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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

16 February - My Feedly

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Interview 460 – New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato
Welcome back to http://NewWorldNextWeek.com — the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week: Story #1: Expanded Role Proposed for ‘Elite’ Military Forces http://ur1.ca/871ci Related: Iran Blames Israel for String of Bombings as Thais Find Possible Link to India Blast http://ur1.ca/871co Story
UPDATE: Heartland Documents Stolen and key one is Fake. No “insider” leak.
Major embarrassment for Joe Romm, and DeSmog and their unthinking fans. In the hours after the ClimateGate emails were released, skeptics asked about their authenticity (as we are want to do). In the hours after the Heartland Documents (including at least one complete fake) were released, the commentators on the other side did not even ask (just as they uncritically accept any weak report in favou

The writer and taxes, or geeze, the Mohel took less than that
As those who follow the blog know, my day job is writing about taxes. I’m not an accountant, so any advice you see here you should damn well confirm with a professional before acting on it, but these are areas where the Byzantine leviathan of our tax code does intersect with the writing life in ways you should consider. First, when I say writer here, I’m assuming the self-employed variety.  I was
Dear pissed-off dad, I’m not hitting the LIKE button
Here's a dad who likes to get famous by humiliating his daughter I saw your video – the one where you emptied your .45 into your daughter’s laptop because you didn’t like her Facebook post.  Maybe you’re hoping I’m one of the thousands of people who shared it, usually with a comment like “I love this guy!” or “This is my new hero!” I didn’t, I don’t, and you’re not. Oh sure, as theater, it was
The sky is falling by executive order and Obama is our new dictator
I work at home full time now, so I don’t get out of the house much, and I’m trying to walk or ride my bike on some of my shorter errands. That all eats in to my driving time. When I am in the car, I’m more likely to listen to a CD than the radio, and when I do listen to the radio, I’m more of an NPR guy or a classic rock guy or, during baseball season, a WGN guy. I’m missing Ron Santo already.  Bu
Shitty Shitty Bang Bang
I’m not sure what the public display of underwear has to do with the argument I’m a crime fiction guy. I write about guns all the time. I Google various weapons to make sure I’m getting facts straight. I’ve fired guns, too. Hell, I went to a military school, learning to handle firearms was part of the curriculum. But I don’t like them much. Fortunately, this election cycle, the whole gun thin



Corbett Report Radio 070 – Overcoming Learned Helplessness
In 1965, Martin Seligman conducted a series of experiments showing that dogs could be conditioned into accepting electric shocks, even when they were easily avoidable. This is the essence of learned helplessness, and like so many other findings, it is easily applicable to our own situation. Humans, too, can learn to accept the “shocks” of corrupt governments or economic catastrophes or TSA groping
Open Seeds: Biopiracy and the Patenting of Life
by James Corbett GRTV.ca 16 February, 2012 The oft-neglected legal minefield of intellectual property rights has seen a surge in public interest in recent months due to the storm of protest over proposed legislation and treaties related to online censorship. One of the effects of such legislation as SOPA and PIPA and such international treaties as ACTA is to have drawn attention to the grave impli
Corbett Report Radio 069 – Religion and the New World Order
The political puppets of our world are at pains to profess their religious piety…but what God are they serving? Tonight we take a look at some of the bizarre occult practices of our so-called leaders, the conscious steering of the world into a New World Religion by the Rockefellers and others, and how the mystery religion insiders believe that they will achieve their own godhood. Works Cited: How
Corbett Report Radio 068 – The Technological Singularity with Marc Ressl
From desktops to smartphones, from records to mp3s, from tv to streaming video, the pace of change in modern life can be bewildering. But is it our imagination or are these changes really accelerating? And what does it mean if they are? Tonight we talk to Marc Ressl of marcspointofview.blogspot.com about the technological singularity. Works Cited: Google offering to pay web users to track their ev
Interview 459 – The International Forecaster with Bob Chapman
This week in our regular conversation with Bob Chapman of TheInternationalForecaster.com we discuss the breakdown of the US petrodollar hegemony and the moves away from the dollar and towards gold and silver in Asia. We also touch on the recent foreclosuregate settlement, the growing corruption on Wall Street, and youth unemployment.
Food World Order 008 – Organics to You
James Evan Pilato guest hosts Corbett Report Radio while James is out of town. He covers the latest news and information from around the world and goes over all the latest in the Food World Order. Thanks to Morgan Lesko of WikiWorldOrder for hosting this video on his YouTube account.


