Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Does Capitalism Make You Happy? Written by Dana Cooper

Ever since the birth of the United States of America, the slogan of the the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, has been an integral part of the foundation of capitalism.
happinessIn 1776, the “pursuit of happiness” meant the pursuit and accumulation of private property. Everyone—except slaves, Native Americans, and women—had the freedom to “make their own luck.” The United States was a land of plenty, where fertile fields, forests, lakes and mountains were just waiting to be “discovered,” acquired, and developed by industrious and enterprising people.
Since then, there has been a civil war, the markets of the world have been divided and redivided, and all the habitable territory of the United States has been occupied and exploited. The country is now the most advanced and richest capitalist country on earth—but it is by no means the happiest country on earth.
Research into the nature of happiness has gained a lot of popularity over the last few decades. Every month or so, a new article appears which invariably draws the same conclusion: money doesn’t make people happy. So what is the material basis for happiness? Why does money make or not make people happy? Why is this an important topic for Marxists?

Is there a material basis for happiness?

In the recent past, coinciding with capitalism’s increasing inability to take humanity forward and improve conditions for the working class, people have begun to question the assumption that money will make you happy. As we have explained in detail elsewhere, despite being the richest country on earth, it is only a very small percentage of the U.S. population that owns the majority of the wealth of the country. Upwards social mobility is statistically almost nonexistent, and the much-glorified “trickle down economy” is only expressed by more and more people “trickling down” into poverty.
Thus, you cannot blame people for reaching the conclusion that if you spend your life working 40–50 hours a week trying to make ends meet with the aim of a well-paid career or trying to get rich, you probably end up even more unhappy than if you had spent more time with your family and friends. In fact, the Japanese have a word that literally means “death by overwork,” karoshi, and overwork has been called a disease of the 21st century.
A recent article in The Guardian reported a survey of what dying people regret the most when looking back at their lives. The two most common regrets were: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” and “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” These statements are sad but clear evidence that doing what society expects you to do—i.e. be a good worker and make as much money as possible—is not all that matters in life, whether people actually reach their career and wealth goals or not.
It is generally accepted that nobody would be happy if all they had in life was money, but this is a very one-sided and superficial way of looking at life and human well-being. Many right-wingers would thereby argue that since happiness and well-being cannot be bought with money, poor people should not waste time trying to change and improve their conditions—instead they should just stop complaining and look at the bright side of life—and “choose” to be happy.

How to measure happiness

Psychiatrists, psychologists and neurologists all agree that a person’s mood, though changing from time to time, tends to fluctuate around the same general level. This general level is different from person to person, and it can change dramatically due to changes in the person’s life.
Over the last 20 years, “happiness research” has gained popularity in the world of neurology. Before then, the science of the mind was more focused on mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.
The media and scientists have always given us a very deterministic view of the interrelationship between genetics, mental health, and social environment. The view being put forward at present is that a person’s mental health is 50 percent genetically predisposed, 40 percent intentional, and 10 percent circumstantial. What this means is that half of your mental health is supposedly predetermined, 40 percent depends on “how you choose to live your life,” and 10 percent is determined by material wealth. This has led the dominant happiness researchers of the day to push the idea that money and wealth don’t matter—you simply need to change your behavior and make your life more meaningful if you want to be happy.
The conclusion from this research re-enforces both genetic determinism and the notion that individuals have absolute power to make themselves happy regardless of their circumstances. But what is most noteworthy in this research is that it shows that factors previously ignored, do in fact play a much bigger role in human well-being than previously thought.
These factors are: being part of a community; the feeling that you are contributing to something meaningful; close human relations to friends and family; contributing to other people’s well-being; exercise; and social life in general.

