Friday, February 29, 2008

The World's Growing Food-Price Crisis

If you don't get it yet, please read the implosion article in its entirety. Not merely the titillating excerpts that I quoted. Then, go read The World's Growing Food-Price Crisis at

I don't believe that the centuries old art of elite gangster macking can be presented in terms any more straight up, simple, or plain. Only difference now, is that the game is international, worldwide...,

"U.S. and British farmers are laughing all the way to the bank,"

says Simon Maxwell, director of the London-based Overseas Development Institute, an independent think tank.

"And some poor people will get jobs on farms or in local communities."

Yet those people will need to buy food, whose prices are rising far faster than wages. With relief agencies struggling to feed the hungry and the shelves in Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Senegal and many other countries in the developing world stocked with food many locals can no longer afford, the prospects for chaos are steadily growing.

The Whole Depraved Mess is Going to Implode

Yielding the floor once again to the devastating power of the hypertiger wisdom;
Democracy is just a nice sounding word...You say..."We are in there to give the poor unfortunate people of country X Democracy"...And the population generally appears to accept invasion/conquest without too much resistance.

But Yes the parliamentary system or Westminster administration system was basically invented by the British...And it works well...The top can maintain control of the bottom but when they lose control and the bottom demands blood...
the elected scapegoats take the fall...Not the top...[...]Here it is again...A reminder...

The purpose of the Police and military is to protect the top from the bottom...

To protect cause from consequence...

The easiest prey of the hunter gatherer is the farmer and the simplest operation is the protection scheme...[...]

All money is decreed

The top says this is money...Or else...period end of story....

You Farmer are on the Land owned by the LORD of the land and will pay tribute to the LORD of 1 Gold coin a year...

Where do I get this GOLD coin?

You can take one short ton of grain to the grainery of the LORD and there you will be given a GOLD coin for it and then you can give the gold coin to the servant of the LORD...

What if I refuse?

Then the LORD will drive you from the Land that the LORD is the LORD of...

There you go an abundant supply of free food to power your wildest hopes and dreams...Lies and delusions...[...]

Well what is done with all that Food the tillers of the LORD's land give the LORD as Tribute? It powers the Absolute capitalist Hierarchial food powered make work enterprise...

The city state...Or Civilization...The thing you all popped into existence within...and are in now...
Free your mind....,

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Scapegoat is Being Readied

Came across this blogpost a little while ago explaining in some detail the nature of the economic situation. It just doesn't get any more simple and direct than these quotes;

Those managing it are attempting to get to a point where it's planned to fall to pieces...While they are all babbling and creating a smokescreen to obscure the situation the scapegoat is being readied...A mezmerizing spectacle of some focus attention away from the system as cause and onto an effect as the cause...[...]

Behind the scenes the debate currently is between doing what is required to at least keep you all fed (save as many as possible) or just pulling the plug and letting you all starve (Liquidate as many as possible)...and how to deal with the fate resisters.

Behind the scenes they are not wondering if....they know what is coming...The war on terror is just cover to implement all the new crowd controls for the austerity measures that are to follow.
Be careful what you pay attention to. Not everything that looks good to you is actually good for you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dueling Systems and the Five Stages of Collapse

Over the past week and a half or so, I've been chatting with a number of Cobb's commenters and intermittently with the man himself. Here lately, he's embarked on an apologia for war socialism. Brahman has a tendency to get caught up in philosophical rather than practical or empirical argumentation. I've begun to suspect that a significant part of his political orientation is attributable to this tendency. In opting for philosophy and abstraction - both he and his conservative co-religionists have a tendency to get lost in flights of metaphorical fancy.

Case in point yesterday afternoon on a post he called The Morality of War he asked;

"Are you suggesting that we should not have fought Stalin?"
Last I checked, we didn't...., but that minor historical quibble aside, this was not a discussion of history, philosophy, or morality per se. Rather, it was the branching of a prior thread in which I was accused of blaming G-Dub for the American war socialist posture. A brief review of Jay Hanson's warsocialism site will clearly dispel any such notions of contemporary blame - and - put the concept of war socialism on its proper historical footing. Hanson calls the system of American governance a war socialist system - I happen to find his arguments concise and very persuasive.

Aside from the countless tragic, wasteful, and destructive proxy wars that it spawned - the political, philosophical and moral dimensions of the Cold War hold little interest for me - I won't be pursuing any of those issues at great length. Rather, what I'd like to bring to your attention is the way in which the former Soviet Union survived it's own economic and industrial collapse - and - invite you to compare and contrast the adaptability and survivability of our own war socialist system of governance in the face of impending collapse. Dmitry Orlov writes;
the collapse of the Soviet Union - our most recent and my personal favorite example of an imperial collapse - did not reach the point of political disintegration of the republics that made it up, although some of them (Georgia, Moldova) did lose some territory to separatist movements. And although most of the economy shut down for a time, many institutions, including the military, public utilities, and public transportation, continued to function throughout. And although there was much social dislocation and suffering, society as a whole did not collapse, because most of the population did not lose access to food, housing, medicine, or any of the other survival necessities. The command-and-control structure of the Soviet economy largely decoupled the necessities of daily life from any element of market psychology, associating them instead with physical flows of energy and physical access to resources. Thus situation, as I argue in my forthcoming book, Reinventing Collapse, allowed the Soviet population to inadvertently achieve a greater level of collapse-preparedness than is currently possible in the United States.

