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...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Make Poverty History - a G8 Circus

Who are the G8? The Cat's Blog has this to say:
United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia. These are the countries of the G8. All of them have been colonial powers. All of them are responsible for massive crimes against humanity, from torture to war crimes to genocide. Their history (our history) has been written with the blood of their victims (our victims), slaughtered on the altar of imperialism. All of them have used complaisant writers, historians and intellectuals to justify their unspeakable crimes and hide them behind the carpet of ‘civilization’.
Read more >>>

And that provides an excellent contextual backdrop to John Pilger's article in the New Statesman, explaining the full ramifications of the "Make Poverty History" scam:
Africa's imperial plunder and tragedy have been turned into a circus for the benefit of the so-called G8 leaders due in Scotland next month and those of us willing to be distracted by the barkers of the circus: the establishment media and their "celebrities". The illusion of an anti-establishment crusade led by pop stars - a cultivated, controlling image of rebellion - serves to dilute a great political movement of anger.
Read more >>>

Monday, June 27, 2005

the new heroes?

Is this it? Is this the road to salvation or another path leading to capitalism?
I have no idea. I'm way too stupid. You're smart... You figure it out...
Link supplied by Theo.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

queen revokes US declaration of independence, redux...

keli, who has this really great embryo of a really great blog but which has been comatose since Feb 2005, said this:
Er.. sorry to disillusion you guys, but this story was NOT written by John Cleese. It was actually written by a guy called Alan Baxter of Rochester, U.K, in 2000 and has since spawned a zillion different versions...

here, read this footnote to a version just published on

Editorial note: This story is loosely based on a satirical letter which exists in various versions, both on and offline, which has now passed into Internet folklore. Despite claims that it was authored by British comedian John Cleese in 2000, it was apparently originally penned by Alan Baxter, from the UK, who posted a very much shorter version than ours to an internal newsgroup hosted by his employer in November 2000. The story is thought to have subsequently escaped into the wild when Peter Rieden, also from the UK., extended it and posted it to a USENET newsgroup. Thereafter, the story quickly spread far and wide, and within days newspapers in the UK were running even longer versions. Our version differs significantly from most others in circulation in not itemising the Queen's demands and in being written as a news story. So, whilst many people have undoubtedly had a hand in shaping the many variations of this humorous lampoon which now exist, John Cleese is almost certainly not one of them—unless you know differentt!

Full story here >>>

More here >>>
So there you have it.

he disrespects more peaceful ways...

Young Douglas is a naughty boy. And a condescending one as well.

So I've decided to stop feeding him traffic on his blog and to drag him, kicking and screaming if necessary, over to this blog if he wants to continue with his ill-informed put-downs of pacifism meretriciously masquerading as genuine debate.

Here on my blog I feel much freer to bitchslap the little pinko commie bastard when he misbehaves. He does, after all, advocate violence, so he ought to be enjoying this... ;-)

To save you a trip over to his blog, I'll now deconstruct his latest feeble effort over here. Ready? OK, here goes...

He holds up the death of Rachel Corrie as evidence of a "fundamental flaw" in pacifism. He suggests by this that if pacifists get killed there is a flaw in pacifism. He couldn't be more wrong. I have no idea where he got such a distorted view of what pacifism is all about. In fact, I would argue that by killing Corrie, the Israeli regime lost a huge amount of support from the rest of the world and that her death brought a huge amount of damaging attention upon what the Israeli occupation was/is really doing. I assert that it did huge damage to the Israeli cause. Much more so than any suicide bomber's cowardly attack on innocent Israeli civilians.

I would argue, that whilst Corrie's death was most tragic and regrettable, it was by no means in vain. By killing Corrie, the IDF discredited itself and the Israeli cause immensely, and brought a huge mountain of negative publicity upon itself. Whereas, every suicide bomber actually strengthens the Israelis' cause and their determination to fight, as well as winning them sympathy from some misguided quarters. Therefore, if anything, Corrie's death was a hundred times more effective and damaging to Israel than a suicide bomber's attack.

