Stress. Sharks.

Jeepers, things at the Greenpeace office have been in non-stop high gear for a while now, and I’m in that horrible place where my to-do list is expanding out beyond the boundaries of available time. And that’s INCLUDING the twice a week in the office until midnight routine, which ain’t gonna happen this week.

Between the (somewhat) unexpected Seymour Hersh revelations about US nuclear attack plans for Iran that kicked our Nukes-out-of-NATO campaign into high gear, the McDonald’s Monkey-Murdering-McNuggets story, a new site build for our Disarmament campaign, ongoing Oceans work and more than the usual number of trains to be kept running for more than the usual number of people, the competition for the front page of the Greenpeace website has been fierce, the deadlines have been rolling in one on top of another, and things (and your humble diarist) get a bit tetchy when the pace starts exceeding the speed limit — and that’s an Autobahn-generous number at the best of times.

I’m soooooooooooooo ready for a holiday. Easter, bring it on!!!

But today is a big day for my eldest sprout, Doon, who will be going on his first canvassing expedition. Those damn World Wildlife Fund people have infiltrated his school with an outstanding kid’s campaign to save the sharks (jealous of their website, moi?) and we figured a prime location for him to pick up his quota of fifteen 3 euro donations would be the Greenpeace Office.

I gave a talk yesterday to 14 US university students who were here with the Greenpeace activist training programme. Brought them down into the basement to set the scene for what a Greenpeace office looked like in the early 80s, and talked about canvassing, and what great activist training that is. You have two minutes, max, to state your objective and win your audience over before that door closes on you. (An eternity, now that I think about it, compared to the grab window on the web.)

It was great to see signs of intelligent life, and active radicalism, among American University students, and one of them came up to me afterwords and said it was the first time he’d had a “passing the torch” speech and that he’d found that inspiring — so many of the “older people” (ouch) that he knew who had been active in their youth were now bitter and dismissive of those efforts. The latter is hard to hear, but the former warmed the cockles.
It’s so hard in this job to keep the long view — remembering that the activism that is happening now, the action that needs to be out the door, the messaging that needs to be relevant to a particular audience, also has a role in the future of activism as a whole. And that when we forget to speak to youth, and to kids, we’re doing a disservice to those who will follow.

WWF (or World Nature Fund, as they are known here in Holland) REALLY knows how to organize kids. I’ve always loved their Panda Passport system, and I’m thoroughly impressed with this shark campaign. Seems like every kid at Doon’s school knows the sharks are in danger and the range of games and easy learning materials at their site is very cool. I’m glad they’re thinking about that stuff.

Goodbye Lale…

Lale33, dead of cancer. Lale was such a spark of love. Sharp as a tack, funny and warm, she just walked into our lives one day as a colleague, walked a while as a friend, and walked out the next.

All day this has been haunting me. I worked until almost midnight at the office, throwing myself into a GoogleEarth map of Iranian targets that the BushHawks are probably considering for tactical nuclear strikes, and how many casualties that will mean (3 million, by the reckoning of the Physicians for Social Responsibility) and here was this single human death of someone I knew and loved and was inspired by, snuffed out. Hovering. Someplace in a corner of my mind where I couldn’t give it space, had to keep it at bay.
I managed to grab a moment in one of the quiet rooms in our open-plan office. Just a moment, long enough to let some emotion through but not enough to let the weight of it come down. I was at work.
I was looking out at the sky and there was a single small smudge of cloud against a blue sky. And I saw Lale. And a gull flew across my vision. And I saw Lale. And I said a small goodbye, and I saw her smile in my mind’s eye.

And I went back to work.

