Friday, December 20, 2002

A 'silver bullet's' toxic legacy | csmonitor.com Iraqi doctors say poverty, malnutrition, and poor water and sanitation are key to current health problems, along with DU and chemical exposures, and trauma from the last war. Jawad Khudim al-Ali, director of the cancer ward at Basra's Saddam Teaching Hospital, says pre-war cancer rates have increased 11-fold; the mortality rate 19-fold.

Tons of radioactive metals -- an ecological time bomb for the people of Iraq to deal with for decades to come. Is there a crime here, officer?
Disenfranchisment by Sound Bite "Senator Trent Lott no longer represents the state of Mississippi," a Senate Republican aide said. "He represents the state of denial."

No, he still represents the state of Mississippi.
Tom Tomorrow on Lott's blogosphere demise It is a myth that the Lott story was driven by the right wing--nobody was on this harder than Atrios, with Josh Marshall running a close second. To their credit, the righty bloggers did pick it up--but what I want to know is, will they keep the pressure on the rest of these guys? Or will it turn out that their outrage, while certainly genuine, was proportionately related to the amount of embarassment being caused?

I think the right is on the verge of a major split. Power has a way of doing that, because suddenly the wildest dreams of the newly empowered become legislative options. The more agendas clash, the more likelihood of a split.
Bush's Oz free trade hitlist Bush Administration trade deal targets Australia's quarantine system, single marketing desks for wheat, beef, cotton and rice, foreign investment review processes, tariffs on cars, clothing and footwear and government enterprises.

I predict this will go precisely nowhere for years.
Ice Cream puts smile on the Echidna's Tenix face
The Special Operations Command aligns Australia's military structure more closely with that of the US. As well, the Government will fast-track the purchase of a new squadron of Black Hawk-type helicopters capable of operating both from navy ships and from land.

All for less than the price of an ice cream
South Korean voter reject Bush-preferred candidate President-elect Roh is seen as a champion of the poor, and has promised to reform South Korea's giant family controlled business conglomerates.

Roh's commitment to the alliance is under the microscope, as China becomes the focus of the country's chaebol elites.
Hoon to UN: Dismissed Lib Democrats' leader: "The British public is entitled to know if the government intends to operate exclusively through the UN or to take independent action without a UN mandate. The House of Commons is entitled to know if there will be the opportunity for a vote on a substantive motion before British troops are sent in to battle."

Doesn't look like that's on the cards there or in Australia.
Murdoch's Organ, U.K. branch in Palace Intrigue My, my. The Paleo-Neocon rift is certainly warming up with Pat Buchanan's new zine The American Conservative igniting a firecracker under conservatives who think Bush's America is a little too big brotherly for its own good.

Is Blair's Murdoch Organ trying to off the Queen of Australia? Buchanan conservatives certainly seem to think so. They are worried the Organ won't stop after it has its way with the Windsors.

"Except that if Rupert Murdoch can bring down the monarchy in Britain with his dumbed down newspapers, why stop there? Maybe the White House next. What really matters is that the Windsors are being stripped of their remaining dignity by a series of unproven yet stomach-turning allegations, and a thousand-year-old institution is about to be stripped of its traditional role of being above politics by republican opportunists and some very seedy members of the Fourth Estate."

Rat-Brained Robot
Neuron cells learn from feedback in ratborg. “The ‘brain’ is definitely developing."
Ross Mayfield's Weblog There is a middle ground between formal networks (hierarchies) and informal networks (social networks). A heterarchy taps into the power of individuals and social networks within a turbulent environment to achieve what would be otherwise considered organizational objectives.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Cluster Bombs a lethal harvest for Afgan children
The ICRC reported 127 casualties, including twenty-nine deaths, as of November 2002.145 Eighty-seven, or 69 percent, of those victims were under the age of eighteen.
Pike's Pique not so green "The Greens are a brand name and we live in a culture of branding. Kids, when they're 12, like Nike, when it's a bit older, it's Mambo. Somehow to be young and with it is to be Green. People have to remember that the Greens are a political party."

MP for Melbourne Bronwyn "Skin of Teeth" Pike's spray show she just doesn't get it.
Australian Greens predict to gain seats, lift primary vote
The Greens expect to grab much more of the vote than in the historic Cunningham by-election last month, particularly in seats with hot development and environmental issues up and down the state. "We expect to get somewhere between 25 and 30 percent of the primary vote. We are a good chance of winning. It's a very real chance," one local Green campaign director said.
The Courier Mail: PM vows to defend homeland [19dec02] His comments come as Defence Minister Robert Hill takes his long-awaited review of Australia's defence needs back to the drawing board for a third time.
Senator Hill was rebuked by his Cabinet colleagues again on Monday and will not release the review until next year. He was rolled last month in Cabinet over plans to boost defence spending by $1 billion to cover the war against terrorism.
Senator Hill, who criticised officials for presenting "rubbery" figures on defence purchasing, has been told Budget increases must be kept below $200 million.
Further savings will be made by delaying or cancelling some large-scale purchases, including upgrades to submarines, warships and buying unmanned aircraft.
New Premise in Science: Get the Word Out Quickly, Online Supported by a $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the scientists say that this week they will announce the creation of two peer-reviewed online journals on biology and medicine, with the goal of cornering the best scientific papers and immediately depositing them in the public domain.
Better count them before he leaves Atrios pulls out a little Bill Frist vignette...

