Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Thursday, 15 March 2012
You cant repeat this nor share it - says who? ISP and Police State-ism
Mood:  accident prone
Now Playing: ISP and copyright - Intellectual property
Topic: TECHNOLOGY

Whiskey & Gunpowder
by Jeffrey Tucker

March 16, 2012
Auburn, Alabama, U.S.A.

ISPs as Hirelings for the Police State

-  :: the original article was found here ::  -

http://whiskeyandgunpowder.com/isps-are-hirelings-for-the-police-state/

Remember that battle over SOPA, in which the world's largest websites beat back a congressional threat that would have changed the Internet forever? It was pretty obvious within a day after this Pyrrhic victory that the existing laws in place were enough to give the government the power to wreck the digital world. But how would it happen? How would government end digital freedom?

Well, the excuse is obvious. It is "intellectual property." This phrase serves the same purpose for would-be censors that "terrorism" does for warmongers. It is a way to ramp up government control while kicking sand in the faces of those who would oppose such control. Are you for terrorism? Are you for theft?

It's rather easy to detect normal theft. One day, I have a planter on my porch. The next day, the planter is on your porch, and it got there without my permission. Or one day, I'm driving my car. The next day, you are driving my car because you took it from me in the night. This is the way normal theft occurs. You can tell when it has happened. And the means of redress are obvious.

Now imagine a different scenario. One day, the paragraph above appears on the website for Laissez Faire Books. The next day, it appears on your Facebook page or blog. But it is not thereby removed from lfb.org. Instead, it is copied. A second instance of the paragraph has been created, taking nothing from me. My paragraph still exists. And let's say this happens 10 billion times in the course of a few minutes, as can happen in the digital world.

Is this a case of mass looting, or is it a mass compliment to me?

Copyright law sees this as theft. But how can that be? The whole merit of the digital world rests on the remarkable scalability of everything digitized. That's the basis of the economy of the Internet. Its capacity for inspiring and achieving infinite emulation and sharing is unparalleled in history. It's what makes the Internet different from parchment, vinyl or television. Remove that, and you gut the unique energy of the medium.

Intellectual property law became universal only about 120 years ago. It was gradually expanded over the course of the century, invading the digital realm in the 1980s and expanding its coverage ever since. How do you make copies illegal in a medium that specializes in its capacity for sharing, multiplying, linking and community formation? You need totalitarian control.

But how is the government going to do it? Well, consider how the government went about ramping up the tax state during the 1940s. Instead of just taxing people directly, it leaned on private businesses to do it, via the "withholding tax." Business was forced to become the tax collector for the state. And it was the same with health care. Instead of just mandating universal coverage, it leaned on private business to do the government's bidding. Business became the health care provider through mandate.

The same is now happening with the enforcement of intellectual property on the Web. All the latest reports say that ISPs (Internet service providers) have struck at deal with old-line media companies to start policing the way users of the Internet surf, upload, download and link.

There will be several warnings, and then, presumably, after some point, access will be cut off. They will do this based on the IP address of the user. In other words, ISPs will be doing the dirty work for the state. Probably, they struck the deal just because 1) the laws are already in place, and 2) they are probably trying to avoid a worse fate.

To be sure, some of this is already going on. If you use WordPress or Blogger for blogging, you probably already know this. Open and aggressive violators are presented with notices, whether the violation took place knowingly or not. For several years, YouTube has been blanking out the audio on home videos if the music is under copyright. And innumerable upload sites blast away anything that is under question, presuming guilt before it is proven.

Even an open Creative Commons announcement that grants permission to copy is not always enough. The presumption is that every duplication is a crime. Every upload is suspect, and every download is, too.

And contrary to what people claim, it is not always easy to tell the difference between protected property and common property. Copyright law is notoriously difficult to figure out. Sometimes the answer is obvious, as with material published before 1922. But there is this huge land of publication between that time and 1963 in which renewals are sometimes fuzzy, especially when multiple authors are involved.

Patent is an even worse case. Right now, everyone is suing everyone else for whatever. It has become a wicked game in which the competition takes place not in the arena of consumer service, but in the courts via various forms of trolling and legal blackmail.

In the end, all these disputes are won by the companies with the deepest pockets. I've seen copyright disputes that are settled on this basis alone, regardless of the merits of the case. In the end, it is too expensive for the little guys to defend themselves against large corporate interests, so the little guys invariably relent to avoid super-costly litigation.

This is the way it will be in the future. The big boys will run the show, doing for the state what the state is unable to do for itself, and they will do it on behalf of big corporate interests. This does terrible things to the competitive culture. It does even worse things to the culture of community sharing that has created a vast world of miracles and marvels available to the whole of humanity. It is a case of man's cruelty to man, serving no purpose except the material interests of large corporations that are determined to slow the path of progress for humanity.

However, it is not all dark. Every legal imposition creates incentives for the geeks of the world to find the workaround. There will always be a way. Just as the speak-easies remained open in the 1920s, there will always be zones of freedom in the digital world. And I have no doubt that, in the end, the freedom of information will win this. The tragedy is that there will be many speed bumps along the way to victory.

Regards,

Jeffrey Tucker
Executive editor, Laissez Faire Books


 

2 suggested Zebra3 Report links:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/15/american-isps-to-launch-massive-copyright-spying-scheme-on-july-12/

and

http://torrentfreak.com/piratebox-takes-file-sharing-off-the-radar-and-offline-for-next-to-nothing-120311/


 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Thinking Positive and Creative Outlooks from Ivysea
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: Ivysea information on life changes and uncertainty
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE
http://www.ivysea.com/pages/Seazine_current.html ADOPTING A SPIRIT OF CREATIVE ADVENTUREWe don't always see tension or transition as an invitation to creative adventure, do we?

It can be hard when we're caught up in the stress of change or that place of creative tension, standing at the precipice of the unknown, to see the possibilities for something new and wonderful wanting to be born and experienced, and to give ourselves over to it.

No matter how many times I've been immersed in the creative process, or found myself in that tense, creative transition-space between something ending and something new beginning, I've felt the tension and an almost unbearable restlessness in it.

After all, creativity and stepping into the unknown take a lot of courage, along with a sense of heartful conviction and a strong vision. And we find all of these within us.

There have been times, in that 'unknown' place, when I've retreated to the known and seemingly comfortable. But sometimes, I've found the courage to wait there in that tension, step into the unknown, and let some new thing find expression through me.

When I've found my way to the latter, it's because I've immersed myself in inspiration.

Recently, I've found inspiration from the late Irish Poet, John O'Donohue, who wrote in his book, Beauty, that when 'we begin to awaken to the light of soul … we learn to befriend our complexity and see the dance of opposition within us not as a negative or destructive thing but as an invitation to creative adventure."

The 'light of soul' that O'Donohue speaks of must be tended, nourished, and brought back to life through regular inspiration.

These are often parts of ourselves -- inspiration, imagination, our wild and creative hearts -- that have been exiled in our focus on the 'business of survival', yet they're vital to our creativity, expression, authenticity, and deep meaning.