–b

Tolerance, Tribalism, and my inability to speak Dutch

Tilly-BurkaThought-provoking, disturbing article in the New Yorker argues the Dutch “pillar” system of cultural tolerance is a failure, as evidenced by the presence of radical islamicism within its borders. The modern implementation of the “pillar” system is the product of Ruud Lubbers and the liberal left in this country, by which cultural sub-groups have been allowed to (and in some cases encouraged to) maintain their languages and identities and value systems rather than integrating into those of mainstream Dutch society. Jane Kramer, who wrote the piece, slams this policy and (in my reading) the left’s failure to confine the right in making this their issue — a bit of the same “why does the left miss populist opportunities that the Right capitalizes on” analysis that the Democrats in the US have been worrying over ever since the fundamentalist Christian right discovered the fax machine.
I don’t want McCivilization — a single homogenous mass. But I also found myself struggling to find a position against some of the arguments in this piece: that there is simply no means by which one culture which permits wife-beating can live with another culture which forbids it. That aggressive intolerance of homosexuality can’t be defended as a religious right. In an American context, this is a fight in which the line is between the fundamentalist Christian right and the liberal left.

Here in Holland, the left has created an environment of cultural tolerance which has meant not just a tacit allowance, but an active defense of the right to those fundamentalist values.
And if you want to talk about failure to integrate, I realized midway through the article that I learned more about the politics and culture of the Baarsjes, a neighborhood two blocks away from me, from a magazine published in Manhattan than I’d learned in ten years of living here. I don’t necessarily want Dutch society to insist that I learn to love Edam Cheese, but I certainly could have used a push to learn Dutch well enough to eavesdrop on the tram. So I’m supporting the position of the conservatives, who have introduced mandatory integration and language courses for immigrants?? You see my predicament here.
Continue reading “Tolerance, Tribalism, and my inability to speak Dutch”

Rare Amazon species, with ketchup

McAmazonAmazon being cleared to grow soy which goes into the chicken mcnuggets that go into Unhappy meals in Europe.

I keep telling my son, Doon, that clown is evil.

Go yell about it.

And if you blog this one, tag it “McAmazon,” wouldja? I have a feeling this one is going to have some legs, and it would be nice to be able to track it down.

I’m still trying to get Movable Type to accept a Blog Claim tag from Technorati, and if I can’t get around a mod_security issue I’m having with my host, I may just have to make the leap to WordPress.

Of course, that’ll probably bring on a whole new heap of humdingers.

Trinity, Nuclear Craters, UFOS, and Elvis…

Boing Boing is featuring a great audience-funded piece of feature journalism here from Josh Ellis:

Dark Miracle: Trinity, the Manhattan Project, and the Birth of the Atomic Age.”

He asked folks to pay for his trip to Alamagordo on one of the two days a year that they open the site to the public.

As a former visitor to another nuclear weapons test site (though univited!) I can relate to the totally weird vibe these places attract. In 1983 four of us drove and hiked across 50 miles of desert to get to Yucca Flat at the Nevada Test Site — the first incursion by activists into the nuclear test zone. It was a cratered moonscape of apocalyptic weirdness in itself. But to get there, we had to pass by Area 51 — beloved of UFOlogists the world over. And damned if we didn’t in fact see something strange there…

We’d chosen a route to the test site that would keep us well clear, (we had no idea what kind of security to expect out there) but we crossed one high ridge that gave us a view. There was something on the runway that none of us could make heads or tails of. A casual mention of this fact in a bar after we’d been arrested ended up finding its way into the UFO circles as “Greenpeace spotted an alien craft at Area 51.”

Well, we hadn’t. A few years later when pictures of the first Stealth Bombers were declassified, I recognised it immediately as the shape we’d seen down there at Area 51. And with the help of a UFO researcher who was a thorough fact-finder, we determined that in fact the early prototypes were being transferred from research duty at Area 51 to operational training at Nellis Air Force Base precisely during the month we were out there stopping a nuclear test.

I guess when you think about the meta-threats to human existence, UFOs and Nuclear weapons share some territory. And anything like the end of the world which the imagination can’t really grapple rationally probably ends up in that place where there are no boundries on the possible, a place I call… The Elvis Zone.

–b

Sneak Peek: Duke Anti-nuke

duke.gifMy 7-year-young son is up with the birds, and his Dad, this morning. He’s at the PC next to me, googling Pokemon and endlessly asking when I’ll be done so I can tell him a Pokemon story. (Which is actually a call-and-response kind of narrative in which I lay down a basic storyline and he fills in the Pokemon characters and what they do, as I’m clueless about the intricacies of Chowazar training issues.)

