October 15, 2007 archive

“We Will Never Sell (Our Sacred Black Hills)”

And yet, the poorest of people in all of America refuse to accept one single penny of the award.


“All of our origin stories go back to this place. We have a spiritual connection to the Black Hills that can’t be sold. I don’t think I could face the Creator with an open heart if I ever took money for it.”

International Blog Action Day: the Environment

Don’t forget that today is International Blog Action day for the Environment.  I’m not a regular writer on environmental issues, so rather than post something generic and/or sloppily researched, I’ll instead provide a roundup of articles and blog posts that are popping up all over the internet by far more qualified writers.  Check some of these out, give feedback to the authors to let them know you’re reading, and spread the word at sites that may not know about today’s Blog Action.

The internet is still a fledgling tool for activism, and whatever successes it has had have been modest at best.  Whether this kind of collective harnessing of powers can have any real impact remains to be seen, but it’s at least refreshing to see authors all over the world participating, sharing what they know, and trying to get their readers excited about an important cause.  At any rate, I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I have…

$100 Oil on the Horizon? (Blog Action Day Essay)

In honor of Blog Action Day, this year focused on the environment:

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

I’m going to throw cold water on the future with news of possible, impending, $100 oil (that’s £48.97, 70.49 EU) on the horizon, if oil companies don’t move soon pull to back on their current policies. 

Is it because of supply and demand?  China and India?  The Kurds and the Turks?  The mess in Iraq?  All of the above?

Well… Yes and no.

What are the oil companies citing as their next reason for raising prices?

“Lower Profits”

(Now, now, try to not to spit on the screen in laughter)

More below the jump.

Four at Four

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  1. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of reports coming from the speech of Hu Jintao, China’s president and the Communist party general secretary, opening the Communist Party’s 17th National Congress. The New York Times reports Communist Party’s 17th National Congress. “Chinese President Hu Jintao promised to address social fissures, a degraded environment and rampant corruption during his second term as China’s top leader, but he all but ruled out more than cosmetic political reform… Mr. Hu spoke extensively about his ‘scientific view of development,’ a set of lofty, vague principles supporting harmonious economic, social and political development.” The NY Times think a shift in Hu’s rhetoric “suggests that Mr. Hu thinks the economy can outperform what he and his predecessors considered possible — or prudent — at the last party congress in 2002.”

    NPR focuses on Hu Making a peace overture to Taiwan. Hu “proposed talking with Taiwan about a formal peace accord, but included preconditions that Taiwanese officials previously found unacceptable. Hu stressed Beijing’s desire for a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the 58-year-old conflict with Taiwan. ‘We would like to make a solemn appeal: On the basis of the one-China principle, let us discuss a formal end to the state of hostility between the two sides, reach a peace agreement,'” Hu said. Taiwan’s has rejected Hu’s offer.

    The Guardian reports that Hu admits Communist shortcomings. “Hu Jintao promised a more open and sustainable model of development today in a speech that will set the policy of the nation for the next five years… Mr Hu acknowledged that the ruling party had failed to live up to the expectations of the people and proposed a series of modest reforms aimed at improving the skills, morals and accountability of cadres… The shift from quantity to quality in both party management and economic development underpins Mr Hu’s theory of ‘scientific development’, which will be written into the charter of a party that has moved from revolution to plutocracy.”

    Lastly, AFP reports China to go eco-friendly. “We will increase spending on energy and environmental conservation with the focus on intensifying prevention and control of water, air and soil pollution and improving the living environment for both urban and rural residents,” Hu said. “We will enhance our capacity to respond to climate change and make new contributions to protecting the global climate.” “Hu called the environmental effort ‘vital to the immediate interests of the people and the survival and development of the Chinese nation’. He said the government would seek to develop a ‘resource-conserving and environmentally friendly society’ and will ‘get every organisation and family to act accordingly,’ while offering no specific policy plans.” That last bit sounds almost Bushesque.

There’s more today including a story about how ‘Al-Qaeda in Iraq is crippled’, today’s episode of “Guns of Greed”, and the discovery of an enormous dinosaur fossil found in Patagonia. So, step into the Lost World, below the fold.

The Washington Consensus Of Iraq Reality Is Delusion

Recognition of the realities of the situation that has been created in Iraq is all well and good and important, but… and it’s a big but.

This from Jay Ackroyd’s post at TPMCafe really bothers me:

If you saw Taylor Marsh at YKos, you heard a clear delineation of this DC consensus. This isn’t a matter of reflexive use of force as the only solution by crazy neocons. This is a recognition that Iraq is a failed state without a sovereign government and without the capacity to defend itself. The US Congress passes resolutions declaring what laws Iraq must pass, while the Pentagon makes all military decisions. Iraq’s government plays no role other than certifying US policy. And, these days, we’re hearing talk of changing the government. That talk is taking place in Washington. And there can be no freely elected, sovereign government in Iraq, because, in the Washington consensus, those bases are more important than a reprentative government–and no represesentative government would permit military bases defending Israel and threatening Iran.

