Imperialism: Now

"According to the Defense Department's annual 'Base Structure Report' for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign and domestic U.S. military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and HAS another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories. Pentagon bureaucrats calculate that it would require at least $113.2 billion to replace just the foreign bases -- surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic product of most countries -- and an estimated $591,519.8 million to replace all of them. The military high command deploys to our overseas bases some 253,288 uniformed personnel, plus an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employs an additional 44,446 locally hired foreigners. The Pentagon claims that these bases contain 44,870 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and that it leases 4,844 more. These numbers, although staggeringly large, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. The 2003 Base Status Report fails to mention, for instance, any garrisons in Kosovo -- even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel, built in 1999 and maintained ever since by the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root. The Report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, although the U.S. military has established colossal base structures throughout the so-called arc of instability in the two-and-a-half years since 9/11.

"The foreign policy sensibility behind the Baseworld expansion, meanwhile, is already plain to see. In the words of the American Enterprise Institute, home to the most hawkish of the Bush administration’s neoconservative core, the idea is to create "a global cavalry" that can ride in from "frontier stockades" and shoot up the "bad guys" as soon as we get some intelligence on them.

"In fact, the "global cavalry" strategy promises to do the opposite. As the prominent British military historian, Correlli Barnett, has observed, the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq only increased the threat from al-Qaeda. From 1993 through the Sept. 11 assaults of 2001, there were five major al-Qaeda attacks worldwide; in the two years since, there have been seventeen such bombings, including the Istanbul suicide assaults on the British consulate and an HSBC Bank. Military operations against terrorists are not the solution. As Barnett puts it, 'Rather than kicking down front doors and barging into ancient and complex societies with simple nostrums of "freedom and democracy," we need tactics of cunning and subtlety, based on a profound understanding of the people and cultures we are dealing with -- an understanding up till now entirely lacking in the top-level policy-makers in Washington, especially in the Pentagon.'"

Mother Jones


Wesley Clark

"Clark, when asked by a woman at a Dartmouth rally whether he was really a Republican in sheep's clothing, zinged back, 'I never really thought of Democrats as sheep.'"

Sanctions at work

I suppose that is one way to make an 'axis of evil' regime crumble- if enouh of the people die because they aren't allowed to have food shipped to them, the rest of the people might think it's the government's fault.
Guardian Unlimited | Aid cut off to millions in North Korea


Anti-Semitic Artwork- by a Jew

"Few places on earth seem likelier to soothe diplomatic tempers than the refined surroundings of a Swedish museum. So 400 invited guests quietly consuming canapes could be forgiven their amazement when an ambassador erupted in violent protest at a work of art depicting an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber.
Zvi Mazel, Israel's ambassador to Sweden, ripped out electrical wires, grabbed a spotlight and hurled it into a fountain, causing it to short circuit and become a potential death trap.

The installation Snow White and the Madness of Truth, located in the courtyard of Stockholm's Museum of National Antiquities, featured a basin filled with red water, designed to look like blood. A sailboat with the name Snow White floated on the water, and placed like a sail was a photograph of a smiling Hanadi Jaradat, the 29-year-old Palestinian lawyer who blew herself up in the Haifa suicide bombing in October which killed 21 Israelis.

Mazel defended his actions: 'For me it was intolerable and an insult to the families of the victims. As ambassador to Israel I could not remain indifferent to such an obscene misrepresentation of reality. This was not a piece of art. This was a monstrosity.'

One of the two artists who created the work, Israel-born Dror Feiler, said the ambassador had been 'totally unreasonable and undiplomatic' and would not listen to his explanations. 'He said he was ashamed that I was a Jew,' Feiler said. 'We see this as an offensive assault on our right to express our thoughts and feelings. Mazel tried to stop free speech and free artistic expression from being carried out in Sweden.'"


UPDATE: 27 Jan 2004: CNN


Goodbye to Hubble

Welcome, human bodies abandoned on Mars!
CNN- Hubble casualty of Bush space plan


December Job Growth

"Just 1,000 jobs were created last month, data out on Friday showed, versus expectations of a 130,000 gain. Financial markets took fright at the news in case it was a warning that recent strong U.S. growth was not sustainable."


Mad Cow Disease

"Over the last 20 years the rates of Alzheimer's disease in the United States have skyrocketed. According to the CDC, Alzheimer's Disease is now the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, afflicting an estimated 4 million Americans. Twenty percent or more of people clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, though, are found at autopsy not to have had Alzheimer's at all. A number of autopsy studies have shown that a few percent of Alzheimer's deaths may in fact be CJD. Given the new research showing that infected beef may be responsible for some sporadic CJD, thousands of Americans may already be dying because of Mad Cow disease every year.

