...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



lex paucium de pluribus speculum nil:

The oligarchs decided to take power through him [Yeltsin]. They had almost unlimited funds, control of all TV channels and most of the other media. They put all these at the disposal of Yeltsin's reelection campaign, denying his opponents even one minute of TV time and pouring huge sums of money into the effort. (The series omits an interesting detail: they secretly brought over the most outstanding American election experts and copywriters, who applied methods previously unknown in Russia.)

The campaign bore fruit: Yeltsin was indeed reelected. On the very same day he had another heart attack and spent the rest of his term in hospital. In practice, the oligarchs ruled Russia. One of them, Boris Berezovsky, appointed himself Prime Minister. There was a minor scandal when it became known that he (like most of the oligarchs) had acquired Israeli citizenship, but he gave up his Israeli passport and everything was in order again.

By the way, Berezovsky boasts that he caused the war in Chechnya, in which tens of thousands have been killed and a whole country devastated. He was interested in the mineral resources and a prospective pipeline there. In order to achieve this he put an end to the peace agreement that gave the country some kind of independence. The oligarchs dismissed and destroyed Alexander Lebed, the popular general who engineered the agreement, and the war has been going on since then.

In the end, there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs (Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison, caused the others to flee (Berezovsky is in England, Vladimir Gusinsky is in Israel, another, Mikhail Chernoy, is assumed to be hiding here.)
Uri Avnery/Gush-Shalom/CounterCurrents 02.Aug.02
Those Americans who were around at the time will remember the fawning p.r. Yeltsin got from the media, and its politicians, in the US.

until it had more information:

It is not clear whether the objects are the cause of his illness, and the hospital has refused to comment on this aspect.
The X-ray ordered on Tuesday afternoon revealed a round object - possibly a package - about the size of a two pence piece in his left abdomen, and similar sized objects in his colon and small bowel.
One of the objects may have ruptured.
Their position implies that they were ingested but it is not clear what the objects are, how or when they entered his body, or whether they are connected to his illness.
In a statement the hospital said its investigations were continuing and it was not willing to make further comment until it had more information.
BBCNews 23.Nov.06

the situation in Russia that has allowed this to occur:

Some Russian media claimed that it was Boris Berezovsky who organized the murder of Sergei Yushenkov through his agent Mikhail Kodanev.

He also tried to investigate criminal activities of FSB officers related to money laundering through the Bank of New York and illegal actions of Yevgeny Adamov, a former Russian Minister of Nuclear Energy. This case was under the personal control of President Vladimir Putin. In June of 2003, Shchekochikhin contacted the FBI and got an American visa to discuss the case with US authorities. However, he never made it to the USA because of his sudden death.
Shchekochikhin died suddenly on July 3 2003 after a short and mysterious illness. His relatives were denied an official medical report about the cause of his illness, and were forbidden to take specimens of his tissues to conduct an independent medical investigation. Nevertheless, they managed to send a specimen of his skin to London, where a tentative diagnosis was made of poisoning with thallium...

Berezovsky and Abramovich are Russian "oligarchs" living in London.

the justices must decide whether the EPA is required to take action or whether the agency retains the discretion to decide for itself how best to respond to world-wide environmental threats.

A short meditation on certain words:

You have to figure there were plenty of them at first, mostly young, mostly male - not all, but mostly. And they just wouldn't get in line, wouldn't go along with the way it was and was going to be.
Zoo-keepers in the early days had that, the animals that just wouldn't break to the way things were, and you figure most of them died pretty quickly, one way or another.
Same with this, they died most of them, a lot of them killed in their chains, maybe rarely some elder would get them in time and talk it down, show the only way forward as acceptance at least for a while etc. But that strength when it's on fire doesn't listen too well. And you have to figure the men who worked hands-on for the combines that brought that strange cargo from the one seashore to the other had the same problem, and people use words for that, they need and find words to name what they work with, utility decrees it - they name the thing that's causing the problem.
Let's meditate briefly on the names the slavers must have had among themselves for the young bucks fresh from the jungle who wouldn't break without the energy expense of beating them down.
Some word in Dutch for the ones you want to watch out for, because they'll wait, and jump when they think you're not looking - or in English, or Spanish, French, Belgian.
Unpredictable, dangerous, but powerful, and valuable for that.
"Rogue elephant" is an example of this. Cowboys had terms for the cattle they worked, to exactly the same purpose.
We've lost those words for the early ones, the ones filtered out from just before the darkness became a way of life, because we stopped needing them, we don't need a word to describe a young African captured and sold from hand to hand and fighting every chance he gets, it doesn't come up anymore - maybe they're there in some antique book, maybe a particularly erudite philologist can come up with one - the Slaver's Glossary - but nothing remains in the common tongue of what must have passed spontaneously and naturally from one grim overseeing soul to another, as they did their brutal work, making their money off the backs of human lives breaking.
What's gone is a word for the ones who were a danger as long as they had some strength, and that defiant life in their eye - not as general as "nigger", more specific, more immediate, a little less obvious, and far more heinous in its import and its content.


rockets fail


Truth in Science:

