Friday, February 29, 2008

a lovely day for revolution

Years after left commentators (like myself) began pointing out that we had a million people in prison--no, two million--no, more than any other country in history--no, two-point-two million--it's come out that one in a hundred persons is actually behind bars in this massive prison state:

What's left to say? If punishment stopped drug use, it would have ended in the Seventies, and if capitalism were the ultimate system, it would not be constantly associated with crime. I maintain that a capitalist society deserves crime--especially a cruel capitalist nutcase society like this one, in which people must rob banks to pay for their young children's cancer treatments. Well, no one can argue now that we aren't getting what we deserve! One in a hundred--incredible! Nearly three million completely chained and enslaved!

This is not enough for the police-state mentality, which also wants to criminalize dissent. Dig this:


By Sean Webby

San Jose Mercury News (2/25/08)

Think louder than a jet engine. Think the front row of a Metallica concert. Think of the piercing scream of a smoke alarm - inches from your ear.

Now, imagine a bad guy, holed up with hostages, refusing to budge, surrounded by sharp-shooters and anxious neighbors. [notice how the discussion is immediately drawn to scary criminals rather than to the demonstrators this will be used on--tm]
Instead of bullets, San Jose police can blast him with the latest in high-tech cop gadgetry: a dish-shaped, sonic weapon.
This ear-splitting, mind-blowing device is growing in popularity around the globe, used by soldiers flushing terrorists out of caves in Afghanistan to cruise ships scaring off pirates in the sea off Somalia.
So why did San Jose plunk down $27,000 in state grant money for its own Long Range Acoustic Device?
Police say it will be used mostly as a high-grade sound system to clearly amplify a police officer's order at great distances. But it can also be used as another of the department's "less-lethal" weapons, along with Tasers and 40mm projectile guns.

....[more at san jose mercury news]
Of course, LRAD is not just a loudspeaker, but a focused sound device that can torture an individual in a crowd or make her think the voice of God or demons or whatever is speaking only to her.

Our mental conditioning towards fascist collaboration is at an advanced stage. I had to attend a training class for security and safety on my job—I drive a municipal bus—and in stead of teaching us how to deal with the inevitable strong earthquake for this region, or how to manage after strong storms, we were shown pictures of bombs and told to sweep the bus after every trip. We were told about the appearance of weaponized anthrax, and warned to call if someone left their backpack on the bus.

I was furious at this blatant fearmongering and risked my job speaking out against it at the meeting. The response was interesting; it was as if I could not be heard. I was ignored studiously, as if I were the voice of Satan. “Anthrax?” I jeered, “there’s no anthrax.” And indeed the only weaponized anthrax available, Ft. Detrick’s special de-staticized powder, was unlikely to re-appear considering that Lt. Col Philip Zack is out of the country. But we were to pretend that the stuff could appear at any time, and we’re expected to help create a a hysteria, the next time someone spills their flour or Coffee-Mate or whatever.

If there were any truth to the post-9/11 fearmongering, one might expect some furious defense from the instructor of the class when I raised objections. But there is of course no reason to do all the ridiculous things we do in the name of security, because the threat is far less significant than the threat of car accidents, smoking-related disease and deaths, alcohol-related injury and deaths, and deaths from poor nutrition. Compare the numbers of deaths in the US over the past ten years, add in death and injury from crime, and the ratio is staggering. Terrorism is not a statistically significant problem in the US. The only reason to undertake all of these ridiculous measures is to keep the population fearful and under control. And it’s worked beautifully. I refused to let some poor shmo put his gasoline-powered scooter on the bus, because of course the potential gas spill could injure dozens. He was too dim to understand, and felt persecuted, but there was nothing I could do; as I drove away, another Einstein commented that it was a good thing I had not allowed the man on, because ‘he could be a terrorist and might have wanted to blow us up.’ I don’t blame people with mental disabilities for their condition; it’s shocking to think on, but nonetheless true, that half the population, by definition, has an IQ in the double digits. I blame vicious demagogues for taking advantage of them. And as the neocon demagogues know, there is a strong intimidation factor to a blatantly false idea, when it is repeated as gospel by the masses of weak-minded, politically uneducated people.

Don't let it stand. Say something.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Well I suppose you heard the great news that the dictator has resigned. Yep, and there are great hopes that reforms and even democracy will break out in the long-dominated nation—oh wait, that was Cuba. Damn.