CNN Poll: Obama approval rating back to 50% mark
CNN PoliticalTicker… February 15th, 2012 04:00 PM ET 3 hours ago Posted by CNN Political Unit Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama’s approval rating is back to 50% for the first time in more than eight months, and he currently holds an edge against all the remaining Republican presidential candidates in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups, according to a new national survey. And a CNN/OR
Iran Nuclear Threat Brings No U.S. Enthusiasm For A Military Strike
Huff Post- Posted: 2/15/12 | Updated: 2/15/12 By- David Wood WASHINGTON –  The threat of punishing U.S. military strikes underlies Washington’s campaign to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But there is no enthusiasm evident within the U.S. military for a war many believe would be messy, bloody, unpredictable and ultimately inconclusive. Seeking to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, P
President Obama Presses Payroll Tax Cut, Unemployment Extension
Huff Post- First Posted: 02/14/2012 6:15 am Updated: 02/14/2012 8:38 am By- Jennifer Bendery WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is going on the offense Tuesday, raising pressure on congressional Republicans to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance benefits. But it is unclear if the president will accept a GOP effort to separate the two issues. With weeks before both provisions ex


On That Burning Russian SSBN
The Russian magazine Vlast (in Russian) is reporting that a serious fire occurred aboard a Russian submarine in 29 December 2012 2011. The fire was covered on television  news (YouTube is a goldmine) and someone placed a great many photos online at a military-oriented internet forum, forums.airbase.ru.  As in the case of the Plushkino traffic jam, I am amazed by the detail available in open sourc
Russian Mag Reports Serious Fire on SSBN
The Russian magazine Vlast (in Russian) is reporting that a serious fire occurred aboard a Russian submarine in 28 December 2012. The fire was covered on television  news (YouTube is a goldmine) and someone placed a great many photos online at a military-oriented internet forum, forums.airbase.ru.  As in the case of the Plushkino traffic jam, I am amazed by the detail available in open sources ab
Worst Ever Treaty Provisions
I belong to the tribe that favors treaties that reduce the risk of war, add transparency and predictability to relations between well-armed competitors, and that depress impulses toward arms races. Not all treaties and treaty provisions succeed. Some have not only failed to accomplish these objectives, but have undercut them. What are the worst offenders? In contemporary Republican circles, t
“Engage Iran” — What Does It Mean?
During the second half of this week there will be a flurry of meetings in Washington on the subject of negotiating with Iran about its nuclear program. These will include this one hosted at the Stimson Center and held by the Arms Control Association, and a discussion at the University of Maryland with former Iranian negotiator Seyed Hossein Mousavian, now a visiting scholar at Princeton. Just befo
Two DPRK Nuclear Tests in 2010?
By now, you have undoubtedly seen press reports claiming that North Korea may have conducted a pair of clandestine nuclear tests in April and May 2010.  The reports are based on a forthcoming paper by a well-known Swedish radiochemist, Lars-Erik De Geer. I don’t buy it. At least not yet. Look, I would be the first person to jump at the possibility that the CTBTO’s IMS detected a well-hidden nucle