The teaching pack, which includes two DVDs and a manual, was sent to the head of science at all secondary schools in the country on September 18 by the group Truth in Science. The enclosed feedback postcard was returned by 89 schools. As well as 59 positive responses, 15 were negative or dismissive and 15 said the material was "not suitable".
"We are not attacking the teaching of Darwinian theory," said Richard Buggs, a member of Truth in Science. "We are just saying that criticisms of Darwin's theory should also be taught."
"Intelligent design looks at empirical evidence in the natural world and says, 'this is evidence for a designer'. If you go any further the argument does become religious and intelligent design does have religious implications," added Dr Buggs.
But leading scientists argue that ID is not science because it invokes supernatural causes. "There is just no evidence for intelligent design, it is pure religion and has nothing to do with science. It should be banned from science classes," said Lewis Wolpert, a developmental biologist at the University of London and vice-president of the British Humanist Association.
Guardian UK 27.Nov.06
Cheap science fiction cliches of sports arenas filled with cheering and jeering spectators as lycra-bound hi-tech heroes compete in Roman-style games of mortal combat and decide the fate of whole subsets of the populace.
The important thing is the artificial choice between one of only two teams and which side are you on?
We also have vegan entrees for those so inclined.
What's that squealing noise?

deep sorrow:

'It is hard to believe that what would now be a crime against humanity was legal at the time,' the Prime Minister will say. 'Personally I believe the bicentenary offers us a chance not just to say how profoundly shameful the slave trade was - how we condemn its existence utterly and praise those who fought for its abolition, but also to express our deep sorrow that it ever happened, that it ever could have happened and to rejoice at the different and better times we live in today.'
The Prime Minister's decision to make a statement on the issue will reignite the debate on the role of apology in modern politics. He was criticised when, in 1997, he said he 'reflected' on the deaths caused by the Irish Potato Famine.
Guardian UK 26.Nov.06
I had a hard time understanding the first guy that told me that leasing a car, once you get into the economic brackets he was moving through, makes far more sense than buying one.
Even though the immediate monthly fees are generally higher, the overall cost, the actual ding for the actual ride, is far lower. No maintenance, and you don't have to worry about selling it when it gets too old to suit the bill.

Owning human beings, especially human beings capable of long hours of strenuous manual labor, is very cost-intensive. You have to feed them, and water them, and protect them from the elements and predators.
You don't just go beating them to death when they don't work to your standards of efficiency, except now and again as an example to the rest; unless, like in the Belgian Congo back in the day, you had a more than plentiful supply to hand, and the labor involved was in the short-term extraction of local resources, in this case rubber, and you could therefore afford to run through them like disposable gloves.
In the American colonies, and the Carribbean - in most of the places it would be appropriate for Blair to be apologizing for the British having brought the unwilling and violently coerced Africans his critics identify with - good slaves were hard to come by and worth substantial amounts of money. Consequently they had to be maintained, which meant fed, sheltered, even doctored up a little - to protect the investment.
Leasing human beings is much cheaper in the long run, and has almost none of the overhead slavery inevitably brings.
So the Irish Potato Famine so-called, kicking loose untold hundreds of thousands of relatively starving and thus more than willing laborers, men and women, and children too let's remember, more than willing to work all day and all week for enough food to keep from dying in their tracks.
It isn't slavery if there's wages paid, no matter how low those wages are.

And they would be having to find their own shelter at the end of that working day now, wouldn't they.
For sure it's none of yours where they sleep, or when, so long as they're back to work on time and doing a full day's worth while they're there.
And they can bloody well feed themselves if they want to eat now can't they?


freedom to leave:

Iraq no longer has neuro-surgeons, no cardiac surgeons, few pediatric doctors - they are all gone, killed or fled to neighboring countries...
Informed Comment 24.Nov.06

Helena Cobban clearly and frankly points out the necessity for directly involving Iran in a responsible withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
She also points out Maureen Dowd's ommission of this in Dowd's NYTimes column on various and sundry strategies for said withdrawal.
As well as potential stumbling blocks:

... So once we have sketched these kinds of "realistic" paths forward in the Middle East, it becames immediately clear that (1) the Israelis are not going to like a lot of what must lie ahead in these scenarios, and (2) their friends in the Democratic Party won't like it, either...
That's where the key role in the ISG of Lee Hamilton, a very experienced man who was head of the Democratic-controlled House International Relations Committee for many years, will come in...
The Israelis have already, as I can see, started to read the tea-leaves, and are desperately trying to figure how they stop this train. The bombastic old war-horse Efraim Sneh has again threatened that Israel will will go ahead and bomb Iran on its own if no-one else will do the job. And Olmert is rushing to the US in the coming days...
But Israel's rightwing leadership has lost a lot of the clout it once had within the US system, by virtue of the now-evident collapse of the neocon network as well of some of the political clout of the Zionist evangelicals.
The Middle East will be waking up to a new day. Let's hope the ever-looming catastrophes can be avoided and a new sense of realism prevail.

Helena Cobban/JustWorldNews 22.Nov.06


Attacks on the media have also increased:

The death toll of civilians in Iraq reached a new high of 3,709 in October, with sectarian violence to blame for most of the killings, a United Nations report said on Wednesday.