Regarding the mysterious cuts in undersea communications cables, one may apply some basic logical tools—such as Occam’s razor. What is the simplest explanation for the cutting of six cables within weeks of each other, given that there was no seismic activity that could have rent the cables asunder? The cables all carried internet and, importantly, banking internet traffic for major Middle East countries, and their disfunction caused considerable consternation from Egypt to Saudi Arabia to Iran.

So, if not a seaquake, what cut them? Did a giant undersea-cable-chomping crab suddenly get hungry? Occam’s razor says no. Did six ships with six sharp anchors go adrift in heavy seas—over several hundred miles—and cut the cables as they fought to stay afloat? Well, there were no heavy seas. Occam’s razor says that explanation won’t cut it.

No, the simplest explanation is that a nation with advanced submarine assets operating in the area cut the cable. The US has several submarines in the area; they cut the cables.

As for motive for the crime, the other logical tool to apply is Cui Bono—who benefits? With the subprime mortgage sector spreading its disintegrating weight to several other financial instruments, the dollar has weakened considerably, and investors in Saudi and Iran were very interested in transferring their assets—via internet transactions carried by the cables—out of the dollar and into safer funds. After the cable cuts that process was very much slowed down, and an unmistakable threat was sent to the dollar-transferers: Slow down, or we’ll cut you off altogether. It was an act of war, an act of violence, from a humiliated George Dumbya Bush, whose pleadings and scrapings fell on deaf ears in Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Who benefits? US imperial power benefits; Exxon/Mobil and Texaco/BP benefit. The massive sell-off of dollars has been delayed, perhaps with the taint of intimidation in the air; maybe it’ll hold off until the elections. If I were Saudi I’d be interpreting it that way, but then if I were Saudi I’d be part of a movement against women, and who knows ho brains like that function.

We may apply like measures to the news that the US used an antisatellite missile this week. Here is the official lapdog press phrase, in this case the BBC’s: ”But it is not yet known how successful the operation was - the missile needed to pierce the bus-sized satellite's fuel tank, containing more than 450kg (1,000lbs) of toxic hydrazine, which would otherwise be expected to survive re-entry."

If the BBC reporter had done a bit of research on the pablum spouted by the US military instead of reporting it at face value, he would have discovered that the fuel tank was of necessity quite thin and would be rather unlikely to survive the heat and turbulence of a re-entry from space, and in any event its explosive hydrazine would have burned up in the crater. So it wasn’t any more of a threat than any of dozens of other satellites that have fallen in recent years. No, this was a gesture towards China not to bother developing more nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. It’s another sign of our lying military careening out of control. It seems lying is in season, as we are also to believe this week that a kangaroo court conducted on a no-man’s-land six years after the destruction of all evidence relating to charges and several years after the defendants were tortured, is instead a free and fair trial reflecting values of democracy. I am reminded of Khalil Gibran, and certain silver-plated commodities.

“By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent Mon Feb 4, 5:27 PM ET

OSLO (Reuters) - Global warming this century could trigger a runaway thaw of Greenland's ice sheet and other abrupt shifts such as a dieback of the Amazon rainforest, scientists said on Monday.

They urged governments to be more aware of "tipping points" in nature, tiny shifts that can bring big and almost always damaging changes such as a melt of Arctic summer sea ice or a collapse of the Indian monsoon.

"Society may be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change," the scientists at British, German and U.S. institutes wrote in a report saying there were many little-understood thresholds in nature.
"Tipping elements in the tropics, the boreal zone, and west Antarctica are surrounded by large uncertainty," they wrote, pointing to more potential abrupt shifts than seen in a 2007 report by the U.N. Climate Panel.

A projected drying of the Amazon basin, linked both to logging and to global warming, could set off a dieback of the rainforest.

"Many of these tipping points could be closer than we thought," lead author Timothy Lenton, of the University of East Anglia in England, told Reuters of the study.

Other sudden changes linked to climate change, stoked by human use of fossil fuels, included a dieback of northern pine forests, or a stronger warming of the Pacific under El Nino weather events that can disrupt weather worldwide, they wrote.

[UN Climate Panel:] The report also identified risks such as damage to northern pine forests -- widely exploited by the pulp industry -- because of factors such as more frequent fires and vulnerability to pests in warmer, drier conditions.

