Ephemerides

A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

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Monday 16 September 2002

The Git receives a lot of unsolicited email from the inane through bizarre to the sublime. Some of the best is often difficult to verify (time is a big constraint), or give attribution. It's a relief when a major source of interesting material becomes identified and permission received. Stuff like this:

Questions that Won't Be Asked About Iraq 
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) September 11, 2002

[Ron Paul, M.D., represents the 14th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives]

Soon we hope to have hearings on the pending war with Iraq. I am concerned there are some questions that won't be asked -- and maybe will not even be allowed to be asked. Here are some questions I would like answered by those who are urging us to start this war.

1. Is it not true that the reason we did not bomb the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War was because we knew they could retaliate?

2. Is it not also true that we are willing to bomb Iraq now because we know it cannot retaliate -- which just confirms that there is no real threat?

3. Is it not true that those who argue that even with inspections we cannot be sure that Hussein might be hiding weapons, at the same time imply that we can be more sure that weapons exist in the absence of inspections?

4. Is it not true that the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency was able to complete its yearly verification mission to Iraq just this year with Iraqi cooperation?

5. Is it not true that the intelligence community has been unable to develop a case tying Iraq to global terrorism at all, much less the attacks on the United States last year? Does anyone remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that none came from Iraq?

6. Was former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro wrong when he recently said there is no confirmed evidence of Iraq's links to terrorism?

7. Is it not true that the CIA has concluded there is no evidence that a Prague meeting between 9/11 hijacker Atta and Iraqi intelligence took place?

8. Is it not true that northern Iraq, where the administration claimed al- Qaeda were hiding out, is in the control of our "allies," the Kurds?

9. Is it not true that the vast majority of al-Qaeda leaders who escaped appear to have safely made their way to Pakistan, another of our so-called allies?

10. Has anyone noticed that Afghanistan is rapidly sinking into total chaos, with bombings and assassinations becoming daily occurrences; and that according to a recent UN report the al-Qaeda "is, by all accounts, alive and well and poised to strike again, how, when, and where it chooses."

11. Why are we taking precious military and intelligence resources away from tracking down those who did attack the United States -- and who may again attack the United States -- and using them to invade countries that have not attacked the United States?

12. Would an attack on Iraq not just confirm the Arab world's worst suspicions about the US -- and isn't this what bin Laden wanted?

13. How can Hussein be compared to Hitler when he has no navy or air force, and now has an army 1/5 the size of twelve years ago, which even then proved totally inept at defending the country?

14. Is it not true that the constitutional power to declare war is exclusively that of the Congress? Should presidents, contrary to the Constitution, allow Congress to concur only when pressured by public opinion? Are presidents permitted to rely on the UN for permission to go to war?

15. Are you aware of a Pentagon report studying charges that thousands of Kurds in one village were gassed by the Iraqis, which found no conclusive evidence that Iraq was responsible, that Iran occupied the very city involved, and that evidence indicated the type of gas used was more likely controlled by Iran not Iraq?

16. Is it not true that anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 US soldiers have suffered from Persian Gulf War syndrome from the first Gulf War, and that thousands may have died?

17. Are we prepared for possibly thousands of American casualties in a war against a country that does not have the capacity to attack the United States?

18. Are we willing to bear the economic burden of a 100 billion dollar war against Iraq, with oil prices expected to skyrocket and further rattle an already shaky American economy? How about an estimated 30 years occupation of Iraq that some have deemed necessary to "build democracy" there?

19. Iraq's alleged violations of UN resolutions are given as reason to initiate an attack, yet is it not true that hundreds of UN Resolutions have been ignored by various countries without penalty?

20. Did former President Bush not cite the UN Resolution of 1990 as the reason he could not march into Baghdad, while supporters of a new attack assert that it is the very reason we can march into Baghdad?

21. Is it not true that, contrary to current claims, the no-fly zones were set up by Britain and the United States without specific approval from the United Nations?

22. If we claim membership in the international community and conform to its rules only when it pleases us, does this not serve to undermine our position, directing animosity toward us by both friend and foe?

23. How can our declared goal of bringing democracy to Iraq be believable when we prop up dictators throughout the Middle East and support military tyrants like Musharaf in Pakistan, who overthrew a democratically-elected president?

24. Are you familiar with the 1994 Senate Hearings that revealed the U.S. knowingly supplied chemical and biological materials to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and as late as 1992 -- including after the alleged Iraqi gas attack on a Kurdish village?