"Sectarian violence seems to be the main cause," the report said, adding the death toll for September was 3,345.
Mail&Guardian 22.Nov.06
There were 2,973 fatalities:
246 on the four planes (no one on board any of the hijacked aircraft survived), 2,602 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon.
September 11, 2001 attacks wikipedia

The night before last month's grand opening :

At the lavish ceremony, Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley, the fourth most senior officer in the force, praised the scientologists for the support they had provided after the July 7 attacks, when followers of L Ron Hubbard's movement appeared at the police cordons of the Aldgate bomb site offering help to those involved in the emergency operation. The relationship flourished in the following months, according to the City police's register of hospitality, which all officers are required to fill out.
Laville/Guardian 22.Nov.06


We're keeping an eye on the various nodes of debate, lucid and not so, viz the overall question of what's going on with all that supernatural stuff.
It's hard personally at this time because of the near-extinguishing presence of militant swine in the immediate vicinity - swine of all stripes, both metaphysical and rational-positivist, both committed and unconcerned with the specifics, both benignly forbearant and viciously intolerant etc etc.
But the main thing no matter what, the Hauptstuffe, would seem to be the obvious - we're here - we gain knowledge of what those two terms mean in increments, building on what we know, and can verify.
But there's a here already, and religion as it should be purports to converse with that - to talk to what's out there.
This is not the same as the dangerous asinine assumptions of proprietary ownership organized religion is breaking under the weight of, it's the larger and more deeply traditional stance of metaphysical questioning as it's always been.
The debate's been polarized into the easily led and maintained camps of atheists v. dogmatics, and we're told we have to choose one or the other.
Which generally means there's someone else lurking around in the shadows of the conflict, gathering the rewards and proceeds that are made ripe by the confusion.


There's no need for argument,
there's no argument at all:

New alarms are sounding over signs that China may be developing space weapons, reinforcing suspicions that the People's Liberation Army is increasingly interested in the final frontier as a theater of war.

The latest alert came Thursday from an independent panel - created by Congress to assess the economic and security situations in China - that questions Chinese intentions and urges lawmakers to lean on the Bush administration to talk with Beijing about curtailing space militarization.
Spotts/CSM 20.Nov.06

that are Caesar's:

Tom Noe, a prominent coin dealer accused of taking at least $2 million, was convicted last week of theft, corrupt activity, money laundering, forgery and tampering with records.
"I think it's important to consider that this was a one-time crime and set of circumstances that I think will never echo at any point in the history of this state again," Mitchell said.
Separately, Noe already has been sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to funneling $45,000 to President Bush's re-election campaign.
CBSNews 20.Nov.06

oh domino:

Much is made of the dangers to the United States if we leave the current situation to spin (further) out of control without our presence and guidance. John McCain, who should know better, claims this to be different from Vietnam because, with Vietnam, they were not going to attack us over here. Any careful reading of the Vietnam era, however, belies such statements: similar claims were made about fallen dominoes and the "red" menace coming to the shores of the United States.
Abrams/Huffington 19.Nov.06
roll me over Romeo:
...around $5.7 in Chinese exports to the U.S. for every $1 in Chinese imports from the U.S.
there you go:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke played down fears expressed by U.S. lawmakers that China might shake the U.S. economy by selling significant chunks of the U.S. debt it holds.
In his first appearance before the Senate as the head of the U.S. central bank, Bernanke was pressed by Banking Committee members on the question of the U.S. economy's vulnerability to changes in China's U.S.-dollar denominated assets.
But Bernanke said he is not "deeply" concerned about the issue.
"I don't think that the Chinese ownership of U.S. assets is so large as to put our country at risk economically," he said February 16.
At the end of 2005, China, with $820 billion in such assets, was the second-largest holder of U.S. debt after Japan, which held about $10 billion more.
The ultimate consequence of monitizing US debt is that it expands the money supply which, various schools of economics believe, results in inflation. In recent years, the debt has soared and inflation has stayed low, but, as China currently holds over $1 trillion in dollar denominated assets (of which $330 billion are US Treasury notes), that situation could change should China ever chose to divest itself of a portion of those reserves.


a little lower than the angels

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings:
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, the Arabic TV station, the prime minister agreed with the veteran broadcaster Sir David Frost when he suggested that intervention had "so far been pretty much of a disaster".
Mr Blair said: "It has, but you see, what I say to people is, 'why is it difficult in Iraq?'
It's not difficult because of some accident in planning, it's difficult because there's a deliberate strategy [...] to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."
Branigan/Guardian 18.Nov.06

Science or superstition, in China:

Hundreds of nomads, prodded by the government, have sold their herds and fled the land around the lakes. Others like Tsende have rammed a Buddhist prayer pole into a hillside and prayed to the dragon. Told that some scientists offer another explanation for the weather - climate change - Tsende is unimpressed.

"The result is the same," he said with a shrug.
Yardley/NYTimes 19.Nov.06


chop off a salamander's leg:

Chop off a salamander's leg and a brand new one will sprout in no time. But most animals have lost the ability to replace missing limbs. Now, a research team at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has been able to regenerate a wing in a chick embryo - a species not known to be able to regrow limbs - suggesting that the potential for such regeneration exists innately in all vertebrates, including humans.
Their study, published in the advance online edition of Genes and Development on Nov. 17, demonstrates that vertebrate regeneration is under the control of the powerful Wnt signaling system: Activating it overcomes the mysterious barrier to regeneration in animals like chicks that can't normally replace missing limbs while inactivating it in animals known to be able to regenerate their limbs (frogs, zebrafish, and salamanders) shuts down their ability to replace missing legs and tails.
EurekAlert! 17.Nov.06
But how will we perfect the technique in humans?
I know! We'll use that bucket of stem cells we've got out back in the shed!
But seriously, folks.
These steps lead right to the threshold of immortality - physical immortality.
And the pigs at the top of the food chain are going to be first in line.
For immortality.
Chop off a salamander's leg...

