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Sunday, 29 November 2009

Einstürzende Neubauten die Schweiz

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Switzerland: destined for nuclear Islamic Jihad against the Great Satan, in his backyard!
There are exactly four minarets in the whole of Switzerland.  This threat was broadcast widely in the campaign for a referendum that would ban the construction of minarets.  Not mosques, mind you.  Just the pointy things.  Because the Sarah Palin Party of Switzerland, aka the SVP, pushed it forward. And because minarets look exactly like evil doer missiles!  They have the proof, you see!

That, and the burka.  But they don't know what that does.  Yet.

Amazingly, the Swiss have just voted for this simpleminded, antagonistic nonsense, and by a significant majority.  Pining for those ol' Nazi days, are we?  I predict the Euro-elite will be dreadfully mortified by this base abrogation of the Enlightenment.  Savages in the midst!  Hell, they are the midst.

How better to embrace comity and encourage healthy relations: banish the construction of historical, religious and cultural architectures.  It matters not that the missile, in fact, imitates the minaret, the obelisk, and on, forms thousands of years extant.  There have been the usual deep arguments [...]More

Saturday, 28 November 2009

US-UK Foreign Policy: The Awful Truth

Alan McKinnon.  What he said.
"Why we fight": The Nature of Modern Imperialism
The conclusion of which is as spot on as it is devastating.
… to understand the world of war, we need to understand the nature of modern imperialism, and how nation states act internationally to help maximise the profits of their biggest companies. Directly and indirectly these policies generate conflict and war on a daily basis. Moreover, the problem is compounded by arms manufacturing firms, generously supported by state funds, who sell lethal weapons around the world to allow wars to be fought. In 2007 the world's leading 100 defence manufacturers sold arms worth $347 billion, an increase of 45 per cent in the past 10years. Britain's 'champion', BAE Systems, is currently under investigation for corrupt practices in several countries and has sold all kinds of weapons across the world, including to countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel who have a record of human rights abuses.

As we have seen, British defence policy is geared to fighting wars overseas in support of the United States. Our four nuclear submarines and their payload of 160 warheads, are really an extension of America's strategic 'deterrent' and could not be used independently. But there is an alternative. The overwhelming majority of countries, including some who have the technology and wealth to do differently, do not have nuclear weapons and do not seek them. They do not invest in power projection or the expensive platforms or transport systems which will allow them to fight wars thousands of miles from their own borders.

A geopol [...]More

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Obama is now worse than Bush

"When we're talking about war, we're really talking about peace."
-- George W. Bush

"…one may smile, and smile, and be a villian."
-- Hamlet


It's not a happy thing to have to say.  Many won't agree, desperately fending off the obvious. The campaign sloganeering, well, it turned out to be just that.  All the worse that so many had hoped otherwise. Obama has been embarrassingly supine in dealing with the know-nothings. The end game of which is what, exactly?  The GOP and their agents continue the attacks, the lies, the filibusters -- a well funded font of rancorous and rancid bullshit.  Palin-Beck in 2012!  That's the ticket.

But the last straw here was the rumored escalation in Afghanistan.  And didn't he ever drag out the process of doing what the military told him he should do weeks ago?  Perhaps that was suppose to make him look steely-eyed and circumspect.  One wonders what the point of all this review was meant to reveal when the end product is to tap almost all the troops McChrystal wanted in the first place.  In fact, we almost suspect that McChrystal may have high-balled his numbers as a negotiation entry point.  Then again, maybe not.  Because McChrystal knows he is dealing with a Democrat, one who seems especially smitten with

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Colombian Farmers Slap BP with Pipeline Lawsuit

The pipeline oligarchs at BP have been slapped with a  lawsuit by a group of Colombian farmers, alleging "serious damage to their land, crops and animals."
… BP Exploration Company (Colombia) Ltd, which joined forces with Colombia's national oil company and four foreign multinational corporations in a consortium to construct the 450-mile (720km) Ocensa pipeline, caused landslides and damage to soil and groundwater, causing crops to fail, livestock to perish, contaminating water supplies and making fish ponds unsustainable.

The farmers are claiming damages against BP for breach of contract and negligence.

D]uring construction of the pipeline natural vegetation that protected the soil from sun, wind and rain was removed and replaced with vegetation that did not protect the soil. They say there has been significant soil erosion and that sediment flowing towards lower ground has altered the land and aquatic ecosystem, silting up water sources including reservoirs. Because the land was not stabilized after construction of the pipeline it is susceptible to landslides.

"The region has been profoundly and adversely affected causing many farms to close or drastically reduce production and causing some farmers to leave the land," the court documents state.

BP has swung about on its earlier lawsuit with another group of Colombian farmers, when it settled out of court.  Now, BP has decided to fight it in high court in London.   Conventional wisdom has it that this will difficult for the farmers.  I can't see why, other than some unacknowledged racism that rages through the British elite. It shouldn't be too hard to come across a few photographs that clearly show, Pipeline ==> Devastation.