25. Did we not assist Saddam Hussein's rise to power by supporting and encouraging his invasion of Iran? Is it honest to criticize Saddam now for his invasion of Iran, which at the time we actively supported?

26. Is it not true that preventive war is synonymous with an act of aggression, and has never been considered a moral or legitimate US policy?

27. Why do the oil company executives strongly support this war if oil is not the real reason we plan to take over Iraq?

28. Why is it that those who never wore a uniform and are confident that they won't have to personally fight this war are more anxious for this war than our generals?

29. What is the moral argument for attacking a nation that has not initiated aggression against us, and could not if it wanted?

30. Where does the Constitution grant us permission to wage war for any reason other than self-defense?

31. Is it not true that a war against Iraq rejects the sentiments of the time-honored Treaty of Westphalia, nearly 400 years ago, that countries should never go into another for the purpose of regime change?

32. Is it not true that the more civilized a society is, the less likely disagreements will be settled by war?

33. Is it not true that since World War II Congress has not declared war and -- not coincidentally -- we have not since then had a clear-cut victory?

34. Is it not true that Pakistan, especially through its intelligence services, was an active supporter and key organizer of the Taliban?

35. Why don't those who want war bring a formal declaration of war resolution to the floor of Congress?

Ron Paul, M.D., represents the 14th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives.

Forwarded by Raja Mattar

This was sourced from Neil Baird's The News Report that comes out five times a week and is surprisingly lengthy for such a frequent publication. To subscribe, send an email to nbaird at goanna dot net dot au with the subject line: SUBSCRIBE. The Git cannot vouch for the veracity of what you will read, but it will make startling reading for anyone that relies on the Mass Media Moguls' versions of the news. A friend who has known Neil Baird for several years describes him thus: "He talks a lot :-)) But he is intelligent and argues well."

-oOo-

The Git's progress toward digital photography has been rather slow. Worse, even though there is a modern Minolta 35mm SLR in the house, he has stayed with his tried and true Pentax 1000 for many years. It's actually been a lot cheaper to shoot 35mm film and scan it with the CanoScan FS2710 than purchase a digital camera and have no film cost. Fellow DayNoter -- Mike Barkman in New Zealand -- made the shift some time ago and exhibits salon prints of his digital photographs made with a Nikon. Unless you are told, he claims, no-one can tell the difference.

The Git well remembers his earlier days photographing to create interesting images. It took a while to realise why the images he has been making recently are mostly unutterable crap! Transparency film has a severely restricted exposure range compared to the black and white film he used to use exclusively. The Git used to purchase 400 ASA Kodak film in long rolls and load his own cassettes. The film was exposed, developed in one of several different developers for exposure ratings between 100 ASA and 1600 ASA and printed the following day. After shooting several hundred feet, he could visualise the end result while taking the shot. Those negatives cost $A0.02 each all those years ago!

By contrast, the delay between shooting 35 mm transparency, having it developed and scanning it, means that progress toward visualisation of the end result has been non-existent, not merely slow! Also, The Git rationalises, given the potential lifespan of a decent camera, the cost per year is the big issue -- not just the up-front cost. And with no film/development to take account of, that's pretty easy to calculate.

The Git can purchase a Nikon Coolpix 5700 for around $A2,500. Given that technologically it's as good as The Git is ever likely to want, that's a pretty decent price. Over twenty years it's only $A125 per year.

Mike uses a 3.4 megapixel Nikon 990 to make salon prints, so why would I need the more recent, more expensive 5 megapixel 5700? While the 990 comes with a 3:1 zoom, the 5700 has an 8:1 zoom for the equivalent of 28mm to 280mm on a 35mm camera. The Git's Pentax and SWMBO's Minolta max out at 70mm and purchasing something longer has been on the cards for some time. But that's yet another thing to carry about and weigh an old fart down. The other amazing (to The Git) thing about the CP5700 is its weight, a mere 512gm.

All The Git has to do is finish renovating the cottage and sell it. Before that, he needs to recover from his back injury. Mike's comment: "Btw, have you considered a course of Defensive Pedestrianism as a means of avoiding vehicle attacks?"

Thought for the day:

Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life -- learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Robert Fulghum

Current Listening:

Spectrum -- Milesago


Top

Tuesday 17 September 2002

I don't very often read poetry, but this poem interested me. Keith has made several recordings of his work, the only one I have heard is Bugger the music, Give us a poem.