Having given a lot of thought to both the differences and the similarities between the two superpowers - the one that has collapsed already, and the one that is collapsing as I write this - I feel ready to attempt a bold conjecture, and define five stages of collapse, to serve as mental milestones as we gauge our own collapse-preparedness and see what can be done to improve it.
IMOHO - this is the type of systematic thinking that we need to enjoin in America as we gird ourselves up to cast what may be operationally and systemically decisive votes in this year's presidential election. I sincerely believe that the U.S. is caught up in a still civil dispute among its ruling elites over the type and pace of contraction and collapse that citizens will be subject to over the next twenty to thirty years. I believe that the frontrunning presidential candidates literally embody the respective elite camps and their dueling perspectives on how this should shake out.

Secrecy, Collusion and Bad Medicine

The drug industry's long and ignoble history of secrecy

In 2004, UK researchers commissioned by Nice to develop guidelines for prescribing antidepressant drugs to children tried to obtain unpublished trials from the drug companies. They were refused. They then contacted the individual researchers who had worked on the trials. Only then did a picture emerge of increased risk of attempted suicide, and a lack of efficacy. Nice concluded by banning the drugs for under-18s with the exception of Prozac.

Yesterday's report suggesting that modern antidepressants offer no significant clinical benefit over placebo has been dismissed by the drug industry as "just one study" which should not be allowed to undermine the wealth of research showing that the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are effective.

But that is to miss the point. The Hull University researchers have demonstrated how partial access to research can give a distorted view of a drug. The non-disclosure of data on the SSRIs has raised doubts about the trustworthiness of all research on antidepressants.

We should be relieved that the licensing authorities have an absolute right to see all trial data, positive and negative, before approving a drug. But, bizarrely, Nice, with the responsibility for deciding which drugs should be used by the NHS, only gets what the drug companies agree to give it. The Health Select Committee has called for action to remedy this omission. Ministers must respond.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Antidepressant Drugs Don't Work – Official Study

They are among the biggest-selling drugs of all time, the "happiness pills" that supposedly lift the moods of those who suffer depression and are taken by millions of people in the UK every year.

But one of the largest studies of modern antidepressant drugs has found that they have no clinically significant effect. In other words, they don't work.

The finding will send shock waves through the medical profession and patients and raises serious questions about the regulation of the multinational pharmaceutical industry, which was accused yesterday of withholding data on the drugs.

In the study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of all 47 clinical trials, published and unpublished, submitted to the Food and Drug Administration in the US, made in support of licensing applications for six of the best known antidepressant drugs, including Prozac, Seroxat – which is made by GlaxoSmithKline – and Efexor made by Wyeth. The results showed the drugs were effective only in a very small group of the most extremely depressed.

Two drugs were excluded from the study because of incomplete data. A third drug, chemical name nafazodone, has been withdrawn from the market because of side-effects.

Professor Irving Kirsch of the University of Hull, who led the study published in the online journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine , said the data submitted to the FDA would also have been submitted to the licensing authorities in Britain and Europe. It showed the drugs produced a "very small" improvement compared with placebo of two points on the 51-point Hamilton depression scale.

That was sufficient to grant the drugs a licence but did not meet the minimum three-point difference required by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) to establish "clinical" significance. Full-monty available here - in tomorrow's UK Independent.

All We Are Saying - Is Give Kip a Chance...,

Prior to assuming his current position, Ward was Deputy Commander, Headquarters US European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. He previously served as the Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff, US Army Europe and Seventh Army. While in this capacity he was selected by the Secretary of State to serve as the United States Security Coordinator, Israel - Palestinian Authority where he served from March through December 2005.

If you have concerns, take them directly to the Africom Dialogue A clearinghouse of the U.S. Africa Command's senior leader's updates on issues important at AFRICOM. We encourage your comments and feedback.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Further Tribal Demands On Obamamandius

From the Jerusalem Post - Obama and the Jews

With all due deference to the Obama celebrity supporters like Steven Spielberg and George Soros, can Jews herein Israel and in America and other friends of Israel risk a vote for Obama in November? A quick look at the facts should switch on a big red light in most peoples' minds.

First and foremost among the considerations that should trouble friends of Israel is the foreign policy team Obama has selected to advise him. The composition of a candidate's advisory panel is usually a very good indicator of where the candidate will come out on the issues if elected.

This was the test this writer applied to George W. Bush in 2000 at a time when most pundits in Israel and in the Jewish community predicted that his Middle East policy would be a carbon copy of his father's, meaning trouble for Israel. But Bush, the son, had selected a blue-ribbon team of pragmatic and conservative advisors whose views on the Middle East were markedly pro-Israel and pro-democracy. Subsequently, the W. Bush Era became among the closest allies of Israel in her 60-year history.

The opposite is the case with the Obama team. Headed up by Jimmy Carter's ("Israel is an apartheid state") national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Obama's team includes such problematic figures as Anthony Lake, Robert O. Malley and Susan Rice.