Google outreach and innovation event in Islamabad – Five seats for Greenwhite readers
Google Technology User Groups Islamabad chapter is holding an event in Islamabad on 17th of February. Title is “GTUG Islamabad- Google outreach and innovation” Organizers were kind enough to keep five seats for Greenwhite readers for this limited seats events. To avail this you will have to use code “greenwhite” as Coupon Code while registering at http://islamabad.gtugs.org/ Details of events are
What are you doing this weekend? How about creating a Startup!
All of us have some dream one breakthrough idea that we think can be game changer. However most of us keep pushing it back for some time later. If this sounds like you, you have a chance to redeem yourself Startup Weekend is coming to Lahore at LUMS. You get to sit with others with same passion and get two days to materialize your dream. Details can be found here excerpts from site. After meeting
Qurtaba takes their Urdu App to Kindle
Team at Qurtaba have added another front to their impressive Urdu language based apps, they have launched their Alif Bay Pay app for Amazon Kindle, as well. Earlier it was released on iTunes. I love what Qurtaba are doing in a niche area of Urdu Language. Although their start was from Nan-Map for which they now have an iPhone App.There love for Urdu language related apps has been flourishing in


Strong People Don’t Have Needs & Other Myths That Can Kill You
I’ve been tweeting all morning about #rapeculture & #abuseculture, and someone asked me what I meant when I referred to Strong People Myths. I think some/most of us are familiar with the Strong Black Woman Trope right? Right. For those that are unfamiliar with it, it can best be summed up as the idea that black women are so strong they don’t need help, protection, care, or concern. It’s a rac

US Intentions to militasise Asia
By Sajjad Shaukat Learning no lesson from a prolonged ‘different war’ against terrorism, defeatism in Iraq and Afghanistan, heavy cost of war, debt crisis and acute financial problems inside America, US has started showing its intentions to militarise Asia. In this regard, during his trip to Australia, on November 17, 2011, President Barrack Obama, while sending an unmistakable message to Beijing
US Support to Baloch Separatists Exposed
By Sajjad Shaukat On the one hand, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has declared 2012 the ‘Year of Balochistan’, while on the other, the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs has convened unprecedented hearing on February 8 this year, and discussed situation of Balochistan. The Committee’s hearing was attended by the supporters of Baloch separtism and American scholars including hum
Real Opportunists of War against Terrorism
By Sajjad Shaukat While, almost all the countries in general and the US and Islamic countries in particular have continuously been facing the drastic aftermath of the September 11 tragedy, but India and Israel are the real opportunists of the US-led global war against terrorism. Since 9/11, by availing that golden opportunity, both India and Israel have perennially been manipulating the world phen
Secret Agencies Accelerate ISI Role
By Sajjad Shaukat Pakistan’s media anchors are so engaged in conducting controversial debate among rival political leaders that very important news could not get coverage on our TV channels. In this regard, internal security chief of Norway, Janne Kristiansen resigned on January 18 this year after revelation of confidential information that there “are intelligence agents, working in Pakistan.” It


Forest Ganja Grow Yields 10 Year Federal Sentence
Jose Esqueda-Garcia, 19, and Moises Lopez-Ontiveros, 21, both citizens of Mexico, were each sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 10 years in federal prison for their involvement in a conspiracy to manufacture marijuana in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest during 2011. Both men pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in November 2011. The evidence summarized by the gover
Agen Bola Indonesia – M9D.com
M9D.com is the site agent who serves sportsbook and online casino account set-profiles on the leading online gambling sites. M9D.com has served thousands of members since 2001. With more than 12 years of experience, no more doubtful to our reputation and trust. Currently M9D.com been officially linked to facilitate the registration and payment to the account on the site Sbobet, Ibcbet, 1scasino, a
Tips on Getting the Right Type of Men’s Running Shoes
A shoe isn’t just a shoe anymore. Shoes are crucial to the human body, as they help to offer assist where wanted and so they present a stage of consolation for the one that is carrying them. Shoe manufacturers have flooded the market with various various kinds of sneakers, and males’s trainers are no different. Whenever you walk right into a shoe retailer in the present day, you basically see one
Learning Set Phrases and Separable Words
In Chinese language, the set phrases and separable words are important points for those who study in China to learn. Therefore, teachers should pay more attention to the two points. For the set phrases, teachers should make efforts to figure out some effective methods to gain their understanding and help them master the set phrases.   The set phrases contest is a good way for students to remembe
Pallet Racks Used Used In Pallet Racking Los Angeles
When managing a stockroom, possessing ample storage area is important. You need quick access to everyone the material, without having to change by way of a number of other articles. The more quickly and much easier it is to find and select the mandatory substance the better, and that’s why possessing ideal pallet loading is necessary. Pallet loading same kind of stockroom loading you see in a hard
City Pays Drug Kingpin For Seized Marijuana
There was a bit of justice for a New Mexico medical marijuana patient after the local Drug Warriors destroyed her crop. Toni Armijo of Albuquerque will be receiving a check for $3,100 in compensation for the loss of her meds back in August of 2010. It all started when cops came to her home after a neighbor called to say that Ms. Armijo had not been seen for several days and the busybody claimed sh