September the Eleventh -- a poem by Keith McKenry

In these awful times, as we struggle to understand what is happening to our world, we must keep in mind the events of the recent past.

At dawn on September the eleventh he received his orders. While others would attack the citadels of commerce and defence To his team would go the greatest honour, That of targeting the President himself.

They would attack by air the central symbol of the Infidel's power -- The Presidential Palace -- And they would take out this obscene man And all who stood by him.

'Democracy' the infidels called it. Let them call it thus And carp at the virtue of 'elections'. Elections were fallible. And now things had to be put right.

He had chosen his team well.

While others might quake at the magnitude Of their mission, they would not flinch.

They boarded the aircraft carrying with them the hopes of all true believers.

They had the support, too, of powerful friends abroad, Of a courageous foreign government that supported their cause, Equipped them, trained them, and put up cash. And when victory was won and the revolution complete

It would recognise them, and give them honour. To it, too, must go the glory.

The plan was meticulous. His destiny - and that of his colleagues - was in his own hands.

Flying low, he turned the aircraft towards the capital And prayed his aim would be true.

* * * The attack succeeded.

The President, given warning by developments elsewhere, Chose to stay in his residence and dared them do their worst. He was dead by evening. His regime -- like his palace -- rubble around him.

He made a final broadcast to the nation. Here is part of what he said:

"This is surely the last opportunity I will have to address you... With my life I will pay for defending the principles Dear to our nation... these are my last words".

And so they were. On September 11 1973

Salvador Allende, President of Chile died, Refusing to flee an air attack on the Presidential Palace. His murderers, a military putsch supported by the government of the United States (The CIA),

Overthrew the democratically-elected government And established a reign of terror that saw thousands murdered.

Thus did the date September 11 First associate terror with the United States.

Keith McKenry (excerpted from Neil Baird's The News Report)

-oOo-

My son Thomas has several friends visiting to play LAN games for a few days. This entailed putting two extra NICs into his machine so he can run two hubs in  his room, one 100 Mb and one 10 Mb. The third NIC is so he can remain connected to the hub in my room that also has the Internet router, DHCP server and firewall. This is the most complex our little home network has ever been. It will be interesting to see how many machines there will be when the event peaks today.

Thought for the day:

Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

Richard Bach

Current Listening:

Carl Orff -- Carmina Burana


Top

Wednesday 18 September 2002

Marguerite remarked that looking into our son Thomas's room last night reminded her of the pictures we used to see of the NASA control centre during the heyday of mankind's first forays into space -- eight teenagers all sitting at their computers. Parties sure are different to when we were teenagers!

The mother of one of those children is a friend we see far too little of. Liz hails from the US, having been born in Ohio. Naturally, having been brought up in New York State, she tells people she is from there, rather than Ohio. Liz stayed for a while for a welcome chinwag and the conversation eventually got around to the contrast between the US and her adopted country, Australia. The Git remarked on the apparent singular lack of debate in the US surrounding the impending incursion by the US into yet another country's politics.

Yesterday's poem surprised some of The Git's readers. Most US readers believe that Salvador Allende was an evil dictator. Liz is a linguist and has worked with many of the Chilean middle class who fled the slaughter following the crushing of democracy in Chile.

From 1970 to 1973, the United States sought to overthrow the government of Chile and its democratically elected president, Dr. Salvador Allende, whom it deemed a Marxist threat to U.S. interests. Under orders from President Richard M. Nixon, the CIA mounted a full-tilt covert operation to keep Allende from taking office and, when that failed, undertook subtler efforts to undermine him. Those efforts "never really ended," the CIA's director of operations at the time, Thomas Karamessines, later told Senate investigators.

Twenty-five years ago last week, on Sept. 11, 1973, the Chilean military seized power, The junta, under Gen. Augusto Pinochet, ruled until 1990. Its death squads murdered more than 3,000 people, and it jailed and tortured thousands more. Chile is still trying to come to terms with the damage done to its democratic institutions.

The declassified government documents excerpted below were collected by the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research group in Washington that has sought to uncover secret records since 1985. They were posted on its website (www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive) on Friday.