Which brings me to games and activism.

Any aging digerati out there remember the first Whole Earth Software Catalogue (1984)? I think I’ve still got mine kicking around in the basement somewhere. It was the dead-tree Tucows of its day, listing cool stuff you could buy on 5 and a quarter inch floppy disks to run on your (in my case) 286 Compaq Sewing Machine portable with 10 megabyte hard disk monster rig.

Chapter One was games.

Stewart Brand made a compelling case for why, at a time when the PC was infesting accounting departments all over the planet and becoming something that every office had to have, he chose to lead with fun, saying that games are the way we first learn as children, and playtime learning remains one of the best ways to master a complicated new task like DOS-based Personal Computing. And indeed, the early adopters I knew in the days of the Kaypro II, where I cut my teeth, all had a child-like streak of curiousity and gee-whizzikers-ness.

I’m reminded of that every time I look at the stats over at the Greenpeace website and see that among the many fine 50-page studies and painstakingly researched information, it’s still the Games section which rules the mousepaths. Which has been driving some thought about how we can bundle campaign messaging into fun-filled delivery packages. Top on my list: How to inform kids today that all that stuff about how the nuclear weapons threat is not simply a matter of rogue states or a bygone of the Reagan era, and that thing called Chernobyl and what it was all about.

So I’m happy to provide you with a sneak peak of our latest Painless Activism Education Device: Duke Anti-Nuke.

We bundled a hundred Fun and Fearsome Facts about nuclear weapons and nuclear power into a platform game featuring our hero, Duke, as he strives to convert nuclear power plants into windmills and solar farms and disarm those pesky WMDs before the evil terrorists get to them. The facts about all things nuclear have been shredded by a smarmy Nuclear Industry publicist, and it’s Duke’s job to gather them up.

Rich Salter and Denise Wilton put this together. I’m really lame at platform games, so in order to test some of the higher levels and see the win screens, I needed somebody who could actually get past that nasty place in screen three where the radioactive waste starts leaking and you have to dodge guards, falls, AND radioactive drops.

So I sat my son down, (he could mouse around by the time he was 3) and we went head to head on our two pcs in the basement in a weekend-long Duke challenge. I haven’t had so much damn fun in ages.

But while at 7 years old Doon could appreciate the gameplay, he certainly missed the message. The son of a peace activist had one improvement suggestion: Duke should have a gun, so he can shoot the guards.

We didn’t implement that particular change request.

What’s *your* favourite game with a message?

Worldchanging

Dang. I’ve used up the morning blog time I have (between 6–6:30- when I rise to 7:50 when I need to get my son Packed off to school) posting over at WorldChanging.

I’ll cross post what I said over there in response to an open question about what NGOs are doing worthy work on Climate change.

(Chevy Apprentice still going strong — see the links in the comments to my previous post for some cool stuff!)

OK, full disclosure: I work for Greenpeace International in Amsterdam. But even if I didn’t, I’d put them up there in the ranks of the worthy.

For starters, they were talking about this issue in the late 80s with a “Fossil Fuel Free Future” that was ahead of its time. They did some important work internationally putting the issue out there. In the intervening they:

Created a pressure campaign that got Coke, McDonalds and Unilever to switch their refrigeration methods away from CFCs:

http://tinyurl.com/fguey

Partnered with industry to create “Greenfreeze” CFC-free refrigeration:

http://tinyurl.com/nj5n6

Lobbyed the World Business Council into a pro-Kyoto position against the will of the US members:

http://tinyurl.com/nayqg

Greenpeace may not be the new cool in environmental advocacy (I note they don’t even get a link in the sidebar here at WorldChanging), but in a world in which the nuclear industry’s advertising budget alone is (way) bigger than their annual budget, they’re still boxing above their weight.

Personally, I’d split my donations between Greenpeace (think global) and smaller local groups doing the nuts and bolts work to ensure renewables are on a level playing field with big oil, that consumers get incentives to buy green, and that your own power isn’t coming from nuclear or coal.