Archived citations regarding the issue of pipelines:

Benjamin Ben Eliezer in the news:

The Minister addressed a Conference on Transit: Global Energy and Political Trend, saying he believes possibility of a mutually-related infrastructure of gas and oil pipelines, starting from Azerbaijan and running through Georgia and Turkey, the Mediterranean Sea and ending in Israel.

"Israel is not only ready for big purchases of energy resources, but also offers its territory as a transit of Caspian oil to the Asian markets. Israel could act as a bridge for the oil delivery to China, India and Japanese markets. This project would avoid extra expenses of oil deliveries around Africa.
Today Az(Azerbaijan) 02.Nov.06

Death in the news at Democracy Now!

In Israel, a government cabinet minister is calling for an increase in the "targeted killing" of Palestinian leaders. In an address on public radio Thursday, Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer said the attacks should be broadened and that not even Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya should be immune.
In Mexico, leaders of the popular uprising in the state of Oaxaca are lashing out at government claims their members were responsible for the fatal shooting of American journalist Brad Will. Will was shot and killed in Oaxaca three weeks ago today. His assailants have been identified as local police officers and government officials. The Oaxacan state government is claiming Will was shot at close range by members of the Popular Assembly of Oaxacan People, or APPO. On Thursday, APPO spokesperson Florencio Lopez Martinez denied the charges and accused Oaxaca's governor and other officials of backing the crime.
...a recently-freed prisoner from Guantanamo Bay has come forward with allegations of torture at the hands of the US military. In an interview from his home in Turkey, the former prisoner, Murat Kurnaz, said he was beaten, given electric shocks, submerged in water, starved, and chained to a ceiling for days. He said he saw several people die and often thought he would die himself.
Democracy Now! 17.Nov.06

Imperial history of the Middle East
Maps of War
clear simple animated graphic of the historical record, from Egypt in 3000 b.c.e. to now.


The accent that displays your membership in one camp or the other:

You say "EYE-rack" or you say "ear-ROCK".
Then people can tell what you think is going on.


A face in the crowd. It may be hard to get, where she is, when, the heat of it, and the pressure so constant it had to be named and named again and condemned, publicly and often at great risk, over and over before it began to separate from how it is, just the way things are. It can seem now - even when its sanitized versions shock and dismay - a much lighter thing than it was.
Here's another one:

Two soldiers, one looks, one looks away. Same place, same world, same time.
It does a disservice to the strength that's carried so many people so far to itemize it, to dissect and explain its details, but so much of the public mind that looks back now is stripped of its history, there's no solid context for the images - the old campaigners are reticent; the transformed are hesitant with shame; and the businessmen in charge of our collective documentation of that history are timid at best, venal mostly, and this kind of knowing doesn't sell.
So we can set it before the gathered like a puzzle, a rune, a poetic line - or make it into a lesson, a textbook example, a case, evidence, proof - or try to fit it somewhere in between.

the strangest things:

Although Israel was grateful to see Saddam Hussein overthrown, officials here have long focused on what they consider a much bigger concern - preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.
...most Israelis believe that they have only one true ally in the world: the United States. The relationship is extraordinarily tight, especially since Sept. 11...
In September, Israel was abuzz over a speech by an American official ...Philip Zelikow... on "Building Security in the Broader Middle East."
"For the Arab moderates and for the Europeans, some sense of progress and momentum on the Arab-Israeli dispute is just a sine qua non for their ability to cooperate actively with the United States on a lot of other things that we care about," he said.
The message seemed to Israelis perfectly clear: The Bush administration would demand Israeli concessions on the Palestinian issue to hold together an American-led coalition on Iran. American officials were quick to insist that there was no change in American policy, and that Zelikow was speaking on his own, from notes rather than a prepared speech.
But Zelikow's close ties to Rice are well known, and the furor over his comments was amplified because they appeared to some to echo criticisms published in March in the London Review of Books by two American scholars, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
The authors suggested that from the White House to Capitol Hill, Israel's interests have been confused with America's, that Israel is more of a security burden than an asset and that the "Israel lobby" in America, including Jewish policy makers, has an undue influence over American foreign policy.
The essay argued that without the Israel lobby the United States would not have gone to war in Iraq and it implied that the same forces could drag the United States into another military confrontation on Israel's behalf, this time with Iran.
Former Israeli ambassadors to Washington like Rabinovich, Shoval and Moshe Arens all scoff at the Walt- Mearsheimer thesis...
But given the intensifying debate in Washington about Iran, Rabinovich said, the essay is "disturbing," as are the echoes of part of the argument in the Zelikow speech. Arens said that Sept. 11 created "an objective reality" of an anti- terrorism coalition, led by Bush, in which Israel is a crucial member. Bush is less interested in being an "honest broker" than in supporting Israel as key strategic partner in the region.
The Iran confrontation, Arens said, will bolster that partnership.
"The president said that he sees a clear and present danger with Iran arming itself with nuclear weapons and it's obvious that this is a clear and present danger for the state of Israel. Although a small country, we are not a minor party. When people talk about the possibility of a military option what are they talking about? The U.S. or maybe Israel to take that move - not the U.S. or Germany or France."
Alpher, the former negotiator, was concerned that if Bush ultimately negotiates with Iran, "we need to ensure that the United States doesn't sell us down the river." It's fine for Israel to say that Iran is the world's problem, Alpher said. "But if the world solves it diplomatically, will it be at our expense?"