Genetics and behavior

The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, had the aim of mapping all the genes in the human body. One of their big conclusions was that genes change over time, that they turn on and off in accordance with and in response to changes in their environment. Thus, there is no scientific basis for genetic determinism. This means that though many people may have the potential for some sort of mental or physical disorder, it doesn’t mean that the potential will become actual.
Though there are illnesses that are thought to be largely hereditary, it still has not been explained why and how the hereditary illness becomes actual in some individuals and not in others. Researchers have spent a lot of energy on behavioral genetics—though no one has yet tied schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression to a single gene. What we do know is that scientists cannot predict whether these illnesses will become active, or when, and if they do, what it is that triggers them. It is also unlikely that a “schizophrenia” or “bipolar” gene will be isolated, as these illnesses are likely brought about by a complex of genetic and environmental causes.
The “nature vs. nurture” debate still continues, but it is futile to divide the question into “either/or.” Studies by the Center of the Developing Child at Harvard Universityand others researching brain and behavioral development in children, have shown that while the brain is still in its early development, the conditions in which the child grows up matter immensely. Exposure to mistreatment, unstable parents, environmental deprivation, etc., not only affects the child mentally, but also physically changes the way the child’s brain develops.
Brain scans of two 3-year old children show a horrifying and extreme difference in the brain’s size and development, depending on their upbringing and environment during childhood. This also lays the basis for the child’s future physical and behavioral development.
The brain continues to change all through a person’s life. In children in particular, the genetic expression is clearly influenced by the child’s circumstances. Thus, it is not really possible, at least not based on the current research, to determine the degree to which genes affect mental health. This is a big flaw in the argument that environment accounts for just 10 percent of a person’s happiness. Neither genes nor humans exist in a vacuum, and by saying that 50 percent of a human’s happiness is determined by genes, the researchers forget to mention or even consider how the genes themselves have been affected and changed by circumstances.

What does this mean?

This means that material circumstances play a far more important role in everybody’s well-being than is currently acknowledged. Statistics show that mental, physical, and verbal abuse, absent parents, malnourishment, homelessness, and general chaos and instability are far more likely in low-income families. Children from low-income families—whether the parents are abusive or caring—have less access to quality education and health care, healthy food, and educational support, simply because their parents cannot afford it. Genetically predisposed or not, coming from a background where your basic needs are not covered, and where the material wealth and circumstances are not adequate, you are much more likely to end up with a mental illness or behavioral disorder—with little or no help or treatment.
If you come from a family with plenty of money for food, housing, education, etc., and yet your parents are stressed and often absent because they are working all the time, the way you relate to other people will be fundamentally different than if you come from a family with happy parents with the time and energy to take care of their children. In other words, if you come from a loving family with a certain material wealth, then any genetic predisposition is less likely to be triggered. If it does, then you will have access to good quality treatment and your chances of being a productive member of society will be high.
In addition, it must be noted that under capitalism, the family dynamic you grow up in is largely due to chance: biologically speaking, no one is rich or poor, or has “good” or “bad” parents. But the social and family structures that exist under capitalism put an inordinate amount of pressure on the individual family to try to address the needs of raising a new generation, instead of approaching child-rearing and education, with all its ups and downs, socially.

What are basic needs?

Most researchers agree that as long as you have your “basic needs” covered, your material wealth doesn’t play a decisive role in your general happiness. Some researchers have tried to pinpoint where material wealth stops to matter in a person’s level of happiness. Some argue that the poverty level is the dividing line—others assert that any annual income over $75,000 doesn’t further increase your happiness.
Basic human needs in modern day America and throughout the world include access to food, housing, health care, education, transportation, and a social life. In order to cover these needs, you need economic resources, as none of these things are free. Not only do these things cost money, their quality tends to rise with the price.
In the U.S. today, most workers who buy a house don’t actually own it themselves—it is owned by a bank. Most working-class families are not able to pay for good quality childcare or send their children to a good university. Most working-class families cannot afford to buy organic food or even healthy food that doesn’t contain noxious hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics. And most working-class families face bankruptcy if any member of the family becomes seriously ill.
In other words, even the most basic human needs are not covered for the majority of Americans. This means that most people spend the vast majority of their time trying to cover these needs. We live in a world where most people spend all their time and energy on paying bills, at the cost of their own physical and mental health and social relations.
The country of Denmark has for years been at the top of the list of “happiest countries on earth.” Many researchers link the happiness to the free access to healthcare and education and good public transportation. The documentary “Happy” highlights the fact that in Denmark, a big percentage of the population, at least compared to the rest of the world, live in social collectives. In these collectives, people live in separate houses but eat together every night, take turns cooking once a week every 3 or 4 months, there is always someone to talk to, and the children always have someone to look after them.
The movie argues that if you don’t have to worry about buying groceries and cooking every night, or don’t have to pay a babysitter every time you leave the house, then you will be more happy. In other words, you have more time to relax and for a social life, and to develop relationships with your family and friends, without worrying about everyday trivialities. In addition, as pointed out above, people generally feel happier when they contribute to other people’s well-being and feel that they belong to a community.
But even in Denmark, people are increasingly unhappy. Inflation, unemployment, rising transportation and childcare costs, and austerity in general are beginning to be felt there too. The Scandinavian welfare system is a good example of what is possible even under capitalism, but it also shows that when capitalism is in crisis, the welfare of the people is the first thing to be cut. Any social gains won by the working class through struggle are not safe as long as capitalism continues.