Here endeth the sermon. 😉

–b

Tire tracks all over Chevy


= Martha and Doon in MY idea of a sports utility vehicleWoo hoo… the Chevy Apprentice anti-ad campaign crosses over into “the news.” Here’s an article from CNET. Calls to Chevy for comment were not returned. I bet.

At the moment there’s probably a real conflict going on over there of the “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” kind — do you keep running this competition when it’s getting used to tarnish your well-funded brand, or do you figure the more the merrier and all that “Tahoe Tahoe Tahoe” mantra going out on the ether will make consumers forget they have any environmental ethics when it comes time to plunk down the ready for the ride?

The Detroit Free Press, in a piece about the ad campaign before it was launched:

Because the aversion to advertising seems to be growing, consumer engagement is a key way advertisers are trying to get people to interact with their brands. From sponsoring major sporting events to airing ads ordinary people create, companies are finding ways to make the their pitches less like ads and more entertaining.”

But seriously, is letting even a hard-core Tahoe fan stitch together an ad from a pre-assembled set of puff pieces going to be any fun unless you’re spoofing it? I am *definitiely* not the target audience here given my primary means of transportation is my bike and my bad-ass, two-kids and groceries truckin’ “bak fiets,” but I just can’t imagine anyone of sound mind getting a kick out of considering with a straight face where to stick the promo about how the seats fold back.

Then again, I haven’t lived in the United States for a long, long time. And you know how these things are, you miss out on a few brainwash sessions, you cut a couple imagination labotomies, and before you know it, you just can’t keep up.

(By the way, the sample ad they post at CNET is pretty good, but I see better below!)

In other SUV news — who says slapping a sticker on an SUV isn’t an effective form of action????

THANDIE Newton, the British star of the Hollywood hit film Crash, has become a crusader against gas-guzzling cars after a Greenpeace activist slapped stickers on her vehicle accusing her of adding to global warming.”

–b

Here’s mine, where’s yours?

tahoe.gifAhhhhh. Every now and then you just have to take a moment and give thanks for the stupidity of your adversary.

Chevrolet is introducing a brand new, gas-guzzling Tahoe SUV which gets “an amazing 20 mpg.” Yep, in an era in which other cars are making more than twice that figure, Antarctica is melting and the Greenland Ice Sheet is about to fall into the sea, that’s amazing alright. What’s MORE amazing is they’ve created an advertising contest in which anyone can make your own tv ad. What? They just never considered that they’d be set upon by a howling pack of outraged eco-hacktivists bent on culture jamming their little power-truck lovefest? Golly! That wasn’t very smart! Let’s all toddle over to Chevy’s House and put some tiretracks in their fun. We’re calling it the campaign.

(Thanks, Gillo!)

Eco-Geek’s Tahoe Ad

Total Tactics:

Grist:

Network Centric Advocacy:

Richard Hanson

Live Journal

UPDATE, April 23:

Here’s the email we all just got from Chevy, asking us to join them in the Boardroom. Ha ha. Wouldn’t we have a thing or two to say THERE? (having made the most “refined” ad we could.…excuse me, must go puke now…)
=============================================

Add Chevrolet@email.chevrolet.bfi0.com to your address book to
make sure you continue to receive Chevy email.

Come To The Boardroom.

You put in the effort. You made the most capable, most
responsible, and most refined commercial you could for the
2007 Tahoe.®

During the course of your creativity, we hope you learned a few
things about this all new SUV from Chevrolet.®

- The Vortec 5300 V8 engine with Active Fuel Management™
technology helps Tahoe deliver best-in-class fuel economy.*
— 2007 Tahoe has earned the highest possible rating for frontal
impact crash tests — five stars.**
— The Vortec™ 5300 V8 engine features Active Fuel
Management™ technology that allows it to shift seamlessly
between eight cylinders and four, then back again.

Now it’s time to see how your work stacks up.

Join us online in the Chevy Boardroom on April 27 at 8:00 p.m.,
EST, as the judges discuss the entries, reveal the top five
commercials, and announce the winner.

