Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Monday, November 29, 2004

warships, whales and dolphins...

About 100 whales and dophins have died in mass strandings on King Island, off the coast of Tasmania. Another mass stranding is expected later today on the east coast of Tasmania.

I wonder if any warships (including submarines) were operating in this area in the last few days. Warships produce very powerful sonar emissions and they'd be the prime suspects in my book.


(1) As forecast, a group of about 30 whales and dolphins stranded themselves on the east coast of Tasmania.

(2) Another group of 20-30 pilot whales has stranded in New Zealand.

(3) Greens Party Leader, Bob Brown, blames underwater seismic testing associated with offshore oil and gas exploration..

(4) Scientists studying stranding patterns say that these strandings fit an identified pattern and according to this pattern, strandings will be on the increase for the next 4-5 years. These scientists don't claim to know (yet) what causes these strandings.

(5) Another bunch of scientists has done autopsies and taken samples to carry out forensic tests to try to establish a cause.

(6) Yet another theory is that the strandings were caused by electromagnetic disturbances.

(7) No-one has mentioned warships' sonar. Whatever you do, don't mention warships' sonar. And even more imporantly, whatever you do, don't do a google on: whales +sonar (it will only get you 76,900 hits) ;-)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

deep thought...

Got to thinking today. As a Vietnam veteran who is now a left-leaning pacifist and very much against the totalitarian nature of globalised capitalist imperialsm, what do I really want to say about that from a veteran's perspective, and I realised that I need to give this matter a lot of deep thought.

I would welcome advice/comments on this.

Till then... Thinking is...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

how big is your footprint?

If you go to this website you can calculate your ecological footprint. Just answer 13 simple questions to assess your use of nature.

government of the businesses, by the businesses, for the businesses...

In an article for The Guardian, April 2001, Julian Borger commented on the blatant cash-for-favours rorts driving the political donations game:
Funding for favours: Bush's paybacks

Table shows amount paid (in millions of dollars) to the Republican election campaign and that amount as a percentage of each industry's election spending.

Industry | $m | % | The payback

Tobacco | 7.0 | 83% | Killing off federal lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers

Timber | 3.2 | 82% | Restrictions on logging roads scrapped

Oil and gas | 25.4 | 78% | Restrictions on CO2 emissions abandoned; Kyoto scrapped; moves to open Arctic refuge to drilling

Mining | 2.6 | 77% | Scrapping of environmental clean-up rules; arsenic limits in water supply

Banks and credit card companies | 25.6 | 60% | Bankruptcy bill making it easier for credit card companies to collect debts from bankrupt customers

Pharmaceuticals | 17.8 | 68% | Medicare reform without price controls

Airlines | 4.2 | 61% | Federal barriers to strikes; backpedalling on antitrust legislation
Now remember this was back in April 2001. Borger predicted there would be a huge voter backlash against Bush's "Corpocracy"... and then 9/11 happened, and the rest, as they say, is history.

America "liberates" Iraqi farmers...

The Americans prattle on and on about "freedom" and "the rule of law", well, dudes and dudettes, over at CorpWatch, they've let another cat out of the bag:
In 2002, the Food And Agriculture Orgainsation (FAO) estimated that 97 percent of Iraqi farmers used saved seed from their own stocks from last year's harvest or purchased from local markets. When the new (U.S. imposed) law - on plant variety protection (PVP) - is put into effect, seed saving will be illegal and the market will only offer proprietary "PVP-protected" planting material "invented" by transnational agribusiness corporations. The new law totally ignores all the contributions Iraqi farmers have made to development of important crops like wheat, barley, date and pulses. Its consequences are the loss of farmers' freedoms and a grave threat to food sovereignty in Iraq. In this way, the US has declared a new war against the Iraqi farmer. FULL STORY >>>
So much for America's idea of "freedom" and "the rule of law".

(Snaffled from a similar story on urban fox's excellent blog.)

Monday, November 22, 2004

on the killing of wounded soldiers...

There's been much written in the blogosphere about the U.S. Marine who shot and killed that already-wounded Iraqi insurgent in a Falluja mosque recently. Kevin Sites, the embedded journalist who broke the story says (on his own website):
"To Devil Dogs of the 3.1:
Since the shooting in the Mosque, I've been haunted that I have not been able to tell you directly what I saw or explain the process by which the world came to see it as well." FULL STORY >>>
And there it is. From the horse's mouth (what I'd call a primary source).

water, women, and war...

"Water was the biggest buzz at the 2004 Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Congress held in August..." writes Laura Santina in Z Magazine Online (November 2004 Volume 17 Number 11). Full story >>>

Further related reading in this blog: water sports

Sunday, November 21, 2004

what's wrong with "free enterprise"...

A very good introductory essay on this topic can be found at this site.

Then there's a great site explaining what's wrong with consumerism.

mea culpa...