Yet when we heed their call and begin to reclaim them, we begin to feel whole again -- we feel the depth of inspiration returning to us, awakening our hearts so that we may bring our fuller selves into our relationships, our work, and all else that we do.

Between each of the stages in the creative cycle, we feel the tension and friction that gives heat to the creative process. It can be almost unbearable to wait in that place of tension, and we feel the pull to return to the familiar, the old.

Yet O'Donohue also wrote, in his poem 'For the Interim Time':

"As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown."

If we have the courage and patience to wait, to engage that place of tension as 'creative adventure', something new -- something that has long awaited to finds its voice and expression through us -- can be born.
And then, we find ourselves free, and rooted in 'true ground'. EMBRACING UNCERTAINTY?There's a whole lot going on with most of us these days, isn't there?Navigating change and uncertainty is, to me, a real art, and takes an artist's perspective.Just like with art, it takes inspiration and lots of practice, as well as a willingness to be taken on a journey whose destination isn't quite clear.Over the years, whether I've liked it or not, whether I felt ready for it or not, I've had a lot of practice when it comes to change and uncertainty.The fear that gets stirred up, the fatigue, and the constricted mind-chatter have sometimes been too familiar to me.I've known well the constriction in my body and breathing, too, once the fear-chatter gets triggered.But there's something else, too: an unexpected excitement when I can relax the constriction and find a certain perspective -- and shift the stories and 'broken record' chatter that I'm holding about what's going on.That's where the art and the practice come in -- a sort of creative, curious 'beginner's mind' that also makes good use of the resources and tools I've gathered along the way.And stoking the courage that's tucked away inside of me, too.I'm still practicing, because these days, it seems that there's always something changing, and some new challenge popping up just to keep me on my toes.Does this sound familiar to you?You'll find an article below on one 'mind shift' or perspective that I always find helpful, even if I have to remind myself daily and practice some more.The article includes one of my favorite bits of wisdom from the fab John O'Donahue.  This inspiration was copied from: http://www.ivysea.com/pages/Seazine_current.html   

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PDT
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Who is following me in that car - Read what to do here
Mood:  cheeky
Now Playing: Is a car following you? - read some Ideas on what to do if...
Topic: POLICE

What should you do if you suspect a car has been following you? | Quora Link

 


What You Should Do if You Suspect a Car Is Following You

 

The artile below was copied from KATU

 http://www.katu.com/news/va?vaid=817ef634a0fe2045359f2dcdc2c61257

It's unlikely that most of us will be followed by a car, but chances are you've had a sneaking suspicion before that you'd like to put to rest. To regain your peace of mind, security and investigations expert Brandon Gregg offers up a few tricks to both detect if you're being followed and what you can do about it.

Brandon's answer comes from a question on Quora and provides a lot of detail, but here's the gist:

  • Make four right or left turns. It's unlikely anyone will also be traveling in a complete circle, so if the car is still behind you after 360 degrees you can be fairly certain you are being followed.
  • If you're on the highway, get off and then back on. Again, this is something most people will not do when driving so you're likely being followed if a car is still behind you when you get back on the highway. If this happens, pull over to the side of the highway. If you're being followed by a surveillance team, they will not pull over because it's too obvious. They may, however, wait at the next exit so if you want to lose them don't choose the next exit or the exit that you usually take.

  • If any of these techniques lead you to believe you're being followed, call the police. Brandon elaborates:

    If it's a local police surveillance, dispatch will put the call out and the undercover unit will cancel it and move along for now. If it's feds/state police, they most likely did not tell their brothers in blue about their surveillance and local PD will roll up on the vehicle. Watch them run the plates and then back off. If its a PI or stalker, local PD will light them up, tell them to move along or even let the reporting party know what is going on.

  • Police officers who also posted answers to this question agree that phoning the police is among the first things you should do if you believe you are, indeed, being followed. To read more on the subject, check out the full thread over at Quora.

    What should you do if you suspect a car has been following you? | Quora


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Military Freak - killing soldiers is his job
Mood:  on fire
Now Playing: To put it politely as best as I can = Fuk This Guy
Topic: WAR

Meet an officer who has been
killing soldiers at Ft. Lewis


March Forward logo

 

PTSD misdiagnosis scandal leads to firings

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 It's all smiles for Col. Homas; he's got a sweet job, with no accountability for his actions—even if dozens of wounded soldiers die on his watch.

BY KEVIN BAKER

The author is a former infantry Staff Sergeantwith 28 months in Iraqwho was stationed at Ft. Lewis and went through the medical discharge process at Madigan Healthcare System.

Col. Dallas Homas was administratively removed from his position as head of the Army’s Madigan Healthcare System near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, Army officials announced Feb. 20. Col. Homas, a West Point graduate, had headed the medical center since March 2011.

Col. Homas was removed during an Army inquiry into the practice of intentionally not diagnosing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers. Such a diagnosis entitles one to certain rights, benefits and compensation.

Col. Homas, the commander in charge of making sure soldiers on base are being cared for, denied soldiers their right to medical treatment and other rights to “save taxpayer money”—an absurd statement considering the multi-million dollar defense budget that has unlimited funds for corporate defense contractors, but suddenly “not enough money” when we’re entitled to compensation for legitimate psychological wounds.

Just weeks earlier, two top doctors in charge of PTSD at Ft. Lewis were also fired.

Already, as a result of the inquiry, 14 soldiers have been diagnosed with PTSD after having been being previously misdiagnosed. There is no telling how many more received a bogus diagnosis and are now in Afghanistan, not receiving the treatment they need, and not being awarded the disability and compensation they deserve.

And with record suicides in the Army over the past 3 years—many of which occurred among Ft. Lewis soldiers—it is undeniable that Col. Homas and all other officers and doctors involved in this process have blood on their hands.

Changes a result of public pressure for soldiers, military families, vets

Col. Homas has been removed not because the Army cares about our lives, but because of external pressure. Over the past two years, March Forward! has launched campaign after campaign against the inadequate treatment of soldiers suffering from PTSD. We have exposed several egregious cases to the media, built nationwide pressure through public campaigns, circulated petitions nationwide that garnered thousands of signatures, organized thousands to call and email the Ft. Lewis command, and worked with military family members and soldiers to bring real heat to the officers at Ft. Lewis. In conjunction with our efforts, Ft. Lewis also has at its gates the G.I. coffeehouse Coffee Strong, helping soldiers on base learn about their rights and speak out about mistreatment.

It is no coincidence that the target of so much organizing is now the focus of an Army inquiry and firings.

Col. Homas is typical, not just a bad apple

There is nothing unique about the way Colonial Dallas Homas dealt with soldiers suffering from PTSD who were seeking help. Ft. Lewis is one of the most troubled bases in the U.S. military in regards to suicide.

I remember his predecessor, an officer by the name of Col. Edwards at Madigan hospital when I was just starting my medical discharge process. He interviewed me for roughly thirty seconds before he told the doctors I was fit for duty and had to deploy again. This is what is considered adequate for these officers to make a diagnosis that will impact the rest of our lives—or a diagnosis that will be responsible for soldiers losing them.