In the meantime, learn more about the all new 2007 Tahoe at
http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A987247D783432B157E80

You can also request a quote from your local Chevy dealer or at http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A086247D783432B157E80

Or sign up to receive email updates on great offers and
promotions from Chevrolet at
http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A581247D783432B157E80

Thanks for participating and good luck.

Ed Peper
Chevrolet General Manager

*Based on 2006 GM Large Utility segment and latest available
competitive information. 2WD with 5300 V8 engine EPA est. MPG 16
city, 22 highway on gasoline. EPA est. MPG 12 city, 16 highway on
available E85. Excludes other GM vehicles.
**Five-star rating is for both the driver and front passenger in
the frontal crash test. Government star ratings are part of the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) New
Car Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov).

GET A QUOTE: http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A680247D783432B157E80

BUILD & PRICE: http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A383247D783432B157E80

SPECIAL OFFERS: http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A482247D783432B157E80

FIND A DEALER: http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A28D247D783432B157E80

This is an email advertisement. Please do not reply to this
email. You asked to receive email from Chevy, but if you no
longer wish to receive other emails like this, visit:
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You may also unsubscribe to email regarding other GM vehicles:
http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A08F247D783432B157E80

©2006 GM Corp. General Motors Corporation, 100 GM Renaissance
Center, 482-A00-MAR, Detroit, MI 48265
View the GM Privacy Statement: http://email.chevrolet.bfi0.com/W3RT03350A18E247D783432B157E80

It was Jackson Browne that made me invade that nuclear test site, sir…

Grateful Child is a self-described elderly hippy living in Connecticut who pings all of us at Greenpeace with love every now and again. He sends encouraging messages when we save whales. He made up mugs and mousemats for the web team to say thanks for the web site. He chats with our supporter services folks about this and that. He makes tribute websites to our ships crew.

A while back, he sent me links to a couple Jackson Browne videos. Out of the blue. And somehow he plucked the string of some Jungian synchronicity wave or something, and watching them made me reflect on exactly how much Jackson had to do with me getting on a path that led to Greenpeace.

Are we sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.

In 1972 I was 14 years old. Nixon was in the Whitehouse. I had no politics, no idea where my life was going to go, no formed opinions about much of anything. But I had this little transistor radio (SOLID STATE!) and I’d obsessively scan the AM airwaves at night for signals from far off places like Chicago and Detroit so I could listen to scratchy static-filled songs which would fade in and out on ionospheric waves. My musical exposure up to then had been pretty limited to the few items my parents had on 33rpm albums: Herb Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass, the Ray Conniff Singers, Glenn Campbell.

And one night I heard “Rock me on the Water.” For whatever reason, I wanted to know who wrote that song. OK, maybe that gospel anthemic quality spoke to an alternative catholocism or something in me. Indeed, the only stand I’d ever taken was about this time, when I told my father I felt like a hypocrite going to church and I didn’t want to go anymore. He told me I was too young to know what a hyporcrite was, and I was going to church. Then suddenly the whole family stopped going to church. Hmmm…

Oh people, look around you. The signs are everywhere.
You’ve left it to someone other than you,
to be the one to care.”

Now what the heck made me think “Here was a teacher. Here was wisdom?” I haven’t a clue. But here was somebody with something to say that made you pause in your gum chewing. And when I subsequently heard “Doctor my Eyes” and “For a Dancer” I was completely pulled in.

Throughout highschool and University I collected Jackson’s lyrics and songs and scrutinized them. I dug the poetry. I didn’t get the politics. I could relate to “Before the Deluge” at a kind of sci-fi level — it was entertaining fiction, nothing more. As late as my sophmore year at Georgetown, when a literature professor had me reading George Luckas, I still didn’t get, really, what politics had to do with literature or anything outside the electoral process.

