April 22, 2010 archive

The Six Degrees of Species Extinction

— Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases.

Nearly half of the world’s species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next quarter century due to rainforest deforestation.

— Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.

One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second with tragic consequences for both developing and industrial countries.


Docudharma Times Thursday April 22

Thursday’s Headlines:

Recriminations grow over airline costs

Lungless frog and ‘ninja slug’ among new species discovered under Borneo protection plan


In Upstate New York, Democrats feel betrayed by Rep. Arcuri

Tough enforcement against illegal immigrants is decried


President is trying to kill me, says Chechen clan leader

Radovan Karadzic dismisses Srebrenica survivor as a ‘soldier not a victim’

Middle East

Iran’s military begins large-scale war games

12-year-old bride’s divorce prompts marriage age review in Saudi Arabia


Japan Tries to Face Up to Growing Poverty Problem

Caught in the crossfire of Pakistan’s secret war


Fewer attacks by Somali pirates, but their net widens

Latin America

Belo Monte dam approval provokes ‘bloodshed’ threats from Amazon Indians

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Blossom 2

(Click on image for larger view)

Act 2…

Stupid, fat, deranged, criminal youth are a national security threat.

America is back, baby!


Way to go, America!  Your investment in the future has paid off handsomely!  

But honestly?  This just makes me sad.

75% of young Americans are ineligible to serve their country because they have either failed to graduate high school, engaged in criminal activity, or are physically or mentally unfit.  

NATO Apologizes for Death of 2 Teen Sports Players, 2 Cousins

The two young teenaged sons of Rahmatullah Rahmat, of Khost, Afghanistan, were coming home from playing volleyball on the spring day in April, when they were killed by NATO forces which mistook them for “insurgents” as they drove towards them.

NATO has apologized for the deaths.


All of the victims were unarmed, and died at the scene after failing to respond to warning shots.

Mr. Rahmat, who is called Rahnatullah Mansour in another story, also has 2 brothers who lost sons in the tragedy.


“Nobody can imagine what is going on in my family”

Mansour said that the victims in Monday’s shooting were his sons Faizullah, 13, and Nasratullah, 17; and nephews Maiwand and Amirullah, both 18. He said all were students except Amirullah, who was a police officer.

NATO originally claimed that 2 of the deceased were insurgents whose fingerprints were in a biometric database, but have backed away from that.


It added that the presence of their fingerprints in the database “has not yet been determined to be relevant to the incident on Monday night,” ISAF said.

“We sincerely regret this tragic loss of life,” it quoted Major General Mike Regner, deputy chief of staff for joint operations, as saying.

Training is supposed to begin soon to help prevent further incidents.

In the southern province of Kandahar, where the next NATO large scale, “terrorist purging” activity is going to go, the situation amongst the civilians is getting grimmer as the time approaches.    The vice mayor of Kandahar, who was known for being a good man who was not corrupt, was recently gunned down in a mosque.    An 18 year old Afghan woman was murdered right outside a U.S.  Development Alternatives International office. Nida Khayani, a woman lawmaker from the north, barely survived an assassination attempt. http://www.undispatch.com/node…


As a result, roads are now shut and the drab march of blast barriers has begun. It is just one sign that things are getting worse. Foreigners cannot walk down the street or stop in the bazaar to gauge the local climate. Meetings invariably take place in private rooms deep inside fortified compounds. Yet for some reason, Kandaharis continue to risk talking to journalists in the knowledge that what they say might get them killed.


Nor is it just the Taliban who are the problem. Criminal syndicates wage their own terror campaign, allegedly killing business rivals, upstarts and those who speak out against them. The deaths of several prominent campaigners, such as the women’s rights advocate Sitara Ackakzai, have been unofficially linked to the mafia rather than the Taliban.

….  “You can’t say anything about these guys. The government is involved with them.”

As NATO gets ready to go in, the real insurgents have been busy planting landmines everywhere.  Since Kandahar is an agricultural province, this helps ruin the ability of farmers to be able to grow crops.

The Canadians have been busy trying to get rid of various military hardware, including landmines, and suffered serious losses to a demining team on April 11th.

This is a statement from their government:


“Canada vehemently condemns the violent attacks that occurred on a team working for the Demining Agency for Afghanistan in Kandahar on April 11th which resulted in the deaths of four deminers and injuring 17 more.

“Deminers play a vital, yet often overlooked role in Afghanistan. They risk life and limb to remove the thousands of landmines that litter this country, making the land available for use once more.

“Deminers, and all NGO workers, put their own lives at risk every day to ensure the safety of Afghanistan’s communities. Their efforts mean that children have a place to play, farmers have fields to sow and Afghans can move more safely across this land.”

“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend our deepest sympathies to those who were injured and condolences to the friends and families of those who were killed in this terrible attack.

There were still an estimated 10 to 20 million landmines in the ground of Afghanistan in the 1990’s.