UK Iraq War Inquiry Underway

The Chilcot Inquiry has officially opened proceedings into the provenance of the Iraq War.  The first round of witnesses will be called through February, 2010.  Updates can be followed here.

With mounting inquisitional activity promising -- hopefully -- to expose the Blair government's role in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, and newly leaked documents directly demonstrating that 10 Downing not only contorted itself to accommodate a White House driven agenda of regime change in Iraq, but actually prevented the British military from post-invasion planning,  this broadening contextual goo that Blair is once again finding himself mired in is surely the main reason why his abortive bid for the EU presidency was exactly that.  Blair is unwholesome and tainted.  Certainly, the EU would prefer not to have its newly-chosen president immediately ensnared in an Iraq War inquiry, one that will only further besmirch an already and deservedly besmeared Tony Blair.

For example, how well would it have served the European Union to have a president who over saw this operation:
Fresh evidence has emerged about how Blair misled MPs by claiming in 2002 that the goal was "disarmament, not regime change". Documents show the government wanted to hide its true intentions by informing only "very small numbers" of officials.

The documents, leaked to the Sunday Telegraph, are "post-operational reports" and "lessons learned" papers compiled by the army and its field commanders. They refer to a "rushed" operation that caused "significant risk" to troops and "critical failure" in the postwar period.<


US Debt Resolution: Coup d'Etat Style

Considering the looming debt service wall that is only growing, this "solution" seems more apposite with each passing day.  What we would do without the Onion putting things into the appropriate perspective?


Monday, 23 November 2009

California Slouching Toward a Bolivar Revolution?

When the World Bank demanded that Bolivia privatize its water supply to satisfy continuance of a $25 million loan, as surely as shit shoots out of goose, riots soon erupted.  And then Evo Morales was elected by a landslide.  But that was a sudden shock, something to provoke a reaction.  California's slow dance with water privateers has been ongoing for decades.  Yasha Levine avers the latest developments in California's lurch toward the Bolivia model.

Or perhaps not.  This buccaneering California water op has been a boiling frogs ploy.  Californians are dazed and confused.  They still think Grey Davis caused the 2000 energy debacle.  And those wretched environmentalists, stopping all those power plants from being built.  They're all a scam, you see, because we know that lefty scientists are beholden to their "socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords."

The privatization will continue, the populace will chew the gobbed-up Fox News/Hannity deregulation cud, and when the shit hits the fan, well, it's all the gubmintz fault.  So, no Bolivia-Hollywood.

A must read, and absolutely fascinating. 

How Limousine Liberals, Water Oligarchs and Even Sean Hannity Are Hijacking Our Water Supply

A group of water oligarchs in California have engineered a disastrousderegulation and privatization scheme. And they've pulled in hundredsof millions of taxpayer dollars without causing much public outrage.The amount of power and control they wield over California's mostprecious resource, water,

US Facing Tsunami of Debt Service

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In earlier posing the inconvenient and oft-overlooked question of who will continue to keep the United States funded and armed to the teeth, even as Pentagon planners lay out ever-more sweeping visions of a full-spectrum global military mesh, another unasked question lurks under America's fiscal bedding: will the United States even afford the interest service on the Himalayan federal debt, now standing at $12 trillion?

It is projected that in ten years (2019), the United States will face a $700 billion/year tab for debt service alone, which today sucks up "only" $202 billion/year.  In other words, debt service on the federal debt will soon exceed today's official Pentagon budget, and everything else on the federal budget.  In fact, debt service is on track toward becoming the single largest federal outlay.
With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Afghanistan to Yemen: A Compendium of War and Military Domination

Rick Rozoff delivers an essential encyclopedia of US and NATO plans for sweeping military domination of the planet.  The question remains, will the world continue to pay for this?  One thing is certain: they're not happy about the arrangement.
Global Warfare USA: The World is the Pentagon's Oyster
US military operations in all major regions of the World
Bangladesh?  Oh, yes.  From Afghanistan to Yemen.

Damn you, Mugabe!


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Russo-Ukraine Gas War Season Draws Near

[Update below]

Ahh, Shockfront's favourite time of the year is approaching.  If Christmas or Sinterklaas sprung to mind, you're on the wrong page.  No, this favourite time of year is when Russia and the Ukraine haul off in what has been a near annual mid-winter wrestle-mania event: the gas fights of January.  This is not to make light of the perilous situation this really does place many people in.  No, this is because the gas wars bring out the very best of Western outrage at Russia's blackmail! and hostage taking! and instability!, and creeping imperialism! Oil as a weapon! Dastardly! and on and on an on.  Ne'er once is the suggestion made that the west ought to ensure that Ukraine can pay the damn gas bill.   It's madly entertaining.  But that's just me.

Previously, orange revolutionaire Yushchencko was always trying to piss off the Russians anyway, for blatantly orange reasons and with predictable results.  This time, however, Prime Minister Tymoshenko promises things will be more orderly and well managed; no one ought dread continual Russo-Ukraine friction this winter.