The New 1% Doctrine in Action
While many the US were celebrating seemingly positive job numbers yesterday, for London, Ontario residents such news was caustic, rock salt poured into a gaping wound. WSWS: Caterpillar subsidiary Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) has announced that it is transforming the lockout at its London, Ontario diesel-locomotive manufacturing facility into a plant closure. Six weeks ago, Caterpillar locked out



Filed under: Eros, Into The Light, La Musica
Res Ipsa Loquitur
Filed under: Eros, La Musica
Dr Possum: Silkhearts, Fishspeak, And The Mysteries Of Wings
(Well. Here it is. Thursday morning. The perfect time to post the weekly wisdom of Dr. Possum. Which arrived in my inbox in plenty of time, for me to post it, as every week scheduled, on Monday morning. Except I couldn’t. Post it then. On Monday morning. Because of multiple dysfunctions. Which seem to recur weekly. Oh well. Alas. As it is written. We work in the dark. We do what we can.) New disco
Comin’ Through
Filed under: Eros, Into The Light, La Musica
Of the pseudo-humans bred or assembled by extraterrestrials to serve as the 2012 GOoPer candidates for president, one has already been driven from the race because of the wanderings of his wee-wee. That would be Herman Cain, the pizza topping. That the wee-wee of The Bedbug, also known as Newt Gingrich, long ran wild across the land: this has been known to many, and for many years. So long as The
Homeward Bound
Florentino Ariza listened to him without blinking. Then he looked through the windows at the complete circle of the quadrant on the mariner’s compass, the clear horizon, the December sky without a single cloud, the waters that could be navigated forever, and he said: “Let us keep going, going, going, to La Dorada.” Fermina Daza shuddered because she recognized his former voice, illuminated by the


Man To Tightrope Walk Across Niagara Falls—The Niagara Region Is Interesting And Fun
Permission has been granted on both sides of Niagara Falls for a man to attempt to cross the falls on a tightrope. (Above–Maria Spelterini crossing a portion of the falls in 1876. The fact that Ms. Spelterini lived until 1912 will clue you as to the outcome of this walk.) From Reuters-– Canada agreed on Wednesday to allow a member of the Flying Wallenda family of daredevils to attempt a tightrope
Occupy Houston’s Next Steps
Above is a picture I took Tuesday morning 2/14 of the former Occupy Houston camp in Tranquility Park in Downtown Houston. As I’ve said, the local Occupy movement is better off without the camp. There are plans for an Occupy Houston 2.0 that either will or will not take shape. Should the local Occupy move forward you’ll read about here. And hopefully you’ll read about it in other places as well. I
Damned Litter
Here is a picture I took of some litter that was blocked by a barrier near the confluence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou in Downtown Houston. You could call it damned littler because it is so nasty. Or you could call it damned litter as it is held back by a barrier. See? Get it? Damned litter.
Occupy Houston Camp Ordered To Disband—There Is A Great Deal To Be Hopeful About
The Occupy Houston camp at Tranquility Park was cleared out this evening by the Houston Police Department at the order of Mayor Annise Parker. (Above–An Occupy Houston photo from the end of the Tranquility Park camp in Downtown Houston.) It was a peaceful process. Here is the press release on this matter from Mayor Parker.  I could not truthfully argue that Mayor Parker acted in a rash or unreaso
I Took A Ride Tonight—Sleet Then Storms Then Warmth
I took a ride this evening. I often take a ride by myself on Sunday evenings. Doing this helps me clear my mind for the week ahead. Above is a picture of Houston at night from one perspective. There are many different perspectives from which one can view Houston, and from which one can view most things in life. Many of these different perspectives are available if we just willing to look around.
Just Imagine If The Catholic Church Advocated For The Poor And For Peace To The Extent They Advocate To Deny Women Birth Control
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is still not satisfied with President Obama’s stance on the provision of contraceptives by entities affiliated with the Catholic Church. Just imagine if the Catholic Church had taken such a forceful stand against the unjust war in Iraq, or growing American poverty, or the failure of its own officials to protect young people who trusted the Church. R


