Sunday, December 21, 2008


This December 25th, I'll be talking about Mithra and his visit from the Three Kings generations before the Christ legend was ever thought up. Why should people cling to a religion that was cooked up for State control sixteen hundred years ago? Yeah, that's right, sixteen hundred and change, not two thousand...that's at 9AM Thursday, Yule/Saturnalia/Solis Invictus Day, also known as Christmas.

There will be a brief interview with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, too! Call in with your favorite drink recipes (especially mimosas!), and get ready to sing along with satiric tunes. Oh yeah, and Merry Solstice to all!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The triumph of Barack Hussein Obama was remarkable for a number of reasons, not least the extent and ferocity of the coordinated Republican attempt to remove whole communities of voters from participation. The Republicans did their best to cover their crimes—they produced three persons in Tennessee who claimed that their votes had been flipped to Obama, but then those persons disappeared and it became obvious that they were frauds. There was the whole unjustified attack on ACORN community organizing, too, but after the truth came out, that ACORN had been perfectly responsible in its registration drives, that meme only worked up the god, guns, and gays base, and had no effect outside those pointy-headed borders.

The roll of election theft incidents is truly too large to address in this space.

This is the time and the opportunity to replace the US broken elections system with a nationwide, independent, internationally supervised election system. In civilized countries, like Canada and Australia, there are no problems with local yokels trying to disenfranchise voters by the thousands; everyone votes on a paper, with a big box next to each candidate or issue that you put a check in, yes or no, the ballots are hand-counted, and the results are ready that evening. It's not rocket science. There are no constantly-breaking-down secret-squirrel ES&S or Diebold machines—there never was a need for them. The need is for a commitment to actual citizen participation on an equal basis, and that is where our me-first video-game SUV-owning culture breaks down. But despite decades of indoctrination, you and I aren't consumers. That word should be viewed as the insult it is. We are citizens, and we should be fully vetted participants in society. We have a right to vote, therefore we have a right to free and accessible information and education. Education and information should never have been turned over to plutocrats, whose agenda is the domestication of the popular mind.

Measure 8 has passed in California, and the queer-bashing will begin anew.

As a queer with a 14-year relationship, I am infuriated at the vicious and underhanded attempts by religious bigots to undermine my marriage. My marriage is sacred—it's a joyous union of life partners, not a three-year consumerist breeding agreement punctuated by divorce. My marriage is as sacred as any other, because I'm a human being with human rights, and among those rights is equality. If you can get married, so can I. If you should get your partner's Social Security and pension after your partner's passing, so should my partner. Who would deny it to her? Who would go to my partner after my passing, and say "I'm sorry Ani, but since your partner changed gender, you are condemned to poverty?" Who among you would do this evil deed?

There are some who argue that their god demands that queers be punished by stoning to death, and I stand by their right to argue for that idiotic god. They just can't act on its recommendations. This is a secular society, and anyone who expects me to abide by the rules of their god must first bring their god along and show it to me. Let it impress me with its wisdom and power and the fact of its existence. Until then, the queer-hating god has no power over me. No fair shooting me or beating me to death with a baseball bat, and saying God told you to. Oh no. You trot that god out here right now and it can just explain its business right before my eyes. Nor can you open up a Bible or a Koran, I don't care what they have written down—people wrote those words, and they were wrong. So bring the god itself, or else admit that the whole anti-queer religious concept is your personal or cultural speculation, and nothing to do with reality nor science.

Likewise, I'd like to have someone explain to me how the Constitution or civil society countenances a procedure in which a referendum can be used to deny human rights to some segment—any segment—of the population. We the people developed these democratic instruments to expand human rights, not to restrict and deny them. The anti-queer movement is a pitiful thing, a puppet of neocons since the beginning, a successful effort to turn the working class against itself. The logical extension of its illogic is the ovens where Hitler burned a million genocided queers just prior to 1945. There is a monument in Amsterdam to that occurrence, and it serves to remind everyone of the logical end of queer-bashing. Queerness is obviously an evolutionary advantage for large mammaliam populations, and it won't go away, and even Hitler did not burn it out, because it's in our genetic code, thank goodness. The brain of Evolution is older and wiser than the brain of Hitler, thank goodness.

So I think we need a queer monument in this town, something big. But times are getting tight, so no need to spend a lot of money on it. We'll just rename Hawthorne Bridge. Right now it's named after the head of a bygone asylum for the insane, which of course included persons who were merely transgender or queer. So from now on it's the Queer Memorial Bridge, and I call on the City Council to provide a large bronze plaque giving the history of the Gay holocaust, and some buckets of pink paint. I'm serious. Who will go to the City Council with me? Hooray for the Queer Bridge! The Queer Bridge connects East and West with a cheerful pink lift span. All who travel it will affirm human rights for all. Celebrate the Queer Bridge!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Obama Acceptance Speech

Theme: UNITY

Boilerplate aside, this was an interesting speech. As the French horns lingered in cascading sixth chords, President Elect Obama stressed again and again the need for everyone to come together. In his litany of the types of Americans making up the whole, he included "gays and straights" along with everyone else—something unimaginable for a Bush or McCain Presidency. Of course he also set the furniture for a new Camelot, mentioning his wife Michelle and his children Sasha and Meliya, and a First Dog yet to be named. Young partiers whooped and stalked the streets in cities across the nation, as the new President urged Americans to abandon cynicism and embrace the idea that "change has come."

An acceptance speech may be viewed as the first act of a new Presidency, though the Inauguration will not come for a couple of months. Obama emphasized the two occupations, which he called the "two wars," as challenges for his new Administration, but he also pointed to the financial meltdown, and, encouragingly, mentioned "a planet in peril" in the same breath. As I listened to the list of agenda items that followed, I was pleased to note that this euphemism for climate change had come in the first tier. Following that primary category of challenges, the shovel-list continued: Healthcare, education, jobs—"putting our people back to work," as he said, which is a better formulation than the usual boilerplate indicating breaks for the rich that we've heard since Reagan—and then he acknowledged that he needed to "repair alliances" with the globe, and he then called for patience.

He will need a lot of patience, not least because his entire prospective treasury has already been robbed, in a maneuver of arrogance, cynicism and collaborationism that he also voted for. I believe that this is the time to lay the groundwork for a completely utilitarian and necessary maneuver, one that is unthinkable now but will become inevitable later, that is, that Obama will be unable to move forward without confiscating the wealth of the great corporations. Obama will need to nationalize Exxon, Mobil, and BP, and he will need a solid groundswell of support from all of us. So start talking about it, please!

Obama also departed from the toxic attitude of the Bush Administration by stating directly, though not in as many words, that he would be open to dissent. Dissent has been nearly criminalized under the neocon regime. What a breath of fresh air that is.

Citing the experience of a 106-year old African American voter, Obama pointed to what he called the genius of America—the ability to change. He had already stated that only here could he have such social mobility—a point easily challenged by anyone familiar with social mobility statistics in France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, of Finland, but a hopeful sentiment all the same.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It's amazing how far we have been browbeaten to the Right. This society is well domesticated, so that we turn to a man who proposes to expand a sadistic, immoral occupation of Afghanistan, a man who supports the provision of vouchers to religious parents so that they can avoid the secularizing effect of the real world on their children, a man who poses as morally superior to gays, reserving marriage only to nongays--to this man, the Left looks with great hope and longing, and throws its collective shoulder to the wheel of his election. It's absurd, disturbing, disheartening, and it's only rational. Because on his right, as the other major candidate to aspire the Executive Branch, an angry poseur awaits his appointment by caging rules, voter purges, voter intimidation, midnight electronic voter machine chicanery, or even the Supreme Court.

On this side, imperialism and corporate hegemony; on that side, imperialism, corporate hegemony, and a bizarrely fascistic military/industrial theology that promises to make all of us cowering serfs. I'll be fleeing to the same side of the cage as the rest of you, but let no one say I believe the cage is open.

McCain is truly disgusting. In last night's debate he was a caricature of frozen grimaces, angry sneers, "air quotes" to show his disdain for the idea of taking women's health seriously, and even rolling eyes--this last his
reaction to Obama's seemingly ordinary but actually quite shocking revelation of the facts on the ground in Colombia, where death squads rule the day and democratic union leaders are assassinated regularly and with impunity. You're not supposed to be allowed to be a Senator, to get that far in the US political process, and ever say that sort of truth out loud, but Obama doesn't seem to understand that yet, and it clearly irritates Grandpa Heart Attack. Shut the hell up, Grandpa was mugging, no one cares about the god damn little people in Colombia. But apparently Obama does still make that kind of mistake. I like that.

One of the funnier moments was the whole "Joe the Plumber" meme, which comes in a long line of traditional easy visual references for the Great Unwashed--that's supposed to be you and me--you know, "Harry and Louise," or in Reagan's 1980 campaign, "the bear in the woods." A simple image for simple folk. That was McCain's nuclear assault, if you will, and Obama treated it like a softball lob and batted it out of the park. Turns out "Joe the Plumber" actually has a handy quarter million to buy out a business with, which is more than you and I will ever see, and McCain wanted to pretend that he was just some working-class shmo who wanted to get by; but Obama pointed out that if Joe had really been so ordinary, he would pay nothing under Obama's tax adjustment, which merely restores some mild taxation to the owning class. The Republican Party has a long-standing sucker play in which the masses are reeled in by thinking that by removing reasonable taxation and regulation from the parasite class, from the billionaires, they will be allowed to become billionaires too someday. It's easy to show, with comparative data from social democracies, that the US system works against class ascension and not for it, that Joe will never, ever become a billionaire no matter how hard and how intelligently he works; but the myth has seemed unbreakable until yesterday, when Obama simply pulled out a pin and popped it. McCain's attempts to bluster the meme back into life fell flat. And I liked that too. Maybe McCain's slurs against Obama as a socialist terrorist would have carried some strength to the casual observer, if McCain hadn't come off as a superannuated ranting nut.