Are people in the U.S. happy?

It is hard to quantify happiness precisely, but by looking at its opposite—depression—we can get some idea of the general happiness of the American population. The CDC conducted a big survey of depression levels among Americans between 2006 and 2008. According to the survey, 1 in 10 American adults reported depression. As subsets of the population, 11.7–12.9 percent of Hispanics and blacks were depressed. 17.4 percent of those who hadn’t finished their high school education were depressed, as compared to 6.7 percent among those with some college education.
6.6 percent of the people who were employed were depressed, compared to 21.5 percent of the unemployed. 39.3 percent of those who are unable to work at all were depressed. Finally, 8 percent of people with health insurance were depressed, compared to 15.2 percent of the people without health insurance.
These numbers are mostly from before the economic crisis, and show very clearly that people having attained a lower level of education, non-whites, the unemployed, and those unable to work tend to be far more depressed than the rest of the population.
Another reflection of this is the dramatic rise in suicides over the last decade: it is now the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. About a million people attempt suicide every year, and 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder. The suicide rate among war veterans has always been much higher than in the rest of the population. An estimated 22 war veterans commit suicide every day.
These numbers are disturbing to say the least. It is a clear proof that an increasing number of people are not only unhappy—they are desperate and have no hope for the future.
As we have seen, the root cause of much unhappiness is the lack of access to basic needs. The economic crisis has only exacerbated this. The percentage of the U.S. population living below the poverty level has risen for four years in a row. In 2011, the poverty level was at 15 percent, which means that 46.2 million people lived in poverty. There are no signs that these numbers will decrease in the years of austerity that await us.

Can money buy you happiness?

From the above we can draw the conclusion that it is not mere money that makes people happy—it is what money can provide you. What makes people happy is not having to worry about their jobs and safety, and having access to quality housing, healthcare, food, and education. The research shows that people want to be part of society, but that the constant struggle just to pay the bills alienates them from society, quite literally because they don’t have time to socialize and develop meaningful relationships with friends and family. This is why one of the main demands of Marxists is for a dramatic reduction of the workweek.
The research also shows that people feel better if they are part of a community, and when they feel they have power over the decisions that affect their lives. Under socialism, workers would be connected to each other in far-reaching, real-world social networks, and would participate directly in democratically planning the economy.
Without the historically obsolete and parasitic capitalist class, the surplus wealth created by society could be spent on ensuring everyone’s basic needs are covered, allowing everybody more time to spend on things they find meaningful. As Engels said, socialism will represent humanity’s leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom. Only in a socialist society would life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness be a right, not only in the abstract and for the few, but for everybody.

Nato Weapons Already Deployed in Syria

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jan Brewer To GOP: Expand Medicaid Or I'll Veto All Bills | TPM LiveWire

Jan Brewer To GOP: Expand Medicaid Or I'll Veto All Bills | TPM LiveWire: Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is stepping up her pressure on the GOP-led legislature to expand Medicaid by declaring a moratorium on legislating until they give in.
Brewer vetoed five unrelated bills on Thursday, according to the Arizona Republic, and threatened to keep blocking legislation until Republicans expand Medicaid to cover thousands of Arizonans, which Obamacare permits at minimal cost to the state.
"I warned that I would not sign additional measures into law until we see resolution of the two most pressing issues facing us: adoption of a fiscal 2014 state budget and plan for Medicaid," Brewer wrote in a statement explaining her decision. "It is disappointing I must demonstrate the moratorium was not an idle threat.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

We've moved on from the Iraq war – but Iraqis don't have that choice

Obusha's 'New Iraq'
We've moved on from the Iraq war – but Iraqis don't have that choice | John Pilger | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Recently, Hans von Sponeck, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations and senior UN humanitarian official in Iraq, wrote to me: "The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers." A WHO report, the result of a landmark study conducted with the Iraqi ministry of health, has been "delayed". Covering 10,800 households, it contains "damning evidence", says a ministry official and, according to one of its researchers, remains "top secret". The report says birth defects have risen to a "crisis" right across Iraqi society where depleted uranium and other toxic heavy metals were used by the US and Britain. Fourteen years after he sounded the alarm, Dr Jawad Al-Ali reports "phenomenal" multiple cancers in entire families."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Detection of the cosmic gamma ray horizon: Measures all the light in the universe since the Big Bang