On the rights and hypocrisies of both Abu Qatada and The Sun.
Maajid Nawaz from the inconsistent Quilliam Foundation makes a good point over at the Graun when he says that by approaching the Abu Qatada story from a different angle, it in fact portrays our legal system in a very positive light. Here is someone accused by the most outspoken media sources of wanting every single one of us infidels dead, and yet we're doing our damnedest to secure from Jordan g
Not quite payback.
For those who spare themselves the daily assault on sanity that Newsnight increasingly resembles (last week saw Naomi Wolf and Katie Price on the same panel, with the artist formerly known as Jordan fobbing off Paxman's inquiries as to why she had decided to repeatedly mutilate her breasts) you'll have missed last night's tussle between Charlotte Harris and Nick Ferrari over the arrests at the Sun
All together now: awwwwwwww.
Trevor Kavanagh's self-pitying whinge in the Sun today following the further arrests at the weekend under Operation Elveden would have been rather undermined if he'd mentioned it's all the result of the internal investigation by the Management and Standards Committee, tasked with the exact "draining of the swamp" Kavanagh claims isn't necessary. Still, always better to blame and attack everyone o
It's come to my attention thanks to the good people at the Open Rights Group that this blog is being blocked by the mobile phone operators O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Orange for those who haven't verified their age and opted out of the default censorship on their networks. Hopefully apparent as it is that this blog isn't pornography, ORG point out that those who do opt out of the default firewall

Acusación Mundial Sobre la Violación los Derechos Humanos Básicos
En un evento que no pasa todo el tiempo, un Tribunal del Pueblo, frente a cientos de campesinos y trabajadores agrícolas en Bangalore, India, el 3-6 de diciembre del 2011, escuchó como las seis corporaciones agroquímicas más poderosas del planeta han violado sistemáticamente los derechos humanos básicos, como el derecho a la vida, a la salud, al ambiente sano, a la alimentación, a condiciones sa
Fair & healthy flowers
Flowers on Valentine's Day? It's a lovely tradition, and I enjoy a gorgeous bouquet as much as anyone. I also do my best to remember — and support — the workers behind the enormous global flower trade. They are mostly women, many of whom work in Colombia and Ecuador. They toil long hours for low wages, and too often brave exposure to pesticides known to be harmful to their health and t
Clean water battle takes "perplexing" turn
Lawmakers are taking another run at weakening the national rules protecting our waterways. This time, they're using the specter of West Nile virus to make the case for reviving a pesticide loophole that was recently closed. But their arguments simply don't (ahem) hold water, and PAN and our allies are calling on the Senate leadership to hold the line. read more
What Gates gets wrong on GE, every time
Influential philanthropists like Bill Gates hold a responsibility to be well informed about the impacts of their spending — and their words. Late last month in his annual letter on his foundation's priorities, Gates asserted that lack of support for genetically engineered (GE) crops allows world hunger to endure. He is wrong.  We engaged the editorial team at TakePart.com, which covered Ga
New leadership on pesticides in California
Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signaled a new direction for California agriculture with the appointment of Brian Leahy as the state’s chief pesticide regulator. Leahy, a former conventional-turned-organic rice farmer, takes the helm of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) at a key moment: the agency is embroiled in controversy over its decision to approve the cancer-causing
Syngenta's atrazine PR campaign unveiled
From attacks on independent scientists to smear campaigns against the courts, we thought we’d seen it all from Syngenta. But the world’s largest agrichemical producer continues to lower the bar in its efforts to protect its flagship product, atrazine. New documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy reveal the details of Syngenta’s multimillion dollar “message management” campaign