And I'll say this about age: It wouldn't matter if McCain had actually released all of his medical data, and if he didn't insist on the rightness of his grossly privileged and sexist life. He cannot appear modern in the presence of his trophy wife, who he obtained after dumping his first wife after a disfiguring car accident. Modern people point to the rightness of their path wile acknowledging the errors of their past, but McCain would rather no one dare ever mention his trail of smashed aircraft and destroyed Savings and Loans. That's what makes him look old--his angry response to ordinary examination, as if he were a member of an untouchable class, the sort of class the US population wishes to dispense with, to move onward to an egalitarian future.

Monday, September 29, 2008

इ किल्लेद Capitalism

Okay, I admit it. I killed Capitalism. It was me--calling and emailing my Representatives and Senators, demanding that they stop the bailout.

I couldn't be happier about this. At this writing, the stock market (the DJIA anyway) has apparently stopped trading after sliding 770 points. It's almost at the magic 10,000 mark! Will the bosses get off our backs yet?

Oh yeah, I know, we haven't build up a shadow socialist economy yet, so there'll be that little affair of mass starvation, riots, looting, you know. The rough stuff. But at least I killed capitalism. Ding dong, the rich is dead! Which rich is that? The wicked rich!

There will be SOME who say that capitalism isn't dead. Well, fine. So I exaggerated. There are others, however, who are already pointing to the Left and saying that Neocon prosperity could have gone on forever if nasty Reds like me hadn't poisoned the well and prevented the bailout. I like to think that they're right. That I killed capitalism. Ahhhhhhh. 770 pointsssss.......

Thursday, September 4, 2008



Well the latest news is in and it turns out our vigilant anti-anarchist spy heroes have saved the day again. Here's an excerpt of their gleanings, from a report in Raw Story:

"Over the course of a year before the convention, the self-described anarchists appealed to like-minded groups in more than 67 cities and met several times to hash out plans, according to the charges. A separate affidavit from undercover agents who infiltrated the group said members had discussed stretching chains across a nearby highway, kidnapping delegates, and disrupting the convention with burning tires, urine and feces, and explosives including Molotov cocktails. Other plans included posing as workers or volunteers to sneak into the convention hall and block its outside air intake vent. They discussed using street puppets to hide weapons, and throwing marbles to trip up police horses and pedestrians, the affidavit said."

Isn't it monstrous what those groups discussed? Of course, no dump-trucks full of marbles nor exploding puppets have been found. One guy did have some Molotov cocktails, I've heard. But they did say the words. And they probably laughed in a sinister anarchistic way. You and I have had those discussions, haven't we? How it would be great if the cops were distracted by loud noises elsewhere, or wouldn't it be great if we all smeared cougar urine on our shoes to scare off the cop horses, or how about diverting them with cartons of donuts. And now you're guilty, too.

[n.b. This is the radio script. --ed.]
That's right, the words "exploding puppets" and "marbles" were just on your radio, just now, on a station you chose to tune in to. Don't try to deny it. You've discussed these things now, we have proof. So stay right where you are. Don't move. Freeze.

You're under arrest.

Oh, sure, you can complain to the judge, if you ever get one. "That provocateur Theresa Mitchell is the one that brought it up," you'll probably say. They all do. You terrorists are all alike, and the first sign of your guilt is all that pious claptrap about the First Amendment, and Due Process, and all those namby-pamby liberal ideas you got from not doing enough pushups. Well, it's all over now, baby blue. You're under arrest. Get your face on the pavement.

Actually, "get your face on the pavement" is what the Salvadoran death squad cops used to shout when they were doing their thing, back in the good old Reagan years. It's one of those things that got my attention back then, a sort of thing I was really glad didn't happen in my neck of the woods. It's a standard practice for dictatorship police squads, and of course US police now do it, too. It's not necessary by the wildest stretch of the imagination when arresting an unarmed protester, but it sure is fun. "You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride," the good old boys say, and ain't it true?

So get your face on the pavement. Now! NOW!

God, that's a blast, isn't it? Every little boy and girl can grow up to be a cop or prison guard in our wonderful free society. See them throwing each other onto the concrete outside the kindergarten class, shouting, "get your face on the pavement!" It's so cute!

What was that George Orwell line about the future..."If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." Isn't it funny how facts overtake fiction; the future is now, Oceania is here. By now you've heard the audio of Democracy Now!'s reporter Salazar getting arrested:

NICOLE SALAZAR: Watch out! Watch out! Press!

POLICE OFFICER: Get out of here! Move!

NICOLE SALAZAR: Where are we supposed to go? Where are we supposed to go?

POLICE OFFICER: Get out of here!

NICOLE SALAZAR: Dude, I can’t see! Ow! Press! Press! Press!

POLICE OFFICER: Get down! Get down on your face! On your face!

NICOLE SALAZAR: I’m on my face! [I want a t-shirt with that on it. Doesn't that sum it all up? "I'm on my face already Mister Cop Dude!" "Well, that ain't enough anymore! You should have been on your face when you got here!"]

POLICE OFFICER: Get down on your face!

NICOLE SALAZAR: Ow! Press! Press! [Apparently the cop took that word as a verb.]

'Cause that's what faces are for now--you thought they were for expressions, and eating, and kissing, and silly stuff like that, but now you know what your face is really good for--it's for grinding little bloody smear marks into asphalt as you're stomped and chained by Democracy's guardians. These are the days of progress and versatility, so maybe you could practice throwing your face on the pavement a few times this morning, just to get ready for your next peaceful assembly to petition your government for redress of grievances. Just because you're peaceful doesn't mean the government has to be, right? Oh, don't give me that Constitution stuff. Get on your face!

Did I say peaceful protesters? Come to think of it, there wasn't a single shotgun or rifle found among them. No grenades, not even a pistol. Hundreds of arrests and no guns--the NRA is downright aggrieved, I'm sure. Funny but the shotgun-free protesters don't seem to be presented as peaceful in the press. You'd think in the context of our lovely surgical weapons, you know, cluster bombs, napalm, white phosphorus, things we use to surgically correct wayward populations, that the absence of anything that could, say, level a block, would be proof of peaceful intent. "Lighten up, officer, this antitank weapon isn't loaded!"

But seriously, the cops that arrested Kouddous and Salazar were confronted by Democracy Now producer Amy Goodman, who was arrested immediately and brutally, and stripped of her credentials, since she evidently forgot to bring a rifle squadron with her. Maybe Ms. Goodman thought she was in some place that respected the press more, say Indonesia or something, where they don't automatically assault small middle-aged women carrying full press credentials. Anyway I'd like to suggest you pull up Democracy Now dot org on your Internet tube and follow the prompts to send an email to the proud and stainless judiciary there in Minnesota, because the charges haven't been dropped last I heard, and they are serious charges, felonies and misdemeanors, Failure to Lick Republican Guccis, heavy stuff. Come on now, an email is easy and you're probably sending one to someone else right now, so get on it. One million emails please.

This has been an exciting couple of weeks for news--first the Good Cop Convention with Obama and then the Bad Cop convention with McCain and his new partner Hanna Montana. Check out the youtube video to see McCain exercising the testosterone in his optic nerves, raking the would-be Veep with his lust laser. And this just in--the US has bombed a nuclear armed country!

Here's a literal blast from the past, you'll remember this--it's from CNN, dated ten years ago, May 30, 1998:

"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan conducted one more nuclear test Saturday, completing a series of tests, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary said. But the Pakistani government did not say whether it plans another series of tests.

The explosion in Pakistan's remote southwest came two days after the government said it detonated five other devices in the same area.

Pakistani defense experts told CNN the government had now gathered all the data it needed from the six nuclear tests.

"The devices tested corresponded to a weapons configuration compatible with our delivery system," the Pakistan government said Saturday.

"The fact of our existence as the neighbor of an expansionist and a hegemonistic power taught us the inevitable lesson that we must search for security. Contemporary history held only one lesson for us. The answer lay in credible deterrence," the spokesman said."

Fast forward to right now: (Christian Science Monitor)

"United States forces conducted their first ground assaults into Pakistani territory from bases in Afghanistan early Wednesday morning in a raid on a suspected Taliban stronghold in South Waziristan, one of Pakistan's lawless tribal areas. The attack has caused an uproar in Pakistan and raised concerns of a new period of tension between the US and its valuable, nuclear-armed ally in the war on terror, which has entered a period of political uncertainty after the resignation of long-serving president Pervez Musharraf last month.

The US has not officially commented on the raid, and leaders of the US-led NATO peacekeeping force in Afghanistan deny any knowledge of the attack, reports Reuters. But one US official, speaking to CNN on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the attack had occurred.

The Pentagon has refused to comment officially on the attack, but several defense officials acknowledged that U.S. military activity had taken place inside Pakistan.

The senior U.S. official said a small number of U.S. helicopters landed troops in the village near Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, where Taliban and al Qaeda fighters have hunkered down over the years.

Local media reports said the troops came out of a chopper and fired on civilians. The U.S. official said there may have been a small number of women and children in the immediate vicinity, but when the mission began "everybody came out firing" from the compound. [Everyone knows that babies can be used to hide grenades. 'Shoot that baby again soldier! You can't move on until the scene is secured!']