Well, on the eve of talks with Russian Prime Minister Putin, Ukrainian Prime Minister YuliaTymoshenko said with certitude,
"There is an absolute guarantee of stability …"
That message was comforted not in the least by an immediate manifestation of … Russo-Ukraine friction:
… analysts will monitor closely for signs of whether there could be another end-of-year dispute affecting supplies of Russian natural gas across Ukraine to Europe.



Tuition Tops 10K, UC Students Rage Against the Machine

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"We're bailing out the banks, bailing out the auto industry - where's the bailout for a UC education?"

Burbling for months on America's domestic agenda back burner, universities and colleges have been taking the haircuts the Obama administration refused to force on the like of Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan in the aftermath of the Global Financial Meltdown.  Harvard, ironically one of the sources of those masterful masters of the universe, dumped $11billion of its endowment down the dirty hole in Manhattan, otherwise known as Wall Street.  Budget cuts and lay offs for schools and universities have been slapped down across the board.  Tuition hikes were on the way.

So, it was only a matter of time before those days arrived, which they have in full force, as the Regents of the University of California have solved their fiscal crisis -- by hiking tuition at UC Berkeley by 32%, pushing the annual fee to $10,302.
The UC regents are expected to put the final seal today on a hefty 32percent tuition increase as students resume the protests that shut down their board meeting three times Wednesday

Federal Judge Lashes Army Corps in post-Katrina Lawsuit

It would certainly be difficult to be more unequivocal than U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. has been here.
In a groundbreaking decision, a federal judge ruled late Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers' mismanagement of maintenance at the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet  was directly responsible for flood damage in St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina.

"The failure of the Corps to recognize the destruction that the MRGO had caused and the potential hazard that it created is clearly negligent on the part of the Corps," said U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. in his ruling. "Furthermore, the Corps not only knew, but admitted by 1988, that the MRGO threatened human life … and yet it did not act in time to prevent the catastrophic disaster that ensued with the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina."

"The Corps' lassitude and failure to fulfill its duties resulted in a catastrophic loss of human life and property in unprecedented proportions," Duval wrote. "The Corps' negligence resulted in the wasting of millions of dollars in flood protection measures and billions of dollars in Congressional outlays to help this region recover from such a catastrophe. Certainly, Congress would never have meant to protect this kind of nonfeasance on the part of the very agency that is tasked with the protection of life and property."

"Judge Duval exposed 40 years of the Army Corps of Engineers' gross malfeasance with regard to the operation and maintenance of the MR-GO," said Pierce O'Donnell, a Los Angeles-based attorney and co-leader of the plaintiff's legal team. "His

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Canadian Food Aid Demand Skyrockets

Number of Canadians applying for food aid soars

The number of Canadians applying for aid from food banks jumped by a record 17.6 percent in March on the year, according to a report released Tuesday by Food Banks Canada.

As a result of growing poverty brought about by the economic recession, a total of 794,738 people turned to food banks in March, an increase of 17.6 percent from the same month in 2008. This was the largest growth since 1997.
40% of food bank users are under 18.
Almost four in 10 food bank users were under the age of 18, and a significant number, almost one in 10, were first-time users, according to the report.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

To Be Like Us

In speaking on Obama's visit to China, former Clintonite, Kenneth Lieberthal, explained Obama's approach to China thusly, suggesting subtle communication is the proper path with China: “The United States actually has enormous influence on popular thinking in China, but it is primarily by example,” he said. “If you go to the next step and say, ‘You guys ought to be like us.'you lose the impact of who you are.”

Now, that is a rather unfortunate choice of words, "be like us."  If there is one thing the world does not need, it is another country stomping around the planet, acting "like us."  Geezusaitchkreist, no.  That is a prescription for world war.  It already is with just one country acting "like us."

Imagine China, wanting "to be like us," and deciding on a military policy of "full spectrum dominance," replete with a global missile defense system, a global mesh of several thousand military bases pock-marking and pissing off the planet.

Imagine China, wanting "to be like us," and deciding to deploy a new generation of high-tech space weaponry, much of which was stolen from the Pentagon during Reagan's Star Wars frenzy.  The difference this time is that China got that shit to work.

Imagine China, wanting "to be like us," and deciding to establish a set of unified central commands that divvy the world into regions of military responsibility.  China establishes a map of unified central commands that paint the already Orwellian Pentagon map of the world even more so, with the creation of CHINNORTHCOM, CHIEUCOM, CHICENTCOM, [...]More

"Spies for Hire" Online

Tom Shorrock's essential Spies for Hire is now online and organized very nicely by the folks from CorpWatch.

Just a glimpse of some of the juice, for instance, shows us that Mike McConnell, former Director of National Intelligence, is now the Director of Booz Allen Hamilton Intelligence.  But Booz Allen Hamilton isn't the Booz Allen Hamilton we all know and love.  It is the Carlye Group.  McConnell was Director of the NSA, appointed by George H.W. Bush, who now sits on the Board of the Carlyle Group.

But, maybe you already knew that.  Still, I love it when a plan comes together.
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