One commentator, citing an article by the staunchly left-wing Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, has noted that an Obama presidency including a foreign policy team that included the foregoing and their ideological soul-mates, "would likely have an approach towards Israel radically at odds with those of previous Presidents (both Republican and Democrat)" and is the candidate apt to be "least supportive" of Israel.

Brzezinski has been disseminating vitriol about Israel for three decades and recently publicly defended the Walt-Mearsheimer study which concluded that US policy towards Israel was the result of Jewish pressure and inconsistent with American interests. More recently Brzezinski called for the US to initiate dialogue with Hamas, described Israel's action in the Second Lebanon War as a killing campaign against civilian hostages and earlier this month made a trip to confer with Syria's President Assad, ostensibly unbeknownst to the Obama campaign.

Robert O. Malley, another former Carter Administration diplomat and President Clinton's special advisor on Arab-Israeli affairs, is an unabashed advocate for the Palestinians, co-authoring a spate of anti-Israel propaganda with former Arafat advisor, Hussein Agha, including a tract that blames Israel for the failure of the 2000 Camp David talks and another piece which blames the Bush Administration for continuing Israeli-Palestinian strife.

And then there is Susan Rice, foreign policy advisor to the ill-fated John Kerry presidential campaign in 2004, where she concocted the idea of solving the Middle East problem by appointing none other than Jimmy Carter and James Baker as negotiators, an idea which was later repudiated by her own boss as being unbalanced against Israel. Nor are these the only "bad apples" in Obama's foreign policy bin…

Another problematic indicator is candidate's close association with Jeremiah Wright, Jr., pastor of the Trinity United Community Church (a member of the United Church for Christ, which itself has been rebuked for anti-Israel bias), who is well known for his virulent anti-Israel remarks, including a call for a divestment campaign against Israel for the "injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism."

Nor should bring much solace to Jewish voters and friends of Israel that Reverend Wright counts among his closest friends, the nefarious anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan for whom Judaism is a "gutter religion" and Jews are "bloodsuckers." Obama could have picked any one of hundreds of churches in Chicago's South Side; he picked Jeremiah Wright's parsonage, which awarded Farrakhan with the Jeremiah Wright Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer Award in 2007. And Wright's church is the single largest beneficiary of Obama's charitable giving. Even Jewish columnist Richard Cohen of the Washington Post felt compelled to ask Obama to clarify his relationship with these anti-Jewish and anti-Israel community leaders, questioning why Obama has stayed steadfast in his allegiance to Pastor Wright over the years.

Is He Supremacist Enough?

With tribal violence roiling central europe, a sustained eruption of primitive, tribal impulses has begun to color the presidential election. Let's just be very sure to call these archaic and atavistic attacks precisely what they are. Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia's 1st District puts it right out there and demands that Michelle Obama kneel and pledge allegiance to his tribe.

Sen. Barack Obama's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism. Now Obama's wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she's really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life. Conservative consultants say that combined, the cases could be an issue for Obama in the general election if he wins the nomination, especially as he runs against Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bill O'Reilly's Anti-Obama Strategery

Folks with no substantive issues to pursue, but with a crystal clear political agenda, will manufacture issues from thin air. Thus the 72 hour grind from Bill O'Reilly on Michelle Obama's decontextualized remarks. In his own fit of "reckless eyeballin" pique - O'Reilly not only insists that Mrs. Obama be made answerable to him for her statements, but in the process unintentionally discloses a very great deal about the collective psychology that he exemplifies;

Oh yeah, I'm not on about the lynching comment as some folks are, because I think that's perpetrating on the same level as O'Reilly is perpetrating from - but I think Gene Robinson's and Keith Olberman's dialog about O'Reilly is right on target.

From Media Matters
O'Reilly: "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels"
Summary: In a discussion of recent comments made by Michelle Obama, Bill O'Reilly took a call from a listener who stated that, according to "a friend who had knowledge of her," Obama " 'is a very angry,' her word was 'militant woman.' " O'Reilly later stated: "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Next Slum

The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements.
Strange days are upon the residents of many a suburban cul-de-sac. Once-tidy yards have become overgrown, as the houses they front have gone vacant. Signs of physical and social disorder are spreading.

At Windy Ridge, a recently built starter-home development seven miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, 81 of the community’s 132 small, vinyl-sided houses were in foreclosure as of late last year. Vandals have kicked in doors and stripped the copper wire from vacant houses; drug users and homeless people have furtively moved in. In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer, “I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.”
Read the full monty by Christopher B. Leinberger at the

The Tragedy of Suburbia

Africa in 2040

Paul Chefurka's grim assessment of what's in store for Africa. Please read and bookmark this paper.

There is a darkness moving on the face of the land. We catch glimpses of it in newscasts from far-off places that few of us have ever seen. We hear hints of it on the radio, read snippets about it in newspapers and magazines. The stories are always fragmentary, lacking context or connection. They speak of things like inflation in Zimbabwe, war in Chad, electricity problems in Johannesburg, famine in Malawi, pipeline fires in Nigeria, political violence in Kenya, cholera in Congo. Each snapshot of grief heaves briefly into view, then fades back into obscurity. With every fresh story we are left asking ourselves, "Is there something bigger going on here, some unseen thread connecting these dots? Or is this just more of the same from a continent that has known more than its share of misery?"