They show how much the United States was committed to thwarting Allende even before he took office, and they illustrate a fact that was not well understood during the Cold War: The CIA very rarely acted as a rogue elephant. When it plotted coups and shipped guns to murderous colonels, it did so on orders from the president.

Story here.

Thought for the day:

I cannot give any scientist of any age better advice than this: the intensity of a conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing over whether it is true or not.

Peter Medawar

Current Listening:

Robert Fripp -- God Save the Queen


Top

Thursday 19 September 2002

Tasmania is one of those places where if you don't like the weather, you "just have to wait five minutes!" Today the wind blew at gale force and there were periods of gentle zephyrs, it was cold, it snowed, it hailed, it rained and it was sunny and mild. A typical spring apart from the snow.

At last we believe we know what has been happening with our Bosky cook stove. The information will likely apply to many a wood-burner, or other solid fuel stove with a wetback for heating water. The banging noise is apparently the collapsing of bubbles of steam. When the water is sufficiently above the temperature at which this happens, it boils and the noise is a more bearable gurgling, though it is accompanied by bursts of water from the expansion pipe that ejects water with some force some 2.5 metres (8 ft) above the steel roof. That makes quite a racket.

The cause of the problem is an excessive build-up of heat in the hot water cylinder, exacerbated by the plumber's insistence on plumbing the hot water circuit with 3/4 inch pipe and making the expansion pipe 5/8 inch. All should have been a minimum of 25 mm (one inch). The water cylinder to comply with modern energy-efficiency requirements is very well insulated. The diagram below shows how we intended to run several hot water radiators from the system, but were persuaded not to by the double-glazing salesman. He suggested we would not need the supplementary heat. 

A further problem is that we cannot run off the excess hot water without it first being mixed with cold in the legally required tempering valve.

Diagram of hot water, stove circuit

At this stage it looks like we will have to cut out a large area of plaster board in The Great Hall to access the expansion pipe to replace it. There's already a hole in the wall adjacent to the stove where the plumber reluctantly replaced the hot water out from the stove to the cylinder, so replacing the cold return should not prove too difficult. At this point in time, we can ill-afford the cost of radiators and plumbing them in, though hopefully the cottage will be sold before next winter and then we can install them where heat from the stove does not readily reach through air convected through the house.

The Git's interim solution is to tee in to where the line will run to the radiators in future and put in a gate valve. The line from the valve will run down to the tank that collects runoff from the roof where it can be pumped when that tank fills in the usual way. The valve will need to be turned on when the water temperature rises to the critical point as we will be able to determine from the water temperature gauge on the stove. We will just need to remember to shut it off before going to bed in the evenings.

Thought for the day:

No enemy is worse than bad advice.

Sophocles

Current Listening:

Handel -- Water Music


Top

Friday 20 September 2002

The following transcript is from a series of radio broadcasts made by Public Radio News Services, Melbourne, Australia, October-November 1986. The main topic was the overthrow of the Whitlam government in November 1975.

Tony Douglas: The Central Intelligence Agency or CIA was set up in 1947 when the United States Congress passed the National Security Act. Since then the CIA with its large and secret budget has involved itself in the politics of nearly every country in the world. One of its four divisions, innocuously entitled PLANS is responsible for covert actions. Covert Action often means the propping up or overturning of foreign governments. I asked Ralph McGehee, a former CIA agent, as to how many governments the CIA had overthrown.

Ralph McGehee: The Agency, of course, overthrew the Mossadegh government of Iran to establish the Shah; it overthrew the government of Guatemala in 54, remnants of it are still in control of that country; it overthrew two Uruguayan governments; the government of Brazil in 64, Chile 73. It tried to overthrow the government of Cuba in 61 with the Bay of Pigs; it conducted invasions of China; it was running guerrilla warfare operations in the Soviet Union, Nepal, Albania; it was involving itself in elections in Italy beginning in 48 up to the 70s, it spent a hundred million dollars in various Italian elections; it was involving itself in elections in Germany. In one country, Syria, I've counted so far that it has conducted at least seven attempts to overturn the governments there. I don't know how many were successful -- I haven't got into that area. But the Middle East has been the sort of favourite playground of covert operations. In Africa, of course, the same thing. They are trying right now to overthrow the government of Angola. Recently, they tried to overthrow the government of Ethiopia. I'd say that I don't think there is a government in Latin America that has neither been overthrown nor supported by the CIA. And probably I could say much the same for governments in the Middle East and, less to do, in Africa.