I need to clean a few things up. I've been a bit of a secularist fundamentalist and I wish to correct that. I have absolutely no idea whether there is a god or not. I do believe there is some form of higher "something" e.g. consciousness, intelligence, awareness. That's as far as I will go.

Also, having been scathing of religious extremists, particularly those of Christian, Zionist and Moslem flavours, I now need to add to that list secular extremists, i.e. those who would ban or outlaw all religions or spiritual practices.

I think understanding, acceptance and tolerance of others' beliefs is now more important than ever before if we are to find peaceful solutions to what's going down right now on this planet.

The problem is extremism and that is caused by fundamentalism and absolutism. We need to become more moderate, more tolerant of those whose beliefs differ from ours. More Buddha-like, more Jesus-like, more Gandhi-like, more Mandela-like, more Kofi-Annan-like.

We need to recognise that those who preach extremist, fundamentalist, or absolutist doctrines are "false prophets" so to speak. They sow seeds of division and hate.

Anger is another problem. Whilst anger is understandable in times of great injustice, we must learn to channel it away from the urge it produces for extremist views or "solutions". It is especially important during periods of anger not to give in to the urge to hate, but to reaffirm our commitment to understanding, acceptance and tolerance and to seek moderate solutions, not extreme ones; peaceful solutions, not war. War is never the right way to go.

I hope this clarifies and corrects some of the things I've said earlier in this blog. Can I live up to these lofty ideals? Maybe when I reach sainthood or satori. At the moment I'm flat-out just getting an occasional glimpse of all this stuff. In the meantime I do know that I will never resort to killing another person, or justifying the killing of another person, ever again. That'll have to do for now.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

margaret hassan...

They say that hostage Margaret Hassan has been shot by her captors. The world's gone nuts.

My message to all insurgents in Iraq: You're not freedom fighters if you murder and execute innocent people. Stop the hostage taking. Stop the indiscriminant bombings. You are no better than the the Americans.

My message to the Americans: They're still nowhere near as murderous as you bastards! Yankees Go Home !!!

Margaret Hassan, I hope the news reports are just bad mistakes and that you come out of this alive and well.

Update: It's pretty much confirmed now that Margaret Hassan is dead. Rest in peace, Margaret. Those who killed her have discredited their cause.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

bruce cockburn's "call it democracy"

I just came across these lyrics, and they rock!
Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament --
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called "developed" nations'
Idolatry of ideology

North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It's just spend a buck to make a buck
You don't really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there's one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you're going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there's one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

Thursday, November 11, 2004

poppies of death...

Today is, depending upon where you live, Armistice Day, Veterans Day, Rememberance Day, or Poppy Day. I was racking my brain about what to write when I came across Rob's brilliant piece:
Eighty-six years ago a war that need never have started, and could not then be stopped until one side was broken by sheer attrition, ended ... thus putting in place the conditions for another.
Poppies are associated with this day through this poem by John McCrae (1872 - 1918: In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Being a pacifist, I have a bit of a problem with the last verse.

As a day of rememberance, I have no trouble with remembering the fallen, but I have a real problem with the retro-propaganda (jingoistic distortions and outright lies) spruiked in order to glorify their deaths and thereby the wars. I find much of it offensive, hypocritical and obscene.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

gone swimming...

Well, not just swimming, but canoeing and boogie boarding as well, conditions permitting. Huh? My partner and I are having a holiday (that's 'vacation' for you decandent Yanks) on the North Coast of New South Wales (the 51st State Of The Union for you Yanks.) So don't expect too much ranting for the next ten days. Then again, don't expect too little either. ;-) I have access to her laptop and her dial-up! :-) Isn't it sad how when a blogger goes on holiday they still blog? Sad... Truly sad...

Friday, November 05, 2004

democracy is dead...

That is the title of an article by Paul Kingsnorth in this month's New Internationalist magazine. Here's a part of that article:
The global free market and systems of democracy are not, as we are told from all sides, complementary: they are antagonistic. You can have one but, it seems, you cannot have the other. The spread of the free market does not aid the spread of a free politics. Quite the oppposite: it eats democracy for breakfast.

The reasons for this have been well rehearsed. Put crudely, the more globalized the economy becomes, the less control national governments have over their own economics. The liberalization of banking and investment laws has meant that distant shareholders and brokers can bankrupt entire economies in hours if they perceive a threat to their 'stability' - a threat, in other words, to the ability to make a quick buck within the boundaries of a nation-state. At the same time, the liberalization of trade through GATT and the WTO, in tandem with the neoliberal recipes pushed on the poor world by the Word Bank and the IMF, has empowered and enlarged transnational corporations, and weakened governments, to the point where national economic policies can no longer be decided by elected officials alone and must favour the interests of huge corporate blocs.
Now you may understand a small part of why I'm angry; why Osama bin Laden is off the planet; and why anyone who really values true democracy or the freedom of their people or nation to determine their own affairs is as mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore.