This paper is my attempt to connect those dots, to tease some order out of the chaos of the news reports. I will use some very simple numerical techniques to fill in the missing lines, and in the end a picture will emerge. I can tell you in advance that the picture is fearsome beyond imagining, and you may well be tempted to avert your gaze. I would advise you instead to screw up your courage and take a good look. It is crucial to our future as a civilized race.

I expect the collapse to turn Africa into the next arena for a quick game of "Disaster Capitalism." Large trans-national entities will make offers of "significant assistance" to particular countries in return for untrammeled access to their resource base. The vultures will be lining the banks of the Zambezi waiting for the feast, no doubt about it.

"I know there's rumors in Ghana `All Bush is coming to do is try to convince you to put a big military base here,' Bush said at a news conference with Kufuor. "That's baloney. As they say in Texas, that's bull."

Instead, he said the new command — unique to the Pentagon's structure — was aimed at more effectively reorganizing U.S. military efforts in Africa to strengthen African nations' peacekeeping, trafficking and anti-terror efforts.

"The whole purpose of Africom is to help African leaders deal with African problems," Bush said.

Bush sought to dispel the notion about militarization of Africa even before giving reporters a chance to ask him about it. Kufuour said he was satisfied with Bush's explanation, and thanked him for announcing it "so that the relationship between us and the United States will grow stronger."

For now, the administration has decided to continue operating Africom out of existing U.S. bases on the continent with a headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. War-wrecked Liberia is the only African nation that has publicly offered to host a headquarters. Bush said before the trip that "if" a headquarters for Africom is ever established on the continent, he would "seriously consider" Liberia as the host.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Talk Radio in a Tizzy

Update: F@&k Talk Radio!!! I'm now officially proud of Wisconsin!

I am utterly ashamed of - and deeply disgusted by - the individual and collective mentality attacking Obama. Good reminder of precisely what kind of mentality was involved in attacking and murdering little boys for the crime of "reckless eyeballing"

Talk radio has made hay with this comment ALL DAY LONG today.

Your thoughts?

Black Gold in the 21st Century

The average American daily uses the oil energy equivalent of 120 healthy adult slaves...,

Prisons and Slavery: Seeking Cheap Labor and Control of African-Americans

Throughout history those in power within a given period of time have sought to control in some way groups that they perceived to be a threat and/or groups they wished to dominate for political or economic gain. The methods of control have varied from economic marginalization to thought control via propaganda to subjecting them to the control of the legal system to total or partial segregation and finally, in extreme cases, total extermination (e.g., genocide). In America such control has targeted Native Americans, African slaves, labor agitators and many others.

It can also be said that the use of inmates as a form of cheap labor has been part of the capitalist system from the beginning, as owners seek to maximize profits however they can, including using the cheapest form of labor, whether it be slaves, immigrant labor, or inmates. In fact, taking advantage of those imprisoned (in various forms, including slavery) has been common among nations for centuries.

President Clinton's Prison Legacy

Too Little Too Late
Preserving law and order has historically been a Republican issue. Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson's losing opponent in the 1964 presidential race, was the first to campaign on crime control in an attempt to counter the prevailing "liberal" mood of the 1960's. Following Goldwater's lead, Richard Nixon called for an increase in punitive crime control measures and a "war on drugs" that led to an increase in incarceration for low-level drug offenders.2 The Republican National Committee's unleashing of the now famous "Willie Horton" advertisement during the race between Vice President George Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis solidified the rhetorical advantage held by Republicans in the law and order arena.

President Bill Clinton: The Incarceration President
When William Jefferson Clinton took office in 1993, he was embraced by some as a moderate change from the previous twelve years of tough on crime Republican administrations. Now, eight years later, the latest criminal justice statistics show that it was actually Democratic President Bill Clinton who implemented arguably the most punitive platform on crime in the last two decades. In fact, "tough on crime" policies passed during the Clinton Administration's tenure resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history.

Although Republicans are normally thought to hold the tough on crime mantle, in President Clinton's first-term (1992-1996), 148,000 more state and federal prisoners were added than under President Reagan's first term (1980-1984), and 34,000 more than were added under President Bush's four-year term (1988-1992).

When President Clinton Stole the "Get Tough on Crime" Show
When President Bill Clinton included "the war on crime" as a major tenet in both his 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, the past ten years had already witnessed the largest incarceration increase in the nation's history.4 During his 1992 campaign, to illustrate his resolve, President Clinton actually interrupted his campaigning to return to his home state of Arkansas to oversee the execution of mentally retarded death row inmate Ricky Ray Rector.5

Throughout its tenure, the Clinton administration consistently supported increased penalties and additional prison construction. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 provided state and municipal governments with $30 billion to add 100,000 new police officers, to build more prisons, and to employ more prison guards, as well as funding for crime prevention programs.

