The River

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cold* War II: the oil wars

Mark Ames of the eXile backgrounds Russia's moves in his excellent Putin vs. Cheney narrative.

His summary:

Democracy isn't about giving people the right to vote, giving them a say in their lives and a sense of dignity. It's about serving America's interests. And serving America's interests, to the current regime, is defined as serving the interests of the oil oligarchs in Houston, where Cheney spent the previous ten years of his cartoon-villain life.

In fact, the definition of democracy is even more narrow than that. America's interests are Cheney's interests. Il est l'etat. In that sense, Putin is indeed a menace. And that's what makes this Cold War so different. Whereas the last one was a mortal struggle over two different systems, this is a struggle between two short, balding, bloodless men, and the oil - other people's oil - that made them as powerful as they are today.


(*cold = hot)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Scientists: Island 'Hobbit' is another species

But what about Fobbits?

Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, August 9, 2005

Let them eat bombs

via ufob

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bad news

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan passes two fishermen in their small boat as it leaves for its second deployment in a year from North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, California January 27, 2007. The Reagan is headed to the Persian Gulf to support war efforts in Iraq. REUTERS/Fred Greaves (UNITED STATES) via Yahoo News


Iran warned on Iraq

Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:02pm ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush vowed on Monday to respond firmly if Iran foments violence in Iraq and the White House urged Tehran to play a constructive role in the region.


Bush Poised to Stake His All on Iraq Victory

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
January 6, 2007, 9:39 PM (GMT+02:00)

And the White House is making sure that Adm. Fallon has plenty of resources to deploy, a veritable buildup, the second in four months, in the Persian Gulf and other waters opposite Iran. The USS John C. Stennis strike group is heading for the Persian Gulf with a mighty air arm of 9-10 fighter-bomber squadrons. Saturday, some sources reported that another task force, the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group, had been ordered out of Sand Diego on Jan. 4 and was heading in the same direction.

Military observers in the US and Middle East noted that the group’s commander, Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller, reiterated: “When we deploy for real-world operations, Carrier Strike Group 7 will be an example of how the Navy is able to carry out our mission any time, anywhere in the world.”

The original announcement that the Stennis strike group will this month join the USS Dwight Eisenhower aircraft carrier group and USS Boxer strike force in the Persian Gulf described the deployment “as a warning to Syria and Iran” in face of acts seen as provocative, and to give commanders more flexibility in the region.

Deployment of the Stennis group puts a total of 16,000 US sailors in the region as well as another nuclear carrier and 7 escort warships, 10 air squadrons, 2 submarines and helicopters to support amphibious landings on enemy soil.

This massed naval, air and marine forces assembled should provide credible evidence of the lengths the United States is prepared to go to keep Iran, Syria or Hizballah from interfering with the all-out American attempt to stabilize Iraq.

While the Stennis group has a high capability for sowing sea mines across broad stretches of water, thus threatening to disable the Iranian army and corking up its oil export outlets, the Ronald Reagan has the opposite and supplementary operational capability of sweeping up marine mines and explosive charges should Tehran blockade the Persian Gulf and Hormuz Strait against American warships and outgoing oil shipping from Iraq and Arabian oil centers.

Forget the "stablizing Iraq" nonsense above. It's obvious the wheels are in motion to expand the war into Iran in the near future. According to a credible post at Adored by Hordes, a third aircraft carrier in the gulf is a sure sign.

UPDATE: An excellent backgrounder on the buildup to war with Iran at Raw Story (via toteota), including this important fact:

In May 2003, with pressure for regime change intensifying within the US, Iran made efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution with the United States. According to Lawrence Wilkerson, then-Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, these efforts were sabotaged by Vice President Cheney.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is fearmongering the world's number one sport?

The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: Is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "Hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride ..." But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus-- murdered; Martin Luther King-- murdered; Malcolm X-- murdered; Gandhi-- murdered; John Lennon-- murdered; Reagan ... wounded. But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.

-- Bill Hicks

Monday, January 22, 2007

the rumor of the century

American Samizdat points to an article on Information Liberation (subtitle: The news you're not supposed to know) titled Iran's President Did Not Say "Israel must be wiped off the map"

You probably knew that already, but here is a definitive write-up for the archives, if nothing else.