But I knew I didn’t like something there at the school that spawned Joe McCarthy and where Henry Kissenger later became a professor. I didn’t fit with the economics of the place. I didn’t fit with what I experienced as the rote learning, no-thinking methods in the School of Foreign Service (I was unlucky — there were excellent, thought-provoking professors there, but I largely missed them). I wasn’t a yuppy and I couldn’t play with yuppies. I fell in with a crowd of reprobate musician nonconformist poets. And one day one of them said we should head down to this thing, some concert on the mall where Jackson Browne and a bunch of other cool cats were going to be. It was for some cause, and it was called “No Nukes.”

Well, I suddenly found my context. I listened to what I was hearing there, I felt the unity, I felt the buzz of the power of numbers. And what had been a white noise of news about the dangers of nuclear power and Three Mile Island and the Diablo Canyon reactor all suddenly came into focus as something I ought to care about — and suddenly did care about. Laurie Anderson would impress me years later by describing artists as the radar of society: they amplify these weak signals that are coming in and make them visible, audible, get them talked about.

All the politics in those songs suddenly fell into place. It was politics, sure, but it was bound up in poetry, in the tradition of the Romantics or Emerson and Thoreau — it was all about a small group of people who shared a common light trying to make that light shine brighter, to share it, to fire the imaginations of others with it. It was about making the world more like a place we’d feel at home in. It was about respecting the power of nature and favoring that over the pursuit of money. And all of the sudden I realised that what I’d thought of as “politics” was a pretty thin slice of the spectrum. I started reading Wendell Berry, Saul Alinsky, Edward Abby. I began to see how deeply politics is ingrained with every choice we make every day — how every time we buy something we vote for a certain vision of what the world should be, how every time we agree or disagree with someone we’re saying something about our idea of what’s right and what’s wrong.

Before I knew it, I was camped out at ground zero at the Nevada Test site, trying to stop a nuclear weapons detonation. I was in jail in Boston for protesting the seal hunt. I was getting chased down a driveway by an NRA member with a shotgun. I was sailing on the Rainbow Warrior. I was on a path.

Thanks, Jackson. The wind be with you now.

Exxon refuses to answer to audit charges at Democracy Now

So much for transparency. Neither Exxon nor Public Interest Watch would share a podium with Greenpeace USA chief Troublemaker John Passacantando and the Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the story on the IRS auditing Greenpeace at the behest of PIW, an Exxon front group.

There’s a transcript here from Democracy now of the discussion. 

Why is it scary is that Exxon isn’t accountable for any of this? Because fun fact number 123, kids: Exxon’s profits last year were bigger than the annual budgets of 123 countries. Countries are, in theory, accountable for their dirty tricks. Fat cat corporates like Exxon can simply buy the democratic process. They’re not even accountable in the marketplace. As Karmabanque points out, their retail sales form such a tiny fraction of their income that we the people can boycott them to our heart’s content, and it won’t really dent a toenail on the T-rex.

Exxonsecrets keeps track of who Exxon pays to deny climate change and global warming. Personally, I think there ought to be a “Corporate Crimes Court.” We can already count deaths attibutable to global warming, and that number is going to soar in coming years. There are individuals behind the policies Exxon, and they deserve to be behind bars just as much as any war criminal. 

DailyKos pal Plutonium Page wrote a great blog on the WSJ story when it broke.

Iran: it will be war.

= Marten Lindquist, Peace Poster ProjectIn discussions yesterday in the Porn Lounge in the Greenpeace office (so called because of the ornate faux-18th century faux-gold threaded freecycled furniture) a couple of us talk about Iran and the ultimatum that the Security Council is going to deliver. Is there, realistically, any way that this won’t amount to a declaration of war? Isn’t the question now what form that war will take rather than whether it will happen? And what, as peace activists have we got to say about this?

I know what I say: Ban it all, dammit. Iran has no “inalienable right” to nuclear power anymore than I’ve got an inalienable right to send my kid to school with a luger. The US won’t have the right to play good cop until it sets an example by shedding those 30,000 nuclear weapons they’re still holding up their sleeve (and which don’t, by the way, seem to be deterring a damn thing). The Security Council is bankrupt for the same reason — recall you buy a veto in that club with nukes.