Crime Control Impact: A shift in resources from communities to corrections
The money and resources spent by governments and private interests on the criminal justice system is so large that it is having a profound impact on our economy, and as a result, our society. In 1994, just two years after President Bill Clinton took office, there were 1.4 million prison and jail inmates in the U.S. and by 1997, the criminal justice system employed more than two million people,6 and cost taxpayers more than $70 billion a year. One estimate suggests that by 2002, the criminal justice system will cost taxpayers more than $200 billion annually.7 Today, there are more people working in the criminal justice system than are working in community and social service occupations (like employment, vocational, mental health and substance abuse counseling).8 Ironically, these are the occupations that are most likely to be geared towards preventing crime, and helping to rehabilitate ex-offenders, as opposed to occupations that are designed to arrest, prosecute, detain and imprison. With two million people behind bars in the U.S., and 4.5 million people on probation and parole, America ends the Clinton-era with at least 8.5 million people who are either under the control of the correctional system or working for the criminal justice system.

While everyone is affected by the nation's quadrupling of the prison population, the African American community has borne the brunt of the nation's incarceration boom. From 1980 to 1992, the African American incarceration rate increased by an average of 138.4 per 100,000 per year. Still, despite a more than doubling of the African American incarceration rate in the 12 years prior to President Clinton's term in office, the African American incarceration rate continued to increase by an average rate of 100.4 per 100,000 per year. In total, between 1980 and 1999, the incarceration rate for African Americans more than tripled from 1156 per 100,000, to 3,620 per 100,000.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The FISA Bill Has Expired

The FISA bill, ostensibly designed to allow the feds to monitor overseas communications to/from the United States, has expired.

The House of Representatives would not accept a provision that gave RETROACTIVE immunity to telephone companies who had obeyed Homeland Security Department orders to include all domestic communications in their sweep. The President would not sign the Bill without the retroactive immunity provision [which the Senate had dutifully included in its version of the Bill].

Among telephone companies, QWest is the only one to have not buckled under Homeland Security pressure to surveille clients. Thus, QWest is the only telephone company to not need retroactive immunity for blatantly illegal acts that sold out American liberty.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Antidepressants and School Shootings, Suicide, Addiction

Cutting the Internet Cables Didn't Work...,

Iran established its first oil products bourse Sunday in a free trade zone on the Persian Gulf Island of Kish, the country's oil ministry said.

A statement posted on the ministry's Web site said 100 tons of polyethylene consignment was traded at the market's opening on the island, which houses the offices of about 100 Iranian and foreign oil companies.

Oil and petrochemical products will be traded in Iranian Rials, as well as all other hard currencies, the statement quoted Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari as saying. About 20 brokers are already active in the market, it said.

"The bourse provides an economic opportunity for Iranians, other countries and foreign customers," Nozari was quoted as saying.

Iran produces more than 20 million tons of petrochemical products per year.

Iran has already registered for another oil bourse, in which it has said it hopes to trade oil in Euros instead of dollars, to reduce any American influence over the Islamic Republic's economy.

A bourse official, Mahdi Karbasian, told the IRNA official news agency that such an oil market would begin operating within the next year.

While most oil markets are traded in U.S. dollars, Iran first floated the idea of trading oil in Euros in the early 2000s during the tenure of reformist president Mohammad Khatami. It gained new life after the nationalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005.

As the fourth largest oil producer in the world, Iran has a measure of influence over international oil markets. The country ranks second for output among OPEC Countries, and controls about 5 percent of the global oil supply.

Paxil's a Helluva Drug....,

It took long enough, but at last the lid seems to be opening up on the psychopharmacological motive underlying the Valentine's day massacre at NIU.

Stephen Kazmierczak - the Illinois gunman stopped taking Paxil (Seroxat)… according to news channel ABC7 Chicago - full story here:

“Authorities have not figured out what motivated the man, described as a hardworking, award-winning former honor student by NIU faculty, to go on a shooting rampage that killed five students.

Kazmierczak, 27, was treated for mental illness nine years ago. He was considered volatile, according to a staff member who worked at the facility at the time, and violent if he stopped taking the antidepressant and anti-anxiety pills prescribed for him. Including Paxil, it was medication he was supposed to still be taking and apparently stopped a couple of weeks ago.”

So Paxil/Seroxat may have been involved in this tragedy, however we need to know the details - we need to know the truth.

Real Change

Do you remember when Halliburton relocated its world HQ to Dubai last year?

If you could, you would too.

I came across this post this morning and it documents the most jaw-dropping economic development one could ever imagine outside the annals of pure science fiction.

Dubai in 1990:

The same street in 2003;

The same street in 2007;

Go check out the full monty at Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis where there are many more mind-boggling images to document this trend.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

As the ultimate rorschachian figuration, Obama has been claimed and disclaimed by elements from all across the spectrum desperate to be seen as relevant or percipient. Few, however, comprehend his actual signification. Last year at Cobb, I spelled out precisely what would be required of the presidential heir apparent.

