and Edwards in War of Words
Democrat Bill Richardson is claiming the mantle of being his party's strongest peace candidate as the Iowa caucus presidential campaign heads into the home stretch. Quickly ending the Iraq war is the key to repairing political damage caused by the conflict and restoring the American Dream, the New Mexico governor told about 200 people Monday at Cornell College.
Strongest? Is Bill promoting a Department of Peace? Is Bill calling for the impeachment of the regime? I don't Think so!


NIE and W

Did Bush Get New Iran Intel Last Winter?
White House officials have now admitted that George W. Bush was told that the intelligence assessment on a covert Iranian nuclear programme might change last August, but they have avoided answering the question of when the president was first informed about the new intelligence that led to that revised assessment.
That evasion is necessary, it now appears, to conceal the fact that Bush likely knew about that intelligence as early as February or March 2007.
Does it really matter? He lied to us about Iraq. He'll continue to lie about Iran until we are there.


Shawshank Redemption in real-life

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not my usual thing to comment on, but...

Pinups of bikini-clad women hid jailbreak route, officials say

Two inmates escaped from a county jail, hiding the holes they made in the walls by putting up photos of bikini-clad women, officials said.
The county prosecutor's office said the two apparently removed cement blocks from two walls, squeezed through the openings, jumped to a rooftop below and then made it over a 25-foot-high fence.
Suggestion: have the prison guards watch "Shawshank Redemption" so they will know enough to look behind the posters.


Check out this logic

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Israel: US report on Iran may spark war
Israel's public security minister warned Saturday that a U.S. intelligence report that said Iran is no longer developing nuclear arms could lead to a regional war that would threaten the Jewish state.
Dichter cautioned that a refusal to recognize Iran's intentions to build weapons of mass destruction could lead to armed conflict in the Middle East.
"The American misconception concerning Iran's nuclear weapons is liable to lead to a regional Yom Kippur where Israel will be among the countries that are threatened," Dichter said in a speech in a suburb south of Tel Aviv, according to his spokesman, Mati Gil. "Something went wrong in the American blueprint for analyzing the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat."
Dichter didn't elaborate on the potential scenario but seemed to imply that a world that let its guard down regarding Iran would be more vulnerable to attack by the Islamic regime.
Attack them first.


The Story of Stuff

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Story of Stuff

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.


What are they afraid of?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kucinich booted from Iowa debate
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) is being excluded from this week’s Iowa presidential debate because he has not rented office space in the Hawkeye State, his campaign said Wednesday.
The Des Moines Register informed the campaign that Kucinich is not invited because the newspaper determined “that a person working out of his home did not meet our criteria for a campaign office and full-time paid staff in Iowa,” the campaign said.
Wait - it gets better...
Kucinich, who is running his second consecutive presidential campaign but is doing poorly in national polls, has received strong support in online surveys from liberal groups such as Democracy for America. The Ohio lawmaker’s anti-war campaign resonates with parts of the Democratic base even though that support has not boosted Kucinich from the lower tier of candidates.
So I guess the DFA poll is meaningless.

He has as much right to be on the stage as do the Repug-lites that are supported by the DLC. Hell, he has spoken truth and has ideas and programs - maybe he has more right than the others.


Discovering a lie - too easy

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

French Activist Bove To Go On Anti-GMO Hunger Strike
French radical farmer Jose Bove, who became a worldwide celebrity for his fight against junk food, said on Monday he would go on a hunger strike to win a one-year ban on genetically modified (GMO) crops.
While GMO crops are common in the United States, France — Europe’s biggest grain producer — along with other European nations remain highly suspicious of them. Supporters say it could lead to hardy strains to help feed the world’s poor. Opponents, which polls say include a majority of French people, fear they could harm humans and wildlife by triggering an uncontrolled spread of modified genes.
In an attempt to calm these concerns, France last week formally suspended the commercial use of GMO seeds until February 9 and ordered a biotech safety study.
Sounds good right?
“This decree is ridiculous. It is a scarecrow,” Bove said. “Everyone knows that there are no sowings during winter.
Ooops. Isn't it embarrassing when a government's lies are so quickly brought into the light? But this one was too easy for Bove. Either the officials tried to pull a fast one or they have no idea of how and when vegetables, fruits and grains are grown.