The world looks different to nearly all Israelis across the political spectrum.
"Unlike Bush, an Israeli leader looks at Iran through the prism of the Holocaust and his responsibility to the ongoing existence of the Jewish people," Alpher said. "It may sound pompous, but at the end of the day, it matters, and so we may be willing to do the strangest things."
What matters most to Israel, officials here say, is the level of support it receives from ordinary Americans, no matter their political party or religion. Despite all the anxieties here over Lebanon, Iran and academic essays, the polls show that Americans are solidly in support of Israel, with new support coming from evangelical Christians.

In Europe, "they don't like us - what can we do? What else is new?" asked Arens. "We would like to be liked by everyone, of course," he said, "but it's the relationship with the United States that really matters."
Erlanger/NYTimes/IHT 12.Nov.06

to stand where he stood:

Mr. Hagee compared the Iranian leader with the biblical pharaoh of Egypt.
"Pharaoh threatened Israel and he ended up fish food," Mr. Hagee said, to great applause.
"The war really generated a momentum," Mr. Eckstein said.
"My theology indicates that Israel is covenant land," Dr. Dobson said in an interview.
The Jerusalem Post, an English-language newspaper, recently started an edition for American Christians.
The Israeli government temporarily cut off ties with the Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson after he suggested that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke might have been God's punishment for withdrawing from territory that belonged to the Biblical Israel.
"...there is no other place like it on earth," Mr. Robertson says in the commercial
Kirkpatrick/NYTimes 14.Nov.06
non-sub version here



Several people were injured when Guatemalan police clashed with rock-throwing Maya Indian protesters who burned property belonging to Canadian nickel miner Skye Resources Inc., police and local leaders said on Monday.

One officer was wounded by a rock on Sunday as the squatters occupying land owned by Skye resisted an order to leave a new area they invaded at the weekend, police spokeswoman Maria Fernandez said.
The mid-size, Vancouver-based nickel miner has been eyed as a possible take-over target by mining giants Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, BHP Billiton and Xstrata Plc.

Fenix operated for a short period under a different name in the late 1970s but was mothballed in 1980 when nickel prices collapsed.

The mine was built by Canada's Inco at the height of Guatemala's civil war and was plagued by protests.

A 1998 United Nations-backed truth commission connected people employed by Inco's then-subsidiary Exmibal to a number of extrajudicial killings of activists opposed to the mine.
Reuters 13.Nov.06

Eelam, Eelam:

Mr. Raviraj took part in a demonstration on Thursday against the Sri Lankan Army shelling in Vaharai, where 47 Tamil refugees were killed.

On 10th of November 2006 Nadarajah Raviraj, Jaffna district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian, was shot dead in Colombo. The shooting took place near the MPs' residence when unknown gunmen riding a motorbike shot at him while he was preparing to drive his car. His bodyguard also died in the attack.
A lawyer turned politician, and former mayor of Jaffna, Mr. Raviraj, elected twice, has been an important parliamentarian who spoke out against the extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances in Northeast and Colombo.
ScoopNZ 13.Nov.06


notes pursuant to an inability to access the work of a prominent medical bio-ethicist owing to an inability to qualify for such access in turn owing to constituent status as a non-participant in sanctioned endeavors of an official nature concerning this and attendant issues:

The foundation of it will always come from the first lacuna - that even though evolution is primary, central and omnipresent, the hidden conceit is the human form is changeless, and the use of the words "we" "our" and even "human" is accepted and tacitly sanctioned, before the discussion begins. We know what it means to use that word "human" and we don't have to talk about it.
But that's the whole thing, it's not that the technology's creating monsters outside the human, or at its margins, it's that the technology has been, for some time, creating a changed thing at the nucleus of the species.
Our mutancies bloom from our own shaping tools.
What we are is changed by what we do, but you wouldn't know that from the rah-rah confidence blasting from the scalpel-wielding cheerleaders.
The harm isn't even so much what's been lost as what remains, what's ennabled, lifted, held, protected.
Cowards now rule with great weaponry a once-and-still-hostile landscape, though the hostility's far more from their own reluctant charges and competitors and their resistant culls - ongoing but within the boundaries of that "us", as opposed to the threat from separate creaturehood out there - from their subjects as opposed to from their predators - this is technology's gift to them, or to "us" as the former minority spills toward dominant mass.
Cowardice has slowly crept into the list of plausible excuses for heinous acts, a justification for what would in other circumstances be morally condemnable becomes forgivable by the conditions of threat to the acting party.
"Live Free or Die" might as well be the motto of the Neanderthals now. Quaint, interesting, former, gone.
Live at any cost, and, soon, live forever.
That's the real bio-ethical conjure, the threshold of physical immortality we're crossing like ants through an open kitchen doorway - accessed through genetic manipulation and a series of chemical and organic engineerings.
Faustian contracts fly from the windows of "our" speeding vehicles, and with time, become mere choiceless nature, simply how things are.
The same molded dependencies gave us placid cows in the field, hens in the henhouse, dogs at our feet - none of which is dark or even particularly mistaken, but the nature of the relationship is not mutual, it's not symbiotic, it's dominance and submission until the dynamic's a need, and no longer a choice. The obvious danger's in the slow accretion to polar states within that relationship.
Myopia is no longer the handicap it was once, now the lens-corrected near-blind are indistinguishable from clear-sighted men and women. Myopia's a culturally trivial handicap, almost meaningless, when it was once marginalizing at best.
Evolution thwarted at every turn in every way possible. This is the unquestioned path we're following.
Creating new creatures whose understandable and logical revulsion at the gleaning harvest of Darwinian selection is beyond question, taboo, permanent. Interesting the way both sides in the pseudo-conflict around the teaching of "evolutionary theory" to the young are in firm if unspoken agreement on this - that evolution should be fought with every means at "our" disposal.
Bio-ethics wears the sanctified robes of compassion whenever it stands before its subjects - Think of the lives we'll save! Think of the lives we'll make better! - but its motives and its acts, its agents and its goals, are the accession of universal power and eternal existence, apotheosis through rationally-driven experiment and research.
Like some I was often puzzled at the near-hysterical reportage and publicity associated with the often multiple births, and the detailed documenting of reproductive therapies surrounding infertile couples and their medical rescuers.
Which led directly to the "supply" of stem cells, the very great supply, which I can assert without any scientific credential are the main resource for research into the refuation of the mortal effects of the aging process and its profoundly terminal nature.
Christopher Reeve to the contrary the real purpose there is not to better lives, not to raise the fallen, but to gain the keys to the kingdom without anything so trivial and unnecessary as qualifying for them, or overcoming previous disqualification.