Detection of the cosmic gamma ray horizon: Measures all the light in the universe since the Big Bang: "That bath of ancient and young photons suffusing the Universe today is called the extragalactic background light (EBL). An accurate measurement of the EBL is as fundamental to cosmology as measuring the heat radiation left over from the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background) at radio wavelengths. A new paper, called "Detection of the Cosmic γ-Ray Horizon from Multiwavelength Observations of Blazars," by Alberto Dominguez and six coauthors, just published today by the Astrophysical Journal—based on observations spanning wavelengths from radio waves to very energetic gamma rays, obtained from several NASA spacecraft and several ground-based telescopes—describes the best measurement yet of the evolution of the EBL over the past 5 billion years."

Cave paintings in Mexico: Carvings uncovered in Burgos

BBC News - Cave paintings in Mexico: Carvings uncovered in Burgos
"The paintings were found in 11 different sites - but the walls of one cave were covered with 1,550 scenes.
The area in which they were found was previously thought not to have been inhabited by ancient cultures.
The paintings suggest that at least three groups of hunter-gatherers dwelled in the San Carlos mountain range.
Experts have not yet been able to date the paintings, but hope to chemically analyse their paint to find out their approximate age."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Report: Terrorist attack on uranium plant — Damage forces closure of facility — Up to 50 people wounded

Report: Terrorist attack on uranium plant — Damage forces closure of facility — Up to 50 people wounded: [...] a suicide bomber blew up an explosives-laden four-by-four at the Somair uranium mine and processing facility [...]
Areva said one person was killed [...] 14 others were wounded.
Labo said however that around 50 people were wounded at the mine, adding that almost all of the victims were security agents. [...]
At the mine, an employee told AFP that “a man in military uniform driving a four-by-four packed with explosives mixed in with the Somair workers and blew up his vehicle in front of the power station at the uranium treatment facility.” [...]

read more: Islamist bombers kill 20 in Niger attacks, seize hostages

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Robert Wyatt - La Ahada Yalam

Ex-Soft Machine man in a recent recording.

At least 2,091 US military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001

At least 2,091 US military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001 |
"At least 1,732 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 124 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 11 were the result of hostile action.
The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is four more than the department's tally.
The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths."

Ray Manzarek RIP

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Investors Pour Millions Into Drone Businesses

Drones Take Off in Silicon Valley :
"Using the analogy of the personal computer industry, Chris Dixon, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said Airware is “sort of the Windows layer to drones,” while actual drone makers are akin to Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others. Mr. Dixon envisions Airware’s technology being used by other parties to develop applications — one for farmers, say, that helps inspect crops for more efficient use of water and fertilizer.
For-profit uses of drones in the United States isn’t technically legal yet, but that will change soon. Last year, Congress ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to figure out how to integrate drones into domestic airspace safely by 2015. The growing interest in the technology, especially from law enforcement agencies, which have already begun using drones in some cases, has prompted heated debates about the privacy implications of flying surveillance cameras."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

America's Fallujah Legacy


"“We recorded 672 cases in January but we know there were many more,” says Hadidi. He projects pictures on to a wall at his office: children born with no brain, no eyes, or with the intestines out of their body.
Facing a frozen image of a child born without limbs, Hadidi says parents’ feelings usually range between shame and guilt. “They think it’s their fault, that there’s something wrong with them. And it doesn’t help at all when some elder tells them it’s been ‘god’s punishment’.”
The pictures are difficult to look at. And, those responsible for all this have closed their eyes."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Deep Canadian Mine yields Ancient Water 1.5 Billion Years Old

BBC News - Deep Canadian mine yields ancient water
""There are similar waters in South Africa with almost identical chemistry that are tens of millions of years old, and they contain microbes that have adapted to that environment," explained Prof Chris Ballentine from Manchester University.
"These are microbes that can survive on the energy from the natural water-rock interactions," he told BBC News.
A positive identification had fascinating implications for our understanding of how life evolved on the early Earth and where it could exist underground today on other planets, such as Mars, Prof Ballentine added."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

NATO says roadside bomb kills 4 US troops in South

NATO says roadside bomb kills 4 US troops in southern Afghanistan - The Washington Post
"The attack follows a truck bombing a day earlier on a NATO outpost in Helmand province that killed three Georgian soldiers. So far this year, 58 international service troops have been killed in Afghanistan, according to an Associated Press count. Of those, 44 are U.S. service members.
Earlier Tuesday, a bomb hidden in a parked motorcycle ripped through a packed market in the village of Safar in Helmand, according to Omer Zawak, the spokesman for the provincial governor. Three people were killed and seven were wounded in the blast, he said, warning that the toll could rise."