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Rape a woman, go to jail. The woman goes to jail, that is. Turn to the foreign press to find out what it means for Uncle Sam to be in charge in Afghanistan:

The Independent/ Terri Judd/Afghanistan

"....Two-thirds of the women in Lashkar Gah's medieval-looking jail have been convicted of illegal sexual relations, but most are simply rape victims – mirroring the situation nationwide. The system does not distinguish between those who have been attacked and those who have chosen to run off with a man.

Sitting among the plastic flowers around his desk, where an optimistic United Nations scales of justice poster competed for space with images of Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, Colonel Ghulam Ali, a high-ranking regional security officer, explained sternly that he supported the authorities' right to convict victims of rape. "In Afghanistan whether it is forced or not forced it is a crime because the Islamic rules say that it is," he claimed. "I think it is good. There are many diseases that can be created in today's world, such as HIV, through illegal sexual relations."....

Judd writes in the Independent article that the youngest in the jail is only thirteen. This is happening not just under the noses but under the silent gun barrels of the US and its NATO allies in Afghanistan. Those gun barrels speak long and loud when aimed at the Taliban or anyone who opposes military rule. They do not speak to protect or honor the women. The situation, however, is no accident, but a reflection of the US government's attitude towards people who do not matter--and towards women in particular. This horror is brought to you by the same people in the Bush regime who have recently been attempting to label birth control in the US as abortion practice, in order to get it banned.

If women in the US don't matter, then women in the occupied lands matter even less, right? Oh, but I have been speaking of the holy war in Afghanistan, where despite the fact that no investigation was conducted, we are supposed to believe that the government, and by extension the people, were guilty of collaboration in the 2001 airplane crashes. (If there had been an investigation, the crime scene would have been preserved as in all crime scenes. Who knows what would have been brought to light?) In Afghanistan, though we disrespect the people to the point of strafing their wedding parties and selecting their government, the issue of women-as-chattel is too sensitive. We can't offend the men, it seems. We kill them by the score, but Heaven forfend we should abrogate their right to rape women.

Patriarchy is alive and well in the US. Economically, if manifests via the disparate wages for women, not just within a given job classification, but overall as a reflection of the fact that childrearing is still stubbornly applied to women. It's like housework--the man might dabble in it now and again as a favor, but it's really up to the women to get it done. Without cultural mandates from the churches nor equal parenting time off, women are forced time and again to tsacrifice either their careers or their children, while men are praised roundly just for taking the kids now and again, if they do that much. This all reflects an attitude so basic that it is taboo to say it out loud: officially and as a result of US policy and religious doctrine, women do not matter in the US. Why? Because men are superior.

That's what is called living a lie. We all suffer from it every day, because it forces us into false gender roles. It isn't natural to pretend that men are more important, that they're better, smarter, stronger.

Whoops, did I imply men are not stronger? I meant that. Men go through a multi-year phase in which they are quite strong, and stronger than women the same age. This lasts, typically, from about the age of fourteen to the mid-sixties. Girls are stronger than boys from around eight to thirteen, and women are often stronger than men from age sixty-five to ninety. By 'stronger' here I mean not just more able, but capable of surviving longer. Childrearing does indeed begin in the comparatively strong arms of the mother; who is stronger then, the baby boy or the mother? But we do not hear that women are superior for their strategic endurance. I mention all this by way of stating what should be obvious: we cannot afford to pretend that masculinity is superior to femininity.

Yet we do. We constantly dramatize and glorify a brutal exaggeration of masculinity in our television programs, movies, and visual and literary arts. All this has led to undeveloped psyches in women and in men. Men especially are alienated from their emotions, and eventually, their capability for emotion. US men are shamed into thinking themselves far apart from children and women, shamed into pretending that they do not share the spectrum of feelings associated with life among other ages and genders. Men should be equal participants in all aspects of life, including caring for elders and children. Instead men are trappped into a sort of false constant warrior mode. Their psyches are thus vulnerable to tampering with those who understand their weakness.

This brings me to the conservative corporate rulers, who easily tap into the minds of men by threatening them with feminization. A man is insufficiently manly, they imply, if he allows women the rights to their bodies, if he agrees with ordinary measures to protect the weak and the poor, if he tolerates or even sides with gays, and of course if he is gay then he's not even properly a man. These are the insidious lies that fatten the parasite class. Most men can be expected to fall for these canards, because --since the posture of manliness as it is defined under patriarchy is so false-- few men can afford to risk even the appearance of disloyalty to cultural conservatism. Weakness poses as strength, strength is attacked as weakness. So it is that Senator McCain can participate in the bombing of Vietnam, and stand against abortion rights for women, and look manly in the eyes of the domesticated US male. In fact he is the paragon of weakness. He is weak mentally and psychically, because though he is aged and infirm, he must pose as a swaggering fighter to be the icon of the sexists. Likewise Senator Obama can participate in threatening puny Iran--a reprehensibly weak act--in order to look manly. It's pitiful, really.

I can spot the weakest person in any crowd right away--it's the man taking a bellicose posture against me for being a male-to-female transgendered person. This should be a warning to anyone who thinks that culturally conservative attitudes are just a sort of social flavor. On the contrary, our minds are domesticated by our fear of the feminine. Anyone who wants to understand and overthrow corporate dominance has to understand that. So it's not just a sideshow when the Republicans attack equal rights for glbt persons. It's not some minor affair, and as long as we flinch and look the other way, we will suffer the dominance of the parasite class. Their Karl Roves and their Senator Santorums understand that they can control a third of the electorate directly, and uneasily sway a larger portion, by attacking gays as the subconscious symbol of everyone's repressed spectrum of orientation, gender, and passion. To defend against this, we must each admit that we are equal morally. And that is where the conservatives can dig into the psyche, getting us to betray ourselves first to accept the thought-chains that they offer. As long as we repeat phrases llke "lifestyle choice," let alone firebrand phrases like "homosexual agenda," weare participating in our own domestication.

Break the mind control of conservatism. Admit that gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender, and questioning behavior is natural and evolutionarily necessary to animal and human survival. Reject the anti-scientific, anti-human argument that passion, bonding, and gender orientation must always serve reproduction directly. It can't, it shouldn't, and our brains are fare more complex than that, thank goodness. We are not mere insects, we are people. Admit that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning behavior has some corner of yoiur brain right now. It cannot be otherwise--the mind abhors a vacuum, and whether or not you ever take on one of those labels, the capacity resides in your mind somewhere. 'Heterosexual' is an overapplied and artificial concept; we're all queer to some degree, at some time in our lives. As long as we pretend otherwise, we give our psychic autonomy away to the controlling class. Those who utterly reject patriarchy and its pattern of shaming have taken control of their own lives.

Just to punctuate this screed, I'd like to point to two separate incidents in which men reacted to my appearance. The first was years ago, when I was first transitioning from male to female; I went to a late-night pharmacy to refill my estrogen pills. The pharmacist that night was a man who had recently immigrated from a culture that is not far from the patriarchalist hell I described in Afghanistan. He paused when he saw the prescription slip, then looked at me again, and then started laughing. He laughed long and hard, and tried to catch his breath, and then started laughing again. His eyes took on a desperate look. He could scarcely communicate. The laughter took on a brittle, spasmic tone, and it became clear to me that he was trying to stop laughing. He could not. His mind was trapped in a loop that he could not reconcile. I left, pitying him, feeling guilty and wondering if I had broken his mind. But I was only the catalyst. I could hear his desperate laughter as I left the pharmacy that night.

The second incident occurred at my day job, driving a city bus. I helped a middle-aged man in a wheelchair into the bus, using the hydraulic lift and the retracting chair restraints. He was accompanied by a woman, probably his wife, and it was obvious that he was not used to being in the mobility device. He and his wife did not have that practiced ease that comes with long usage, moreover, he seemed to resist his wife's efforts to aid him. I've been in a wheelchair myself and I know how confining it is, how everyone makes you invisible. This man was clearly still dealing with the loss of his agency, and, more importantly for this little story, his place in the male-dominated hierarchy. He accepted my assistance graciously enough until he 'read' me, that is, until he discovered that I am transgendered. Then he broke. He got that same glazed, desperate look in his eye, and he started laughing uncontrollably. This incident happened just a month ago. He tried to justify his spasm by insulting me and arguing with his wife, but he could not stop laughing. It was obvious that he wanted to stop, and his wife was desperately humiliated by his behavior and told him so, but he could not control it, because he wasn't there anymore.

Ironically, this second incident was very liberating to me. Don't get me wrong, this was not a victory for me; I felt terrible to be the last domino in his ugly public mental breakdown. But it finally got the idea through my head that all the public confrontations against me have come from a place of emptiness and weakness. The new wheelchair rider couldn't accept that he had reached such a nadir that his body should be aided and strapped into a bus by someone he deemed a monster, a gender apostate, a mockery of his fall from the apex of patriarchy. For me the incident shows the destructive power of agreeing with patriarcy. For the men, it is a false role that will crumble, inexorably, sooner or later. For the rest of us it is unacceptable domination. Let's face our internal damage, get some strength about us, and move on.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I'm working on Thursday's show (9AM KBOO 90.7 FM/, thinking that since there was no US protest prior to the invasion of Georgia/Ossetia, it is likely some deal was made. And Thom Hartman played a clip this morning of Bush referring to some "assurances" that Russia had made regarding limitation of the invasion--which makes me more suspicious. The US has the best spy satellites in the world, so they knew Russia was massing troops, tanks and equipment on the border well before the invasion--yet there was nothing in the lapdog press. So, is the deal "you eat Georgia, we'll eat Iran?" More soon....