They excuse their behavior by accusing us of just faking our symptoms because we are lazy—or, “malingering”. The behavior of officers who accuse service members of “malingering” is not uncommon. What strikes me as odd is that the same officers who will put our lives at risk—but don’t deploy themselves—are so untrusting of enlisted soldiers who have been in combat. They call us “fakers” when we come home from a world they will never see.  

The suicides that have taken place at Ft. Lewis are a direct result of the failure of the base and its head officer corps to do anything meaningful to address the crisis of PTSD, as if our lives mean nothing to them.  

No accountability for ruining countless lives

Col. Homas has been relieved of his duties and will most likely take a position else where continuing his dishonest work. The Army just needed a cosmetic change—Homas will continue working in a plush office, until he retires with a fat pension. That’s “punishment” for an officer who has been directly responsible for soldier suicides and destroyed families.

Let’s just look at this in comparison for a moment.

If an enlisted soldier loses a pair of night vision goggles, they face a dock in pay, extra duty, restriction to the barracks and demotion in rank. We as enlisted face the harshest punishment even for situations completely out of our control (this was shown during our recent successful campaign against the ridiculous lockdown of B Co., 4/9 Infantry).

But when the head of the mental health department on a base that is on the brink of disaster, continues to refuse to diagnose PTSD, calls soldiers “malingerers” and denies them the right to heal which results in the highest suicide rates among all of the CONUS bases, he is simply relieved of his position and sent somewhere else. Col. Homas's allegiance, like that of the incoming officer, are not to serve the soldiers but to serve the interests of the Pentagon and protect the funds allotted to the Army.

For the countless lives that have been needlessly lost to suicide at Ft. Lewis, and the families who are suffering, Col. Homas and all other officers and doctors involved in the practice of denying PTSD claims should be brought up on criminal charges.

The Pentagon won’t change things—but we can

Col. Mike Heimall, Homas' replacement, has no allegiance to enlisted personnel and will continue to function as did Col. Homas and other officers in charge before them. They will continue to attempt to sweep the suicide epidemic under the rug. We can expect no meaningful change from the change of command, except what they are forced to do. The officer corps at Ft. Lewis, Madigan and the crony-healthcare system has not only helped facilitate soldiers' suicides but they have stolen husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends and loved ones from our lives.

Real change within the military never has nor will it ever come from the top. This change of command is a direct result of our actions as enlisted service members, vets and family and friends to organize and beat the drums of truth. The lies this base spews will continue to kill soldiers who are suffering from untreated PTSD. Ft. Lewis and all those in charge of medical practice who have cheated service members out of their lives should be tried in court and held accountable for their dishonesty that has led to a massive suicide epidemic.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Menu of Tactics for Protesting and Occupying
Mood:  hungry
Now Playing: OCCU-PIE MENU OF TACTIES
Topic: PROTEST!

Occu-pie Menu of Tactics


Posted by nowisthetimeus on February 21, 2012

Tired of the boo-hoo-hum-drum of the Nonviolence/Diversity of Tactics debate?

Liberate yourself by using this handy dandy planning menu for your next Occu-pie!

Menu subject to changes according to whims.  Just can’t decide? Ask about our daily specials!

Toppings:

  • A la mode = sustained actions
  • Whipped Cream = flash actions
  • Fudge = clandestine action
  • Sprinkles = family friendly

Fruit and Cheeze platters (pairs well with Whine)

Public Speeches
Letters of opposition or support
Declarations by organizations and institutions
Signed public statements
Declarations of indictment and intention
Group or mass petitions

Berry Pies

Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
Banners, posters, and displayed communications
Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
Newspapers and journals
Records, radio, and television
Skywriting and earthwriting

Pie Eating Contest

Deputations
Mock awards
Group lobbying
Picketing
Mock elections

American Apple Pie (And other fruits)

Displays of flags and symbolic colors
Wearing of symbols
Prayer and worship
Delivering symbolic objects
Protest disrobings
Destruction of own property
Symbolic lights
Displays of portraits
Paint as protest
New signs and names
Symbolic sounds
Symbolic reclamations
Rude gestures

Bake Sale

“Haunting” officials
Taunting officials
Fraternization
Vigils

Cobbler with Crumble topping

Humorous skits and pranks
Performances of plays and music
Singing

All you can  eat dessert Buffet

Marches
Parades
Religious processions
Pilgrimages
Motorcades

Sugarfree Desserts

Political mourning
Mock funerals
Demonstrative funerals
Homage at burial places

Cookie Platter

Assemblies of protest or support
Protest meetings
Camouflaged meetings of protest
Teach-ins

Fat Free Desserts

Walk-outs
Silence
Renouncing honors
Turning one’s back

Tart Custard Pies

Social boycott
Selective social boycott
Lysistratic nonaction
Excommunication
Interdict

Custard Cream Pies

Suspension of social and sports activities
Boycott of social affairs
Student strike
Social disobedience
Withdrawal from social institutions

Mousse Pies

Stay-at-home
Total personal noncooperation
“Flight” of workers
Sanctuary
Collective disappearance
Protest emigration (hijrat)

Twizzlers

Consumers’ boycott
Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
Policy of austerity
Rent withholding
Refusal to rent
National consumers’ boycott
International consumers’ boycott

Pop Rocks

Workmen’s boycott
79. Producers’ boycott

Sorry, Vending Machine Broken

Suppliers’ and handlers’ boycott

Milk Duds

Traders’ boycott
Refusal to let or sell property
Lockout
Refusal of industrial assistance
Merchants’ “general strike”

Smarties

Withdrawal of bank deposits
Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
Refusal to pay debts or interest
Severance of funds and credit
Revenue refusal
Refusal of a government’s money

Fair Trade Organic Chocolates

Domestic embargo
Blacklisting of traders
International sellers’ embargo
International buyers’ embargo
International trade embargo

Vegetable Pies

Protest strike
Quickie walkout (lightning strike)

Peasant strike
Farm Workers’ strike

Refusal of impressed labor
Prisoners’ strike
Craft strike
Professional strike

Establishment strike
Industry strike
Sympathetic strike

Detailed strike
Bumper strike
Slowdown strike
Working-to-rule strike
Reporting “sick” (sick-in)
Strike by resignation
Limited strike
Selective strike

Generalized strike
General strike

Hartal
Economic shutdown

Mincemeat Pies

Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
Refusal of public support
Literature and speeches advocating resistance

Boycott of legislative bodies
Boycott of elections
Boycott of government employment and positions
Boycott of government depts., agencies, and other bodies
Withdrawal from government educational institutions
Boycott of government-supported organizations
Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents
Removal of own signs and placemarks
Refusal to accept appointed officials
Refusal to dissolve existing institutions

Reluctant and slow compliance
Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision
Popular nonobedience
Disguised disobedience
Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse
Sitdown
Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
Hiding, escape, and false identities
Civil disobedience of “illegitimate” laws