Guantánamo hunger strikers subjected to harsh new method of force feeding | The Raw Story

Guantanamo protest via AFP
Guantánamo hunger strikers subjected to harsh new method of force feeding -
Hunger-strikers being force fed at Guantánamo Bay are shackled to a chair, fitted with a mask and have tubes inserted through their nose and into their stomachs for up to two hours at a time, according to revised guidelines in use at the camp.
The guidelines, which were updated after the latest protest by inmates began in February, detail the process of involuntary feeding and how after the sessions, detainees are kept in a “dry cell” to prevent them vomiting. News of the 30-page Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual – which was first published on Monday, by al-Jazeera, and has since been confirmed to be genuine by the US military – comes amid fresh questions over the ethics of force-feeding protesters at the prison.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Former Guatemala Leader Guilty of Genocide

Three decades after the massacre of Guatemala’s Ixil people, the military leader who gave the order has been found guilty of genocide.The courtroom erupted Saturday with calls of “Justice, justice,” as former General Efrain Rios Montt heard his verdict: guilty on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity — an 80-year prison sentence for the 83-year-old man. (Via Al Jazeera)
Rios Montt took charge of a military junta in the early 1980s — right at the peak of Guatemala’s civil war between the government and leftist groups. The country’s military labeled the Ixil people as guerilla fighters (Via YouTube / laverdadlibre) …
… leading to the deaths of almost 1,800 men, women and children. Members of the tribes, remnants of the Mayan civilization that once spanned Central America, claim the raping of women by government troops was especially widespread. (Via YouTube / Amnesty International)
Rios Montt and his supporters have claimed any decisions he made as the leader of those troops was in the heat of battle. But after hearing testimony from 100 witnesses over five weeks, a judge found the general guilty of war crimes. (Via The New York Times)
Rios Montt will begin serving his sentence immediately, but he’s expected to appeal the decision. A human rights group in the U.S. says in just 17 months, between 1982-83, more than 5 percent of all the Ixil people were killed.

How to Spot a Weak Argument — Science and Technology

How to Spot a Weak Argument — Science and Technology — Medium
"I decided recently to test my hunch about “surely” a bit more systematically. I went through dozens of papers—about sixty—on the philosophy of mind at and checked for occurrences of “surely.” Most papers did not use the word at all. In those that did use it (between one and five times in the sample I checked), most instances were clearly innocent; a few were, well, arguable; and there were six instances where the alarm bell sounded loud and clear (for me). Of course others might have a very different threshold for obviousness, which is why I didn’t bother tabulating my “data” in this informal experiment. I encourage doubters to conduct their own surveys and see what they find.

An excerpt from Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel C. Dennett published by W. W. Norton & Company."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shell presses ahead with world's deepest offshore oil well

Shell presses ahead with world's deepest offshore oil well | Business | The Guardian
"The move comes despite ongoing controversy over offshore exploration – especially in the Gulf of Mexico, where in April 2010 a fire and explosion on the BP Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and started a leak that took three months to cap. Last month BP said it had paid $25bn (£16bn) of the $42bn it has set aside to cover the damage caused by the spill."

Contracting Out The Killings

If you're concerned by the Obama administration's targeted killing policies, don't overlook similar attacks conducted by allies and partners who receive U.S. money, weapons, or actionable intelligence. When the United States provides other states or non-state actors with the capabilities that enable lethal operations -- without which they would not happen -- it bears primary responsibility for the outcome. Whatever drone strike reforms the White House offers, or if additional congressional hearings are held, they must take into account America's troubling role in client-state targeted killings. Consider some of the most egregious recent examples which the United States directly abetted: MORE

Monday, May 6, 2013

Karzai Said He Was Assured of Cash Deliveries by C.I.A.

Karzai Said He Was Assured of Cash Deliveries by C.I.A. - — The C.I.A.’s station chief here met with President Hamid Karzai on Saturday, and the Afghan leader said he had been assured that the agency would continue dropping off stacks of cash at his office despite a storm of criticism that has erupted since the payments were disclosed.The C.I.A. money, Mr. Karzai told reporters, was “an easy source of petty cash,” and some of it was used to pay off members of the political elite, a group dominated by warlords.

read's even worse...