Arizona Murder Suspect Uses ‘Sovereign’ Language in Court
A man accused of twin murders in a Phoenix suburb and facing a possible death sentence used language in his initial court appearance mimicking false legal theories advanced by antigovernment “sovereign citizens.” Michael Lee Crane, 31, is charged in Maricopa County with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of armed robbery, [...]
A New Sheriff Loses His Compass: Muslims are not the Enemy
Editor’s Note: This post was written for Hatewatch by Jim Cavanaugh, the recently retired Special Agent in Charge of the Nashville, Tenn., office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives. It’s a response to a story today about a sheriff in Tennessee planning training by an anti-Muslim bigot. Today’s Nashville Tennessean [...]
Progressive Faith Group to MSNBC: Stop Hosting Tony Perkins
A progressive religious group on Tuesday delivered to MSNBC 20,000 signatures from people who want the cable news channel to stop inviting Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins to serve as a guest commentator on its programs. Faithful America began the petition drive about a month ago. The group describes itself as “an online community [...]
‘Sovereign Citizen’ Sues Government Over Grammar
These days, the U.S. Department of Justice and its investigators and prosecutors get accused of a lot of things by conspiracy-minded antigovernment extremists, but here’s a new one. A so-called “sovereign citizen” in the state of Washington, just sentenced to 40 months in prison, has filed suit accusing the government and its agents of using [...]
Trial Begins for Hutaree Militia Members Accused of Plotting Attack
A jury in Detroit today began the task of attempting to determine whether a heavily armed Christian militia group was embarking on an armed confrontation with the federal government or merely living in a fantasy world of “recreation” and protected free speech. Seven members of the Hutaree militia arrested in an FBI sweep last March are [...]
Mississippi Lawmaker Introduces Alabama-Style Anti-Immigrant Bill
The Mississippi lawmaker who today introduced anti-immigrant legislation modeled after Alabama’s disastrous HB 56 is a member of a network of legislators that has embraced a raft of beliefs and conspiracy theories that currently animate radical-right extremists. Rep. Becky Currie is one of about 65 members of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, or SLLI, in 40 [...]