The geopoltics of this particular crisis may be complicated, but the big picture answer is simple. A fissile materials ban for all. We have a choice: a world where there’s a nuclear weapon for every man, woman and child on the planet, or one where they’re 100% prohibited. No nukes. Period. Now, how do we get 30 million people out in the streets to say that with one voice?????

And as to what form this war will take — here’s a chilling bit of spindrift from the ocean of email I wade through every day. I find this a fairly credible analysis of why Israel will front the attack, though I disagree in some details (the US doesn’t really care what the world thinks either, but they will build a coalition around this one for the sake of domestic politics):

Some thoughts on whether the US or Israel would hit Iran first (IF they do, let us hope not) — there is surprisingly little public discussion. I would suggest the US would not jump first — it would be a diplomatic disaster as the whole
world would condemn a new unilateral war, and also it would immediately invite the still-silent Badr brigades in Iraq to attack the US occupiers, and it would give the Democrats a security issue to be different from the Bush adminstration about, something the Dems desperately need.

Israel on the other hand:

  • openly considers that Cheney has given them the green light to do a preventive strike;
  • is publicly committed to a ‘point of no return’ in the next weeks or months — so doing nothing would be a sign of weakness and question their acknowledged ‘be like mad dog’ military posture.
  • will have a new Kadima government that may need to prove it’s tough-guy credentials in the absence of Sharon, especially as it soon wants to “sell out” a few illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories to make a permanent
    border.
  • Israel has announced it wants to take out Bushehr as well. The Americans would maybe like to do, but cannot really justify it because they admit Iran has a right to nuclear power. Israel will not satisfield with a diplomatic
    solution to end Iranian enrichment — it’s said it can not tolerate ANY civil nukes program.
  • unlike the US, Israel has no concern about what the rest of the world thinks
  • unlike the US, Israel considers Iranian nukes to be an ‘existential threat’… a grave, total threat to the existence of the state. So they have to act, sometime.

Not every expert in the US thinks this way, indeed the Army War College publishes papers about learning to live with the Iranian bomb being a better idea than bombing Iran.

From the US point of view, it is not only much more convenient if Israel strikes first, but the end result would be similar — if Iran strikes back at either Israel or US forces, then Bush would have a legitimate causus belli of
defending an ally or of self defence — and could bomb whatever it liked in Iran.

If you find that scary, go get a heaping helping of more bad news over at Pete’s blog, Don’t Bomb Iran. Then talk it up — there’s a train starting to roll down the tracks, it’s gathering steam, and it’s name ain’t peace.

–b

Piñata of bad American Debt

If you love a good rant (and who doesn’t love a good rant?) check out the podcasts from Max and Stacy of Karmabanque. I wrote a profile on this “Bonny and Clyde” of Karmabanque some time ago, and in the interim they’ve launched an outrageous set of audio spews which take a kilo of economic smarts (Max is ex-Wall Street) adds a truckload of activist attitude, a traincar of colorful language and mixes it into an exploding cake of fast-paced screed and invictive against the “Stupidocracy” of the western governments and their corporate sock-puppeteers. No holds barred, in your face, get-out-in-the-streets stuff. They have swum with the piranhas. They know how they work.

–b

Lord, Here Comes the Flood…

underwater.gif “Somebody ought to build an application that lets people visualize precisely what a 2 meter sea level rise might mean” we said a few years ago around the Organic Water Cooler at Greenpeace International in Amsterdam as the latest predictions on Global Warming impacts came out.

Somebody ought to build an application that lets people visualize precisely what a 7 meter sea level rise might mean” we said last year when the news of the potential Greenland Ice sheet melt came out.

And now, given the new data on Antarctica, I expect we would have been saying “Somebody ought to build an application that lets people visualize precisely what a 12 meter sea level rise might mean”…

If somebody hadn’t already done it.

From one meter all the way up to 14 — a Google Map that uses NASA elevation data to show precisley what the latest sea-level rise predictions might mean for your favorite beach location/mangrove full of endangered species/sub-sea-level neighborhood in Amsterdam/island nation/teeming millions of lowland dwellers.

Thanks to WorldChanging for spotting this one.