Last night, I happened to catch some of Real Time on my way to shuteye and saw Andrew Sullivan venture about as close as anyone has here-to-date in grasping the signification of an Obama presidency. Baraka is an idealized construct of elite governance. This is why he has garnered the support of U.S. elites and elements from throughout the establishment. quoth Sullivan;
What does he offer? First and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan. Such a re-branding is not trivial—it’s central to an effective war strategy. The war on Islamist terror, after all, is two-pronged: a function of both hard power and soft power. We have seen the potential of hard power in removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. We have also seen its inherent weaknesses in Iraq, and its profound limitations in winning a long war against radical Islam. The next president has to create a sophisticated and supple blend of soft and hard power to isolate the enemy, to fight where necessary, but also to create an ideological template that works to the West’s advantage over the long haul. There is simply no other candidate with the potential of Obama to do this. Which is where his face comes in.

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can......Unlike any of the other candidates, he could take America—finally—past the debilitating, self-perpetuating family quarrel of the Baby Boom generation that has long engulfed all of us. So much has happened in America in the past seven years, let alone the past 40, that we can be forgiven for focusing on the present and the immediate future. But it is only when you take several large steps back into the long past that the full logic of an Obama presidency stares directly—and uncomfortably—at you.

At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war—not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a mo­mentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade—but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying, a nonviolent civil war that has crippled America at the very time the world needs it most. It is a war about war—and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama—and Obama alone—offers the possibility of a truce.
Remember, when everything is said and done, and all the rorschachian self-affirmations are complete, all that will remain, and all that has ever mattered from the outset with this perfectly honed candidacy - has been the imperative to maintain the global rule of dopamine hegemony.

Motive? What motive?

This just in from faux news;

That didn't take very long now did it? The man who gunned down five people at Northern Illinois University in a suicidal rampage became erratic after halting his medication and carried a shotgun to campus inside a guitar case, police said Friday.

update; Kazmierczak, whose first name was earlier listed as Steven, was taking some kind of medication, Grady said.

"He had stopped taking medication and become somewhat erratic in the last couple of weeks," Grady said, declining to name the drug or provide other details.

next update; A former employee at a Chicago psychiatric treatment center said Kazmierczak was placed there after high school by his parents. She said he used to cut himself, and had resisted taking his medications.
further update; Family members told the authorities that Mr. Kazmierczak had stopped taking his medication. Law enforcement authorities would not say what the medication was for, but said Mr. Kazmierczak had grown erratic, according to his family, in the days after he quit taking the drugs.
Still not giving up those anti-depressant meds though. Media coverage is focused on gun control and copycat shootings inspired by media coverage.

Dressed in black and wearing a stocking cap - whaddaya bet he was loaded up on a bellyful of prescription anti-depressants?

We continue to await the specific toxicology report....,

G-Thang Baybee...,

"We’re not going there just for the oil because we’re not that evil. It’s just a stupid argument," says Thomas P.M. Barnett, a New York Times best-selling author and military expert who is a forecaster of future global conflicts. "We’re going so to create better governments, improve the people, create jobs, create stability."

In essence, the US has grand plans to set in motion "the great African renaissance," says Barnett, who traveled to Ethiopia and Kenya this past summer, visiting several newly established US military outposts.

The White House, however, is not saying much about their plans for AFRICOM to those who should be in the know, says a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Don Zaluchi: I also don't believe in drugs. For years I paid my people extra so they wouldn't do that kind of business. Somebody comes to them and says, "I have powders; if you put up three, four thousand dollar investment, we can make fifty thousand distributing." So they can't resist. I want to control it as a business, to keep it respectable.
[slams his hand on the table and shouts]

Don Zaluchi: I don't want it near schools! I don't want it sold to children! That's an infamia. In my city, we would keep the traffic in the dark people, the coloreds. They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.

Baraka Jes Grew....,

Friday, February 15, 2008

Black Superdelegates Switch From Clinton to Obama

The former first lady just days ago was assailing Obama as untested, using as evidence the fact that Obama had never had a negative TV ad run against him. This week she remedied that complaint, launching an ad criticizing Obama for not agreeing to debate her in Wisconsin. The DLC is so busted now.

Baraka is single-handedly forcing the revision of all pre-existing political calculus. Please recall my earlier statements to the effect that I support his candidacy strictly on the grounds that he would do just such a thing. Two commenters this morning at Cobb, have really summed up the terror of the situation for both ends of the political spectrum.

1. Darkstar brings it in the comment;
This is something it Blacks from the Right are delighting in because of the row about the Black Right being punks and never showing up when invited, now the shoe is on the other foot. But the Black Right is, mostly, deliberately missing the point.

The Black Right claims they want the Black masses to hold politicians accountable and Smiley is doing just that.

It's like when the Black Right says Jackson, Sr, Sharpton, the NAACP, etc "controls the minds" of the Black community but publicly ignores when the same Black community slams Jackson, Sr, Sharpton, the NAACP, etc.

Just look at the split in support for Clinton and Obama. The Black Right likes to point it out but won't go that extra step and ask, "Does OR DID the so-called Black leader EVER lead or determine how Black America thinks or acts?"

No, the Black Right won't do that because then the answer would force people to look behind THEIR curtain.

We all know so-called Black leaders don't determine what Black America does or thinks. But too many people from the left and right need to "perpetrate the fraud" for selfish reasons.