A globalised economy is the biggest wolf dressed in sheep's clothing the world has ever seen. And countries where the people or the dictatorship have chosen to take their country away from this corrupt and ultimately doomed sytem of economics get economically punished or invaded and occupied (mainly by America), or the CIA interferes with the local politics till they manage to install 'their man' (I don't think they ever installed a woman).

Here's my question to any Americans reading this: Are you getting it yet about why an ever-increasing chunk of the world despises you, given that your "freedom" and "democracy" destroys any hope of their self-determination? Are you wondering why the cry "Yankee go home" is getting louder?

bridge arsonists and other sinners...

Yesterday I participated in a one-day course titled "Effective Advocacy Skills and Strategies". And I had a few interesting realisations:

1. There's a lot of religious people doing really good and valuable community work.
2. There's a lot of secularists doing really good and valuable community work.
3. You don't have to be religious to have worthwhile morals, values, and ethics.
4. My angry ranting "style" totally sabotages what I'm trying to achieve.
5. I'm a fundamentalist secularist, a very angry pacifist, and a bridge arsonist.

I desperately need to learn to chill out (a lot). I also got in touch (again) with how much of a loner I tend to be. I'm really a social and emotional cripple. I guess all this means is that there's room for improvement but, at 58, can this old dog learn new tricks? I don't think I like my chances. Well, at least I'm committed to not killing any more people in this lifetime. That might have to do, eh?

Monday, November 01, 2004

it's the oil, stupid...

Iran. Iran has quite a bit of oil. Al-Jazeera reports:
China's oil giant Sinopec Group has signed a $70 billion oil and natural gas agreement with Iran.
You might remember that Iraq got invaded and a few cynical people said it was because Saddam was pissed off with George The Elder and so he was selling his oil to China rather than America. And you see, this did not suit George The Younger and his Texan cohorts, and so a further 100,000 Iraqi civilians had to die in order to re-secure America's oil "interests".

And now, surprise, surprise, America is sabre-rattling about Iran. You think it's because Iran is really a threat to the world? Grow a brain! An invasion of Iran is a part of America's oil-grabbing strategy to prevent the free trade of oil with China. Trust me. I know how these lunatics think. However, it could also be a precursor to a U.S. war on China a bit further down the track (say five to ten years.) Either way, headaches for everyone except the profit-mongers...

Pity the Iranian people. Hundreds of thousands of them will die if America is coming to get their oil. If you were the leader of Iran, wouldn't you be going flat out to crank up a nuclear weapons program if you had lots and lots of historical evidence that it's the one sure thing that acts as a deterrent against the resources-thieving Yanks?

In terms of nuclear powers already killing heaps and heaps of people with virtual impunity, the top three are:

1. America. (because of oil)
2. Russia (because of oil)
3. Israel (because they are "the chosen people" come to reclaim what's "theirs" after a short absence of a mere 2000 years)

There's your Axis Of Evil right there, guys. Start with them and work down from there.

Get behind the U.N. and sideline these crazies, is all I can say...

water sports...

Why is Britain using its aid money to persuade South Africa to privatise its public services? George Monbiot has this to say:
No one could have accused the Conservative government of breaking its promise to bring back Victorian values. When, in 1992, it permitted private water companies to install pre-paid meters in Birmingham, the people who couldn’t afford to flush their toilets started defecating into pots, which they then emptied out of the windows of their tower blocks. Full story >>>

And when you've read George's article in its entirety, you should go here >>>

And then you will begin to understand why Britain and America have absolutely no qualms about stealing the world's oil as well. If you get in their way they will kill you. The shareholders, your investment and your superannuation fund managers all insist upon it!

Enjoy your glitzy lifestyle, little piggies, the rest of the world is suffering so that you can swank around the place preening your pathetically overgrown egoes! And remember, little piggies: capitalism good, socialism bad. Say it with me now, little piggies: "capitalism good, socialism bad, capitalism good, socialism bad, capitalism good, socialism bad, capitalism good, socialism bad, capitalism good, socialism bad, capitalism good, socialism bad..." (sigh)

question #11...

What role do beliefs play in values?

question #10...

By what criteria would you determine whether one culture is better than another culture?

question #9...

Can there be democracy within a culture?

question #8...

Is a culture a belief system?

question #7...

What's the difference between knowing and believing?

question #6...

What's the difference between faith and bigotry?

question #5...

Can you prove, scientifically, that there is a god? And if so:
(a) could such method of proof also be used to prove that there are many gods?
or (b) no gods at all?
(c) Could such a system of proof also be used to prove that God is a blue milk carton?
or (d) that every blue milk carton is a god?

question #4...

What's the difference between a religion and a belief system?

question #3...

What role do belief systems play in conditioning?

question #2...

How does one de-condition the citizenry?

question #1...

Is it a democracy when the citizens are deliberately conditioned (brainwashed, hypnotised, programmed) to think (and therefore vote) a certain way, or should such a state of affairs actually be called an oxymoronocracy?