Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for November 16th, 2007

If you want to live off the grid…

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Take a look at this house. Place that on some arable land in a good location, with a eye to the likely effects of global warming, and you’re set.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 November 2007 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

ThinkBaby bottles

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Via a comment, I find ThinkBaby bottles: unbreakable plastic free of dangerous chemicals. If you have babies, these look like just the ticket.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 November 2007 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health

What will happen if the US leaves Iraq?

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Based on the British experience, a drop in violence. From ThinkProgress:

After Britain partially withdrew forces from southern Iraq in September, the White House slandered its “closest ally,” claiming “British forces have performed poorly in Basra” and suggested “it’s best that they leave.”

The White House should take notice of what has happened in Basra as British troops have left. According to Maj. Gen. Graham Binns, commander of British forces in Basra, the presence of British troops instigated violence. Now, violence has reportedly dropped to one-tenth that of earlier levels:

The presence of British forces in downtown Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, was the single largest instigator of violence, Maj. Gen. Graham Binns told reporters Thursday on a visit to Baghdad’s Green Zone.

“We thought, ‘If 90 percent of the violence is directed at us, what would happen if we stepped back?,’” Binns said.

Sectarian tensions in Basra, a predominantly Shiite city, are not as high in other parts of Iraq, but “it has seen major fighting between insurgents and coalition troops.” British Defense Secretary Des Browne observed last month:

The people of that city are no longer subject to the significant level of violence that was directed against the British forces and our allies.

In April, 12 British troops were killed in Iraq in contrast to just 1 in October. Furthermore, “British officials expected a spike in such ‘intra-militia violence’ after they pulled back from the city’s center, and were surprised to find none,” Binns said.

When announcing a further withdrawal in early October, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Basra was “calmer” since British forces handed over their base in early September. “Indeed, in the last month, there have been five indirect fire attacks on Basra Air Station compared with 87 in July,” he observed.

While the region still sees ongoing volatility, the lesson learned by the British — that they provoked violence instead of quelling it — is one that can be applied to the U.S. presence in Iraq as well.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 November 2007 at 2:02 pm

The Money Party, taking over politics

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An excellent post, third in a series. (Links to first two at end.)

Big Lies that You Must Believe

Michael Collins
Washington, D.C.

Because if you don’t, the whole scam may fall apart.

In the first two parts of this ongoing series on The Money Party, we discussed the fact that there is only one political party in the United States, The Money Party. It has two wings, Republican and Democratic. That party represents excessive concentrations of wealth in the hands of corporations, other organizations, and individuals. They put up the money and get what they pay for every time.

They make sure that the election system is rigged to rely on money like a junkie relies on heroin. The system takes care of them. They don’t have to obey the same rules that we do. Why? Because they’re above the law.

The Money Party owns the mainstream media entirely. NBC is really General Electric, ABC is Disney, CBS was Viacom but now it’s just the name for a mega-corporation, and Fox is News Corp., the Rupert Murdoch financial empire. That’s why it’s called the corporate media. They’re publicity shops, “corporate communications divisions,” owned and controlled by Money Party members.

Their job is to emulate George Orwell’s “1984” by generating meaningless concepts that bind us to false choices.

It’s a series of interconnected lies. Let’s look at some of the key lies that we must believe to keep them in power.

Big lie 1: “We’re the world’s leading democracy.” Not since Bush-Cheney took over. We’re dropping fast. Maybe it has something to do with the Patriot Act and all that illegal wire tapping of U.S. citizens? Maybe it has something to do with a Congress that does nothing to stop an out of control president. Ratings on democracy show us behind 14 other countries.

Big lie 2: “Just let the markets handle it. The free enterprise system will work it out.” This is supposed to appeal to our love of capitalism. Well, we don’t have capitalism in the United States.

We have socialism for the rich and survival of the fittest for the rest of us.

When you hear about the wisdom of “the markets,” you know that The Money Party is attacking some new law or regulation that might give us an equal footing and create real competition. The party can’t stand free enterprise because it won’t play any game that it might lose. Count on it. NAFTA – just let the markets handle it. Health care – it’s the market at your service. Pollution – you guessed correctly, it’s a “market thing. “We wouldn’t understand.” Dumping mercury in the Great Lakes, it all makes sense to the party.

Big lie 3: “There are two sides to every issue.” Does that have anything to do with two parties? Where in the world did this come from? Who knows? But the corporate media rides this one into the ground.

Take climate change for example. Two sides, really? Well just about every respectable scientist in the world, at least those who get published in real science journals, says climate change is real, it’s man made, and it’s dangerous. The explanations are varied (many sided) but there’s only one side of the larger issue if you want your children to survive. Climate change is a very real, scary deal. We’re all threatened. But a correction might hurt their short term profits. As a result, the dangerous lies persist brought to you by The Money Party “communications divisions.”

Big lie 4: “The federal government just screws everything up.” Oh, like going to the moon, developing the internet, and providing health insurance (Medicare) for many times less overhead than private health insurance companies. The Money Party hates the government with a passion when it serves the general public. But when the federal government fixes competition so that only big money wins, when it ignores problems that might require some sacrifice, and when it prolongs a war for profits, the federal government is their best friend.