One of the strongest weapons of pacifism is that of public opinion. The more pacifists get killed or mistreated, the more the tide of public opinion swings away from the oppressors/aggressors and towards the pacifists' resistance.

Conversely, armed struggle provides the oppressor with justification for violent retaliation and the means to demonise the members of the resistance. It is counterproductive in the sense that it gets huge numbers of people killed before a "victory" is achieved.

Here's a little thought experiment: The armed resistance against American aggression in Vietnam cost the Vietnamese people 3,000,000 (that's three million) dead bodies. In America (and Australia) the propaganda surrounding the deaths of our own soldiers convinced our people long enough for this terrible death toll to be exacted upon the Vietnamese (and Cambodians, and Laotians).

However (and this is the thought experiment) if the Vietnamese resistance had been kept totally pacifist, i.e. human masses of peaceful protestors gridlocking the places where the Americans tried to go, surrounding American bases with peaceful protestors; and if those protestors did not in any way harm the Americans, and if all they did was to refuse to budge and just keep up the chant "Yankee Go Home !!!" day after day, week after week, what could the Americans have done, and how soon would they have had to do it?

Sure, they could fire into the crowds. They could kill hundreds, maybe thousands. But as the world found out about it, and they would have, global outrage at such a monstrous injustice would have forced the Yanks to piss off within months (not ten years as it was with the war) and if (let's say) the number of innocent, peaceful protestors murdered by the Americans had gotten as high as 30,000 (and such a figure would have constituted a Human Rights attrocity of such proportions that America would have been promptly and successfully prosecuted in The Hague) this number would still have been only 1/100th of the number of Vietnamese killed by the Americans in that war.

So, I wonder if Douglas can tell me why he thinks armed struggle (war) is better than nonviolent resistance (peace).

One way, you instantly and demonstrably turn the aggressor into a murdering monster, whereas the other way, the aggressor can justify their violence.

One way, some people will get murdered, whereas the other way many many more times that number will surely die.

One way, the aggression cannot be maintained for very long (usually only months), whereas the other way the conflict can, and generally does, go on for many years.

I argue that Douglas has not yet even begun to grasp the devastating effect that properly planned and executed peaceful people power can have.

He certainly has not (all of his obfuscations aside) demonstrated any fundamental flaw in pacifism at all...

Ironically and, dare I say, disingenuously, he expresses anger at Corrie's death, yet he would apparently gladly recruit, motivate, train, arm, and dispatch thousands, nay hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of politcal killers (whom he would call "freedom fighters" to die for his questionable "cause" and thereby also subject the civilian population to a vastly protracted period in which millions would be "collaterally" killed by both sides. Can you see the inconsistency in his rhetoric yet?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

dr who...

I've just been watching an episode of Dr Who on TV. The gold Dalek was accessing the power grid when the doctor came out with this classic:

"It's just downloaded the internet! It knows everything!!!"

I laughed so hard and long I missed about five minutes of program, then, after the Dalek had killed all of the S.W.A.T. hut-hutting nitwits sent to kill it, this little gem:

"Perhaps it's time for a new strategy..."

I'm still laughing... I can't stop...This is the funniest show I've seen in years.

Friday, June 24, 2005

gettin' ready for da judgement day...

America is getting READY...

that's more like it...

We secularists/atheists/agnostics/lefties (take your pick) are often quick to stereotype Christians as being right wing, anti-abortion, anti-gay/lesbian.

Well, check it out.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

one man's trash... another man's treasure...

Australian readers can find heaps of already established groups by looking under "International" and then "Australia" in the L/H sidebar of this wonderful site. I found it over at Urban Fox.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

condoleezza rice's fairy tale...

And what a wonderful fairy tale it is too...

And while you're over at The Cat's Blog, their mother-site, The Cat's Dream is worth a look-see as well...

Real must-link kinda sites.

They won me over instantly with this:


We believe in NON-VIOLENCE.