including 415 children :

"Autumn Clouds" hit the civilian population harder than previous operations during Israel's more than four-month-long incursion into Gaza, purportedly to halt the launching of Al-Qassam rockets into Israel and to secure the recovery of an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas. 352 Palestinians have died and 1,283 injured, including 415 children during the on-going invasion, according to the PA Health Ministry.

Israeli forces declared the area a closed military zone, confining residents to their homes in order to conduct door-to- door searches to locate Palestinians on their 'wanted' list, and to conduct interrogations. Israeli forces called over loud speakers for all male residents between the ages of 16 to 45 to stand outside their homes
Al-Ahram 9-15.Nov.06


A neighbor came by, just back from a cross-country visit followed by a cruise. She went to Pennsylvania, then the Caribbean.
In Pennsylvania she visited Johnstown, the flood museum, and the site of Flight 93's wreckage, where there's a memorial manned and maintained by volunteers.
She said there were forty flags in the ground to represent the passengers and crew, but "not the other four".
Her whole affect darkened considerably when she said that. Later when she was talking about her fellow visitor reading the sign-in book, she didn't read it she said, she said there was a transcript from the black-box recording, and she described, through the experience of her friend, the transition from sorrow and grief to anger of his reading it as the words of the terrorists including "Allah, Allah" came through the narrative, mechanically precise and truthful.
She told me about being in the Caribbean, how nice that was, though she stayed out of the sun for the most part.
They went to St. Thomas and St. Vincent and San Juan, Puerto Rico,
And Labadee, Haiti.
When she said Haiti I must have raised my eyebrows, like you do, because I saw her reaction to it, and then I asked her how was that.
She said it was great. She said the cruise line owns three beaches there in Labadee, and there's a big, you know, building with all the shops where the locals sell things tourists might buy and there's dancing and things.
How clean I imagine those beaches to be, and someone, a small crew of security-proven Haitians, to sweep and prune and trim and pick up litter, and probably some kind of tractor to make the sand nice, and what the police would be like, checking the sellers in the morning before they come in to the building where the shops are that sell things that tourists might buy.
And earlier for a second I had this immersion in the moment of the plane that was Flight 93 coming in low over the fields of Western Pennsylvania and the fear and rage pheromones in the heavy close air of the cabin and the electric noise of the Arabic from those four men like static like knives in the air and their accented English the plane in the air but that's outside inside there's no more than this nothing but this a room this room they all were in together suddenly like a place complete into itself like heaven almost something eternal about it but you had to wait and then there was a problem someone wasn't waiting there was a disturbance someone was making trouble and then the trouble was all there was and then the light.
You can't put that in the sign-in book just like you can't put the naked hills of Haiti and the long legs the skin and bones the big-eyed with hunger all those skinny french-speaking black people from who knows what and where who only want something from you the ones who get on those boats that are like a bathtub race filled with the desperate and the dying to cross the ocean to Florida remember that camp they put them in in I think it was Georgia or it started with a 'G' anyway they were landing like grunion on the east coast or hoping to back in the 70's or was it the 80's or more recently on the southern coast of Florida refugees from what who would tell us and their relatives there now in Labadee well no but near it but they haven't figured out how to get what they want from you and you can't see them anyway because there's a fence so far back into the real Haiti that it doesn't show in this little paradise of clean sand and safe food and trees et cetera we made for you as part of the package tour you paid for and we have delivered to you as promised in our brochures.

