Friday, June 20, 2008

The Elephant in the Meteorology Room

(Cedar Rapids, Iowa {the downtown area is still off limits})

As a hundred year flood wreaks havoc in the mid-west, a new report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (comprised of thirteen federal agencies and overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, the National Economic Council and the Office of Management and Budget) asserts what any idiot could have inferred by now: Global Warming is making extreme weather increasingly commonplace in America. has a few arresting pics of the flood, one of which I included at the top of the post.

Iowa faced with a potential crop loss of $3,000,000,000.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hectic Iraq/US Security Agreement as UN Mandate Expires Before Next American President Takes Office

I hope you elect to read the whole article at the above link, but here's an excerpt of Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez's interview with Patrick Cockburn, Mid-East Correspondant for The London Indenpendant. They discuss the extortive efforts of the Bush Administration to force an Iraqi security agreement on their terms in exchange for 50 billion in Iraqi national funds being held in the federal reserve.

Patrick Cockburn, if this is pushed through before this president leaves office, how does it bind a future president? And what is your assessment of what these presidential candidates in the United States are suggesting for the end of war in Iraq?

Well, you know, they’re describing it as a security agreement and saying, well, we have such agreements with eighty countries. But, I mean, this is frankly baloney. I mean, the other countries do not have an American army present which is under continual armed attack. It’s a very different type of agreement. And of course the reason they’re saying this is that they don’t want to submit it to Congress, and they also don’t want to submit it to a referendum in Iraq. In both cases, it might go down.

I think that the candidates—I mean, what strikes me, being in Washington, is the degree to which America is absorbed in the presidential election, and Iraq has been far too much on the margins of the news, as if nothing new was developing there or the situation might be bad but it’s not getting much worse, while these enormously important developments are taking place, which are laying the basis for future violence, for future wars, not exactly going through on the nod, but they’re being smuggled through. Their significance is being downplayed by the US ambassador in Baghdad, by the administration here in Washington. And this is taking place while the whole focus is on the presidential election here."

Also, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has been quoted saying in regards to the negotiations, “We have reached an impasse, because when we opened these negotiations we did not realize that the US demands would so deeply affect Iraqi sovereignty, and this is something we can never accept.”
another Democracy Now! article here:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Footnotes on Some Shiite

Obama's Iraq team appeared to be in a bit of disarray yesterday as they publicly differed on potential strategies while appearing at the second annual meeting of the Center for a New American Security. Here's an article from The Nation on this slightly disconcerting development:

As the U.S. and Iraq attempt to reach a bilateral agreement on the duration and capacity of the U.S. military's continued occupation, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki assured Iranians that his country will not serve as a proxy for a U.S. invasion into their country.

Oh yeah! Maliki and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad totally made out too! Wolf Blitzer spins it as more awkward for John McCain than those two.

David Davis Resigns Over 48 Day Detention Agreement


"The name of my constituency is Haltemprice and Howden - Haltemprice is derived from a medieval proverb meaning noble endeavour.

Up until yesterday I took a view that what we did in the House of Commons representing our constituents was a noble endeavour because for centuries of forebears we defended the freedom of people. Well, we did, up until yesterday.

This Sunday is the anniversary of Magna Carta, a document that guarantees the fundamental element of British freedom, habeas corpus. The right not to be imprisoned by the state without charge or reason.

But yesterday this house allowed the state to lock up potentially innocent citizens for up to six weeks without charge.

The counter-terrorism bill will, in all probability, be rejected by the House of Lords very firmly. After all, what should they be there for, if not to protect Magna Carta?

But because this is defined as political, not security, the government will be tempted to use the Parliament Act to overrule the Lords.

It has no democratic mandate to do this since 42 days was not in its manifesto. Its legal basis is uncertain to say the least but, purely for political reasons, this government is going to do that.

Because the generic security argument relied on will never go away - technology, development complexity, and so on - we'll next see 56 days, 70 days, then 90 days.

But in truth perhaps 42 days is the one most salient example of the insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of fundamental British freedom.

And we will have shortly the most intrusive identity card system in the world. A CCTV camera for every 14 citizens, a DNA database bigger than any dictatorship has, with thousands of innocent children and millions of innocent citizens on it.

We have witnessed an assault on jury trials, a bolt against bad law and its arbitrary use by the state.

And shortcuts with our justice system, which will make our system neither firm nor fair and a creation of a database state opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snoopers and exposing our personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers.

The state has security powers to clamp down on peaceful protest and so-called hate laws to stifle legitimate debate, whilst those who incite violence get off scot-free.

This cannot go on, it must be stopped, and for that reason today I feel it is incumbent on me to take a stand.

I will be resigning my membership of this House and I intend to force a byelection in Haltemprice and Howden.

Now I will not fight it on the government's general record. There's no point repeating Crewe and Nantwich.

I won't fight it on my personal record - I am just a piece in this great chess game.

I will fight it, I will argue this byelection against the slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this government.

Now, that may mean I have made my last speech to the House. It's possible. And of course that would be a cause of deep regret to me. But at least my electorate and the nation, as a whole, would have had the opportunity to debate and consider one of the most fundamental issues of our day.

The ever-intrusive power of the state on our lives, the loss of privacy, the loss of freedom and a steady attrition undermining the rule of law. And if they do send me back here, it will be with a single, simple message - that the monstrosity of a law that we passed yesterday will not stand. "

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Here's the first ten minutes of a solid peak oil documentary titled A Crude Awakening: The Coming Oil Crash, which ( for those of you with netflix ) is available in their instant ( online viewing ) section in it's entirety. Netflix has a few other oil documentary's as well. I'd also recommend reading The Party's Over by Richard Heinberg.