We believe in ACTIVISM and DISSENT and are willing to work with people from around the world, who believe in the same values, share the same principles and have the same dreams and hopes to build a better world.

They even link to our very own Mr Loewenstein.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bush, Kyoto, Cooney and Exxon...

Here's something interesting. There's this guy Phillip A. Cooney. He was, until last friday, Chief of Staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In this capacity, he is said to have repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. It seems this "editing" may have cost him his job. And what did he do before that? Well, he was the "climate team leader" and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. And what is he doing now? The NYT says he has accepted a position with Exxon, the oil giant. You will recall that Bush is a bit of an oil man himself... Pity about Kyoto...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

America No. 1 ?

The USA is No. 1. Right? Bzzzt. Wrong.

Michael Ventura, writing in the Austin (Texas) Chronicle, February 23, 2005, dispels the myth that the USA is the no. 1 country in the world. Here are just a few of the points he raises:
* The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

* The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

* "The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're keeping.

* "U.S. childhood poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. Only Mexico scores lower" (The European Dream, p.81). Been to Mexico lately? Does it look "developed" to you? Yet it's the only "developed" country to score lower in childhood poverty.
And there's plenty more where that came from. Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

artistic interlude...

Theo, correctly guessing that I needed cheering up, sent me this link to the Museum of Depressionist Art. It's well worth a bit of a browse...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

a little project for you...

Take a little tour through FreewayBlogger...

Then maybe you'd like to do similar things in your local area. You'll find some good tips in the "How to" page of the above site.

Be a billboard terrorist. Get creative now. Off you go...

suki's opinion is having a birthday...

Suki's blog is one year old.

So here's a little present for her blog.

do I make you think?

I can't do essays or well structured dissertations. I just ramble and rant. It's my "style". Old dogs, new tricks, etc...

But I do think. I do have opinions. And in this blog I express them.

If by reading this blog you are provoked into writing a more erudite piece on a subject I have ranted about here, I would be more than flattered. I would not expect you to attribute your work to mine. No need for that at all. But I'd be really pleased if you somehow let me know what you have written as this would obviously interest me greatly.

I'd hate to think that my rantings don't stimulate others to contribute to the debate.

Monday, June 06, 2005

a jesuit with balls...

I've copied this from an email list I'm on. It's by John Dear, a Jesuit priest:
I live in a tiny, remote, impoverished, three block long town in the desert of northeastern New Mexico. Everyone in town--and the whole state--knows that I am against the occupation of Iraq, that I have called for the closing of Los Alamos, and that as a priest, I have been preaching, like the Pope, against the bombing of Baghdad.

Last week, it was announced that the local National Guard unit for northeastern New Mexico, based in the nearby Armory, was being deployed to Iraq early next year. I was not surprised when yellow ribbons immediately sprang up after the press conference.

But I was surprised the following morning to hear 75 soldiers singing, shouting and screaming as they jogged down Main Street, passed our St. Joseph's church, back and forth around town for an hour. It was 6 a.m., and they woke me up with their war slogans, chants like "Kill! Kill! Kill!" and "Swing your guns from left to right; we can kill those guys all night."

Their chants were disturbing, but this is war. They have to psyche themselves up for the kill. They have to believe that flying off to some tiny, remote desert town in Iraq where they will march in front of someone's house and kill poor young Iraqis has some greater meaning besides cold-blooded murder. Most of these young reservists have never left our town, and they need our support for the "unpleasant" task before them. I have been to Iraq, and led a delegation of Nobel Peace Prize winners to Baghdad in 1999, and I know that the people there are no different than the people here.

The screaming and chanting went on for one hour. They would march passed the church, down Main Street, back round the post office, and down Main Street again. It was clear they wanted to be seen and heard. In fact, it was quite
scary because the desert is normally a place of perfect peace and silence.

Suddenly, at 7 a.m., the shouting got dramatically louder. I looked out the front window of the house where I live, next door to the church, and there they were--all 75 of them, standing yards away from my front door, in the street right in front of my house and our church, shouting and screaming to the top of their lungs, "Kill! Kill! Kill!" Their commanders had planted them there and were egging them on.