Lost in America

Do not rent How I Got Into College. Oh, you weren’t planning to? Never heard of it?

It’s a late ‘80s teen comedy, one of a slew of them comprising a mini-genre exclusive to a time and place – America, the 1980s, with some late-70s product thrown in. You know, Animal House, Caddyshack, Back to School.

So you want me to tell you about how it sucked? It didn’t. That’s not why you should avoid it. It’s actually sweet, innocent, romantic, playful, inventive, joyous, and feisty. That is why you should avoid it. Life in these united states in this early 21st century bears little resemblance.

I watched it at a friend’s house over the weekend. We’d seen it when it was new. I loved it then, and I loved it all over again. The difference is, I once believed it. It’s what I’d want life to be like. Hell, I could have written it. Not then, but now.

I guess I’d make it more cynical now. Or I’d write it knowing of its naivete, but wanting to inspire nonetheless.

How I Got Into College is about having dreams and following them, even if that simply means following a girl. It’s about love of something larger than yourself – in this case, a small liberal arts college. It’s ultimately about two American Dreams. One typically cold and calculating: money and power are the ultimate goals and any means in pursuit are justified; the other about celebrating individualism, diversity, equal opportunity, and the life of the mind.

So don’t rent this film and subject yourself to a stark reminder of how far and how fast we’ve slid into the chasm of the former, morally bankrupt dream, and how distant seems our belief in true higher learning, our better instincts, and openness to change.

In How I Got Into College the good guys and girls win. Right now, America, by contrast, is lost.


Written four years ago, a few weeks before the United States committed the supreme crime against humanity, unprovoked aggression, war and occupation.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A working class hero is something to be

Since the 1960s, Lewistown’s population had decreased by twenty-nine percent. Around 12,000 resided in the borough when it was named an All-American City in 1973. By 2004, only 8,000 were left within the city limits. And though there were fewer people competing for employment openings, even dead-end jobs became increasingly difficult to find. The options for high school graduates ebbed. Grandfathers, fathers, and sons who had defined themselves by their lineage at plants searched for something different. Their old factories were left standing, mausoleums of the town’s industrial past. The windows were boarded up; the insides were stripped, boxed, and shipped overseas. Parking lots the size of football fields sat empty.

-- JV, "Down to the River"

Twenty-five years ago, Bruce Springsteen saw the destruction of corporate rule, and he wrote the sung the story from the working man's point of view, because life goes on, even as a war rages.

"Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Taken on a national level, I can definitively answer that question now.

Which leaves me in the same boat as Robert, whose thoughts were published on

I am like "Neo", just without any skills, answers or super-powers. I'm useless, but getting wise.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A blinkered, shallow, brittle state

deobfuscation zone:

The subjective feeling for so many: - stretched on the rack of endless labour in capitalism, with no prospect of self-determination, expression, stability, fruitfulness, respite. despair, crushedness, powerlessness; endless and worsening ills; no security; no saviour.

While at the other extreme, a minority "enjoys" individualistic, necessarily materialistic and reality-contradicted solipsistic superficial elations or satisfactions (a happiness that must be so - must be solipsistic and contradicted - because of global situations, which by definition affect all of us and all our descendents).

A blinkered, shallow, brittle state, which cannot countenance the reality in the world, for the horror - above all existential - that it presents: that there is no "big other" guarantor of security and well-being, nor of the validity and meaning of our lives; and indeed our alcoves of temporary stability and security and comfort are guaranteed at the expense of these attributes, for others now, and for us all in the future. Our corporate-created consumer ego-armoured separated refuge-seeking individualities cannot truly face this or do so in yawing moments of clarity which might send us scuttling to conservatism or liberalism, unless chains of experience or a plank of empathy don't let us.


Monday, January 15, 2007

On blogging

Caryl Johnston, From the Catacombs:

The posts on the Pope’s speech at Regensburg marked a beginning of something that culminated with yesterday’s post -- the start of a developmental process. In those posts I addressed the question of the Pope’s reference to Islam, but the issue of the real substance of his speech – about Western reason, the Logos – was deferred. It went underground, so to speak, only to emerge yesterday. While writing yesterday's post I became aware of a thread, or an inner logic, and looking back, I seemed to see one – at least dimly.