While it's possible that the main source of terrorism is Iraq, there's any number of other countries that resent US terrorism. The US has spent a lot of money over the last 50 years terrorising nations too small to fight back. Which mouse roared and which mouse will roar next if Iraq is converted to a slag-heap? Whoever was responsible for the WTC destruction, they didn't need weapons of mass destruction.

Perhaps it's time that George Bush stopped rattling sabres and thought instead of making some sort of amends for past US aggression. While here in Australia the toppling of the Whitlam government is balanced against welcome US support during World War II, many countries have no reason to thank the US --rather the reverse. The Git suspects that creating more enemies who will follow the example of using US technology against the US on its own soil is Not A Sensible Idea.

Thought for the day:

The greatest evil is not done in those sordid dens of evil that Dickens loved to paint ... but is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.

C. S. Lewis

Current Listening:

Trouble -- After the War


Top

Saturday 21 September 2002

Most laypeople think of science as being precise, a not unusual presumption given scientists' propensity for using precise numbers. For instance, the amount of global warming expected over the next 100 years is quoted to one tenth of a Fahrenheit degree. It's rare to find a study that admits so much about the shaky ground on which it's discipline is based. State Climatologist, Dr. John Christy, tried to answer what most people might consider a simple question: "When was the hottest summer in North Alabama?":

What he found were enough breaks, bends and gaps in the data to change the 108-year temperature trend for the area from cooling by 0.07 degrees C per decade to cooling by 0.13 degrees C per decade. Over the course of a century, that means the average temperature has dropped about one degree Fahrenheit more than previously reported in the unadjusted data (-2.34 degrees F vs -1.26 degrees F).

After all of the quirks and kinks were worked out, Christy found that with an average high temperature of almost 35 degrees C (about 95 degrees F) the summer of 1925 was probably the warmest in the North Alabama climate record.

But the summer of 1925 only qualifies as probably the warmest because five other warm summers (1930, 1936, 1943, 1952 and 1954) were all within the 0.4 degrees C margin of error.

"When someone talks about the entire globe having its hottest year, the public needs to understand how difficult it is to find scientifically reliable long-term climate data just for one spot in the U.S., where we have extensive networks of weather stations and careful data storage," Christy said. "There are margins of error associated with those statements, but those errors are rarely communicated in the media."

Full story here.

-oOo-

The weather ameliorated a little yesterday and The Git walked through the muddy surrounds of The House of Steel. The septic and sullage trenches, saturated by rainfall, have water lying on the surface. The peas I sowed a month ago have germinated. Had I not mixed sand with my garden soil last year, they would surely all have rotted. As it is, I notice gaps between the 5 mm high seedlings and hope that they fill when the weather abates. This morning we have torrential rain again.

-oOo-

Yesterday afternoon, Fran came by and we went to visit Paul and Jackie's new house of steel and silk-painting studio. The house is just 8 metres (26 ft) square and two stories. The inside is close to finished and they moved in yesterday. It has a very English cottage feel inside, despite the modern corrugated steel exterior. Fran noted that the whole house would almost fit into The Great Hall. The studio is a separate building connected with a walkway. The light was poor and the wall cladding is incomplete, so The Git will need to return soon to photograph this delightful dwelling.

Jackie and Paul dined with us Wednesday evening and The Git served stewed ox-tails. Neither Paul, nor Jackie had ever eaten them before. As we were leaving, Jackie said: "We are having ox-tails for dinner tonight. Thank you!" The Git remembers when ox-tails were almost a giveaway at the butchers. Now they are yuppie-food! 

To cook ox-tails, just put them in a casserole with a little water and cook very slowly until tender. The meat should be almost falling off the bones. This takes several hours. Check after the first hour, that the level of liquid has risen to cover the meat. Add more water if required. Stock instead of water is redundant in this dish, though on Wednesday, The Git drizzled a small amount of white wine and a smaller amount still of balsamic vinegar over the meat this time to tenderise the flesh. Usually, he cooks it in two goes on consecutive days, skimming any excess fat in the interval, not necessary on this occasion as they were not very fatty. The stock is rich with gelatine from the bones and the meat rich in flavour. It's The Git's favourite meat, followed closely by lamb-necks.

-oOo-

Just for laughs -- Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My Ass.

Thought for the day:

The scientific mind does not so much provide the right answers as ask the right questions.

