quote of the day: control or no control

"Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human
race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and
those who have no such desire."

- Robert A Heinlein

Bush's 19-yr old Nephew on the Dubai Port Deal

This is hee-lar-ee-ous. Chip off the old block, I say. Got a prosperous career ahead of him, I'm sure....

(via José)

Ha Ha Ha America

Wow. Ha Ha Ha America is a clever, funny, scary little film about China and the U.S. Everyone in gringolandia should watch this. Everyone. Go. click and watch it. now.

Impeachment Futility

Can someone please explain why people are wasting time and money trying to impeach Bush? For one thing, it's not going to happen, but even more importantly, do you really want Dick Cheney to be president?

We'd have to impeach like 8 people before we'd get to someone in the chain of command that's not just as dangerous to the world as Bush. At least Bush is an incompetent monkey that's making a fool out of himself and the whole regime. Impeaching him would be like getting rid of Jar Jar Binks so that Darth Vader can take over.

Is it just symbolic? Pshaw. I'm tired of (at least that kind of) symbolism. I bet you'd have more positive effect on the world if you took the money that these people are spending on impeachment ads in the New York Times and spent it buying satellite internet modems for villages in Iran.

Coronado Out for 2 more weeks at least.

Well, Rod just called and he's on his way back from San Diego after attending a hearing on the government's motion to stay his release. The judge said no, why don't you prepare something more carefully.

so The govt is going to refile their motion and a hearing is set for 2 weeks from now, march 23, when he has to go back to San Diego again.

We got reporters from all over calling and emailing us to hear the news. It's pretty crazy.

okay. gotta go. other things call...

What's the Truth About Foreign Aid and Development?

I just listened to a radio program with John Perkins, the author of the hit book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man." Also on the show were 3 other guests with a wide range of positions about the claims Perkins makes in his book. The most last one is a guy from the World Bank who basically completely disagrees. His main point was, well, yeah, there's bad stories but there's good ones too, and of course projects and loans are going to fail a lot because these countries are risky environments. He also spewed out lots of statistics about how the world and its poor people are better off in the last few decades thanks to foreign aid and the IMF and the World Bank, etc. Perkins counters with other statistics that prove just the opposite.

The show's host sums it up by saying "the devil is in the details." Whenever anyone uses that maxim I like to quote Einstein who said the opposite: God is in the details.

But anyway, my point is, if the details are important, but the different sides are tossing around totally contradictory details, how do we decide? What numbers do we believe? How can we, the normal, everyday members of civil society, possibly know what the truth is? on one side are very smart people, even nice people, even a couple people I know personally, who say "capitalism has made the world better, here's the stats to prove it." And then on the other side are other very smart people saying the opposite, and they have convincing figures too.

What to believe? Is this just a matter of faith?

Rod Coronado Arrested by Feds Today

Crazy things seem to always happen on Wednesdays here. I can rememeber a few Wednesday nights coming to the Dry River meeting and finding out some bad news about some arrest or raid or something.

Today is another one. Rod Coronado apparently was arrested at his workplace today. His girlfriend reportedly went to his house and found FBI and ATF agents searching it.

We really don't know more than that. There's speculation that it's something to do with the grand jury investigation in San Diego, connected to Rod's speaking event there a couple years ago. This has been brewing for awhile. (I wish I had more links about this grand jury investigation but the search function on the SD IMC site seems to be screwed up, so I only have the above link which I had bookmarked a couple months ago).

I shouldn't say anything else yet. I feel like I should be writing this on the AZ IMC site, but indymedia folks here are skittish about writing stuff too soon. There's a certain preciousness to feature articles here that is a big contrast to Portland. I personally think it's better to write a little bit ASAP, maybe even speculate a little bit, rather than sit on a story till you have 5 paragraphs worth of absolute truth - as long as it doesn't put anyone at risk or incriminate anyone. But, whatever, I'm new here and when in Tucson, do as the Tucsonans.