It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just what they do, what they’ve always done…further their own interests at our expense. There used to be some restraint to maintain appearances but the Money Party is now on steroids.

When you see some corporate news reader cock his or her head to deliver a “gem of wisdom,” count on it to be a big fat lie, one that’s essential to justify the theft of our well being for the interests of a very few, their bosses. They don’t care because they don’t have to. We’re the ultimate donors to The Money Party through our hard work, time, and taxes.

The Money Party thinks that they own the country, they know that they own most of the politicians, and they’re 100% sure that they know what we need to believe. These are just a few of the big lies that we hear all the time from the usual suspects. It’s time to wake up, call their bluff, and take the country back.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.

George Orwell

The Money Party (1) – The Essence of Our Political Troubles
The Money Party (2) – Why We Get Such Lousy Leaders and How to Get Rid of Them

Written by LeisureGuy

16 November 2007 at 1:56 pm

Do you feel safer now?

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Look at this (and more here):

A former FBI agent who pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship and then improperly accessing sensitive computer information about Hizbullah was working until about a year ago as a CIA spy assigned to Middle East operations, NEWSWEEK has learned.

The stunning case of Nada Nadim Prouty, a 37-year-old Lebanese native who is related to a suspected Hizbullah money launderer, appears to raise a nightmarish question for U.S. intelligence agencies: could one of the world’s most notorious terrorist groups have infiltrated the U.S. government?

“I’m beginning to think it’s possible that Hizbullah put a mole in our government,” said Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism chief under presidents Clinton and, until 2002, Bush. “It’s mind-blowing.”

A U.S. official familiar with the case said Tuesday that the government’s investigation has uncovered no evidence so far that Prouty, who was employed by the CIA until last week, had compromised any undercover operations or passed along sensitive intelligence information to Hizbullah operatives. After joining the CIA in June 2003, Prouty was an undercover officer for the agency’s National Clandestine Service, the espionage division, working on Middle East–related cases. She was reassigned to a less sensitive position about a year ago, after she first came under suspicion, officials said.

Prosecutors have not charged Prouty with espionage. Nonetheless, the case remains an “ongoing investigation” and “that is obviously something we’re looking at,” a senior law enforcement official said. Her lawyer declined comment today. Under the terms of her plea agreement, she faces six to 12 months behind bars and could be stripped of her U.S. citizenship.

The case is clearly a major embarrassment for both the FBI and CIA and has already raised a host of questions. Chief among them: how did an illegal alien from Lebanon who was working as a waitress at a shish kabob restaurant in Detroit manage to slip through extensive security background checks, including polygraphs, to land highly sensitive positions with the nation’s top law enforcement and intelligence agencies?

Much more at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 November 2007 at 12:35 pm

What has the US become?

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Look at this:

Of all the Bush Administration’s many perversions of the justice system, there is something particularly distressing about the case of Maher Arar. A Canadian software engineer, he was changing planes in JFK on his way home to Canada after a Mediterranean vacation when American law enforcement snatched him up. Arar had been fingered as a terrorism suspect by Canadian authorities. Within a brief period of time, he was interrogated, locked-up and then bundled off to Jordan with directions for transshipment to Syria, a nation known to use torture. Indeed, it was plain from the outset that he was shipped to Syria for purposes of being tortured, with a list of questions to be put to him passed along. Never mind that Syria is constantly reviled as a brutal dictatorship by some Bush Administration figures who openly dream of bombing or invading it… the Syrians, it seems, have a redeeming feature—their willingness to torture the occasional Canadian engineer as a gesture of friendship to the Americans.

In time, the Canadians launched a comprehensive inquiry into the matter, concluded that they were mistaken about Arar. He was cleared, the findings of the commission of inquiry were published, and Arar was given a roughly $10 million award in compensation for the role Canada played in his mistreatment.

Canada, in sum, behaved the way a democratic state is supposed to behave.

But what about the United States? Of course, the governing axiom of the Bush Administration is that it makes no mistakes. So, while intelligence community officials confirm, off the record, that the whole episode involving Arar was a gross mistake involving errors in judgment at every stage and a part-infantile rage, part-Savanarola zeal in the oversight, the official posture continues to be that Arar is a terrorist, so what happened was justified. Arar remains on the no-fly list and is denied entry to the United States.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

16 November 2007 at 12:24 pm

Five readers wanted

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I’d like to find 5 people who would read the semi-final draft of the book and send me comments, suggestions, corrections, impressions, etc., overall and by chapter. The ideal five would be:

  1. 1 person who has never even tried cooking
  2. 2 persons who cook a little but not a lot and are still novices, more or less
  3. 2 persons who cook routinely—not chefs, but comfortable in the kitchen preparing a meal.

I would let you know where to download a PDF of the book (probably sometime this weekend) and would ask that you send your critique to me by Sunday Nov 25. I realize that this is a very busy time of the year, so if you don’t think you can undertake it, that’s quite understandable. But I’m hoping that five will be able to.

If you’re interested, email me (leisureguy.wordpress{at}gmail.com) and let me know whether you are in category 1, 2, or 3 (above). Thanks.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 November 2007 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Books, Recipes

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