The Origins of Occupy? Mission District Murals, 12/31/2003
UPDATE: Hat tip to bakononist for discovering that the person who composed the poem is Daisy Zamora. According to her wikipedia entry, she is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Latin American poetry. Her work is known for its uncompromising voice and wide-ranging subject matter that dwells on the details of daily life while encompassing human rights, politics, revolution, feminist
The Hunger Strike of Khader Adnan
From al-Jazeera: By the time you read these words, Khader Adnan could be dead. After 58 full days on hunger strike, his body is already well past the stage where his vital organs may cease to function at any moment. But Khader Adnan is dying to live.The 33-year-old Palestinian baker, husband, father, and graduate student has refused food since December 18, a day after he was arrested in a nighttim
An Open Letter from 4 Oakland Radicals
UPDATE: On Twitter, laurenriot engages in an ongoing debate, tweet by tweet, with the signatories of the statement. Here is a sample of them, expect more to come at the hashtag #laurenriot: 58m lauren riot @laurenriot I wonder if these folks actually spent any time in the days we laid down roots at Oscar Grant Plaza. I remember ferocity! Militance!59m lauren riot @laurenriotDo they mean taking
Doctor Hedges Misdiagnoses the Decline of Occupy
t at Pink Scare demonstrates, yet again, that he is one of the most incisive critics of Chris Hedges' condemnation of the Black Bloc, and the evasion of the true challenges facing Occupy: So, the question of Black Bloc: Pro or Con? is not one that can be answered abstractly. It should only be answered by direct participants in a mass movement who collectively debate and deliberate together in an o
Doctor Hedges Misdiagnoses the Decline of Occupy
The police have raided many of the encampments across the country. Protests and actions called by Occupy are declining in number, with reduced participation. Workers and marginalized people, like the homeless, who were initially drawn to Occupy have, in many instances, departed. It is discouraging, and someone or some people must be responsible.Chris Hedges has the answer: Occupy has a cancer k
Anonymous and the Black Bloc
UPDATE: Please consider reading t's highly original and provocative objections to the methodology of Chris Hedges' condemnation of the Black Bloc over at PInk Scare.INITIAL POST: For now, I am posting this for your personal evaluation. I have some thoughts about the subject of Occupy and the Black Bloc, and I expect to post them soon.Hat tip to Louis Proyect at the The Unrepentant Marxist.

A Haze at Galactic Center
The Planck mission continues to peel the layers off the onion as it probes the early universe. Planck is all about the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), that radiation left over from the era of recombination around 380,000 years after the Big Bang. As electrons and protons began to form neutral atoms, light was freed to stream through the universe, an afterglow of the Big Bang that missions like
KBOs: Surveying the Southern Skies
Given yesterday’s post on wandering planets, otherwise known as ‘rogue’ planets or ‘nomads,’ today’s topic falls easily into place. For even as we ponder the possibility of 105 rogue planets at Pluto’s mass or above for every main sequence star in the galaxy, we confront the fact that we still have much to learn about objects much closer to home in our own Kuiper Belt. We have yet, for example, to
‘Island-Hopping’ to the Stars
We tend to think of interstellar journeys as leaps into the void, leaving the security of one solar system to travel non-stop to another. But a number of alternatives exist, a fact that becomes clear when we ponder that our own cloud of comets — the Oort Cloud — is thought to extend a light year out and perhaps a good deal further. There may be ways, in other words, to take advantage of resources
Of Ice and the Planetesimal
Mindful of the recent work on axial tilt I’ve reported in these pages, I was interested to learn that Vesta’s axial tilt is just a bit greater than the Earth’s, about 27 degrees. We’ve been pondering the consequences of such obliquity on planets in the habitable zone, but in Vesta’s case, the issue isn’t habitability but water ice. For spurred by the Dawn mission, scientists are looking at whether
A ‘Super-Oort’ Cloud at Galactic Center?
Not long ago we looked at comet C/2011 N3 (SOHO), discovered last July just two days before it plunged into the Sun, evaporating some 100,000 kilometers above the solar surface. It was startling to learn that the SOHO observatory is tracking numerous ‘Sun-grazers,’ comets whose fatal encounters with our star are occurring roughly once every three days. Now comes news that Sagittarius A*, the super
Two Takes on Extraterrestrial Life
“With exoplanets we are entering new territory,” says René Heller (Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, Potsdam), talking about recent studies looking at axial tilt as a parameter for habitability on a planet. Heller is getting at the fact that while we’ve studied the axis of a planet’s spin relative to the plane of its orbit rather thoroughly here in our own Solar System, we are a long way from be