Selective refusal of assistance by government aides
Blocking of lines of command and information
Stalling and obstruction
General administrative noncooperation
Judicial noncooperation
Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
Mutiny

Quasi-legal evasions and delays
Noncooperation by constituent governmental units

Changes in diplomatic and other representations
Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events
Withholding of diplomatic recognition
Severance of diplomatic relations
Withdrawal from international organizations
Refusal of membership in international bodies
Expulsion from international organizations

Nut Pies

Psychological Intervention
Self-exposure to the elements
The fast
Fast of moral pressure
Hunger strike
Satyagrahic fast
Reverse trial
Nonviolent harassment

Sit-in
Stand-in
Ride-in
Wade-in
Mill-in
Pray-in
Nonviolent raids
Nonviolent air raids
Nonviolent invasion
Nonviolent interjection
Nonviolent obstruction
Nonviolent occupation

Establishing new social patterns
Overloading of facilities
Stall-in
Speak-in
Guerrilla theater
Alternative social institutions
Alternative communication system

Reverse strike
Stay-in strike
Nonviolent land seizure
Defiance of blockades
Politically motivated counterfeiting
Preclusive purchasing
Seizure of assets
Dumping
Selective patronage
Alternative markets
Alternative transportation systems
Alternative economic institutions

Overloading of administrative systems
Disclosing identities of secret agents
Seeking imprisonment
Civil disobedience of “neutral” laws
Work-on without collaboration
Dual sovereignty and parallel government

Please make a request to our suggestion box below:


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:10 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2012 12:11 PM PST
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Is a US war with Iran Inevitable - USA is bound and determined
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: From: The Daily Reckoning
Topic: WAR

________________________________________ From: The Daily Reckoning [mailto:dr@dailyreckoning.com] Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:37 PM 

Is a US-Iran War Inevitable? The Daily Reckoning U.S. Edition Home . Archives . Unsubscribe The Daily Reckoning | Thursday, February 16, 2012 • Doug Casey gives us his odds on an all-out military conflict with Iran, • What would be the consequences should war eventuate? And how do you prepare? • Plus, Bill Bonner on Facebook’s IPO, Mr. Government Fixer in Europe and plenty more...