Claude Levi-Strauss

Current Listening:

Chicken Shack -- Stan the Man


Top

Sunday 22 September 2002

Honesty in advertising. 

A House of the Week ad in the Narooma News: ...The owners have created a home which excludes character and charm...

-oOo-

And more news:

The Anglo-American Terror

How many people know that by the end of 1999 the Anglo-American air forces had flown more than 6,000 sorties against Iraq, dropping over 1,800 bombs? How many people know that by early 2001 the bombardment of Iraq had lasted longer than the US invasion of Vietnam?

Did you read about it in the papers and see the images on TV? If not, ask yourself why didn't you know that there's been an undeclared war for 10 years?

This isn't anti-American propaganda. Here's the New York Times in 1999: "American warplanes have methodically and with virtually no public discussion been attacking Iraq. In the last eight months, American and British pilots have fired more than 1,100 missiles against 359 targets in Iraq. This is triple the number of targets attacked in four furious days of strikes in December." (Steve Myers, New York Times, 13/8/99)

The phrase "virtually no public discussion" says it all. If ordinary people in the West are unaware that there's been an unrelenting Anglo-American bombardment of Iraq for 10 years it says a lot about the mainstream media.

Grammar point

Myers wrote, "in four furious days". Days aren't furious though people often are. Myers' sentence was a perfect example of what was once known grammatically as the transferred epithet or hypallage.

Antonia Feitz from Neil Baird's The News Report.

-oOo-

And from my email:

I've been following the discussion of what Pournelle calls "Imperial America" for a while now on your site. Personally, I'm getting really, REALLY fed up with the leadership thinking "well, all we need to do is get rid of Saddam and we'll all be happy again."

I heard a fellow talking on the radio today - last name Friedman, wrote a book about where the September 11 hijackers "Came from" in the metaphysical sense.

He pointed out that most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. The country has a huge population (something like 75% was under 25 according to him, IIRC), and 30% unemployment. The problem is there's a large number of young men who have only to go to Mosque and back daily.

He then pointed out that religion is a mirror of circumstance, which I hadn't put a whole lot of thought into before. But if you are successful and happy, so is your religion. If you are oppressed, downtrodden, poor, and frustrated, so's your religion.

Another factoid that he pointed out was that the country with the most Muslims is Indonesia. India has the second most. And in all of Al Queda, there were no Indian Muslims despite the fact that Indian Muslims are outnumbered something like 85-15. The reason he says for that is that the richest man in India is a Muslim...

Seems to me that if we were smart, we'd go into Afghanistan right now with factories. Dell Computer, other assembly plants, things like that. Make shoes, carpets, all the rest. They would have jobs, and we would have a trade partner.

What scares me about Iraq is the fact that I can see Bush's plan, or lack thereof... He's planning invasion, he's planning assault, the death of Saddam, and the victory parades in the streets. He's not planning who the hell's going to take over there. He's expecting that some leader acceptable to all will step out of the woodwork (given the fact that Saddam's been running that joint for over 20 years, and stomping any opposition leaders who appeared to stick their heads out of their holes).

What disgusts me is that we have this Alfred E. Newman (MAD Magazine) character running the country, the puppet masters behind him seem to think "hell, yes, War's a good idea", and they spend a hell of a lot of time planning for war, and very, very little planning for either the aftermath of war or how to avoid it. And they seem hell-bent on making sure they leave a legacy for their grandchildren that matches what they inherited from their grandparents and parents.

The Git notes that MAD also stands for Mutually Assured Destruction. A Pentagon document titled the Nuclear Posture Review was leaked to the Los Angeles Times. (Bush's Secret 7 Nation Nuclear Hit List Draws World Outrage, Alexandra Williams and Bob Roberts in The Daily Mirror, UK 9-16-2). 

The four areas where the US should be prepared to "press the button", that is use nuclear weapons, are in an Arab-Israeli conflict (against the Arab states); in a war between China and Taiwan (against China); in an attack by North Korea on South Korea (against North Korea); and in an attack by Iraq on Israel or another neighbour (against Arab states).

Clearly the once republican US has drifted a long way from their Major General Smedley Butler's viewpoint that the majority of the world's people would espouse: "I believe in adequate defence at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight... There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket."

Thought for the day:

Evil is not something superhuman, it's something less than human.

Agatha Christie

Current Listening:

Kevin Coyne -- Bursting Bubbles


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