Frist is an animal lover who said his decision to become a doctor was clinched when he helped heal a friend's dog. But Frist now found himself forced to kill animals during medical research. And his new dilemma was finding enough animals to kill. Soon, he began lying to obtain more animals. He went to the animal shelters around Boston and promised he would care for the cats as pets. Then he killed them during experiments. "It was a heinous and dishonest thing to do," Frist wrote. "I was going a little crazy."
Resources - SEQ: an incremental disaster - 17 December 2002 In 1994, under severe electoral pressure, the ALP promised to reform its hostility towards Green policies on regional planning for Brisbane and the southeastern region of the state. In 1995, the Greens backed Labor on the basis of these promises. The Greens were lied to by the ALP.

Buyback schemes to protect urban bushland were scrapped. In its place came the toothless, underfunded Regional Landscape Strategy, part of the ALP's Regional Framework for Growth Management (RFGM), Big Pineapple's feel-good public-private gab fest.

You guessed it. In seven years, nothing has happened.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin on War & Islam on National Review Online The world's parent, America is always mending broken nations, pulling apart squabbling peoples, giving indulgent allowances (called foreign aid) even while our children revile us in international forums. Every time natural disaster strikes the Third World, we're on the scene immediately in mothering mode. We pay for our generosity as parents have always done: by enduring the hatred of those we benefit.
Howard's Secret Soviet Sugar Rush The Democrat-backed nationalisaton of North Queensland's failing sugar farmers took a step forward this month when the Howard posse cut a deal with the Dems, now polling one percent in Newspoll, to pass the new $120 m sugar package. The aim is to fund the depopulation of the industry and loosen the hands of cane farmers on their land, while addressing the industry's considerable environmental impacts along Queensland's coasts.

$36 million will go as cash payments to cane growers, plus growers can apply for exit payments of $45,000, interest rate subsidies of 50 per cent on loans of up to $50,000 for replanting, and funding for "regional initiatives" like "agrarian socialist" cooperative schemes.

Big Pineapple was surprised to find he was down for providing an additional $30 million to the bailout, or being thought very Grinch like.

ABC Radio Australia News quoted Clive Hildebrand on 29 June 2002, as saying that "... I've offered farmers an opportunity to have a share of a larger farm rather than 100% of a smaller farm. ... If they want to lower their costs then one way to do this is to enter a co-operative arrangement." News.com.au also has reported Clive Hildebrand as stating that "... a move towards co-operatives, whereby farmers could gain income, while not necessarily having to run their own properties, was an option for rationalising the industry."

Katter the Hatter has been popping a gasket for weeks at rallies across Queensland hollering for a new 3 cent per kilo levy on all sugar sold in Australia, even getting himself ejected from a Qantas flight under new Anti-terrorism regulations for verbally abusing two state officials. I'm afraid it's up to Green community groups and the media to keep the scheme on the rails.

These means-tested payments are going to be watched like hawks by the state's Greens, who look to be widing a huge new wave of support around Australia. Why? The government has promised the funds would be made available directly to growers for the construction of on-farm wetlands, implementation of improved drainage, protection of remnant vegetation, and for rejuvenation programs.
China hits out at U.S. missile plans Shrub's Son of Star Wars is causing waves today. China says nuclear weapons, no matter whose, should be "comprehensively banned and thoroughly destroyed." Russia is also grumbling and talking about a new arms race.
CNN.com - Late split in S. Korean presidential alliance - Dec. 18, 2002 Chung took umbrage at remarks made by Roh on Wednesday night, suggesting, according to Chung, that South Korea might have to move away from its close alliance with the United States and become a mediator between the United States and North Korea, Reuters reports.
On Point : An Autumn of War - 8/16/2002 An Autumn of War Listen

Victor Davis Hanson (Photo: Onassis Foundation)

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Classicist and military historian Victor Davis Hanson says the attacks of September 11th stripped away America's hypocritical veneer of the past, and forced Americans to take a long look at the world, the way it really is... not the way Americans wish it were.
Cheney Is Fulcrum of Foreign Policy (washingtonpost.com) Cheney is now reading "An Autumn of War," by Victor Davis Hanson, and raving to his staff that it captures his philosophy. Hanson cites the thinking of ancient Greeks who would argue that war is "terrible but innate to civilization -- and not always unjust or amoral if it is waged for good causes to destroy evil and save the innocent."
Sharon acts on vote scandal - theage.com.au Likud is still widely expected to win the election but opinion pollsters say the allegations already appear to be cutting into its commanding lead over the centre-left Labour Party.
Canadians are anti-American? Duh! The leftist Sandinistas took control of Nicaragua from the CIA's Somoza in 1979. The next year beef exports doubled from Nicaragua to Canada. By 1990 Nicaragua accounted for about 88 per cent of beef Canada's beef imports from South and Central America.
Murdoch's Organ Editorial: No safety in appeasement [December 19, 2002] "[the war] is a dispute between ordinary people of many different cultures and a handful of zealots who believe they have a right to inflict violence on the world."
Too true. On both sides.
Murdoch's Organ: Editorial - No safety in appeasement McDonald's sagging sales should give no succor to vegetarians or "the anti-globalisation crowd, from Osama bin Laden to the anti-US Left", according to today's Australian branch of the Murdoch Organ.