But it played down some other fears, such as of a runaway melt of Siberian permafrost, releasing stores of methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas.”[end]

The fact that the UN climate change panel should play down the methane threat is not in itself comforting to me; quite the opposite, in fact. These are people who have staked their reputations on stating very little in terms of projections, and their profession demands that they make all such speculation highly conservative, no matter how dramatic the looming facts may be.

The Siberian peat fields are already offgassing, as we know from fist-hand reports. That tipping point has been reached, and passed. The North Pole very nearly melted just a few years ago and of course will follow its current mathematically predicable trajectory to Summer oblivion. That is another tipping point passed. The UN Climate panel will not say the obvious, that the barbarians have breached the gate and the city is doomed. That would be unprofessional.

Yet it is professionals who have cored the ancient glaciers and found evidence of sudden climate-borne extinctions. We don’t know the cause of the tipping points previously, but we do know that once the ball is rolling, we will suddenly find ourselves in a situation in which less than a quarter of the oxygen now available to us at every breath can be had. Once the oceanic clathrates boil up from their slumber, the methane will displace the oxygen and that will be that. At first you’ll get a shocking headache, and at some point you’ll want to go to sleep, You will awaken several times, each time more confused, and then you will not waken.

But that’s a kind and conservative view of climate-change clathrate eruption. It assumes that the methane will somehow get mixed evenly, right away. But that’s not physically possible. There will be places and times in which the bubble of methane will simply displace the rest of the atmosphere, and in those places—I assume hundreds if not thousands of miles wide—there will simply be no oxygen, and death will come far more quickly for you, me, everyone you love, the geese that decorate the field, the squirrel in the tree, this city, that elementary school—every breathing thing, dead.

But excuse me, I don’t want to get overdramatic here. No need to clamor for extraordinary or emergency measures here. I could be wrong. Even though one of the first clathrate burps was caught on video recently off Santa Barbara. Forget what I said. Forget now. Now you are forgetting. Hey, great eclipse last night. /releases/2008/01/080115102706.htm

Friday, February 15, 2008

हैप्पी कांतेम्प्त ऑफ़ कांग्रेस वीकएंड!

Hee-lariously, the headline above was transliterated into Bengali. I have no idea why. I don't remember what it said, either.

This week's PressWatch was able to take its first 'live' email (to thanks to the generosity of Chris Andrae, who loaned me her laptop for half an hour.

I used the occasion to rant about Infragard--it's not something protecting InfraMan's crotch, but rather a James Bond Junior program for "corporate leaders." It's the weirdest, most fascist thing to come down the pike since Antonin Scalia--read more about it at the website.

Get this--after all these months of delaying:

"The House voted Thursday to hold two of President Bush’s confidants in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated. Angry Republicans boycotted the vote and staged a walkout.

The vote was 223-32 Thursday to hold presidential chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt. The citations charge Miers with failing to testify and accuse her and Bolten of refusing Congress’ demands for documents related to the 2006-2007 [Federal Attorney] firings.....The White House said the Justice Department would not ask the U.S. attorney to pursue the House contempt charges."

That's a section of the mainstream media take on the contempt charges. I had given up on them, after all these months of sneaking one-month extensions at the last minute. Note that the last line says that the Bushites won't cooperate-- the arrogant swine.... Now it's time to contact Conyers (and the whole Gang That Can't Shoot Straight Because They Won't Even Load Their Damn Guns) that they should proceed with instructing the House Sergeant of Arms to ARREST THEIR SORRY ASSES ANYWAY and deputize anyone they need to get 'er done. (I volunteer.) To the tune of That's Entertainment: "That's Constitution...." La la la.

And in the meantime, I have some questions--just a few--about the Guantanamo trials: (1) Why six+ years later? (2) Why military trials when we all want to see the evidence? (3) Where is the evidence? (4) Why was the evidence (of the destroyed buildings, etc.) carted away and never examined forensically, in complete defiance of all laws of investigation? (5) How is Guantanamo gulag legal anyway? (6) How is it ok to torture and then try someone? (7) How is it American if it doesn’t use the Bill of Rights, particularly the 4th and 5th Amendments? (8) How is it 2008, if we’re going back to 1215 before King John signed the Magna Carta and allowed habeas corpus?