 Checking in from Buenos Aires, Argentina... Joel Bowman We have in stall for you today, Fellow Reckoner, an interview with Mr. Douglas Casey. You’ll shortly discover that the topic, Iran and the possibility — says Doug, “probability” — of war with that sovereign nation, demands the discussion run a little longer than our usual feature piece. As such, our preamble will be correspondingly shorter than usual. Please enjoy Doug’s characteristically thought-provoking insights. Should you wish to opine on this important topic, feel free to direct your email to us here: joel@dailyreckoning.com. We will feature a selection of your emails in future reckonings. World oil production is about to be shaken to its core... You won’t believe which nation analysts at Wall Street’s biggest banks expect to become the world’s biggest energy producer by 2017 — or the effect it will have on America... our economy... our future... Click here to see who is set to become the new king of oil — and how you can use the news to go for big profits as early as this MAY! The Daily Reckoning Presents Is a US-Iran War Inevitable? An Interview with Doug Casey, conducted by Louis James Doug Casey US-Iranian saber-rattling or impending shoot-out? In his usual, candid manner, contrarian investor Doug Casey talks about why he believes it’s serious this time... why the US is the greatest threat to peace today... why Iran might move towards a gold standard... and what smart investors should do. L: Doug, I’ve heard you say you think the US is setting Iran up to be the next fall guy in the wag-the-dog show — do you think it could really come to open warfare? Doug: Yes, I do. It could just be saber rattling during an election year, but Western powers have been provoking Iran for years now — two decades, really. I just saw another report proclaiming that Iran is likely to attack the US, which is about as absurd as the allegations Bush made about Iraq bombing the US, when he fomented that invasion. It’s starting to look rather serious at this point, so I do think the odds favor actual fighting in the not-too-distant future. L: Could they really be so stupid? Doug: You know the answer to that one. We’re dealing with criminal personalities on both sides, and criminals are basically very stupid — meaning they have an unwitting tendency to self-destruction. One thing to remember is that most of those in power in the West still believe the old economic fallacy that war is good for the economy. L: The old broken-window fallacy. Paraphrasing Arlo Guthrie, it’s hard to believe anyone could get away with making a mistake that dumb for that long. Doug: People like those in power still suffer the delusion that it was World War II that ended the Great Depression for the US. Actually, it was only after the end of the war that the depression ended, in 1946. In his book World Economic Development: 1979 and Beyond, Herman Kahn documented long-term growth throughout the 20th century. Between 1914 to 1946 — a very tough time, with WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII — the world economy still grew at something like 1.8%. I believe real growth would have been several times as great, were it not for the state and its products. But people still believe that spending money on things that explode and kill and destroy is somehow good for the economy. L: I suppose they think it’s okay if it creates jobs here and destroys lives and livelihoods “over there.” But aside from the fact that it’s not safe to assume today’s enemies are not capable of bringing the battle onto US soil, it still ignores the fact that you’re spending money on stuff that gets destroyed — like broken windows — and that impoverishes us all. Worse, the cost is not just economic. Doug: That’s right. This coming war with Iran has the potential to turn into something resembling WWIII, with enormous consequences. Now, it’s hard to speak with any certainty on such matters, because most of what we have to go on are press reports. Governments keep most really critical facts on their doings to themselves, and what you read in the press is as likely as not just a warmed-over government press release — in other words, propaganda. Meaningless, if not actively deceptive. It is correctly said that in war, truth is the first casualty. L: But we do have the Internet these days, with indie reporters offering coverage ignored by the talking heads in the mainstream media. Doug: True; it doesn’t keep the chattering classes honest, but it does provide some diversity of spin, from which we can try to infer what’s really going on. And from all the various sources — mainstream and alternative, Western and from within the Muslim world — I have to say that it appears to me that the Iranians are not actually developing nuclear weapons. L: Then why do they act in such aggressive and bombastic ways? Doug: Western powers are pushing them around, telling them what they can and cannot do, and treating them like children or mental incompetents with no right of self-determination. How else would you expect them to react? They may have a collectivist theocratic regime, but it’s also a proud and ancient culture. Now, as you know, I don’t think there should be any countries at all — not in the sense of the modern nation-state, and I’m certainly no fan of the Tehran regime, but Iran is a sovereign state. The Iranians resent people from other countries assuming the right to tell them what they can and cannot do with their uranium enrichment program, just as people in the US would if Iranians told them what to do with... well, anything. L: Do you have specific data to substantiate your view that Iran is not focused on creating nuclear weapons? Doug: I was just reading about an official report that says that Iran is still not able to enrich uranium to the level needed to make nuclear weapons. Uranium occurs in two isotopes with half-lives long enough to make it possible to find reasonable amounts of them in the earth’s crust: U235 and U238. Most of it is U238 — 99.3% — but it’s the U235 that’s fissile, meaning, it’s the one you want for making nuclear reactors and weapons. So you have to enrich your uranium — to about 20%-30% U235 to make reactor fuel and 90% or better to make weapons. L: That’s why the Russians are able to sell “downblended” uranium from decommissioned nuclear weapons for use as reactor fuel. So, you’re saying the reports indicate that Iran is not capable of enriching uranium beyond the level needed for reactors? Doug: Yes. But again, I have to stress that reliable information is very hard to come by. Remember when the US accused Iraq of having a program to develop so-called weapons of mass destruction? Apart from the fact that, except for nuclear weapons, that term is a complete misnomer, they had no such thing. It was either lousy intelligence or outright fabrication — and I suspect the latter. So how can we trust what they tell us today? Only a fool would be so naïve. L: Indeed. Doug: In any event, why shouldn’t Iran have nuclear weapons? I wish none of these countries had them, but they do. No one stopped China, no one stopped North Korea, Pakistan, Israel, India, France, nor any of the others in the disreputable club that have them. L: Wasn’t it too late to intervene by the time those countries announced their nuclear capabilities? Doug: I don’t think so. Israel was friendly, so Western powers looked the other way. North Korea was too rabid, so they were left alone. The other countries are too big. The cat’s out of the bag at this point; any country can develop nuclear weapons, if it really wants to. But it’s easier and cheaper to bribe a general — or maybe just a supply sergeant — in India, Pakistan, or Russia to get what you want. Moreover, with the US on the rampage, prosecuting its counterproductive and unwinnable War on Terror, a lot of governments, especially ones unpopular in the West, have got to be thinking about acquiring nuclear capabilities. If Saddam had actually had nukes, the US would have left him alone, just as they’ve left the Kims to rot in the workers’ paradise they’ve made out of North Korea. It makes sense for a country stricken from the US’s official “nice” list and moved over to the “naughty” category to have some nukes. Everyone needs and wants a slingshot to keep the bully of the block at bay. If you oppose nuclear proliferation, your first target should be US foreign policy, which is the biggest impetus behind the scramble to arms. L: What about the argument that Iran would use nuclear weapons on Israel, if it had them? Doug: That’s ridiculous. It’s true that just one or two nukes would turn most of Israel to glass, but it’s a matter of mutually assured destruction (MAD), just as the détente between the US and USSR was. Israel is reported to have about 200 nuclear weapons, and the Iranians know it. Even if they launched a successful first strike against Israel, they would get wiped off the face of the earth in response. The regime in Iran is repressive and borderline lunatic, but they aren’t that stupid. No way are they going to attack Israel with nukes. They not only cannot, but should not, be singled out for exclusion from the nuclear club. L: But they’re part of the axis of evil, don’t you know? Doug: Speaking of evil, it’s evil to initiate the use of force or fraud. If Iran enriches uranium or even builds tools for war, that’s not evil per se. But using force to stop them from doing something that is not in itself wrong is wrong, and that would make Iran’s attackers the axis of evil. In my mind, the US is the biggest threat to peace in the world today. I can easily imagine those in power in the US starting a war over any silly pretext, real or imagined. It could easily happen by accident at this point. Things go wrong. Maybe some young hotheads in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard decide to take a boat out and attack a US frigate — launch a few RPGs at it before they’re blown out of the water. Then the US feels it needs to mete out some punishment and launches a strike against the base the boat came from — which would be attacking the Iranian mainland — and the thing spins completely out of control. Could happen at the drop of a hat. Maybe the commander of a US ship has a streak of General Jack D. Ripper from Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove in him. Maybe the Russians or the Chinese — who are aiding the Iranians — mount a false-flag incident, because they want to see the US get involved in another tar baby. L: So... another case of not just doing the wrong thing, but the exact opposite of the right thing, with economic, political, and ultimately physical world consequences. Doug: That’s right. Just look at what they’re doing now, trying to isolate Iran from the world with an embargo. That could be seen as an act of war. L: Well, wait a minute. A blockade is regarded as an act of war, but if Western countries decide to harm their own economies by not trading with Iran, that’s unfriendly, but not force or fraud. Doug: Well, it would be forcing citizens in those Western countries to pay higher prices for things, denying them the choice of buying oil from Iran if they wanted to. But I agree; that’s more a matter of criminal tyranny and stupidity than an act of war. Still it sure is prodding Iran, throwing rocks at the hornets’ nest, as the US did with Japan before WWII. The Japanese basically have no domestic oil production and were getting their oil from the US and the Dutch East Indies. The US cut off both supplies, backing them into a corner, leaving them little choice but an aggressive response. At any rate, I think all of this could backfire on the US. Since the Iranians apparently can’t clear deposits through New York, where international dollar trades clear, they’ve made a very commonsense move to cut the US out of the middle and sell their oil directly to India, without using dollars. I think other countries will follow — and then what? Iran isn’t going to want bushels and bushels of rupiah or yen or whatever. I think the odds favor them turning to gold. It’s said that’s one of the means of payment the Indians will be using. Gold is the logical choice and the next step in the demise of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. There’s a lot of demand for the dollar to buy and sell oil. If countries stop using it, demand for the dollar would fall, at the very time the US is greatly increasing the supply of dollars. The day is coming when trillions of dollars outside the US will only be spendable inside the US. At that point it’s game over for the dollar. L: You’ve talked about the world going back onto a gold standard before. What do you say to the people who say that gold is a barbaric relic from the past that doesn’t work in a modern economy — they can’t go around with pockets full of doubloons to buy cars or chests full of treasure to buy houses... Doug: Such people are not thinking rationally and are economically ignorant. As always, we should start with a definition: what is money? The short answer is that it’s a store of wealth and medium of exchange. For reasons we’ve discussed and as Aristotle outlined over 2,000 years ago, gold is simply the best form of money ever adopted. And in our modern world, you don’t have to physically cart the stuff around. You can, but you can also transfer ownership of physical gold electronically, through services like GoldMoney.com. L: Note: We do endorse GoldMoney.com as a convenient and reliable way to own, trade, and transfer gold, but readers should be advised that Doug is an investor in it. Doug: Right. I like to put my money where my mouth is. L: Okay, so you see this trend being bullish for gold, clear enough. But most of the gold ever produced in the world still exists in purified form in various vaults around the planet. Gold doesn’t get used up like silver does, so there’s plenty of supply. So, would the physical need for gold as money really impact the price of gold and related equities, or would that be more a function of governments further debasing their currencies? Doug: Well, it’s estimated that there are some six billion ounces of refined gold in human possession around the world, or, somewhat less than one ounce per person. Global gold production is said to be about 80 million ounces