Feathers - 200 Million Years in 3 Minutes

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Israel confirms airstrike inside Syria

Israel confirms airstrike inside Syria - Middle East - Al Jazeera English: Israeli officials have confirmed that the country's air force carried out a strike against Syria and say it targeted a shipment of advanced missiles.
The officials said on Saturday the shipment was not of chemical arms, but of "game changing" weapons bound for the Lebanese Hezbollah group.
They claimed, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the airstrike was early on Friday, but no mention was made of where it took place.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Former Bush official: Syria chemical weapons could be ‘Israeli false flag operation’ | The Raw Story

Former Bush official: Syria chemical weapons could be ‘Israeli false flag operation’
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell under President George W. Bush, on Thursday warned that the chemical weapons that were reportedly used in Syria could be a “Israeli false flag operation” because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was running an “inept regime.”
During an interview with Current TV’s Cenk Uygur, Wilkerson explained that he had been told by his sources in the intelligence community that evidence that Syria had used chemical weapons was “really flaky” and that President Barack Obama should think twice before intervening.


Global capitalism and 21st century fascism

Global capitalism and 21st century fascism - Opinion - Al Jazeera English:
"By the late 1990s, the system entered into chronic crisis. Sharp social polarisation and escalating inequality helped generate a deep crisis of over-accumulation. The extreme concentration of the planet's wealth in the hands of the few and the accelerated impoverishment, and dispossession of the majority, even forced participants in the 2011 World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos to acknowledge that the gap between the rich and the poor worldwide is "the most serious challenge in the world" and is "raising the spectre of worldwide instability and civil wars."
Global inequalities and the impoverishment of broad majorities mean that transnational capitals cannot find productive outlets to unload the enormous amounts of surplus it has accumulated. By the 21st century, the TCC turned to several mechanisms to sustain global accumulation, or profit making, in the face of this crisis."

When Harry Met Pablo

Here Truman, a hater of abstract art, called on Picasso in France and asked why he never visited the US. Picasso: 'You refused my visa!'

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Spectacular Interstellar Cloud

The Danish 1.54-metre telescope located at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has captured a striking image of NGC 6559, a cloud of gas and dust located at a distance of about 5000 light-years from Earth, showcasing the anarchy that reigns when stars form inside an interstellar cloud. The glowing region is a relatively small object, just a few light-years across, in contrast to the one hundred light-years and more spanned by its famous neighbor, the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8, eso0936). Although it is usually overlooked in favor of its distinguished companion, NGC 6559 has the leading role in this new picture.
The gas in the clouds of NGC 6559, mainly hydrogen, is the raw material for star formation. When a region inside this nebula gathers enough matter, it starts to collapse under its own gravity. The center of the cloud grows ever denser and hotter, until thermonuclear fusion begins and a star is born. The hydrogen atoms combine to form helium atoms, releasing energy that makes the star shine.
These brilliant hot young stars born out of the cloud energize the hydrogen gas still present around them in the nebula. The gas then re-emits this energy, producing the glowing threadlike red cloud seen near the center of the image known as an emission nebula. These young stars are usually of spectral type O and B, with temperatures between 10 000 and 60 000 K, which radiate huge amounts of high energy ultraviolet light that ionises the hydrogen atoms.

Mayday Protests Across The World

Afghan Government Cash Crisis

Afghan Government Faces Cash Crunch, I.M.F. Says -

"As a last resort, international donors could always fill the gap. They already pay nearly the entire cost of Afghanistan’s police force and army, and have agreed to cover roughly 60 percent of the government’s other spending this year.
For now, fear of instability still trumps the desire for good governance among Western donors, and aid commitments are likely to hold through the end of the NATO combat mission in 2014, diplomats said."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Sioux View

The Sioux View: Museum’s remit must be to tell the story of a slaughter - Americas - World - The Independent
"On Monday night we held a meeting of Wounded Knee descendants, and I heard the shocking story of a small boy, maybe seven years old, who survived by crawling into a slit in one of the ravines. He stayed long enough to hear the bodies being buried. He heard soldiers throwing infants, still alive, into graves.  We all agree there should be a museum, so people can learn what really happened. And if it turns a profit, the money should go back into beautifying the site. But the Lakota must be involved."