Friday, August 8, 2008


The USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan, nuclear aircraft carriers, may be moving in to the Persian Gulf area now. They will be accompanied by a flotilla of warships, and all will be joining the ships surrounding the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The "marine carrier" USS Peleliu is also in the Gulf.

US Fifth Fleet Combined Maritime Command, located in Bahrain, said it could not comment on the ship movements, due to "force-protection policy" secrecy.

US warships (a destroyer and a submarine) are also gathering to the West of Iran, passing through the Suez with Israeli capital ships. Kuwait is said to be implementing emergency war measures.

All this is happening as Russian tanks flood into the Northern border of Georgia.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


The attempt by the FBI to close the Amerithrax case represents some of the worst propaganda and corruption we have to endure as a society. To be sure, there are ongoing horrors such as the daily disproportionate arrest, sentencing, and prison chaining of African-Americans--and the anthrax scare is largely behind us now, although it's still possible to scare the wits out of some people by spilling some flour. But, really, the anthrax propaganda takes the cake.

We're supposed to believe now that a certain Mister Ivins was solely reponsible for processing American Ames-strain anthrax into a static-polarized bundle, something done only at the most advanced US production facilities. Amazingly, he did this with no other help. We are to disregard the fact that his own colleagues find the accusation fantastic, that he developed an anti-anthrax vaccine after the attacks, and that despite all of this activity the FBI could not find one spore of Ames anthrax on his clothing, automobiles, house, or office.

He appears to have had some nasty ultra-conservative views about civil liberties and Arabs. If that were an indicator for terrorist activity, it would implicate a grat many people in the US government and armed forces.

We are, then, supposed to forget about the former head at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where the spores were produced. I haven't forgotten; his name is (or was) Lt. Col. Philip Zack. When Zack was in charge, 27 ultra-deadly pathogens, supposedly all killed by formaldehyde, went missing from the lab. But that's just a starter. Zack, after all, was gone from the lab in the early Nineties. Except that he was not gone.

Here's a blast from the past, six years ago in the Hartford Courant:

Source: The Hartford Courant, January 20, 2002.

Anthrax Missing From Army Lab

By JACK DOLAN And DAVE ALTIMARI, Courant Staff Writers

Lab specimens of anthrax spores, Ebola virus and other pathogens disappeared from the Army's biological warfare research facility in the early 1990s, during a turbulent period of labor complaints and recriminations among rival scientists there, documents from an internal Army inquiry show.

The 1992 inquiry also found evidence that someone was secretly entering a lab late at night to conduct unauthorized research, apparently involving anthrax. A numerical counter on a piece of lab equipment had been rolled back to hide work done by the mystery researcher, who left the misspelled label "antrax" in the machine's electronic memory, according to the documents obtained by The Courant.

Experts disagree on whether the lost specimens pose a danger. An Army spokesperson said they do not because they would have been effectively killed by chemicals in preparation for microscopic study. A prominent molecular biologist said, however, that resilient anthrax spores could possibly be retrieved from a treated specimen.

In addition, a scientist who once worked at the Army facility said that because of poor inventory controls, it is possible some of the specimens disappeared while still viable, before being treated.

Some samples, particularly viruses, are also irradiated with gamma rays before they are handled by the pathology lab.

Whether all of the lost samples went through this treatment process is unclear. Vander-Linden said the samples had to have been rendered inert if they were being worked on in the pathology lab.

But Dr. Ayaad Assaad, a former Fort Detrick scientist who had extensive dealings with the lab, said that because some samples were received at the lab while still alive - with the expectation they would be treated before being worked on - it is possible some became missing before treatment. A phony "log slip" could then have been entered into the lab computer, making it appear they had been processed and logged.

In fact, Army investigators appear to have wondered if some of the anthrax specimens reported missing had ever really been logged in. When an investigator produced a log slip and asked Langford if "these exist or [are they] just made up on a data entry form," Langford replied that he didn't know.


...[American Federation of Scientist researcher Barbara Hatch] Rosenberg's analysis of the anthrax attacks, which has been widely reported, concludes that the culprit is probably a government insider, possibly someone from Fort Detrick. The Army facility manufactured anthrax before biological weapons were banned in 1969, and it has experimented with the Ames strain for defensive research since the early 1980s.


Late-Night Research

More troubling to Langford than the missing specimens was what investigators called "surreptitious" work being done in the pathology lab late at night and on weekends.

Dr. Mary Beth Downs told investigators that she had come to work several times in January and February of 1992 to find that someone had been in the lab at odd hours, clumsily using the sophisticated electron microscope to conduct some kind of off-the-books research.

After one weekend in February, Downs discovered that someone had been in the lab using the microscope to take photos of slides, and apparently had forgotten to reset a feature on the microscope that imprints each photo with a label. After taking a few pictures of her own slides that morning, Downs was surprised to see "Antrax 005" emblazoned on her negatives.

Downs also noted that an automatic counter on the camera, like an odometer on a car, had been rolled back to hide the fact that pictures had been taken over the weekend. She wrote of her findings in a memo to Langford, noting that whoever was using the microscope was "either in a big hurry or didn't know what they were doing."

It is unclear if the Army ever got to the bottom of the incident, and some lab insiders believed concerns about it were overblown. Brown said many Army officers did not understand the scientific process, which he said doesn't always follow a 9-to-5 schedule.

"People all over the base knew that they could come in at anytime and get on the microscope," Brown said. "If you had security clearance, the guard isn't going to ask you if you are qualified to use the equipment. I'm sure people used it often without our knowledge."

Documents from the inquiry show that one unauthorized person who was observed entering the lab building at night was Langford's predecessor, Lt. Col. Philip Zack, who at the time no longer worked at Fort Detrick. A surveillance camera recorded Zack being let in at 8:40 p.m. on Jan. 23, 1992, apparently by Dr. Marian Rippy, a lab pathologist and close friend of Zack's, according to a report filed by a security guard.

Zack could not be reached for comment. In an interview this week, Rippy said that she doesn't remember letting Zack in, but that he occasionally stopped by after he was transferred off the base.

"After he left, he had no [authorized] access to the building. Other people let him in," she said. "He knew a lot of people there and he was still part of the military. I can tell you, there was no suspicious stuff going on there with specimens."

Zack left Fort Detrick in December 1991, after a controversy over allegations of unprofessional behavior by Zack, Rippy, Brown and others who worked in the pathology division. They had formed a clique that was accused of harassing the Egyptian-born Assaad, who later sued the Army, claiming discrimination.

Assaad said he had believed the harassment was behind him until last October, until after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He said that is when the FBI contacted him, saying someone had mailed an anonymous letter - a few days before the existence of anthrax-laced mail became known - naming Assaad as a potential bioterrorist. FBI agents decided the note was a hoax after interviewing Assaad.

But Assaad said he believes the note's timing makes the author a suspect in the anthrax attacks, and he is convinced that details of his work contained in the letter mean the author must be a former Fort Detrick colleague.

Brown said that he doesn't know who sent the letter, but that Assaad's nationality and expertise in biological agents made him an obvious subject of concern after Sept. 11.


SO--let's review that last paragraph or so. Scientist Assaad received a letter, during the anthrax attacks, that must have brought up in his mind all that harrassment activity in the 90s--they don't mention it here but it included a toy camel with sex toys stuck to it--obviously from a person or person who were in that Zack clique. The intention of the letter was to direct official attention and blame to Assaad--Asaad, the eternal scapegoat for the Zack bunch. No one is claiming that Ivins wrote the letter, but we are supposed to forget all about Zack and Rippy and the gang. If there were a real investigation of the anthrax attacks, rather than a Geronimo Pratt-style political propaganda effort going down, FBI agents would be all over Zack and Rippy and the gang, rather than offering Ivin's son thousands of dollars and a fancy car if he would agree to denounce his own dad.

Meanwhile, the propaganda is getting even thicker, and New York Times editors are getting in on the action.

from Oped news, 8-1-08, by Scott Creighton:

.... I was reading the New York Times article which had some interesting facts that the other MSM sources didn't.

Guess what? That 2 page story, as I was reading it, when I went from page one to page two, refreshed page 1… because that is all that was there. THEY REPOSTED THE STORY WITHOUT THE ODDITIES THAT THE OTHER MSM DIDN'T HAVE!!!

They shortened the story to one page by taking out some KEY information that they had originally posted with the story. I knew I should have copy and pasted it! (If anyone still has the original, please let me know!)

What they took out was very interesting. They quoted a doctor, who worked with the guy who is now being accused of the anthrax attacks, as saying he didn't think the guy did it. They took that part out! They also took out the part where this guy received the highest Pentagon award a civilian can get for his research into an anthrax vaccine to be given to our troops in 2003. They took that out!And they also took out the part where this guy was cited for testing areas outside the restricted area for anthrax spores. And he found them, in someones secretary's desk and keyboard! Remember how this stuff was found on the mail from the drop box? It bleeds through the envelope. So, when he found it in someones secretary's desk and then on her keyboard, that might be a good place to start looking for the culprit. But they took that part out!

But they did add one thing. The reason I was reading the story again was because I was/am working on a story about the one thing they missed: motive. The guy had no motive and the original story lacked any mention of a motive….

Nowhere in the first story and many other MSM versions of this do they mention a possible motive. Nowhere. Well, it seems whomever is checking up on the "official" stories out there caught that little tidbit as well, and they have now added one. On line now in the story that was NOT in the original;

"Authorities were investigating whether Ivins released the anthrax as a way to test his vaccine, officials said." NYT.

There we have it! The "official story" complete with motive from the ghostly, unnamed, who the heck were they… "officials". Because that is what "they" said.