Five of my brothers have no heads


Even bugs and weeds make clear:

Headline, first sentence:

'Only 50 years left' for sea fish
There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study.
NY Times:
Report Warns of 'Global Collapse' of Fishing
If fishing around the world continues at its present pace, more and more species will vanish, marine ecosystems will unravel and there will be "global collapse"of all species currently fished, possibly as soon as midcentury, fisheries experts and ecologists are predicting.
Report: Seafood faces collapse by 2048

Clambakes, crabcakes, swordfish steaks and even humble fish sticks could be little more than a fond memory in a few decades.
Kansas City Star (editorial):
World's Fishermen won't sell themselves short
Contrary to what you may have heard, humanity will not run out of seafood in your lifetime or anyone else's.
LA Times (editorial):
Too few fish in the sea
When it comes to the ocean, the crucible of life on our blue-marble planet, the best available science is projecting the worst imaginable scenario.
The Age (AU):
Get your fish'n'chips now
The sensuous thrill of an oyster washed down with a crisp white wine.
Mirror UK:
Warnings that fish stocks may run out by 2048 were blasted by fishermen's groups yesterday.
CBS News:
Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048

The apocalypse has a new date: 2048.
Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times:
Local experts disagree with new fishing study
Local fishing advocates said a recent study projecting the collapse of global fishing stocks in 40 years is needless "doom and gloom" that blames the fishing industry without considering other ocean issues.
Vancouver Sun:
A global effort is needed before sea life is past the point of no return

Historians don't have to look back very far to the days when the bounty of the oceans seemed without limit.
Sci-Tech Today:
Seafood Population Headed for Decline
"At this point 29 percent of fish and seafood species have collapsed - that is, their catch has declined by 90 percent.

On the basis of these data, we estimate that the value of shrimp consumed at home - in other words, shrimp sold by grocery and other food stores - doubled from $1.4 billion in 1995 to $2.9 billion in 2002, or from $14 per household to $25 per household. Lower-cost shrimp has been especially beneficial for low-income households. Shrimp consumption as a share of total food consumption at home for households earning $15,000 or less increased 45% from 2000-2002, compare to an increase of 15% each for middle income and high income households.
Laura Baughman ITP/Shrimp Task Force
U.S. seafood imports have been rising over the last decade, from $5 billion in 1990 to $11.3 billion in 2004. During the same period, U.S. exports were basically flat. With long-term imports growing faster than exports, the trade deficit has expanded since 1992, reaching a new record of $7.8 billion in 2003.
The three main import categories - shrimp, salmon, and crabs - accounted for 63 percent of total fishery products import growth from 1990 to 2004. During this period, shrimp imports rose from $1.6 billion to $3.7 billion, representing 34 percent of total imports and 25 percent of total seafood consumptionin 2004, respectively.
International Trade Report
Shrimp Farming - wikipedia
Shrimp Farming - Greenpeace
The exhorbitant price of unmanaged shrimp farming
Environmental Degradation from Shrimp Farming
Mangrove, Shrimp Farm Link Sought in Brazilian Fisherman's Death
Thailand Shrimp Farming
Celebrity chef Ken Hom supports EJF's campaign for sustainable shrimp

Farming the Sea - unregulated shrimp farming, the environment and people
The Impacts of Shrimp Aquaculture And The Models For Change


Explosions in Mexico City

From Gaza, with Love:

all hospitals in the Gaza strip are working under big pressure, and heavy load, due to the current Israeli operation against Gaza, on top of long period of economical sanctions, that left 70%of the population living on humanitarian aid. medics works under fire and very difficult situation, yesterday 2 medical rescue team men were killed while working, one of our staff in AlAwda hospital was injured the same day, all while on duty.
i have seen some of the shrapnels, that were recovered from the previous day injuries, with clear writing USA USA

Dick Cheney is bald

headed for a comeback


Purge and binge:

Here's the deal, climate change brings disruption on such a scale that eventually society atomizes - this is predictable, foreseeable, probable, so the pigs have all these access points to the theories and predictions, and it's pipelined, so the same things happen to them as everybody else, the best get paralyzed, stricken, made weak by the sight of all that suffering and chaos, the worse get adamant, forceful, cunning increases, the arrogance and what might as well be called a religious fervor of self-preservation amplifies exponentially.
The human thing, the noble selfless courage - the spirit that irrationally denies futility even against woeful odds - that brought us through the last big upheavals, is dysfunctional in that surround - to keep the parasitic feed generating power selfishness has to be encouraged, maintained, revered, accepted as the norm and foundation for human behavior.
So what would they want from a government under those conditions?
Martial law in increasing complexity and severity, fascist rule, the Patriot Act.
In order to keep the economy functioning long enough to solidify the hardened compounds and flexible bunkers - outright denial, enabling fantasy, and the twin goads of fear and hatred.
Plus surrogates, scapegoats, distractions, diversions, a circus of blood sport instead of the horrors brought on by parental hedonism and irresponsibility - the enemies of the family all around in the dark, evil and waiting.

Garner's Usage tip of the day 03.Nov.06:

"Fatalism" = (1) the philosophical view that the future is fixed regardless of human attempts to influence it; or (2) an attitude of submitting oneself to fate. Critics of this view -- in either sense - complain that "it encourages ignorance, sloth, and vice." Thomas Mautner, A Dictionary of Philosophy 147 (1996).