So long as I'm asking questions about torture and detentions: Where are the KBR detention camps that have been paid for by Congress, and what manner of transport has been devised to fill them up?


Thursday, February 7, 2008

imperialism starts at home

While I was at my workplace yesterday, I heard a recording of Hillary Clinton’s voice saying that her mother, who was present at the speech, was born before the right for women to vote. There was an appropriately enthusiastic response from the crowd at the implication that things have now improved to the point that a woman can seriously run for President. And I remember thinking, yeah, now we have equal rights to be bloody imperial warmongers, hoorah. I did begin to think about gender, however. It seems to me that the original precedent for thinking of another human being as the other, as a lesser, as someone who may be exploited for work without respectful compense—the original sin, as it were, lies in gender.

I was brought up as a boy, and confusing as that was for me at times, I learned that I was expected to sort of herd my younger sister. Far from being accepted as a rival, she was to be a sort of livestock. Talking over her was expected, correcting her—although as it happens she’s quite a bit more intelligent than I am. Every male learns these things to lesser or greater degrees at an early age, and then the society sets in with a theater-wardrobe of oppressive roles. One of the more lasting oppressions is the disastrous idea that women are exclusively responsible for home care and child care. I see that weakening around the edges in Portland’s liberal Hawthorne District, but I don’t hear discussion about it nationally. The economic benefit to men of this poisonous idea is undeniable; conversely, the economic weakening and social exclusion that it hangs on women is devastating. Meanwhile the religious fanatics picket the local Planned Parenthood, trying to intimidate women from removing a blastocyst the size of a pinhead, on the absurd theory that it represents the equivalent of a fully formed baby.

It’s as if children don’t exist except as a purview of women; further, women, who certainly cannot produce children without the enthusiastic cooperation of men, are somehow solely to blame for their existence. And they are to blame for the economic devastation and workplace exclusion of single parenting; and they are to blame if the children suffer.

Imagine if a man earning a living wage—let’s say at least eighteen dollars an hour with health benefits—wanted to pay properly for the care of three small children. Let’s allow him no exploitation; he pays the same wage, for after all raising and educating children is more than full-time work. He would then expend all of his wage, and have nothing for himself. Or he could abandon his good job and take care of the kids. He would then live in poverty. His peers would then doubtless chastise himself for his choice and say that he had a right to his own dreams, and perhaps imply that he was weak for not pursuing them while he was raising the children.

Of course, most divorcees and widowers do nothing of the sort. They immediately find a woman to exploit for child care. This is called love.

It is child care, more than any other economic paradigm, that enforces the gender apartheid system we live in. That is not to denigrate the myriad insults and injuries that women face as they grow to maturity, from exclusion from activities to that old standard, molestation and rape. Rape is the enforcement arm of patriarchy. But this is where we learn—male and female—from an early age that there is an other, someone inherently lesser, someone to whom it is allowable and necessary to assign punishment, disdain, banishing, death. It starts with gender.

We are told this is the natural order of things, which is a blasphemy against the universe if ever I heard one. It is the unnatural order of things, and one of the more poisonous aspects of it is that it can then be transferred to any person or group that is not viewed as accepted or virtuous—and that certainly includes any group not well known, which then falls under xenophobic suspicion. Gender apartheid is a mental disorder that swiftly spreads into gaybashing, warmongering, racism, chauvinism, and hatred of dissent. There’s no mystery to it; once you can withdraw your feelings from your won women kin, you can even more easily designate others as targets rather than people, or as unbekannte as Hitler once said. Notice that societies that are more brutal generally also treat women like livestock—Saudi Arabia, for example, where women are forbidden to drive, where some women live in special compounds where they live out their lives as sex objects and zoo animals, after having been abducted from around the world, yes, including from the United States.

So I am glad to see that Hillary is able to run for President, and I am glad to see that Obama is also succeeding so far, if only because superficially they represent a weakening of the standards of oppression. Their corporate funding reveals just how superficial that impression is. The real wheeling and dealing goes on, and I fear the wars will go on, including the upcoming aerial bombing war with Iran.