The problem with that? It makes no sense!
....[more at]


And Glenn Greenwald, writing in Salon, says this in part, in his third update to an article on Amerithrax:

"Long-time anthrax expert Dr. Meryl Nass (Curriculum Vitae here) uses crystal clear rationality to point out just some of the glaring flaws in what the FBI presented today. The fact that the FBI is plainly unable to place him near Princeton, New Jersey on either of the two dates on which the letters were sent -- and, worse, the fact that the FBI included several facts which cut against such a finding -- is, as Dr. Nass points out, by itself an enormous omission:

Put up or shut up: this is the most critical evidence in this case. If Ivins cannot be placed in New Jersey on those dates, he is not the attacker, or he did not act alone."


I have to ask: what is the purpose of all this false closure in the 9/11 scares? Recently there was a ridiculous piece circulating in the msm that attempted to repeat the mantra that 20-minute fires and external damage from falling debris was able to magically vaporize the steel in WTC 7, that third building that went down without explanation. Like the other buildings' debris, the steel from WTC 7 was taken away and guarded, rather than made available for normal forensic examination. No one died in WTC 7, so I guess the official excuse that the crime scene debris was sacred to the grieving survivors doesn't apply, but I haven't heard anyone actually say that.

I will say, though, that it is obvious to anyone who really wants to look, that the US government is engaging in a massive mind-control propaganda campaign over 9/11 issues like the anthrax investigation. The closure of the Amerithrax investigation is just another lie like the 'weapons of mass destruction' ruse for invading Iraq. Right now we're getting increasing propaganda against Iran, in the very same vein, and it's obvious that the Cheney/Bush administration wants to commit some horrible act of terror against those people. First our minds have to be softened up a bit more, so that we'll fear imaginary Iranian threats. As I go about my daily duties, carting Americans to and from their jobs, I hear just how effective all this propaganda is. KBOO is a great tool against this sort of zombification but it's really up to you to find an opinion leader in your workplace, and stop the automatic assent with imperial war and internal fascism. You're the one that has to risk it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


For those of you who suspect the FBI claim that the "suicide" of Mr. Ivins puts an end to the anthrax story, consider these posts:

Why would the NYT see fit to edit such an interesting story in midstream?

And then there's the real story, which has been sitting around for several years now:

But as we all know, if the FBI says the Moon is made of green cheese, then that's that. Ask Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I stated on today's KBOO Presswatch program that Karl Rove had been cited for contempt. Wrong!

Here is part of the New York Times' article about Rove:

"WASHINGTON — Democrats on both sides of the Capitol assailed the administration’s handling of the Justice Department yet again on Wednesday, and a House committee recommended contempt charges against Karl Rove, who was President Bush’s top political adviser.

The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines, 20 to 14, to cite Mr. Rove for defying its subpoena to testify in an inquiry into improper political meddling in the department.

“Mr. Rove has left us no option,” said Representative John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the committee. Mr. Conyers expressed regret that the committee had been forced to use its subpoena power.

“Today’s vote was an important statement by this Committee that no person — not even Karl Rove — is above the law,” Mr. Conyers said. (....)"

--So you'll notice here that actually, they voted to recommend Rove for a vote on contempt, rather than actually citing him--so I was wrong, and I apologize for the error.


If you're familiar with the internets tubes, you can get on and put “snow ice” into the NOAA satellite servers. I do this, and then select a polar view, and put on a 30-day animation, to watch the polar ice cap melt. As of today you can see the NorthWest Passage pop right out of legend and into reality along the coasts of Canada, Alaska and Russia. This view is made more alarming by the following report:

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
July 29, 2008 at 3:39 AM EDT
A four-square-kilometre chunk has broken off Ward Hunt Ice Shelf - the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic - threatening the future of the giant frozen mass that northern explorers have used for years as the starting point for their treks.
Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005, is the latest indication that climate change is forcing the drastic reshaping of the Arctic coastline, where 9,000 square kilometres of ice have been whittled down to less than 1,000 over the past century, and are only showing signs of decreasing further.
"Once you unleash this process by cracking the ice shelf in multiple spots, of course we're going to see this continuing," said Derek Mueller, a leading expert on the North who discovered the ice shelf's first major crack in 2002.
Dr. Mueller was part of a team monitoring ice along the northern coast of Ellesmere Island last April that discovered deep new cracks - 18 kilometres long and 40 metres wide - on the edge of Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, a 350-square-kilometre mass of ice that joins tiny Ward Hunt Island to the bigger Ellesmere. The cracks indicated a split was likely coming.
"It may weaken over time; it may melt away slowly, then all of a sudden you pass this threshold," Dr. Mueller said. "It's like a bar of soap. If you use the soap over and over again, it gets thinner and thinner. Then all of a sudden, it could break.” \\

I bring you this minutiae because it is just another sign of disaster. We needed that ice shelf and all the others like it that have melted away, because we needed the heat-moderating reflectivity to survive the rays of the Sun. This ice shelf, the Northern Polar mass, and subsequently the Greenland glaciers are all at risk now and are suddenly changing, and events such as the loss of ice described here are accelerating. We don't know how much longer we have, but if I may draw a metaphor, the house is already on fire.

Global climate change is the greatest danger to our survival. Here in the NorthWest we are just beginning to see economic consequences, as we suffered damage to apple, pear, and cherry crops. Of course the flooding in the MidWest did away with millions of acres of corn and other crops. Tornado Alley continues its march North, as reports of freak twisters appear in places like Germany and Vancouver, Washington. My sister wrote me of tornadic winds on her property in Maryland this week, saying “The not-tornado (cone that didn't quite reach the ground) from the storm Saturday had a jump-path down one side of the street and then across the other.  It started way up on top of the hill, came down the cleared area (logging path) until it got behind the house next door, hopped the fence and roto-tillered next to my backyard, then hopped over the front-yard trees and roto-tillered the creekbed, whacked all of the poplars and smaller trees and the two big pines by the creek (one is seen laying across my driveway, the other is a jagged stump in the pic showing the McMansion in back), then jumped across the street and over into Shirley's woods for about 20 feet, then went back up.  There were more than one 'conewall of tree-snapping whirlwinds'...going around but
 ours did the most damage for this area, and the planes and camera crews were around yesterday to document it.  I saw the cone, a big white half-tube above one of the (surviving) pines, during the storm - we had pebble-hail and sheetwall rain right before it showed up, and right after I saw it there was a blinding, deafening crack of lightning that seemed to be right overhead.  But the trees weren't smoking at all when we checked, so the wind was the tree-killer.”
Reports like my sister's have gone over the wires many times now, for many such events, and it brings to fore the fact that the situation is rapidly deteriorating. Meanwhile in Washington where the Dictator sits, the official word is that needed dramatic action against global climate change is a'la Nancy Pelosi “off the table.”

US environmental agency silences employees on climate change
Elana Schor in Washington,
Tuesday July 29 2008

Amid intensifying scrutiny of its failure to act on climate change, the US environmental protection agency (EPA) has ordered employees not to talk to internal auditors, Congress or the media, according to a leaked email released yesterday by green campaigners.
The EPA has refused repeated requests from Congress to explain its December denial of California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions - a move that overruled the agency's own career scientists.
Three Democratic senators have scheduled a press conference today to discuss the controversy.
On June 16, after an email from the campaign group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), the EPA told its enforcement officials not to answer questions on the issue - even those from the agency's in-house auditors.
"If you are contacted directly by the [auditors'] office or [congressional investigators] requesting information of any kind … please do not respond to questions or make any statements," the email said.
--more at

Al Gore's Climate Institute scientist Michael McCracken has the following prescription:
“....avoiding the most catastrophic potential aspects of climate change will require reducing emissions sharply by 2050 and to near zero by 2100.....”
(Climate Institute)
“To accomplish this difficult challenge, he proposes a reciprocal arrangement under which "(1) developed nations move rapidly to demonstrate that a modern society can function without reliance on technologies that release carbon dioxide (CO2) and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases to the atmosphere; and (2) … developing nations act in the near-term to sharply limit their non-CO2 emissions while minimizing growth in CO2 emissions, and then in the long-term join with the developed nations to reduce all emissions as cost effective technologies are developed.” Under this approach developing nations at the outset would focus on low hanging fruit--emissions reductions with significant ability to limit radiative forcing and that are achievable at low relative cost. These include greatly reducing emissions of methane, air pollutants that contribute to tropospheric ozone, and black soot, which blackens glaciers, in turn causing greater absorption of solar radiation and melting of glaciers that are crucial to the water supply of a large portion of humanity. Initially, the primary efforts to limit CO2 emissions in developing nations would focus on ending deforestation and on implementing energy efficiency measures--e.g. reducing power consumption for lighting, reducing conversion loss and transmission loss, and encouraging energy recycling including combined heat and power.” (more at
So, to return to the point, since we are faced with extinction or at least severe hardship from climate change and since the Bush Administration has failed to take needed emergency actions, how do we defend our lives? By what methods can we undertake the massive change necessary to our self-defense, since we have no recourse from the corrupted former government of the US?

It seems to me that for a start we could demand that local officials begin to coordinate with other officials. That is to say, city council can contact city council, mayors' offices can contact mayor's offices, and so on right up the regional authority lines to State governments. Since this is indeed a life-threatening crisis that will require the mobilization of tremendous assets, as well as the careful and democratic consideration of planned activities, it could well develop an added benefit—it could create a new paradigm of cooperation that overshadows and replaces the sadly corrupted and irrelevant US government. Climate change mobilization could give us the peaceful revolution we've been needing.