"Determinism" = (1) the view that every fact in the universe is guided by the law of causation -- i.e., that every effect derives from its causes; or (2) the idea that people do not exercise free will but are instead the product of their genetic, physical, and psychical conditions. In sense 2 - the rarer sense - determinism is a type of fatalism. But sense 1, known also as "necessitarianism" or "causal determinism," is distinct from "fatalism" because it "still leaves room for the possibility that human action may be causally effective in ensuring that this happens rather than that."
Anthony Flew, A Dictionary of Philosophy 119 (2d ed. 1984).
These are pretty important ideas for moral thinking generally, religious moral thinking especially. It's one of the places the solvent of desire for moral ambiguity and its shields and obfuscations operates. People use the difficult complexities of free will and causation and the closed set of the world and its substance to make morality and ethical choice a kind of illusion.
Which it is, an illusion, but that word should be a lot less pejorative to people raised on comedy and drama, people whose homes are saturated with theater for hours every day.
I'd also like to point out that the scientific/rational-positivist moral platform is about two feet wide by a foot and a half long, and two inches deep at its deepest. But that's a tangent.
The thing I really wanted to point out to everyone is that all you need to put the kibosh on determinism, in any of its forms, is the ability to move what we would call "backward in time". This completely undoes causation as a linear thing, a point from which proceedeth outcome, etc.
An actor or agency with the ability to move backward in time could be said to be subject to the same cause-and-effect as us regular temporals, but while technically accurate in a semantic diagram, that's blindness coupled with arrogance on the ground, where we really live our lives.
Because really what I'm saying is when you get all the way outside the bullshit one-way time thing, or into what we've been taught to call eternity, there is no linear aspect at all except in a kind of theoretical "oh, that's for those guys" sense.
The beauty of the swinishly obstinate insistence on the dominance of rational-positivism by those for whom it is an aid to the acquisition and maintenance of things and power, is that it leads right to these chasms of logical refutation, past which they cannot go.
What they're demanding is that the eternal, the divine, whatever you want to call it, fit into a vocabulary and geometry that is their proprietary outfit from the get.
But it won't.


AOL News:
The U.S. government maintains it does not torture
Let's just stipulate that everyone in America not in a straight jacket or part of a terrorist sleeper cell wants America to "win" -- and center the debate on what, exactly, the president and the GOP mean by victory.

And please, Mr. President, don't give us the usual bromides about stable democracy or Iraq security forces standing up so we can stand down. It's become all-to-clear that those are benchmarks that won't be met in the foreseeable future.
Rupert Murdoch likes Hillary Clinton.
Rupert Murdoch put George Bush in the White House.
Huffington talks about Bush's "script" - meaning not the one he reads from, not the one that's handed to him, but the one he's supposedly been writing, the one he dreams up as he plots his ascent to world domination.
Huffington and many many other relatively intelligent people are making a lot of noise about getting the US military out of Iraq, or portions of it anyway. Point of fact there isn't much talk about getting anything other than soldiers out. No talk of bases closing, no talk at all of a complete US withdrawal of its entire presence there.
Of course that's seen as cowardice and buckling by more than a few people to the right of Hufington.
It is cowardice, at this point.
Until someone can come up with a reasonable honest statement to deliver to the people of Iraq, leaving is nothing more than an act of cowardice - rational cowardice, but that's no oxymoron, cowardice is often rational, too often.
Cowardice weighs the odds and decides its moves based on likely outcomes. Nobility and madness both use other criteria. Not that either one doesn't avail itself of rationality, but it isn't central.
The disgust I normally feel for the erstwhile American liberal left is increasing excrementally.
You have to tell the Iraqis something.
What will it be?
The coward would ignore them and just go, quickly.
That's what you're advocating.
Something needs to be addressed there besides the obvious, that there was a mistake or two that got made.
Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis for one thing. A ruined country for another.
Just leaving is nothing, a perpetuation of the layered deceit and bullshit you act like you oppose on principle.
Let's be honest here, the job is pretty well done, if the job was wrecking Iraq.
That's the only outcome of the invasion and occupation that makes any sense, to wreck the country.
Mission Accomplished.
But you can't just stand there gloating about it.
So put the blame and the shame on the back of George W. Bush and send him home to Texas.
Americans might be interested in what the so-called insurgents of Iraq think the whole thing was all about.
Come to that Americans might be interested in what 9-11 was all about.
Who knows?
Throw up your hands, shrug, walk away, talk about something else.
The party line on the Democrat side is Saddam wasn't responsible for 9-11, ben Laden was, so we should be after him, wherever he is now.
It's still taboo to talk about why.
They twin, those two happenings, that carnage.
Given that American lives are worth 100 or so Iraqi lives we've hit some kind of balance now, haven't we?
What else do those things have in common?
Hillary Clinton won't put an end to torture, or to the Israeli control of the American presence in the Middle East, or to the Israeli control of the news media in the US - but she will provide a strong cathartic flourish, for a moment, a purge of the negativity Bush now wears forever.
It's more complicated than that I know, but not much more.
And until someone articulates, from within the political system, a definite and realistic attitude toward what has been done in Iraq to its people by the United States military, I for one don't see anything else happening at the national level within the traditional American democratic process that would inspire hope.
Locally, regionally, there's a lot of promise - though Harold Ford has a slimy enough affect it seems likely he could deserve the innuendo he's getting laid on him.
Huffington acts like she thinks CNN is waking up from its stupor. Good-hearted right-thinking people joining together, gathering momentum, pretending it's all been a right-wing Republican debacle, that the cause of all this mess resides in something as easy to get rid of as the Bush Administration.
CNN elected Bush, along with Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the big guns of American media. Now it looks and smells like they're prepared to elect Hillary Clinton.
Maybe they're waking up to the enormity of what they've done, but they aren't showing any guilt or remorse that I can see. Still maybe they are, maybe they've seen through the veils and masks, at least far enough to recognize the awfulness of what's happened.
Maybe. Or maybe they've finished using this puppet and they're reaching for the next.

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