Note the evil inferences drawn here? "anti-US Left" = "Osama bin Ladin". Soon the Right will be frightened of their own shadows.

As a Wharton marketing professor said this week, “Over time, the trick is to figure out how to shed the bad stuff and keep what is good.” What is the mechanism best able to lead that in the marketplace? The consumer, of course, with all the products labelled and all the facts available in order to understand the ecological and social justice impact of our consumption choices as well as the pocketbook.

McDonald's blames falling sales on rising price competiton, but underlying that is a long term slump in demand for beef products which is now starting to bite hard.

The Green movement understands the need to shed bad practices which harm health and damage the environment and embrace good health programs and diets which are not based upon the consumption of beef. Beef, the very emblem of McDonald's, is also the most highly resource intensive product of modern agriculture, costing our economies hundreds of millions of dollars in health bills and ecological damage for which future generations will be forced to pay. Mcdonald's better start to get the message too.
Baghdad Sean's Crabby Star . Penn just doesn't scrub up at all with the keepers of today's political correctness like the Australian's erstwhile Tim Blair, but at least Penn has the guts to go and see the situation on the ground, unlike the warblers.

Upsetting business as usual, especially when led by those who don't support your agenda items, scares the hell out people. No lesser leaders than Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, however, realised the useful and necessary role positive people-led revolutions can play in advancing political culture, just like scientific revolutions.

Penn on Revolution: "I don't know if people value the thought of revolution any more. I think it would be an enormously patriotic movement to invest in the possibility of revolution. There's a lot of stuff going on around the world and in the US as well, like the protests in Genoa and Seattle, and young people are putting themselves on the line."

Write letters to him @ CAA, 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, USA or visit his fan page.
Relaxed and Comfortable with the Mother of all Battles More than two-thirds of Americans believe the Bush administration has failed to make its case that a war against Iraq is justified. If the popular Bush can't convince Americans, how can the U.S.A. warhawks possibly convince the Security Council to give permission for war?

The Howard posse, eager to please, is easier to talk around. Oz doesn't even have its own copy of Iraq's report. Howard posse is far advanced with its hypothetical war on Iraq, however, apparently down to specific mission briefs (SAS taking out Scuds) but there remains scant support for a U.S. strike amongst the people. A Sunday Age-Taverner poll last September found a UN imprimatur would make all the difference to Australia's public support. Sixty-seven per cent opposed Australian participation in unilateral American action; 68 per cent supported taking part in a UN-sanctioned move.

Around 35-40 percent of Australians are strongly opposed to any Australian participation in a unilateral U.S. led attack on Iraq.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Steadily Shrinking, without a Shot People who oppose Australia's unjust system of mandatory detention for aslyum seekers were outraged this week with the government exised inner coastal islands and a coastal private nature reserve from Australia's migration zone. Faure Island, tucked behind a peninsula, is so far from the open ocean "you would run into the mainland before you found it".
NEWS.com.au | Troops prepare for March Iraq attack (December 18, 2002) It is understood the US is planning for an initial six-month operation. More countries could join if the war is sanctioned by the United Nations.
China's Kurds:Another Bush Sellout
Like Iraq, Northwest China's Xinjiang is a vast lake of oil and gas. Like Iraq, China says it is occupied by dangerous terrorists.

These are called "Uyghurs" -- the brutally surpressed traditional native peoples of the area. China says some of them are in league with bin Ladin, and is forcing the the mostly Muslim Sufi youth to study atheism.

Uyghurs are China's kurds. Forty-two nuclear weapons have exploded on their soil and in their atmosphere over the past couple of decades, yet still many receive no basic healthcare. Hideous atomic mutations among the populace are common.

Like father, like son. Shrub sold them straight down the river in order to get China's OK on Iraq.
Send in the Drones
Gary Brown, a former defence advisor to Federal Parliament, says Australia needs to dramatically shift resources from conventional military forces to enhanced homeland security, such as better hospitals, emergency services and maybe some unmanned spy drones. Lucas Heights is wide open for terrorist attack, so expect more Australian eyes in the sky soon.

Wonder if the Big Pineapple, whose party is rough outside, yet so very yellow and sweet on the inside, might seek to shelter his Christmas Ambo Tax Plan under something similarly camouflage-coloured.

The Pineapple, who has had a shit of week, says Queensland local councils must collect $40 m in new state taxes from ratepayers, even in areas where there are no ambulances. He previously ruled out a levy four months ago.

UPDATE: Big Pineapple backed down before the year's worst own goal turned into something really damaging. Should be looking to sack somebody, since the need for the additional dollars was not really questioned much by anyone.

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