In any event, massive extinctions, crop failures, and life-threatening storms are already happening, so this is the time to take action—and we don't have time for wistful nostalgia about how great the old US of A used to be. That paradigm failed us, and I say let's get on with revolution, unless you just like dying for no particular good reason.


Most of the potentially damaging consequences relating to climate change are associated with extremes - the number of heat waves, floods, or severe storms, for example. Since extreme weather events cause loss of life and property, it is important to understand what impact global warming may have on their occurrence.
Global climate change has different effects on different regions of the Earth. Although regional climate forecasts are improving, they are still uncertain. However, we know that a warmer atmosphere will result in a greater number of tropical storms, extreme heat waves, floods and droughts.
Intense tropical cyclone activity has increased since 1970 in the North Atlantic and is projected to worsen, because tropical storms are powered by factors affected by climate change. In order to occur, tropical storms need warm ocean temperatures, no strong changes in wind speed or direction, and high humidity.  Two of these factors have increased as a result of global warming; oceans have become warmer, and humidity and water vapor have increased 4% since 1970 because warm air holds more vapor than cold air. 
Hurricanes occur when surface temperatures exceed 79° F (26°C).  As moist, hot air rises, the lower air pressure at sea level pulls the surrounding air into a rotating pattern. Then, the water-vapor laden air spirals and rises to the higher altitudes that cool it and releases heat as it condenses into rain.  Hurricanes are fed by evaporation and condensation, which bring the ocean’s heat energy into the vortex. 
(much more at

By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 31, 2008; Page A02
The "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, an area on the seabed with too little oxygen to support fish, shrimp, crabs and other forms of marine life, is nearly the largest on record this year, about 8,000 square miles, researchers said this week.
Only the churning effects of Hurricane Dolly last week, they said, prevented the dead zone from being the largest ever.
The problem of hypoxia -- very low levels of dissolved oxygen -- is a downstream effect of fertilizers used for agriculture in the Mississippi River watershed. Nitrogen is the major culprit, flowing into the Gulf and spurring the growth of algae. Animals called zooplankton eat the algae, excreting pellets that sink to the bottom like tiny stones. This organic matter decays in a process that depletes the water of oxygen.
Researchers expected the dead zone to set a record -- even more than the 8,500 square miles observed in 2002 -- after the Mississippi, swollen with floodwaters, carried an extraordinary amount of nitrates into the Gulf, about 37 percent more than last year and the most since measuring these factors was begun in 1970.

Global warming affects insurance
By Alan Markoff, alan@cfp,ky
Tuesday 29th July, 2008   Posted: 15:38 CIT   (20:38 GMT)
> Comment on this story
Computerised catastrophe modelling that factors the impact global warming might have on the frequency and intensity of hurricanes is increasingly being used by re–insurers to price their insurance rates.
The practice has drawn criticism in the United States, partially because scientists not only have differing views on the effects climate change will have on the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, but also on whether global warming is a long–term phenomenon or just a cyclical warming of the earth’s oceans.
Island Heritage Chief Marketing Officer Nigel Twohey said he spoke to representatives of Munich Re, an active reinsurer in the Caribbean, about this issue in June at an insurance conference.
“Reinsurers are aware of the probable effects of global warming on sea temperatures and are making provisions for this in pricing and deductibles,” Mr. Twohey said. (more at
OSLO (Reuters) - Birds have been moving north in Europe over the past 25 years because of climate change in the vanguard of likely huge shifts in the ranges of plants and animals, scientists said on Wednesday.
A study of 42 rare bird species in Britain showed that southern European bird species such as the Dartford warbler, Cirl bunting, little egret or Cetti's warbler had become more common in Britain from 1980-2004.
And species usually found in northern Europe, such as the fieldfare, redwing or Slavonian grebe, had become less frequent in Britain.
"The species are almost certainly responding to the changing climate," said Brian Huntley of Durham University in England of a report he wrote with researchers at Cambridge University and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
The study tried to filter out other factors that would affect counts of rare birds, including growing public interest that could mean more sightings. Shifts in farming, pollution, expansion of cities and conservation efforts have all affected wildlife.
Birds and butterflies are among the first to adapt to climate change because they can fly long distances to seek a cooler habitat. Other creatures and plants can take far longer if their traditional range gets too warm.
"It depends on the mobility of the species. Birds and butterflies are two of the groups where there is the best evidence that species are already showing responses to the changing climate," Huntley told Reuters of the study in Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
The shifts in the birds' ranges since 1980 were also consistent with scientists' expectations because of global warming, blamed by the U.N. Climate Panel on human use of fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars, he said.
(more at
Mystery Fatal Hemorrhagic Disease in Shandong China
Recombinomics Commentary 03:05
July 28, 2008

"China reported that approximately 20 days ago, a man suddenly died from an unidentified disease in Wanjiakou Village, Xiaoguan Town, Wendeng City, Shandong Province. His entire body turned dark purple, and he bled from his mouth, nostrils, ears, and eyes just as he died.

Shortly after the man died, 2 other men who been in contact with him, died showing the same symptoms. Villagers who had left the village to work said "3 people died 10 days ago. 6 or 7 more are being treated in the Wendeng Central Hospital. People have been to the area to investigate, but they are unable to classify the disease."
(more at
Wed Jul 30, 12:16 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States reaffirmed Wednesday a weekend deadline for Iran to give a final answer to world powers seeking a breakthrough in the nuclear crisis, warning of consequences on any defiance by the Islamic republic.

Iran was given a two-week deadline expiring Saturday to give a final answer to a package of incentives offered by the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany aimed at persuading it to freeze its sensitive nuclear activities.
But Iran has rejected any deadline, saying it was only agreed that it would during a two-week period examine the proposal put forward by the international community.
The US State Department said Wednesday that the Iranians were aware of and had acknowledged the Saturday deadline following talks in Geneva on July 19 with representatives of the six powers, including EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
(more at

Thursday, July 3, 2008


(just a reminder: this is a partial radio script, hence the call for "Callers")

1." John McCain is a strong war hero who will lead us with integrity."

McCain was a pilot who got shot down during the Vietnam war. He was in an F-4 fighter-bomber jet, which was known for its high explosive and napalm runs.
He cracked under torture and went on TV to denounce his country and his fellow pilots. Later he said he hadn't bombed any civilians, which is certainly
a lie. Napalm is not a surgical implement. Nevertheless McCain was viewed widely as a hero until he signed on with President Bush's pro-torture legislation,
thus betraying his POW buddies and anyone who was ever tortured.

1a. McCain is a weak war zero, the privileged son of an admiral, who will stand as a figurehead much as Bush Junior does now.

2. "Barack Hussein Obama is a secret Muslim who attended a madrassa.
A madrassa is a religious school for Muslim boys. Barack Hussein Obama was abandoned
by his Kenyan dad as a baby, and was raised Christian, hence the carefully edited and context-free rantings of his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. The emphasis
by the right-wing of his middle name Hussein is intended to stoke racial fears. Hence I am changing my middle name to Hussein until the inauguration. I'm
Theresa Hussein Mitchell, you're caller Hussein, we're all Husseins on this bus.

3. "Iran is a terrible threat to Israel, and Iran's leader threatened to blow Israel off the map." Iran is a large oil-selling country which, according to the International Atomic
Energy Agency is enriching uranium to 3% in order to use it in a reactor. The IAEA has found no evidence of the 95% enrichment necessary to create fissionable
material for fission bombs. IAEA has its inspectors in Iran now and is being granted access. President Ahmadinajad, who does not hold the war powers as the
Mullahs do in Iran, has said that history will remove Israel from the map as it does all countries. That statement has been mistranslated and repeated in order to
frighten you. As it is repeated in its mistranslation, it is implied that Ahmadinajad has the Iranian authority to carry out such a genocidal threat. He does not.
Israel, on the other hand, has had sufficient deliverable fission/fusion atomic weaponry to utterly genocide Iran. The Iranians know this.

4 "Liberal conservationists, protecting distant and irrelevant wildlife, have driven up the price of gas." Half of the rise in oil price is due to the catastrophic drop in the
international value of the dollar, a condition brought about by deficit spending and borrowing for imperial war and occupation. Much of the rest is due to speculators
trying to decide what oil will sell for after the US or Israel attack Iran, cutting off the tanker supply at the Strait of Hormuz. The price of gas and diesel in the US is
a separate thing, driven by oligarchical corporate control, which has reduced the number of operating refineries to a minimum level. The demand has dropped, yet
the price of the supply keeps building--a violation of free market dynamics, because this is not a free market. The US doesn't need ANWAR or increased offshore
drilling, it needs an implementation of the Sherman Antitrust act or better yet the confiscation of EXXON, Unocal Texaco, BP and the rest for violation of their corporate
charters, and for repeat violations of environmental and tax and regulatory laws.

5. "Global warming is a liberal hoax designed to put you out of your SUV and into a wimpy gas-sipper, and the North Pole is melting only due to volcanic activities." Volcanic activity was present at the North Pole a decade ago, as scientists can now see more easily due to the extensive Summer melt. The volcanoes, according to the geologists who studied them, are now largely dormant and did not contribute to the now-thin Summer ice, which may indeed, depending of weather conditions, melt entirely through this September. If it does, it will exacerbate the Greenland melt. Greenland has vast miles-thick glaciers which can plunge off the continent into the sea. If they do so, the immediate climate effect will be turbulent indeed, possibly creating a year without a Summer on the European and northern America seaboard, followed by destruction of the thermohaline gyre, massive storms, further heating, and the release of enough methane clathrates to displace much of the breathable oxygen on Planet Earth. Other than that it's a silly liberal hoax.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Science is a tool, not a god. Science may function at times to contrast with society or religion, but it holds no such intrinsic intent. When we make a decision to adhere to a religion or a culture or a government, and we ignore science, we do so at out own peril. There are consequences.