The Regensburg posts were followed by a couple of posts about Islam. This occurred at the time that I became acquainted with the “New English Review” and its stable of writers, with whom I carried on a brief and rather heated exchange. The "New English Review" people are haters, and reading their endless, vituperative and one-sided screeds against Muslims, as I did for a while, made me almost physically sick. I believe this experience sparked my inquiry into the Soul, which took effect in the post about the Christian Fathers in the Orthodox tradition. This post was followed by three on economy, atheism, and apocalypse.

There is no discernible pattern, perhaps, yet I felt that there had been a continuity in this series, in contrast to ones I had done earlier. Each post seemed to arise dynamically in some way out of the previous one. I hate to confess the smallness and insignificance of this insight, but so it is. Ours is the time of spiritual impoverishment, and if even a tiny insight can work its way through the mechanical, emotional, and psychic levels of our awareness to suggest a guiding thread, a deeper unity – well, then, such a thread, no matter how slight, must be our means of working out of the automatic reactions and impositions of our intellect.


That's why "The River" is an excellent name for a blog, particularly one that includes inquiries into the soul.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I read the news today, oh boy

Children of Men

Basically, the new dystopian sci-fi thriller is a documentary.

For the battle scenes, substitute the urban warfare of Iraq.

For the scapegoating and caging of immigrants, substitute “terrorists” and Halliburton detention camps.

For the suicide drug Quietus, substitute Prozac.

For troops on the streets, substitute post-Katrina New Orleans or present-day Baghdad, or....

For The Uprising, substitute Hezbollah or Hamas.

For the infertility epidemic, substitute despair due to pollution, global warming, and the tyranny of elite scumbags.

For the pot-smoking, philosophizing Michael Caine, substitute you and me.

And for the birth, substitute the second coming, hope, and salvation, obviously.

It wasn’t, in my estimation, the great film many critics have hailed it to be, but it has cultural awareness, hip black humor, and a great soundtrack to recommend it. Click here to hear a good example, Running the World, by Jarvis Cocker.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Point, counterpoint

Sic Semper Tyrannis has an excellent political discussion cooking.

It’s full of insights into the ongoing elite entrenchment as their power fantasies collide with social realities, leading to domino-effect catastrophes.

The discussion flows from a post by Walrus, who says pulling out of Iraq would mean, “A decade of soul searching and reform about the electoral system, the media, campaign finance, lobbying and similar issues will occur - sharply reducing the powers of the current ruling class to manipulate Americans so easily.”

He concludes that since the neocons treasure public manipulation slightly more than Gollum treasured The Ring, they will surge escalate the war in Iraq and eventually bomb Iran.

Some posters point out that once the smoke clears, failure will be blamed on the “lack of will behind the plan.” The media will sell the sacrifices (cough) as having been worth it, in any case. Business is booming and the gravy train will be stopping in your neighborhood any day now.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Add Joe Bageant to the ranks of the 9/11 skeptics

Joe publishes a letter that wonders at his apparent dismissal of 9/11 conspiracy theorists. The letter says, in part:

The staging of terrorist and false flag attacks is encrusted in the globalist's agenda. It serves the international banks, energy industry, defense industry, and above all those who want to consolidate power. The Gulf of Tonkin, Lavon Affair, U.S.S. Liberty attack, and Operation Northwoods should be enough evidence to convince people that our government (and others) can and will stage false attacks to sway public opinion. They will kill their own citizens.


Joe assures the reader: "Believe me, I will deal with it [9/11] directly when the time presents itself and an increasing number of facts can no longer be denied by the American public."

Mr. Bageant also has a new essay up, Dispatch from the Chinese Landfill


Once again, the country mourns a great loss (James Brown) as the media lionizes a dead president. It happened in '04 with Reagan and Ray Charles.

Sign at the Flying J gas station in Commerce, Georgia

Courtesy of andy2000