a year, or about a 1.3% annual increase in the supply of gold. That would be the steady, “natural” rate of inflation if we were on a gold standard. The amount of various currency units in the world is increasing at a much, much faster pace than 1.3%. Nobody really knows, not even the Fed, but depending on how you define the money supply, it would take $10,000 to $50,000 — or more — per ounce to back all of the dollars in existence with gold. Whatever the correct number is, I expect gold’s price in dollars to increase dramatically as the world moves closer to and eventually adopts a gold standard. L: So, any investment implications beyond the obvious? Buy gold and silver for prudence and protection, buy gold stocks for speculative leverage? Doug: That’s the basic recipe. And diversify your holdings internationally. You can never tell when the government of your home country will have a psychotic break. L: What do you say to the people afraid that in a world so traumatized as to go back onto a gold standard, the risk of owning any paper asset, including gold stocks, would be too high? No one will trade gold stocks for a can of dog food in a Mad Max world... Doug: That’s a valid concern. You can’t eat paper, and even owning shares in a gold mine may not be of much use in a real economic cataclysm — the US government shut down gold mining during WWII as a nonessential industry. It could happen again. But that’s why, as you said, we own gold for prudence, and the stocks are strictly speculative vehicles. But let’s have some perspective. The security of your stock portfolio may become the least of your concerns if the US starts a war with Iran that touches off WWIII. If that happens, the US government and population will both turn hysterical, and the whole country will be locked down like a prison. What was once America will become even more of a police state than it is now. Who knows where that would end? So, one of the most intelligent things you can do is as I’ve been saying for years: diversify your assets and your physical presence internationally. Having some place you like to spend time off the beaten track, where you can ride the storm out, should be top priority for everyone who can afford it. Preparing for the worst at home should be top priority for those who can’t. L: Would you care to put odds on open war between the US and Iran? Doug: I’d say it’s highly probable within the next two to four years — say, between 50% and 75% — that an actual shooting war will break out. L: Not much time to prepare. I sure hope all our readers are doing what they can. Doug: Me too. L: Right then. Thanks for your thoughts and guidance, Doug. Doug: You’re welcome. We’ll talk again soon. P.S. To get an even better sense of how badly a US-Iran war could hurt the American economy, readers can view our free report here. It’s the first step to take to prepare yourself and your investments for what lies ahead. Regards, Doug Casey and Louis James, for The Daily Reckoning Joel’s Note: Predictions vary widely on where the price of oil might go should (another) war break out in the Gulf. We’ve seen forecasts of $300 per barrel batted about, which doesn’t feel like a huge stretch to us. Iran contributes significantly more to current global supply than did Iraq before it, and few doubt that a strangulation of the all-important Strait of Hormuz would rocket prices higher...wherever “higher” might be. Needless to say, this further underscores the need for energy independence at home. And Byron King, Agora’s resident geologist, reckons he’s found out how to make that a reality. He reveals all in his “Re-made in America” presentation. Give it a look here. Now here is a stimulus plan that CAN work Ordinary people all across the nation have quietly started rebuilding their wealth — and returning their life to normal — with a very unusual and unexpected stimulus plan of their own... A flurry of new jobs... $75,000-a-year salaries... explosive growth in personal bank accounts... cash payments of up to $35,000 a month — people from all walks of life are starting to cash in on it in one way or another. Click here now to get full details on what is happening and how YOU can be one of the people who profits from it too. Bill Bonner A Greek Debt Crisis Recap Bill Bonner Reckoning from Rancho Santana, Nicaragua... The Dow down 97 points yesterday. And the Greek story nears its conclusion... The Germans agree to bail out the country...at least for a while... ..and the Greeks agree to act more like Germans...at least while everyone is looking... But now everybody agrees that the farce has gone on long enough. Let’s recap: The big banks lent the Greeks money. Then, the bankers paid themselves big bonuses, rewards for having booked so much business. The Greeks spent it like they stole it...which they practically did. With the help of Goldman Sachs, they rigged their accounts so as to appear to be better credit risks than they really were. Then, of course, the Greeks could not repay. Since they gained independence from the Ottoman Turks in 1828, the Greeks never, ever repaid a loan as promised. Instead, they were in default about half the time. But rather than let Mr. Market sort it out...as he had every other time, Mr. Government Fixer stepped in. He promised to manage the situation so that the careless lenders wouldn’t have to take the losses they deserved. How? By lending the borrower more money! So, the Greeks were given more money...and told to straighten up. And the Greeks made an effort. Rather than spend money as freely as before, they cut back. Thousands of government employees were laid off, budgets trimmed...belts tightened. This, naturally, led to an economic slump. GDP fell at a 5% rate in the 3rd quarter of last year. In the 4th quarter it was falling even faster, at a 7% annual rate. The New York Times reports: By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience. A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll. The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011. A barter economy has sprung up, as people try to work around a broken financial system. Nearly half the population under 25 is unemployed. Last September, organizers of a government-sponsored seminar on emigrating to Australia, an event that drew 42 people a year earlier, were overwhelmed when 12,000 people signed up. ... The situation at the macro level is, if anything, even more transformational. The Chinese have largely taken over Piraeus, Greece’s main port, with an eye to make it a conduit for shipping goods into Europe. ... The latest austerity plan meant to satisfy Greece’s creditors and allow for new infusions of financial aid may have averted involuntary default — and a global economic downturn — but will nonetheless make life for ordinary Greeks even more difficult. The plan reduces the minimum wage by more than 20 percent, mandates thousands of layoffs and reduces some pensions, probably ensuring that strikes and demonstrations will continue to be a feature of the Greek landscape. As in Argentina 10 years ago, the Greek middle class is being hit hard. The upper classes are protected. They own stocks. They have bank accounts in foreign countries. And the lower classes had nothing before the crisis. They haven’t lost a penny. But the middle classes lose jobs, income...and benefits. That is what is happening in America too. Middle class wealth, built up between 1980 and 2007, was largely an illusion. It was money borrowed from the future... Now, it must be paid back. And there’s not much Mr. Government Fixer can do about it. The problem is too much debt. Adding more debt doesn’t help. And more thoughts... “But Bill, aren’t you being a little simplistic,” asks a Dear Reader. “The idea is not to add debt for its own sake. The idea is just to try to mediate the social consequences of private sector de- leveraging while giving the economy time to get back on its feet. Why won’t that work?” Why won’t it work? We repeat the question to give us time to think... ..oh yes...it won’t work because it ignores the reason the economy was knocked on its derriere in the first place. If the cause of the setback had been interest rates that were too high...or a natural disaster...the strategy might work. Just as an ancient Pharaoh made Bible fame by saving grain in the fat years and then releasing it when the harvests failed, so might a sage government today draw on its own surpluses to help soften the blow of a bad winter or an earthquake. But the government has no surpluses. Only deficits. And you can’t mitigate the damage of an earthquake by setting off a nuclear explosion. Neither can you solve the problem of too much debt by adding to it. When an economy has too much debt, there’s only one solution. Debt delenda est. Debt must be eliminated. It can be done in the old fashioned way — by Mr. Market. Or it can be done by Mr. Government Fixer. Mr. Market will do it quickly...efficiently...and brutally. Mr. Government Fixer will hesitate...equivocate...vacillate...prevaricate...and generally fornicate everything up. He will protect the guilty insiders...at the expense of the innocent taxpayers and general public. And in the end, he will let the debtor default, too, for he will have no other choice. *** We warned you about buying Facebook. Here, another colleague, Dan Ferris, elaborates: Buying the Facebook IPO at its rumored valuation level would be a big mistake. Buying the other social networking companies at current valuations is also a mistake. Dan thinks the whole market has been infected by a bullishness. If you’re eating, sleeping, and breathing in lots of news, it’s virtually impossible not to get infected. For example, check out the American Association of Individual Investors Sentiment Survey. Every week, they ask investors if they’re bullish, neutral, or bearish on stocks for the next six months. In the most recent survey 43.l8% of those surveyed were bullish...and just 25.1% were bearish. (The average level of bullishness is 39% and the average bearish reading is 31%, so the latest survey is showing extreme bullishness.) Dan thinks that investors — most of them — routinely buy the wrong investments at the wrong time: A famous study shows how investors ruin their results by letting the market’s ups and downs rule their decisions. Market research firm Dalbar runs an ongoing study comparing stock market returns (the S&P Index) with real investors’ returns. As of the 20-year period ended December 31, 2010, stocks returned 9.14% per year, on average, but investors earned just 3.27% per year during the period.” Investors got slighted because they got scared at the bottom and sold, and bought back in only after a rising market fueled their confidence. Plenty of professionals make money following the market’s trends, but their methods are highly technical and unemotional. That’s the opposite of the hysteria that sinks so many investors. Getting caught up in bullishness gives many investors another reason to fool themselves in thinking they are smarter than they really are. Regards, Bill Bonner, for The Daily Reckoning ---------------------------------------- Here at The Daily Reckoning, we value your questions and comments. If you would like to send us a few thoughts of your own, please address them to your managing editor at joel@dailyreckoning.com Where to Wait Out the Great Correction How Warren Buffett Looks at Stocks vs. Gold Investing How to Ruin Your Economy and Influence People Greece Negotiations Drag On Eurozone Economy Contracts Making Sense of Rising US Gas Prices ________________________________________ The Daily Reckoning: Now in its 11th year, The Daily Reckoning is the flagship e-letter of Baltimore-based financial research firm and publishing group Agora Financial, a subsidiary of Agora Inc. The Daily Reckoning provides over half a million subscribers with literary economic perspective, global market analysis, and contrarian investment ideas. Published daily in six countries and three languages, each issue delivers a feature-length article by a senior member of our team and a guest essay from one of many leading thinkers and nationally acclaimed columnists. Cast of Characters: Bill Bonner Founder Addison Wiggin Publisher Eric Fry Editorial Director Joel Bowman Managing Editor The Mogambo Guru Editor Rocky Vega Editor ________________________________________ Additional articles and commentary from The Daily Reckoning on: Twitter Facebook DR iPhone APP To end your Daily Reckoning e-mail subscription and associated external offers sent from Daily Reckoning, cancel your free subscription. If you are you having trouble receiving your Daily Reckoning subscription, you can ensure its arrival in your mailbox by whitelisting the Daily Reckoning. © 2010-2012 Agora Financial, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. This newsletter may only be used pursuant to the subscription agreement and any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the World Wide Web), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Agora Financial, LLC. 808 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Nothing in this e-mail should be considered personalized investment advice. A lthough our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice.We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security they personally recommend to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication or 72 hours after the mailing of a printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation.Any investments recommended in this letter should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2012 2:33 PM PST
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Good Deeds {video}
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: An uplifting drama about coincidence and courage
Topic: HUMANITY
Media Alert                                                                  February 9, 2012 Tyler Perry’s GOOD DEEDS Announces Initiative to Support Homeless Youth Tyler Perry’s GOOD DEEDS is very happy to announce Good Deeds:Great Needs, an initiative to support Covenant House, a non-profit organization that provides for homeless youth. Through GiftCardGiver.com, Good Deeds:Great Needs will be collecting unused gift cards and donating all collected to Covenant House.  