And the denigration and punishment of all that is feminine goes on, in its many forms; we are barraged with images of women as lithe and lonesome and young and vulnerable, selling everything from makeup to cars. And then there’s me, the ultimate insult to the gender apartheid system, altering a male-appearing body to a somewhat feminine appearance. The insults, aggression, and assaults I face from the public are directly linked to the reasons women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia. It’s the same dynamic that lets men create and direct wars against others across the world. It’s the same reason we have 2.2 million people, disproportionately people of color, languishing in our foul and terrifying prisons: we accept exploitation as a way of life, and we learned the ways of exploitation by starting with our own mothers and sisters. One crime feeds another.

Friday, February 1, 2008

war preparations

I mentioned on KBOO yesterday that the nuclear supercarriers Truman, Eisenhower, and Stennis were present in the Persian Gulf along with their associated flotillas (missile destroyers, submarines, et cetera). Wayne Madsen reports today that a third underwater communications cable has been cut in the region. The BBC also has it:

Although the perpetrator of the three cable cuts is of course not known, the US has the technology and the motive to do the deed. I view this as a warning flag. Time to organize!

No War With Iran!


When I try to post on this thing, it often reverts on my screen to rows of question I have no idea if this will work, but--

I want to thank everyone who called KBOO yesterday and sent in ten thousand bucks just like we asked! It was very heartening to see the immediate support. KBOO has proven time after time that we can break the rules and still keep kicking. That's because KBOO really IS community radio and doesn't just claim the title.

Yesterday I broadcast the "news you're not supposed to know," which included a fair amount--okay, a really overwhelming amount of fundraising pitches by yours truly. I got in at least $915 (I know that others mentioned my show when donating later) and I'm proud of that, and thankful. I got to sign a copy of my book "Jeezus"--I still have a few hard copies (if you want one you can use the search bar at and order it online, or contact me directly).

I spoke of the ongoing buildup of the coming war against Iran--mostly by following the nuclear aircraft carriers (Stennis, Eisenhower, and Truman) which have gathered in the Persian Gulf (the imperial fascists now want you to call it the "Arabian Gulf" but I won't. Well, maybe if I were waterboarded, but in that case I'd probably mostly say "momeeeeeeeee!!"). I think the Kearsarge is thereabouts--that's an 888-foot-long Marine carrier--but I'm not sure.

I also brought up the Great Methane Death, also known as the "clathrate burp." Clathrates are semisolid methane compounds that layer the ocean bottom. They are unstable at just a few degrees above their current temperature. The articl I read from was four years old, and had the tone of "In the worst scenario"--and of course, events measured by climate scientists now pass the worst scenarios. Long story short: we're all gonna die.

Yeah, I hate to admit it, but that 2012 apocalypse talk might be true. Once these clathrates pop to the surface (they burn on exposure to oxygen, so we have the scenario of the oceans burning--whoa--)they will displace so much oxygen that you and I will be sucking in air that has the reduced availability of oxygen normally found at sixteen thousand feet altitude.

I don't know about you, but I'm turning 50 this year, I haven't been particularly active, and I suspect that if you took me to a mountain-top at sixteen thousand feet, I would turn blue and die. Of suffocation. My spouse and my daughter have asthma. So do a lot of people. We're really looking at a decimation of the human population.

Here's the probable sequence of events: The Northern polar ice cap, which is scheduled to disappear in the next few years under global warming, will simply be gone in the Summer. This Summer? Maybe. Maybe next. In any event, it will go and the albedo--the reflectivity--that was formerly provided by the ice will go with it, producing rain storms that will accelerate the melt of the Greenland ice cap. And the Greenland cap is on the move, baby. It's full of holes that direct water underneath the glaciers, lubricating their slide to the sea.

It would be nice to think that shucking so much ice off of Greenland will then produce so much cloud and storm activity that the polar cap re-forms right away. Why not? It could happen.

My point is that I can see that emergency measures could be taken right now to prevent this catastrophe. A low-orbit cloud of (pick your material) could be detonated over low North Pole orbit, and voila, the ice stays. But no. The governments that could direct that activity are instead sparring over who gets the freaking oil to be found under the melted ice cap!

So, long story short: the Polar ice goes, Greenland slides, the clathrates burst to the surface, massively accelerating global warming and choking us all (mostly) to death. Not my idea of a good time. Not what I would do to my daughter, my love, to all humanity, to what's left of the world's ecosystems. Not okay by me.

But--who's listening anyway?