A sobering history of how 30 years of  war destroyed farming for food and replaced it with farming for poppies for cash can be found here in this March 2010 article by history professor Alfred McCoy of the Univ of Wisconsin at Madison:

The Opium wars in Afghanistan



To understand the Afghan War, one basic point must be grasped: in poor nations with weak state services, agriculture is the foundation for all politics, binding villagers to the government or warlords or rebels.  The ultimate aim of counterinsurgency strategy is always to establish the state’s authority.

“We can’t keep on doing business as usual,” one senior Afghan official said.  (quote from the first WAPO link)

It remains to be seen if somebody working for Gen. McChrystal  can come up with a universal translation of “STOP THE CAR HERE NOW” which makes sense to people who are expecting to get killed if they do stop.  

I have Starfleet (values)


The first, most important thing you have to understand about Starfleet is the Prime Directive.

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

SOC Global Environmental colapse the view from the sand box……..Pt. 2

If you have not read the first piece SOC Power Politics and Economics the view from the sand box……….Pt. 1), I would encourage you to do so.  It introduces the notion of SOC  and catastrophea and why it is important and real.

Let us step into the way back machine and take a journey with me.  The year is 1973.  In this year I was a senior in high school getting ready to graduate.  In this year two pivotal events occurred which shaped the soul that I am.  The first was the publication of a book, “The Limits to Growth”.  The second was an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Leading white-collar criminologist kicks elite fraudsters in testicles.

William Black, economist, lawyer, white-collar criminologist and senior regulator during the S & L crisis who specializes in financial regulation and financial fraud by elites grabbed the aforementioned financial elites by the lapels and proceeded kicking them in the testicles in a manner unbefitting a gentleman in his testimony before the House  Committee on Financial Services on the issues Lehman’s utterly fraudulent sub-prime and liar’s loans and the abject failures by government to rein in criminal activity.

Black’s relentless boot-job to the groin continues in written testimony (pdf) and includes The Fed, Bubbles Greenspan, Time 2009 Person of the Year Ben Bernanke, Timmy Boombotz G, the SEC, the DOJ, the FBI, and of course, the first-order criminals at Lehman and their subsidiary Aurora, all of whom made this historically gargantuan public rip-off possible.

How about after these criminals stop puking from the blunt trauma and pulverization applied to their gonads we hand out some criminal indictments?

Normalcy in Afghanistan

Normalcy in Afghanistan

The dim-witted but Presidential-looking tool of corrupt political bosses Warren G. Harding was sold to the American public after WWI by promising a “return to normalcy,” and for anyone except idiotic bullshitters about the “War on Terror,” Harding’s humdrum slogan represents a very appealing alternative to the chaos which American invaders inherited and intensified in Afghanistan.

Intelligent readers will probably be amazed to learn that what you might call “normalcy” has already returned to a couple of provinces in Afghanistan, meaning that tribal elders have expelled foreign militants, pacified the Taliban, accepted a pile of money from our grateful coalition, and re-instated the glacial tranquility of their primordial way of being, enlivened only by ancient festivals and a few low-key shoot-outs between Hatfields and McCoys.

This relatively happy state of affairs in Nangarhar Province, for example, was immediately (or sooner) misinterpreted by Western media and the Pentagon in three different ways:

1. It can’t happen.

2. It can happen, but it’s all about money.

3. It quickly failed.

It’s probably impossible for our fundamentally immodest and benighted nation to accept this modest and self-evidently appropriate outcome of our lethal misadventures in Afghanistan, and leave behind a weak central government exercising only sporadic authority over almost entirely autonomous tribes, which is to say, Afghanistan as Afghanistan was always and ever shall be, whenever it isn’t occupied by foreign imbeciles.  

Why the US Fears a Nuclear Iran

(published at Truthout.org)

A report[1]  prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 30, 1947, stated: “A peace enforced through fear is a poor substitute for a peace maintained through international cooperation based upon agreement and understanding. But until such a peace is brought about, this nation can hope only that an effective deterrent to global war will be a universal fear of the atomic bomb as the ultimate horror in war.” We can see even at that time that nuclear weapons were seen as the ultimate deterrent to any nation’s aggression. If Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons, the United States would not have invaded the country in 2003. In his own words[2], Saddam Hussein stated that he allowed the world to believe he had WMD so he wouldn’t appear weak to Iran. He further stated, “By God, if I had such weapons, I would have used them in the fight against the US.”

On Making Mining Safer, Part Two, Or, “Can We Appeal Safety To Death?”

It was about a week ago that we last got together to talk about safety in coal mines, and we have some new developments in the story that deserve a bit more of your attention.

As we discussed last time, there are a huge number of hazards inherent in the operations of underground coal mines, and there are a series of “mitigators” that can be applied to reduce those hazards.

Ironically, the biggest hazard these miners face today might not be underground at all.

In today’s story we’ll consider the possibility that the most dangerous location in the mining industry might actually be at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, where an enormous backlog in enforcement actions is keeping dangerous mines open that might otherwise be closed.

It’s a “bad news, good news” story-but it really does have a potential happy ending, and with a bit of pressure, we can actually make life a whole lot better for miners, and their families, all across the country.  

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