2. While A. Charles drops science with this comment;
If we're saying that you can be where he is just by virtue of being a black candidate, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Carol Mosely Braun should have gotten there before him, I would think.

If you're adding up all the votes he gets just because he's black, and for no other reason, and even assuming that all of the black folks are voting for him just because he's black and not because he's the best candidate, there's not much reason to think that anybody who isn't black is gonna be voting for him. Which means that we can see him winning South Carolina, D.C. and Maryland. That makes him about as marginal as Bill Clinton tried to make him in comparing him to Jesse Jackson, and substantially less of a front-runner than Mike Huckabee is on the other side of the party line.

Neither of those what-ifs is in fact the case, though. No black candidate has done what this one has done, and this one has come out ahead in primaries where being black can't explain the result: Iowa, Maine, Colorado, Nebraska, Idaho, etc.

Put it this way: if John Edwards could be a legitimate presidential candidate in 2004, why couldn't somebody who's just like him, just better in every tangible way that's relevant to a politician, be ahead in this race just on the basis of those virtues?

That analysis is why I reject the comparison of whites who vote for whites just because of their race to the black people who are voting for Obama. There is a difference between voting just because of race and being pleased and proud to have, for the first time ever, the chance to confirm with your vote that the best candidate is one of your race. I wouldn't vote for Alan Keyes for president, and I wouldn't be happy to have Barack Obama be head coach of the Chicago Bears. But I am pleased, after having to believe for quite some time that I'd never see black men in either of those jobs, to see that the best available candidates are black men.
I take infinite pleasure in seeing all the handkerchief heads outed in one brilliant fell swoop.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Anti-Democratic Global Corporatism

Ten years ago, the late Sir James Goldsmith discussed the toxic social effects of global corporatism with Charlie Rose. Enduring nasty "debate" from a Clinton hanger-on, Dr. Laura D'Andrea Tyson for about 10 minutes toward the middle of the program - Goldsmith resumes civil discourse with Charlie Rose after Tyson finishes. Very, very interesting insight into the subversion of the global financial system, the U.S. economy, and the health of our population.

Goldsmith was also the founder of the most successful of the U.K. Referendum Parties - a most capital notion for reinjecting democratic praxis into the otherwise utterly undemocratic governance scheme that we currently endure.

Cilia and Visual Consciousness

Consciousness may involve quantum computation in the brain.

Cilia in the retina (and possibly elsewhere in the brain) may be involved in quantum optical processes relevant to consciousness.

Dr. Stuart Hameroff "Cilia, vision and consciousness" Syntonic Optometry, May 2007


Oliver Sacks writing at length in the NYTimes blog;
As a child, I was fascinated by patterns, starting with the patterns in our house — the square colored floor tiles we had on the porch, the tessellation of small pentagonal and hexagonal ones in the kitchen; the herringbone pattern on the curtains in my room, and the pattern on my father’s check suit. When I was taken to the synagogue for services, I was more interested in the mosaics of tiny tiles on the floor than in the religious liturgy. And I was fascinated by a pair of antique Chinese cabinets we had in our drawing room, for embossed on their lacquered surfaces were patterns of wonderful intricacy, patterns on different scales, patterns nested within patterns, all surrounded by clusters of tendrils and leaves.

These geometric and scrolling motifs seemed somehow familiar to me, though it did not dawn on my until years later that this was because I had seen them not only in my environment but in my own head, that these patterns resonated with my own inner experience of the intricate tilings and swirls of migraine.

Much later still, when I first saw photographs of the Alhambra, with its intricate geometric mosaics, I started to wonder whether what I had taken to be a personal experience and resonance might in fact be part of a larger whole, whether certain basic forms of geometric art, going back for tens of thousands of years, might also reflect the external expression of universal experiences. Migraine-like patterns, so to speak, are seen not only in Islamic art, but in classical and medieval motifs, in Zapotec architecture, in the bark paintings of Aboriginal artists in Australia, in Acoma pottery, in Swazi basketry — in virtually every culture. There seems to have been, throughout human history, a need to externalize, to make art from, these internal experiences, from the decorative motifs of prehistoric cave paintings to the psychedelic art of the 1960s. Do the arabesques in our own minds, built into our own brain organization, provide us with our first intimations of geometry, of formal beauty?

Whether or not this is the case, there is an increasing feeling among neuroscientists that self-organizing activity in vast populations of visual neurons is a prerequisite of visual perception — that this is how seeing begins. Spontaneous self-organization is not restricted to living systems — one may see it equally in the formation of snow crystals, in the roilings and eddies of turbulent water, in certain oscillating chemical reactions. Here, too, self-organization can produce geometries and patterns in space and time, very similar to what one may see in a migraine aura. In this sense, the geometrical hallucinations of migraine allow us to experience in ourselves not only a universal of neural functioning, but a universal of nature itself.
This article is related to these precursor articles Za'irajah, Ars Generalis Ultima, and Undulipodium- I hadn't forgotten, I just got distracted by work and current events for few days....,

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

America's Most Miserable City

No. 1 - Detroit, Mich. (Not counting the highest foreclosure rate in the nation.)
Commute times 80
Income tax rates 87
Superfund sites 135
Unemployment 149
Violent crimes 150
Weather 95

Misery Measure 696

Motown is the worst in the country when it comes to violent crime, with an annual rate of 1,251 crimes for every 100,000 residents. Unemployment in the area is below the double-digit rates it hit in the early 1990s, but at 8.5% over the past three years, it is still the second-highest in the country among the 150 largest metro areas.