At Yale, out of a series of 46 patients clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer's, six were proven to have CJD at autopsy. In another study of brain biopsies, out of a dozen patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's according to established criteria, three of them were actually dying from CJD. An informal survey of neuropathologists registered a suspicion that CJD accounts for 2-12% of all dementias in general. Two autopsy studies showed a CJD rate among dementia deaths of about 3%. A third study, at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that 5% of patients diagnosed with dementia had CJD. Although only a few hundred cases of sporadic CJD are officially reported in the U.S. annually, hundreds of thousands of Americans die with dementia every year. Thousands of these deaths may actually be from CJD caused by eating infected meat.

The incubation period for human spongiform encephalopathies such as CJD can be decades. This means it can be years between eating infected meat and being diagnosed with CJD. Although only about 150 people have so far been diagnosed with variant CJD worldwide, it will be many years before the final death toll is known."




To the best of my knowledge, the United States of America is headed down the drain.

I went to Petsmart today to return the rather gruesome corpses of six fish that were the product of a Christmas present where the thought- and the thought only- counted. The fish (all of them, almost simultaneously) had simply died when introduced to the Strange New World that is the Fishtank in the study. Fortunately, Petsmart has a "14-day guarantee", which I am sure is not used to often due to the smell of fish who are dead. Its not too bad, but the stink is a bit beyond what most imperialist families can take.
But, to get back on topic, the disparity of the chlorine levels between Petsmart's tanks and mine is not the only problem facing the US. On entering the Mega Strip Mall- built just a few years ago, and in the process killing a beautiful, huge stand of trees and vastly depleting the habitat of the neighborhood red-tailed hawks- all that my eye could see was cars. Literally thousands of them, forming a desert of metal and asphalt. The temperature as I stepped out of the car was at least ten degrees more than it had been when I left the shade of pines outside my home.
Inside of Petsmart were several ridiculously [under]dressed women, a guy in his twenties with about 25% of his skin tattooed, and several overweight and hyperactive children. Seeing as I live in the A-1 Fascist Township, USA, probably none of them will bother to vote and, if they do, will vote Republican, not because they like Bush's policies but because they have been watching Fox News, which tells them that the terrorists are coming and will kill us all if we vote for Dean.
When I got back to the car (now an oven) I found a huge- huge- Toyota Pathfinder Armada sitting next to it. Ungodly would be an understatement. Then, to top things off, as I drive off I see an ancient Caddy belching reeking blue smoke. This, after earlier reading that the Cato Institute says that:
"The Kyoto Protocol will result in no demonstrable climate change but easily demonstrable economic damage."
This feeling, of course, is reflected by most Americans- at least, the ones who know what global warming is (or, "supposed to be.")

I don't feel like this is all the fault of politics- in fact, according to Mother Jones, the Administration is having a hard time of it:
"In 2002, thanks largely to Osama bin Laden, the Bush administration was flying higher than a cruise missile. By year's end 2003, the only hawk still openly talking the talk of empire was the Vice-President, who included the following quotation from Benjamin Franklin in his Christmas card: 'And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?' In short, by the end of 2003, despite a brief Alka-Seltzer moment of relief with the capture of Saddam Hussein (but not, of course, Osama bin Laden), something was wobbling in the House of Bush."

Instead, it is a cultural problem. We, as a people, care about ourselves and football teams, not necessarily in that order. We certainly do not give a dime about the rest of the undernourished, undereducated, and under cup-holdered rest of the world. But, unfortunately, America is not off-balance- she is quite sturdy, as the simple study of only one Nimitz class aircraft carrier points out, and also quite willing to stomp over the rest of the world.

Nothing political can change until the American culture changes. But at the moment, there is no catalyst. Could one be required to prompt a social- and political- progression?

Have we ever been in this bad of a shape before as a nation?


Scared yet?

If not, you should be. It's patriotic.

"On Wednesday night, British Airways Flight 223 was escorted by fighter jets to Dulles after authorities said the names of about a dozen passengers appeared to match those on a terrorist watch list.
The airliner, carrying about 240 passengers, was taken around 7 p.m. EST to a secure area of the Dulles airport runway, where the FBI interviewed the dozen passengers in question and determined that they posed no threat, the officials said.

The plane was kept on the runway with all passengers aboard for about three to five hours -- what the FBI Thursday called an 'unfortunate disadvantage' to the passengers.

The Boeing 747 was already in flight from Heathrow Airport in London when authorities noticed the similarity in the names, prompting the emergency response. Officials did not explain why they noticed the names only after the plane had taken off."