The New Syrian Constitution Draft Discussed
 The New Syrian Constitution Draft has some important changes which are discussed below in the form of a debate between friends that has been copied from an email discussion. Article 8 Removed Article 8 was the most contested article of the 1973 constitution. It states that the Baath Party must be the leader of both society and the state. The Parliament must include at least 50% workers and farmer
Al-Qaida Targets Syria; Military Uses Hostages; World Fumbles for Syria Policy
Aleppo after two car bombs: Ehsani writes on Sunday, “Aleppo back to normal today. People learning to live with this stuff. Becoming like the Lebanese.” Ayman al-Zawahri addresses Syrias, urging Muslims to fight for their Syrian brothers and urging Syrians to fight for freedom and liberation and to take heart in the support of the Muslim Umma against the cancerous and deeply sectarian regime of th
“The Real Opposition in Syria is Not the Syrian National Council or Free Syrian Army,” by Idaf
The Real Opposition in Syria is Not the Syrian National Council or Free Syrian Army By Idaf (who recently left Syria and has been working with opposition activists) 12 February 2012 for Syria Comment It’s a grave mistake to put all opposition in one group. Some are worse than the regime, some as bad, others are smart, savvy with a plan. Of course you only hear in the news (and sometimes though sel
Ehsani: What About The Regime?
By Ehsani for Syria Comment You’ve shown your true colors, “Ehsani”. Of course, you conveniently consider and accept the irrational killing automata of the regime as a fact that we must accept in order to present a sound analysis, while not affording the protesters such convenience in their irrational and emotional response as having any influence on your analysis. That’s the scandalous premise th
“Syria’s Opposition Must Find a Different Way,” By Ehsani
Syria’s Opposition Must Find a Different Way By Ehsani for Syria Comment February 10, 2012 As the death toll mounts on the streets in Syria, it is important to remember how we got here. Damascus has decided to reassert control over its restive cities by using the full might of its military. This should not come as a surprise to observers and policy makers. Indeed, the surprise is that the governm
“Why Homs is the Center of the Revolt” by Joshua Landis
Syria Crisis: Why Homs is the Center of Revolt, February 8, 2012 ⋅  The Syrian city of Homs has been the center of the rebellion against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Marco Werman talks with Syria expert Joshua Landis about why Homs has played such a pivotal role in this conflict. Audio: Play | Download Thomas Friedman: “In most of the Arab states awakening today, the borders came first, drawn b


The Right to a Choice
You may have to trust me on this, but the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is a terrific organisation that does remarkably good work, considering that it works for member states as diverse, and governments as severally ill-intentioned, as the United States, Russia, Uzbekistan and the UK. When I was looking
Frank Goebbels Gardner at it Again
Wonderful bit of balanced reporting from the BBC’s Frank Gardner. He said of Bahrain at 5.42pm on BBC News: “The Shiite majority does suffer discrimination, but the rest of the population is getting fed up with the continual disruption and demonstrations.” I remember similar arguments during apartheid: “The black majority does suffer discrimination, but the rest of the population is getting fed
Mentions and Non-Mentions
I was the answer to a question on University Challenge yesterday! Thanks to all who sent me messages to let me know. If anyone remembers the actual question I should be interested to hear. Apparently none of the students had ever heard of me. From surprising mentions to surprising non-mentions. The Guardian wrote an excellent editorial on the continuing hypocrisy of the West’s relationship wit
The Nightmare of Government
I am wasting enormous energy lately in an absolute nightmare of visa applications. The insolence of office is to be seen in its most extreme forms, everywhere around the world, in those connected with the organised atavism of immigration control. I was chatting with a charming young lady, one of those wealthy young women who pass a brief season as interns and personal assistants before marriage
The Mystery of Quantitive Easing
The headlines all say that the Bank of England has pumped another £50 billion into the economy in the third round of quantitive easing. In fact, the money will not get far into the economy. It is given to the banks and other financial sector companies, and evidence from the previous £250 billion worth of quantitive easing is that almost all of it will stay there, being very handy stuff with whic
The Organ of Synchronicity
Recently I have been plagued by coincidences. I was talking on a train about someone I hadn’t seen for thirty years, and then met them coming out of the train toilet. Had I subconsciously seen them on a platform and not consciously registered it? I don’t know, but coincidences of that nature have been occurring recently with a strange frequency. I have never quite been able to get my head roun
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