Anyway, we'll have something up in the morning, I think.

Double Jeopardy

Tonight was a big event for Arizona Earth First!, just a few blocks from where I live. At the UA Law College there was a talk by Rod Coronado planned, about his recent conviction for interfering with a mountain lion hunt, and other information about other hunts that Earth First! is campaigning against. A rough cut of a video I've been working on about the Sandhill Crane hunt was also shown.

It turned out that Rod couldn't speak, because of the conditions of his pre-sentencing agreement, and because it would possibly result in a longer sentence for him. But that's not all, there was further controversy. Apparently the International Safari Club called the law school and objected to the event and the idea that EF! would be asking for donations to help with Rod's legal defense. They also said they would have people present there, but nobody showed up. Typical of cowardly hunters (the Safari Club says it's a conservation organization but they are basically just a trophy hunters lobbying group, and a powerful one, based in Tucson).

Furthermore, another bombshell was dropped; Rod is being re-charged in state court for the Sabino canyon mountain lion incident, charges that were dropped last year, for a crime that is basically the same as what he's already been convicted of in federal court. There's actually a warrant for his arrest starting at midnight tonight (half an hour ago now). He's planning to sleep somewhere secret tonite and go to the courthouse in the morning first thing with his lawyer and sort all this out.

The other crazy bullshit is this: tommorrow is the annual public commentary hearing about various wild game hunts that Arizona Game and Fish Department is required to have. One reason for the EF! event tonight was to urge people to go to the hearing and give comments. Well, it came out during the event that Game and Fish has actually moved the hearing to the International Wildlife Museum, which is the headquarters of the International Safari Club (and some call it the International Wildlife Mausoleum, since it's nothing but dead stuffed animals). This is so patently ludricious as to defy belief. It would be like if there was a presidential debate at the headquarters of the Republican Party. Or an organic food conference at Monsanto. It's just ridiculous.

Anyway, I'll be there with indymedia press pass and video camera to get it on tape.

Zero Coke Movement

At first I was confused, but I guess that a new anti-coke consumer boycott campaign is somewhat in response to a Coca-Cola ad campagn to sell their "Coke Zero" sugar-free product. The boycott actually goes further and mentions that you should stop drinking all soft drinks, drink water instead and send the money you would spend to fund efforts to get clean water to those who don't have it.

This is good advice. I don't drink soft drinks, or packaged beverages at all, except the occasional bottle of juice. Coffee is my guilty disposable-income vice, but I only have about 1 latte or whatever a day, so I don't think I'm that bad.

This seems like a silly thing to even be blogging about. but I saw that page and then thought of some people I know who are drinking cans of soda all the time. Plus we just had a big discussion on a mailing list I'm on about fatness in the U.S. and high-fructose corn syrup. bleah.

Some Iraq Arithmetic

My housemate just brought up the point that the Iraq War has now used up more money than the value of all the oil in Iraq, even if you don't count the cost of extracting the oil. He had his numbers off a little way off, but the point is still interesting to think about.

Let's see, under the sands of Iraq there's about $5.6 trillion worth of oil (figuring about $50/barrel). And the Cost of the Iraq War so far: $234 billion. How much more will the U.S. spend? How expensive will the oil be to extract? What will the price of oil do, and whose oil is it? These are all things that will effect the final result of the equation, but it's looking like even from just a business perspective, the "Blood for Oil" may not end up being is still well worth it. (In other words, my housemate was totally wrong. I did the math wrong at first so i thought he was only wrong by about a factor of 2, but he's actually wrong by a factor of 20, hence the crossed-out sections.)

But one final thing to point out: you could buy about 11 million Toyota Prius hybrid cars with the money the Iraq War has cost us. Not quite enough for every car-driving Unitedstatesian, as my housemate claimed, but maybe the government could get a bulk discount....

(and isn't it amazing that in about 5 minutes I can go to the web and check a statistical factoid that someone tells me and come up with how true or false it really is? Things haven't always been this way...)

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