This leaves the Democratic candidates in a very difficult position. They are part of this Washington consensus.

Iraq is a mess. That’s undeniable reality. It’s not going to be fixed easily. I think that’s also undeniable reality.

Carl Levin Causes Suicide!

Having recently myself been accused of being a murderer because my intemperate remarks while blogging might so offend some sensitive soul as to cause them to commit suicide, I can hardly understand how Carl Levin can look at himself in the mirror any more.

His insensitive inquiries into why the U.S. Air Force’s No. 2 acquisition official was accepting monthly $13,400 checks from a defense contractor for, in the official’s own words-

“I really didn’t do anything for CRI, I got a paycheck from them.”

Have apparently caused that poor sensitive soul’s suicide.

Senior Air Force purchasing official found dead
By Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters
57 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force’s No. 2 acquisition official, facing scrutiny for a temporary job arranged by the service while he awaited Senate confirmation, was found dead at his home in an apparent suicide, according to an internal Air Force memo obtained by Reuters on Monday.

More below the fold.

Conrad Crane Knew (& So Did We)

Dsc03636I am a huge NPR listener, especially on my commute and on Saturday, when “This American Life” is on.  Today was part of a pledge drive, since they are “listener-supported” public radio, so this was a repeat.  My internet connection wasn’t working, but I wrote the name “Conrad Crane” down on an envelope, because he warned that it was folly to invade Iraq and not plan for the Reconstruction.  From his study of history, he knew that what would befall our country, the Iraqi people and their neighbors would dwarf what had been experienced under the government of Saddam Hussein.

As soon as my internet connection was up, I discovered Rod Dreher at BeliefNet had written “Conrad Crane Told Us So” after hearing the original NPR podcast.  Concrad Crane knew .. and so did the man I photographed in late 2002.

From Rod’s piece:

I get “This American Life” via podcast, and listened to the latest one this morning. It was a stunner. One of the segments was about the work of Conrad Crane, a historian at the US Army War College, who with colleague W. Andrew Terrill produced this February 2003 monograph. It was a document, based on study of historical experience, intended to guide the American occupation of Iraq, by warning the military what would happen if they did, or failed to do, certain things. Like the TAL correspondent said, it reads like a letter from the future predicting exactly what did happen in Iraq. (See PDF at end of article) Note especially the warning that to disband the Iraqi army would be to annihilate one of the only sources of unity in the country, and could send its soldiers straight into the arms of sectarian militias.

This is not a new story; James Fallows reported on it a couple of years ago in The Atlantic.  The point is, nobody in the administration can say they weren’t warned about what could happen in Iraq. They were. They chose to ignore it because it didn’t suit their ideological vision. Nothing that happened in Iraq after the end of the first phase of the war surprised Conrad Crane. It shouldn’t have surprised President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, or any of them. They chose not to believe it.

It seems that Rumsfeld et al chose to disbelieve it because if historian Crane was right, then he, Rumsfeld, was wrong in his theories about how the US military needed to be transformed. So he — and the commander in chief he served — chose theory over experience. The arrogance simply begs belief.

While waiting for Gore…

from his web-site Current T.V., I’ve been watching…Zeitgeist.

It’s a two hour movie, so here you go…some pretty interesting stuff!

Breaking: US Security Contractors Clients of PKK?

Damien McElroy of the Daily Telegraph reports that US private security vehicles are parked at PKK headquarters high in the Quandil Mountains this week.

“There is a landing pad complete with spotlights near Mr Karayilan’s headquarters, while four-wheel-drive vehicles belonging to a US private security contractor, are easily seen.”

Get that? US private security company vehicles have been sighted at the base of the top PKK Military Leader: Murat Karayilan.

Gore uploads three campaign-style videos on Current.com

Crossposted at  dailykos

This will be a short, hit-and-run diary. People need to go to Current.com and view the three short videos Gore uploaded last night, one entitled Healthcare is a right,, one called Americans deserve more protection and the third entitled Get the troops home (H/T Lorikat). All Gorites and those with an open-mind, head over to Current.com and view the clips! Then sign up to the site so you can discuss them.

Pony Party: It’s Monday Morning

Light Emitting Pickle here to bring you the most recent open thread. First, a few words about Pickle Pony Parties:

Please do not recommend a Pony Party when you see one.  There will be another along in a few hours.

Ruthless women

I wake up in the mornings now and realize that two of the most powerful political figures in my life share my gender.  Something I’ve waited a long time to witness.  Let’s make one thing perfectly clear though; women are not the kinder gentler sex!  We have not cornered the market on combining common sense with integrity, and we do not overflow with loving kindness, and decency is an exercise at times.  We probably won’t save the world without help.

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