>Big Oil Lets Sun Set on Renewables
Shell, the oil company that recently trumpeted its commitment to a low carbon future by signing a pre-Bali conference communique, has quietly sold off most of its solar business.
The move, taken with rival BP’s decision last week to invest in the world’s dirtiest oil production in Canada’s tar sands, indicates that Big Oil might be giving up its flirtation with renewables and going back to its roots.
Shell and BP are among the biggest producers of greenhouse gases in the world, but both have been keen to paint themselves green through a series of clean fuel initiatives.
Environmental groups have always accused Shell of using clean energy initiatives as “greenwash” to deflect criticism from its core carbon operations, especially tar sands. The latest pull-out has annoyed rival business leaders at London-based Solar Century and local Indian operation, Orb Energy, who fear the impact of a high-profile company selling off solar business. Jeremy Leggett, chief executive of Solarcentury and a leading voice in renewable energy circles, said Shell was undermining the credibility of the business world in its fight against global warming.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Joss Garman said: “If Shell is to survive the climate change age… it needs to become not just an oil company but an energy company. One wonders if Shell’s executives have noticed what’s happening in Bali or if we’ll see slick adverts on TV boasting about their retreat from renewables. Probably not.”
Maybe they know something we don't. Maybe they know of two oil reserves (Venezuela and Iran) that will be gift-wrapped and presented to them. Who needs to invest in solar and renewables when you have the mighty US government and troops finding and protecting your oil supplies.


Al and the Prize

Monday, December 10, 2007

Al's Journal : Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.
However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”
So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.
As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.
We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.
We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal challenge.


Penn and Kucinich

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Actor Sean Penn tells S.F. State students not to 'sell out'
Actor-director Sean Penn issued a nonendorsement endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich on Friday in a speech to nearly 400 San Francisco State University students, urging his audience not to fall into the trap of voting for someone only because they could win.
Penn, who spoke from a low wooden stage in the Creative Arts Building in front of a "Kucinich for President" banner, made it clear from the start that he was not issuing a traditional endorsement, a political tradition he said he abhorred as much as voting for someone based on their electability.
Penn called Kucinich "the voice of integrity" in demanding the president's impeachment, calling for the end of the war in Iraq and placing human rights and civil rights above domestic security.
May not be a traditional endorsement, but good enough for me!


December 8, 1980

27 years without him. Boy do we need his passion and words today!


Majority of US want us out of Iraq!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Two-Thirds of Israelis Oppose Attack on Iran
Two-thirds of Israelis oppose their country launching on its own a military attack against nuclear installations in arch-foe Iran, said a poll published on Thursday.
When asked “should Israel alone attack the Iranian nuclear installations,” 67.2 percent said no, while 20.9 percent said yes and 11.9 percent had no opinion, said the survey aired on public radio.
The demands and desires of the people have never stopped the "leaders" from doing what they want, to who they want, to fill their wallets with lots of cash.


CIA as terrorists?

Bolton Calls For Congressional Witch-Hunt Into Anti-Bush ‘People In The Intelligence Community’
Yesterday’s National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluded that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, pouring cold water on neoconservative calls for bombing Iran. Like his ideological kin Norman Podhoretz, former U.N. ambassador and Iran war hawk John Bolton has been attempting to slander the U.S. intelligence community’s collective judgments.
Iran has been pursuing nuclear weapons “for 20 years,” he defiantly declared today. To give weight to a single intelligence estimate “would be a mistake.” On Fox News today, Bolton went even further and called for a congressional investigation into U.S. intelligence agencies, stating that the report was politicized by intelligence officials who have their “own agenda”:
Hey we were wrong before when we invaded Iraq. Why can't we be wrong again when we invade Iran? We Americans expect too much of our leaders.
While all this sniping may sound like a little coup - think again. All part of the plan.