In addition, Lionsgate will be making a financial donation to Covenant House for every share of the GOOD DEEDS trailer! So make sure to watch and share the video!

http://youtu.be/pwcmBBnh4vo

 


 To learn more and share Good Deeds:Great Needs, visit www.gooddeedsgreatneeds.com  GOOD DEEDS also presents fans the opportunity to win a Valentine’s Date Night! Just head over to the GOOD DEEDS Facebook page and submit your “love story” for the chance to win a $500 Visa Gift Card! Contest can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/GoodDeedsMovie?sk=app_239455529470849 TYLER PERRY’S GOOD DEEDS opens in theaters everywhere on February 24, 2012. The film stars Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, and Beverly Johnson with Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union.  To learn more, visit:Covenant House: http://www.covenanthouse.org/Gift Card Giver: http://giftcardgiver.com/  -----------------------------------------------------SYNOPSIS A successful, wealthy businessman, Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) has always done what’s expected of him, whether it’s assuming the helm of his father’s company, tolerating his brother’s misbehavior at the office or planning to marry his beautiful but restless fiancée, Natalie (Gabrielle Union). But Wesley is jolted out of his predictable routine when he meets Lindsey (Thandie Newton), a down-on-her-luck single mother who works on the cleaning crew in his office building. When he offers to help her get back on her feet, the chance encounter with someone so far outside his usual circle ignites something in Wesley.  This one good deed may finally spark his courage to exchange the life that’s expected of him for the life he’s always really wanted.  A moving, uplifting drama about coincidence, courage, and the defining choices we make on our paths to happiness, TYLER PERRY’S GOOD DEEDS is written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry, and stars Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, Beverly Johnson, with Phylicia Rashad, and Gabrielle Union.-----------------------------------------------------Official Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GoodDeedsMovieOfficial Site: http://www.GoodDeedsMovie.comOfficial Twitter: http://twitter.com/GoodDeedsMovie   For Press Inquiries Contact:Corby Ponscorby@differentdrummer.com323-960-1102                        For Good Deeds:Great Needs Inquiries Contact:Jean-Michelle Lopezjeanmichelle@differentdrummer.com323-960-1102 

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:23 AM PST
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
one-million-dead -- US out of Iraq
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Iraq - Killing Fields - USA leaves over 1 million dead
Topic: WAR
This Article can be found at this original link:
http://socialistworker.org/2012/01/30/one-million-dead

One million dead

Danny Lucia http://socialistworker.org/2012/01/30/one-million-dead

January 30, 2012

OVER A million Iraqis are dead from America's war.

That sentence is a cognitive litmus test. Some people's immediate reaction is, "That can't be right," because the United States couldn't do that. Or because crimes on that scale don't still happen. Or because they do happen, but only in horrible places that the United States hasn't rescued.

One million is a "Grandpa, what did you do to stop it?" number. It's a number that undeniably puts the American state among history's villains. Those who are not willing or able to accept this are physically unable to retain the fact that over a million Iraqis are dead. Their brains expel it like a foreign germ.

Noam Chomsky once wrote [1] that the "sign of a truly totalitarian culture is that important truths simply lack cognitive meaning and are interpretable only at the level of 'Fuck You,' so they can then elicit a perfectly predictable torrent of abuse in response."