On right wing talk radio, for example, it has been popular to sneer at the science of global climate change. This has contributed to a social atmosphere in which it is difficult to talk about glabal climate change, much less take the drastic actions that we now need. To counter this inertia, perhaps a small gathering of facts will serve.

Our crops are failing. If we lived in an agriculturally aware society, it would not be necessary to say so; it would be the talk of the town. Everyone would know. But in this case I'm talking about a global phenomenon, and it's something that has to pass the normal buzz of the ag report. I don't mean merely that the crops are failing locally. I mean that there are crop failures increasing globally.

What does that mean? Right now you can still go to the vending machine and get a packet of chips. You can still find the store canned foods, and even a fresh produce section full of quality edibles. They cost a little more. We're not in one of those oh-so-profitable parts of the globe, where people are already beginning to starve.

Jpseph Romm, interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, said:...., the media is covering this as this all sort of unconnected events, just regular weather maybe gone a little wacky. But, in fact, the scientific community has predicted for more than two decades now that as we pour more heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the planet will heat up, and that would redistribute water. If you heat up the planet, then places that are kind of arid will lose soil moisture, and they’ll become drier, whereas you put—you heat up the planet, you evaporate more water, and areas that are wetter will tend to see more intense rainfall and deluges and earlier snowmelts, and all that will lead to flooding. So what we’re seeing is exactly what scientists have been telling us would happen because of human emissions.

But we are not exempt. Locally, here in Cascadia, the cherry crop is pitiful, because of the weather. A strong Pacific wind has been pushing cold ocean air over this area, causing snow flurries in April right down to the valley floor, blocking the Sun and lowering temperatures even now, in June. The apple crop has failed. The pear crop has failed.

Massive and powerful storms have struck Iowa, Indiana, and the Midwest generally. Corn and soy crops are under water by the millions of acres. Hogs have been washed out of their barns. Hog lagoon waste poisons the floodwaters, sickening anyone who comes into contact with it. Last weekend the Iowa state government was quoted in the local papers saying “Residents who have to come into contact with river water should ask their doctor for advice on shots, and should bathe as soon as possible after leaving the floodwaters. The contaminants can cause severe intestinal illness and skin, eye and ear infections.”

The loss of food is quantified as dollar losses, as in the excerpt from Dow Jones:

CHICAGO -(Dow Jones)- Four million acres of flooded Iowa farmland has put a damper on a three-year string of profits for the companies that underwrite crop insurance.

The flooding has caused as much as $3 billion in crop losses so far. Some claims are already coming in under so-called prevented planting coverage, said a spokeswoman with the Risk Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which manages the public-private program. Prevented planting coverage reimburses farmers for a portion of a crop's insured value when bad weather delays planting until too late in the season.

That reimbursement is one form of crop insurance. Premiums, pegged to crop prices and set by the government, have risen in recent years, driving up profits for the 16 insurers that underwrite the program, including Wells Fargo & Co., American Financial Group Inc. and ACE .

"Companies that insure crops were very upbeat at the beginning of the season because (corn, wheat, and other crop) prices kept going up because of global demand," said Elizabeth Malone, an insurance analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets, in an interview Monday. "Today, I think a lot of crop insurers are quite worried, given what has happened with the weather in the Midwest. This is a one- in-500-year storm."

Dave Miller, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's director of research and commodity services, estimated the flooding has caused $3 billion in economic losses to Iowa farmers so far, with losses in other states including Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota adding more to the total. A separate estimate by researchers at Ball State University and the University of Tennessee put Iowa crop losses at $2.6 billion.


We have insulted Mother Nature, and we will pay. But that's just a way of saying that we have collectively agreed to ignore our useful tool, Science. Science got in the way of short-term profits for manufacturers, automobile sales, coal plant operators, et cetera, and so science—in this case, global climate change-- has been make out to be tinfoil-hat hysteria. But that's like cutting off our collective nose to spite our face.

Here's another sign of the times from AP:

MOSCOW: Russia has been sending food aid shipments by train to North Korea.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says in a statement posted on its Web site late Wednesday that deliveries of 2,860 metric (3,150 tons) of wheat flour began last week and will be distributed through the United Nations' World Food Program.

North Korea's food situation has worsened this year because of last year's devastating floods that destroyed more than 11 percent of the country's crops.

The U.N. has warned that North Korea urgently needs outside aid to avert a worse humanitarian disaster.


BANGKOK, June 18 (Reuters) - More than 50,000 farmers in cyclone-hit Myanmar will be unable to plant a new rice crop by August unless they receive immediate aid, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday.

In the first major assessment of the damage wrought by the May 2 cyclone on Myanmar's rice bowl, the FAO said 570,000 hectares of land was submerged in 11 badly-affected townships surveyed by the U.N. agency and government officials.


VOA news: The most severe drought for 100 years in Australia is getting worse. Farmers warn that this winter's wheat crop could be even smaller than last year's if rain does not come soon. Most Australian grain is exported and empty Outback grain silos have contributed to shortages and rising global prices. Australia is the third-biggest wheat exporter behind the U.S. and Canada.


Australian Broadcasting Company: ....“The UNHCR says climate change is expected to drive increasing numbers of people from their homes as more conflicts are fuelled by water scarcity and a lack of food.

They also say the number of displaced people in the world is at an unprecedented level. Last year the total number jumped to just over 37 million, an increase of more than three million.

The former Portuguese prime minister, Antonio Guterres, is now the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees.

He says climate change is an ever-growing problem, fuelling conflict and thus indirectly fuelling the growth in refugee numbers, as in the case of Darfur.

"In Darfur, in the past years rainfall has always been decreasing, population has been growing," Mr Guterres said.

"There is an increased competition for water resources. We need a political solution for Darfur, but that solution will not be stable, if at the same time we don't solve the underlying problems of dwindling water resources.

"What climate change is doing is in many circumstances reducing resources, increasing the competition for resources and because of that, triggering or amplifying conflicts."

Mr Guterres says he has no doubt climate change will contribute more to conflict and thus to the number of refugees.

"The combination of climate change, increased prices, increased population, all those things make life more difficult, make competition for resources tougher and amplify conflicts everywhere," he said.

[Oh, and by the way:]

The UNHCR says nearly half the world's displaced people (three million) are Afghan while two million are Iraqi. The numbers in Iraq increased by 600,000 last year.”

........................gee, I wonder who displaced 'em?....................

This from Roger Highfield in the UK Telegraph:

The top few hundred metres of the world's oceans have warmed 50 per cent faster than previously thought during the past half century, a discovery that has solved an enduring puzzle about the world's rising sea levels. Sea-level rise is a key consequence of of climate change but the actual change has been higher than scientists had predicted.

Now scientists believe they understand the rise in sea levels observed since 1961, and can link them to the expansion of the oceans as they warmed, along with melting of glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets.

The new study by Australian and US climate researchers, published in the journal Nature, concludes that the upper 700 metres of the world's oceans warmed at a rate 50 per cent faster in the last four decades of 20th century than documented in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, which produces a consensus view of scientists around the world.


In addition to crop loss and ocean rise, we may already be experiencing a global-warming increase in earthquakes, according to this article:

(AP) New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr. Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago.

The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes on Earth increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of "global warming" is comprehensively and urgently addressed.

The analysis of more than 386,000 earthquakes between 1973 and 2007 recorded on the US Geological Survey database proved that the global annual energy of earthquakes on Earth began increasing very fast since 1990.

Dr. Chalko said that global seismic activity was increasing faster than any other global warming indicator on Earth and that this increase is extremely alarming.

"The most serious environmental danger we face on Earth may not be climate change, but rapidly and systematically increasing seismic, tectonic and volcanic activity," said Dr. Chalko.

"Increase in the annual energy of earthquakes is the strongest symptom yet of planetary overheating.

"NASA measurements from space confirm that Earth as a whole absorbs at least 0.85 Megawatt per square kilometer more energy from the Sun than it is able to radiate back to space. This 'thermal imbalance' means that heat generated in the planetary interior cannot escape and that the planetary interior must overheat. Increase in seismic, tectonic and volcanic activities is an unavoidable consequence of the observed thermal imbalance of the planet," said Dr. Chalko.

Dr. Chalko has urged other scientists to maximize international awareness of the rapid increase in seismic activity, pointing out that this increase is not theoretical but that it is an Observable Fact.

"Unless the problem of global warming (the problem of persistent thermal imbalance of Earth) is addressed urgently and comprehensively - the rapid increase in global seismic, volcanic and tectonic activity is certain. Consequences of inaction can only be catastrophic. There is no time for half-measures."


Are we ready for regime change yet? Al Gore won his Nobel Prize for going around with his charts and speeches, trying to explain that we would be experiencing what we are now experiencing. Does that global climate engineering sound so wacky now? Would you rather just ride the tiger and see where it goes? [Your comments....]

Speaking of ignoring science, it has been fashionable in the past decades to pretend that normal human sexual and gender variations are instead some sort of voluntary or arbitrary perversion. There have been many studies—talking about science here—that show that human and animal populations have always harbored lesbian, gay and trans behaviors, because group survival requires that sex, identity and pleasure serve more functions than merely reproduction. One consequence of ignoring that science has been a severe degrading of the Army's ability to translate Arabic since the famous firing of so many translators under the Don't Ask Don't Tell era of military aggression against gays. The society is of course generally degraded when one minority or another is oppressed for no reason.