Ranks are based on the 150 largest metro areas.

Sources: Bert Sperling; Moody's; U.S. Census Bureau

Imagine living in a city with the country's highest rate for violent crime and the second-highest unemployment rate. As an added kicker you need more Superfund dollars allocated to your city to clean up contaminated toxic waste sites than just about any other metro.

Unfortunately, this nightmare is a reality for the residents of Detroit. The Motor City grabs the top spot on Forbes' inaugural list of America's Most Miserable Cities.

Baraka SOBU?

So, I'm checking my email this morning, and much to my surprise is this item of no small controversy cc'd to me from one of the Kwaku nets comprised mainly of my elders it's from Roland Martin's Essence Newsletter;
Sen. Barack Obama took a lot of heat last year from participants in Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union annual confab, which was held in Virginia. To be fair, he was a little busy that day...announcing HE WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!

Some of the folks there were besides themselves, and frankly, were childish about it, even saying that he should have put off his presidential announcement to be there.

Now, almost a year later, he is faced with a similar dilemma.

Tavis has announced that he will hold his State of the Black Union annual talkfest on Feb. 23 in New Orleans, La. This is a huge event attended by thousands each year; broadcast on C-SPAN; and attracts some of the nation's top black activists, politicians and intellectuals.

During his commentary Thursday on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the most listened to black radio show, Tavis said he's invited the three top candidates, Republican frontrunner, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He said only one has accepted, and he will wait until tomorrow for the other two to decide.

He didn't say which one decided to attend, but on Friday, Clinton announced that she was attending.

In his commentary, Smiley said he was going to snap on those who don't attend on Tuesday's show, demanding that they own up to black issues and zero in on social justice issues as outlined in the book he edited, "The Covenant with Black America."
Martin says Obama ought to skip Smiley's State of the Black Union.

Clinton has no choice but to attend.

McCain doesn't matter.

Question of the Day: Do you think Sen. Barack Obama should attend Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union event in New Orleans on Feb. 23?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Georgia and the Coming Resource Wars

It's official: the era of resource wars is upon us. In a major London address, British Defense Secretary John Reid warned that global climate change and dwindling natural resources are combining to increase the likelihood of violent conflict over land, water and energy. Climate change, he indicated, “will make scarce resources, clean water, viable agricultural land even scarcer”—and this will “make the emergence of violent conflict more rather than less likely.”

Although not unprecedented, Reid’s prediction of an upsurge in resource conflict is significant both because of his senior rank and the vehemence of his remarks. “The blunt truth is that the lack of water and agricultural land is a significant contributory factor to the tragic conflict we see unfolding in Darfur,” he declared. “We should see this as a warning sign.”

Resource conflicts of this type are most likely to arise in the developing world, Reid indicated, but the more advanced and affluent countries are not likely to be spared the damaging and destabilizing effects of global climate change. With sea levels rising, water and energy becoming increasingly scarce and prime agricultural lands turning into deserts, internecine warfare over access to vital resources will become a global phenomenon.

Comes now P6 with this fascinating little glimpse from the twilight zone in which the ongoing southeastern drought has Georgia revisting a nearly 200 year old border dispute with Tennessee;
"It's never too late to right a wrong," said Georgia state Sen. David Shafer (R), whose bill would create a boundary-line commission that aims to resolve the dispute.
Good. Now about those reparations for slavery.
But on the serious tip - there is about to be a heat-up under the law about sovereign control of territory - given the implications for big business, unbridled growth, and the continuing viability of the obviously unsustainable sprawl that is Atlanta;
Nearly two centuries after a flawed survey placed Georgia's northern border just short of the Tennessee River, some legislators are thirsting to set the record straight.

A historic drought has added urgency to Georgia's generations-old claim that its territory should extend about a mile farther north and reach into the Tennessee -- a river with about 15 times the flow of the one Atlanta depends on for water.

"It's never too late to right a wrong," said Georgia state Sen. David Shafer (R), whose bill would create a boundary-line commission that aims to resolve the dispute.

The reaction of Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D): "This is a joke, right?"

No joke gov. Georgia desperately needs that water, and it's coming at you to get it by any means necessary. Really though, it's not like you expect the Federal government to intervene constructively here, do you? Civil and infrastructural engineers have already pegged the cost of getting Atlanta's water storage capacity up to snuff at $300 Billion dollars. It'd be a helluva lot cheaper to simply sue and steal the desperately needed water from Tennessee based on a 200 year old dispute over territorial precision.

Technosexual Tragedy...,

Since I'm on a crooks and liars tear this afternoon, I GOT to put in my two cents here with Scottie Maurice Pippen and Bigfoot;

I would absolutely love to see Tonya Reiman get ahold of these two - but given the stanktabulous nature of her primary funding source, THAT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

fist tap to UCBM for originally cracking me up with Kwame's real deal....,