I was astonished and appalled. I suddenly realized that I do not need to go to Iraq; the war had come to my front door. Later, I heard that they had deliberately decided to do their exercises in front of my house and our church because of my outspoken opposition to the war. They wanted to put me in my place.

This, I think, is a new tactic. Over the years, I have been arrested some 75 times in demonstrations, been imprisoned for a "Plowshares" disarmament action, been bugged, tapped, and harassed, searched at airports, and monitored by police. But this time, the soldiers who will soon march through Baghdad and attack desert homes in Iraq, practiced on me. They confronted me personally, just as the death squad militaries did in Guatemala and El Salvador in the 1980s, which I witnessed there on several occasions.

I decided I had to do something. I put on my winter coat and walked out the front door right into the middle of the street. They stopped shouting and looked at me, so I said loudly, publicly for all to hear, "In the name of God, I order all of you to stop this nonsense, and not to go to Iraq. I want all of you to quit the military, disobey your orders to kill, and not to kill anyone. I do not want you to get killed. I want you to practice the love and nonviolence of Jesus. God does not bless war. God does not want you to kill so Bush and Cheney can get more oil. God does not support war. Stop all this and go home. God bless you."

Their jaws dropped, their eyeballs popped and they stood in shock and silence, looking steadily at me. Then they burst out laughing. Finally, the commander dismissed them and they left.

Later, military officials spread lies around town that I had disrupted their military exercises at the Armory, so they decided to come to my house and to the church in retaliation. Others appealed to the archbishop to have me kicked out of New Mexico for denouncing their warmaking. Then, a general called the mayor and asked him to mediate negotiations" with me, saying he did not want the military "in confrontation" with the church. Really, the mayor told me, they fear that I will disrupt the gala send-off next month, just before Christmas, when the soldiers go to Iraq.

This dramatic episode is only the latest in a series of confrontations since I came to the desert of New Mexico in the summer of 2002 to serve as pastor of several poor, desert churches. I have spoken out extensively against the U.S. war on Iraq, and been denounced by people, including church people, across the state. I have organized small Christian peace groups throughout the state. We planned a prayer vigil for nuclear disarmament at Los Alamos on the anniversary of Hiroshima this past August, but when the devout people of Los Alamos, most of them Catholic, heard about it, they appealed to the archbishop to have me expelled if I appeared publicly in their town. In the end, I did not attend the vigil, but the publicity gave me further opportunities to call for the closing of Los Alamos. I receive hate mail, negative phone calls and at least one death threat for daring to criticize our country. But New Mexico is the poorest state in the U.S. It is also number one in military spending and number one in nuclear weapons. It is the most militarized, the most in need of disarmament, the most in need of nonviolence. It is the first place the Pentagon goes to recruit poor youth into the empire's army.

If we are to change the direction of our country, and turn people against Bush's occupation of Iraq, we are going to have to face the ire and persecution of our local communities. If peace people in every local community insisted that our troops be brought home immediately, that the U.N. be sent in to restore Iraq, that all U.S. military aid to the Middle East be cut, and that our arsenal of weapons of mass destruction be dismantled, then we might all find soldiers marching at our front doors, trying to intimidate us. If we can face our soldiers, call them to quit the military and urge them to disobey orders to kill, then perhaps some of them will refuse to fight, become conscientious objectors and take up the wisdom of nonviolence. If we can look them in the eye and engage them in personal Satyagraha as Gandhi demonstrated, then we know that the transformation has begun.

In the end, the episode for me was an experience of hope. We must be making a difference if the soldiers have to march at our front doors. That they failed to convert me or intimidate me, that they had to listen to my side of
the story, may haunt their consciences as they travel to Iraq. No matter what happens, they have heard loud and clear the good news that God does not want them to kill anyone. I hope we can all learn the lesson.
Go, John, go !!!