The marriage of gays and lesbians in California is fodder for the hating class, and though it is a cheering case of progress in human compassion and societal peacemaking, the controversy is being used to distract from issues requiring collective action. Like war, I mean, and climate change, and whether we will ever reverse the US apartheid state and its Jim Crow drug war. Yet these issues of social tolerance and intolerance hit home.

In my case, for example, over the past few days, I have been confronted with social aggression ranging from casual conversations in my presence about what gender I might be and how disgusting that is, to screams of hatred from a passing car. My workplace has lost untold days of productivity as I attempt to heal my stress from this sort of constant confrontation. Most recently I was off for nine months for panic disorder, scarcely able to leave my house. These days I use relaxation techniques, calmatives, and careful application of dress, makeup, and demeanor to attempt to avoid hostile reactions from the public. But I'm always fighting a losing battle, because I am barred from getting the recommended medical care for my condition, which would make me much less visible as a transwoman. My workplace has a written ban in place to prevent the medical sciences from implementing their recommendations in my case. Health care is provided fully for everyone else there. It's technically illegal, but with this vicious zeitgeist in place, the management knows it doesn't have to budge.

Now, to my surprise, the historically crusty American Medical Association has issued a statement denouncing such tactics. This is from an article in Page One Q by Nick Langewis:

The American Medical Association is calling on health insurers to cooperate with doctors in providing proper care to meet transgender patients' needs.

Resolutions 114, 115 and 122 were passed by the AMA's House of Delegates at its annual conference in Chicago, which concludes today. Noting that Gender Identity Disorder is an internationally recognized medical condition, the Delegates highlight the need to combat the emotional pain and physical incongruity associated with gender dysphoria with proper access to mental health services, hormone treatments, and surgical procedures.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has hailed the resolution. "America's physicians," said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, "are saying that transgender people, like all others, deserve competent medical care based on what individual doctors and their patients determine is healthiest for each person."

The AMA asserts that when discriminatory financial barriers are placed between the transgender community and proper health care by dismissing treatments as "cosmetic" or "experimental," even when covered for other patients with other recognized medical conditions, more expensive problems can develop as a result, such as depression, substance abuse problems, and stress-related illness.

"Doctors and patients, not insurance companies, should be making those choices," Keisling added. "We are so glad that the AMA has taken a leadership role against the rampant discrimination that transgender people have faced for so many years in receiving appropriate medical care and equitable insurance coverage."

The resolutions are available at the links below, in Microsoft Word format.

Resolution 114: Removing Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients
Resolution 115: Removing Insurance Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients
Resolution 122: Removing Financial Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients

Friday, May 30, 2008


I have to wonder how protesters could manage to interrupt Senator McPain just as he’s trying to defend the Iraq occupation. How could it be that they get through the infamous Republican sieve? Has the party decided to change tactics, and open up candidates’ appearances to just anyone? Is there a fissure in the Fascist front?

Of course not. This is Tricky Dick’s 1968 campaign tactic warmed over: allow some noisy protesters in during a recorded appearance, so that it seems as if the pro-war candidate is a victim of anti-free-speech forces. Nixon got all sorts of sympathy out of that trick. Maybe it’ll work for McPain—who knows.

Meanwhile the occupations just get meaner. Imperialism isn’t on the table for the Presidential elections—the US will go on menacing the globe with 200 or so military bases. Nor is accountability for imperial crimes an issue. Our representatives have made it manifestly clear that we are not going to see any break in their collaboration with war criminals. We’re not even allowed to talk about it—even supposedly liberal congress members will rebuke the interviewer if impeachment even comes up. The clock has pretty much run out, and the message from the Democratic and Republican ruling corporate parties is clear: Shut up, America. We heard you ask for impeachment, and we said no. We don’t represent you, we represent corporate stability. You want impeachment? Earl Blumenauer and every other Democrat says “shut up.”

And I hear that message, too, which is why I’m here to call for complete destruction of corporate rule, revolution in our time, and the construction of a transparent, participatory system of cooperation, in place of the fascist oligarchy that is now destroying freedom with one hand and the entire planet’s ecosystems with the other.

Let’s start by destroying the legitimacy of corporate capitalism.

Capitalism is not synonymous with economic activity. Economic activity is fun, satisfying, and vital to our survival as interacting humans. Capitalism is deadly. When a corporation asserts that it—meaning usually a collection of wealthy men—has the right to keep its doings secret, generate pollution, destroy the commons, and maintain a class of inferiors called “employees,” it is asserting the illegitimate rule of capital. Basically, this means that if you have money up front, you can tell people what to do forever. It’s an extension of feudalism, which asserted that God gave the rulers power. Replace God with money and you get capitalism. Expose a corporation’s secrets, distribute its wealth according to worker input, force it to cooperate with society, and you destroy its capitalism along with its parasitic class of rulers. Capitalism is the opposite of democracy. If you love this Earth, and if you love people enough to want to see their full potential in an educated, participatory, transparent society, then you hate capitalism.

Capitalism, and especially corporate capitalism, depends on secrets. That is why we have corporate media. Secrets can be cleverly kept by simply distracting attention, which is why a killdeer runs around its nest as if wounded. It is also why you may have forgotten that there is, for example, a ten dollar minimum corporate tax in the State of Oregon, which the legislature conveniently forgets to do anything about year after year. Enron’s parasite puppet PGE, famously bankrupt but still raising your power bills, has paid ten dollars per year in State taxes for many years. How much to you pay in State taxes? That’s because you don’t have puppets doing your bidding in the State House. What happened to the investigation to those 9 billion dollars in bundled hundred dollar bills that disappeared en route to Iraq? Anyone?

What about capitalism-induced global warming?

From the BBC:
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Damage to forests, rivers, marine life and other aspects of nature could halve living standards for the world's poor, a major report has concluded.
Current rates of natural decline might reduce global GDP by about 7% by 2050.
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) review is modelled on the Stern Review of climate change.
It will be released at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Bonn, where 60 leaders have pledged to halt deforestation by 2020.
"You come up with answers like 6% or 8% of global GDP when you think about the benefits of intact ecosystems, for example in controlling water, controlling floods and droughts, the flow of nutrients from forest to field," said the project's leader Pavan Sukhdev.
"But then you realise that the major beneficiaries [of nature] are the billion and a half of the world's poor; these natural systems account for as much as 40%-50% of what we define as the 'GDP of the poor'," he told BBC News.
[more at]…………………………………………

The Press-Enterprise

Global warming could release long-dormant stores of methane gas trapped beneath the Arctic permafrost, causing an abrupt and catastrophic climate change like one that occurred 635 million years ago, UC Riverside researchers have determined.

Back then, the sheets of ice that covered Earth started to collapse, releasing methane gas that warmed the planet and caused the ice to retreat over a period of 100 to 1,000 years, said Martin Kennedy, a geology professor in UCR's Department of Earth Sciences. Kennedy led the research team.

"It was the greatest global-warming event of Earth's history almost certainly," he said.
The researchers' findings are published in today's issue of Nature.

They suggest that methane ice sheets still exist beneath Arctic ice sheets that are being degraded by rising carbon-dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere.

Recent research indicates that the ice sheets are melting and methane gas is being released at a much higher rate than previously thought, he said.

"It doesn't make one feel a lot better about the future," Kennedy said.

If a similar phenomenon occurred today, the most noticeable change would be a rise in sea level, he said. If the Greenland ice sheet collapsed, the sea level would rise about 20 feet, inundating major coastal cities. Accompanying drought could lead to crop failures and widespread famine, he said.

Mary Droser, chairwoman of UCR's department of earth sciences, said the world spends a lot of time and energy worrying about global climate change, and this is an example of an abrupt change through a process that could repeat itself today.
Kennedy said computer models cannot predict nor explain past climate changes. Those answers are available only by studying past geologic records, which is what Kennedy and his colleagues are doing.

They analyzed hundreds of marine sediment samples from South Australia looking for stable isotopes, a tool used in climate reconstruction. They found the greatest variation of the oxygen isotope ever reported from marine sediments, which they attributed to the melting ice sheets and methane gas release.

The next step will be to try to estimate how much of that temperature change was due solely to methane, a greenhouse gas that reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.

David Shukman, BBC Environment correspondent:

Dramatic evidence of the break-up of the Arctic ice-cap has emerged from research during an expedition by the Canadian military.
Scientists travelling with the troops found major new fractures during an assessment of the state of giant ice shelves in Canada's far north.
The team found a network of cracks that stretched for more than 10 miles (16km) on Ward Hunt, the area's largest shelf.
The fate of the vast ice blocks is seen as a key indicator of climate change.
Alexis Madrigal, blog

A new paper published appearing Thursday in the prestigious scientific journal Nature presents the worst-case scenario for runaway climate change that could leave the Earth entirely ice-free within a generation.
If global temperatures continue to rise, massive amounts of methane gas could be released from the 10,000 gigaton reserves of frozen methane that are currently locked in the world's deep oceans and permafrost. Passing this climate tipping point would result in runaway global warming that would be far worse and more rapid than scientists' current estimates.
The new paper suggests that exactly this type of cascading release of methane reserves rapidly warmed the Earth 635 million years ago, replacing an Ice Age with a period of tropical heat. The study's lead author suggests it could happen again, and fast -- not over thousands or millions of years, but possibly within a century.
[much more]....

Could our epitaph as a species be titled "methane clathrates?" They tend to pop up to the ocean surface when disturbed--and burst into flame. It's quite dramatic. Maybe our end will be known as "the Great Death Fart of 2012." Time will tell. But the corporate media won't.