A Neo-con loss?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bush: Nuke-less Iran remains dangerous

Iran remains a danger to the world even though it stopped a program to develop a nuclear weapon four years ago, President Bush said Tuesday.
"Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," Bush said, pointing out that Tehran continues to try to enrich uranium for civilian purposes and therefore develop technology that could be used for a weapon.
A declassified summary of a National Intelligence Estimate released by the U.S. government on Monday said Iran had stopped working toward a nuclear weapon in 2003 and is unlikely to be able to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb until at least 2010.
The new estimate is less severe than a 2005 report that judged the Iranian leadership was "determined to develop nuclear weapons despite its international obligations and international pressure."
"What's to say they couldn't start another covert nuclear weapons program?" Bush asked. The latest estimate shows "Iran needs to be taken seriously as a threat to peace," Bush said.
So what to make of all this? A shift of policy? A smoke screen? A coup in the White House taking away the dreams of Uncle Dick and W?

Whichever way it pans out - we're still looking at an Iranian adventure. So the focus shifts from taking out nuke facilities - we still have the possibility of an errant bomb hitting across the Iraq border. In addition, there are too many other things that can happen to "justify" a retaliatory US attack.

And of course, the wild card is Israel - no faith at all in the report. Nothing to stop them from being urged on by Uncle Dick and crew.


Welcoming back the devil...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Okay a lesser devil, not Satan himself...

Wolfowitz Back in Govt.?

Don't ever say the Bush administration doesn't take care of its own. Nearly three years after Paul Wolfowitz resigned as deputy Defense secretary and six months after his stormy departure as president of the World Bank—amid allegations that he improperly awarded a raise to his girlfriend—he's in line to return to public service. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has offered Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq War, a position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, a prestigious State Department panel, according to two department sources who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters. The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classified intelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD issues and other matters. "We think he is well suited and will do an excellent job," said one senior official.
Do an excellent job for who? Not for the people.


Good for the goose...

US says too soon to trust Iran on Iraq

Although violence levels are down in Iraq, it is too early to trust that Iran is no longer trying to destabilise its war-torn neighbour, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said on Sunday.
"I think it's noteworthy that Iran has said (it is) not engaging in these types of activities but given past experience by Iran both here and elsewhere in the region I don't think we can be complacent about this," Negroponte told a news conference in Baghdad.
Gee, someone should ask Johnny about our past experience in supporting certain regimes in South America, Iran Contra, support of dictators...

If we look at the pst, can governments be so sure about us?

What's good for the goose...


April 2008? The Road to Tehran?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Scott Ritter: Bombs Away?

Arms expert Scott Ritter says the US plans to attack Iran. Metro Times asks why he's so sure. "Everything points to April 2008 being a month of some criticality." - Scott Ritter

Scott Ritter: I don't have any current sources of the sort you just spoke of. I was plugged in back in 2006 to good quality current information. But I haven't been plugged in recently, so I have to use some sort of analytical methodology as opposed to saying, "Aha, I got it from the horse's mouth." But there's nothing that has occurred that leads me to believe the Bush administration has changed its policy direction. In fact there has been much that's occurred that reinforces the earlier conclusions that were based on good sources of information. We take a look at items in the defense budget, the rapid conversion of heavy bombers to carry bunker-busting bombs on a specific time frame, the massive purchasing of oil to fill up the strategic oil reserve by April 2008. Everything points to April 2008 to being a month of some criticality. It also matches my analysis that the Bush administration will want to carry this out prior to the crazy political season of the summer of 2008.

A lengthy article but a must to read. We all must raise our voices to stop all talk and plans of an Iranian adventure. If April 2008 is the date, we have some time. But with W, the attack may be tomorrow. So waste no time to demand that we stop the build-up to war.


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