That pretty much sums up the how the media reacted to the one million figure in 2007 when it was announced by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB). (In fact, the firm estimated 1,220,580 Iraqis had died [2], confirming and updating a separate study done the year before by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and published in the Lancet medical journal.)

Take Kevin O'Brien, deputy editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer [3]. Upon receiving a media advisory about the findings from ORB, whose clients include the British Conservative Party and Morgan Stanley, this was his response: "Please remove me from your mailing list and spare me your transparent propaganda."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"WE DON'T do body counts," Gen. Tommy Franks once famously answered a reporter's question about civilian casualties. He's not alone.

Amid all the somber reflections last month about the end of the Iraq War, a specific number of how many Iraqis had died was rarely given. Reporters often described the tally of Iraqi casualties as an "untold number," a somber-sounding phrase that reflects the same level of journalistic effort used for finding the death toll of squirrels in a forest fire.

This line from Reuter's Mary Milliken was typical: "[T]oday was about remembering the untold number of Iraqis and nearly 4,500 Americans who died in the war."

How many Americans died, Mary? Nearly 4,500. And how many Iraqis? Oh, you know, lots. A whole bunch.

"Untold number" implies that there are no available estimates of just how many Iraqis died. In fact there are two: an organization called Iraq Body Count [4] (IBC) has tallied about 110,000 deaths, based on media accounts and health ministry records. IBC admits that its total is surely too low since occupying armies and sectarian civil wars are not known for meticulous bookkeeping, but it disputes the higher figures from ORB and Johns Hopkins.

Methodology debates aside, there are numbers on hand to describe the Iraqi death toll. They are "untold" only by reporters like Kevin O'Brien and Mary Milliken.

The silence around numbers is not so much a conspiracy as a reflection of the fact that some information is simply incompatible with the American imperial mindset.

Consider a different grisly number from a previous decade: According to the United Nations Children Fund, 500,000 Iraqi children died in the 1990s due to United Nations sanctions [5] (rammed through by the U.S.) that barred medicines and other basic necessities from entering the country.

In 2000, the UN humanitarian aid coordinator resigned to protest the sanctions [6], two years after his predecessor had done the same [7]. Both of these life-long diplomats later used the word "genocide" to describe the American policy.

If you are ignorant of or forgot this information, you are not alone. So did the people who planned the Iraq War. There is no other way to explain the fact that America's war and occupation strategy rested on the expectation that its soldiers would be greeted as liberators by the parents of half a million dead children. (The sanctions, by the way, weren't imposed in the Kurdish north, the only part in Iraq that did not offer massive resistance to the U.S. occupation.)

It's not by chance that many of the most committed antiwar activists are revolutionaries of one stripe or another. We are able to process and comprehend the staggering evil been done to Iraq because we are radicals. And vice versa.

Revolutionaries face the ironic conventional wisdom that because we want to see society radically transformed, we are ends-justifies-the-means fanatics who think nothing of how much blood might be spilled in the process.

But it was then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who said of the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children [8] that "the price is worth it." And it is current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who used the exact same phrase recently [9] regarding the second invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Those are the words of a fanatical order that anyone should be proud to oppose with all of their being.

  1. [1] http://www.chomsky.info/letters/19900301.htm
  2. [2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/uk-poll-consistent-with-1_b_64475.html
  3. [3] http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3321
  4. [4] http://www.iraqbodycount.org
  5. [5] http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/072100-03.htm
  6. [6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/642189.stm
  7. [7] http://www.news.cornell.edu/chronicle/99/9.30.99/Halliday_talk.html
  8. [8] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4
  9. [9] http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66515
  10. [10] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:04 PM PST
Sunday, 29 January 2012
TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE ANYBODY
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE
Topic: MEDIA

 TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE


http://www.joe-anybody.com/id143.html

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Posted by Joe Anybody at 3:49 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 29 January 2012 3:51 PM PST
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Foxconn - Apple Computers - worker hand crushed and he has never used the i-phone
Mood:  accident prone
Now Playing: foxconn - deaths injuries and under age - did I miss anything?
Topic: CORPORATE CRAP

 FOXCONN

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jan/24/apple-factories-china-independent-audit

 

Apple's Chinese factories to be audited after violation of working conditions


 

Local HR practice blamed, but suicides, long working hours and disciplinary wage deductions give cause for concern

The man's hand is twisted into a claw, crushed, he says by a metal press at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, where Apple's luxury electronics are assembled. He is looking at an iPad – he has never seen one switched on. His mangled hand strokes the screen, bringing it to life.

Back at the factory, where the buildings are swathed in nets after 12 workers committed suicides in a single year, a young girl emerges from the gates. Her job is to clean the iPhone screens before they are packaged. She says she is 13.

These are a few of the many shattering images in performer Mike Daisey's account of his 2010 visit to China. After hearing about the Foxconn suicides, he determined to meet members of Apple's largest subcontracted workforce.

What he discovered ultimately led to the firm's announcement this month that it would throw open its factories to independent auditing by the Fair Labor Association (FLA). A non-profit group founded in 1999 after sweatshop scandals, it already audits Nike, Adidas and H&M. Apple is its first tech industry member.

"In high tech to date there hasn't been anything like external independent assessment, which is what makes Apple's decision such big news," says FLA president Auret van Heerden.

Apple has been auditing itself since 2007. Working hours are a major issue. In China, 12 and 16 hour shifts are common. In 2008, 82% of factories violated Apple's limits – a 60 hour week with no less than one day off. By 2011, the number was 68%. In 2008, half violated wages codes by deducting salary as a disciplinary measure, or not providing pay slips. The figure was 30% last year.

Apple has ordered retribution. Factories discovered employing children must return the youngsters to their families, fund their education and continue to pay their factory wage too. Employers have been made to reimburse wage deductions and settle unpaid overtime.

But six active and 13 historical cases of underage labour were discovered at five factories last year. Mandatory pregnancy tests were imposed at 24 Apple facilities.

When Daisey visited, he found worker dormitories where people slept in bunks stacked five or six high, so closely there was no room to sit. There were cameras in the rooms, in the corridors.

He found workers whose hands shook uncontrollably by their late 20s because of repeating the same motions at the same production line post, year after year.

The FLA visited China at Apple's request on a test project in 2010, following the Foxconn suicides. Van Heerden describes what he found: "The whole campus has got excellent facilities. The problem is that [it] still doesn't touch the human being inside. You are at a work station all day – you can't talk to anyone else.

"Then you go back to your dorm and you might not know anyone there either, they might not even speak the same dialect. You are in a situation where you might go days without anything resembling human contact."

He seems to suggest that in China at least, the problem is less about basic human rights and more about HR.

Foxconn has much to learn about human resources, judging by a recent comment from the chair of its parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry. Terry Gou told an end of year party, at which the director of Tapei Zoo was asked to share his management techniques: "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million and as human being are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache".

Managing its supply chain will for now remain one of Apple's biggest headaches.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST

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