Wednesday, August 22, 2007

SWRDA's Greenwash

A gushing article about the boom in the regions airport entitled 'Region's Airport Extend their Reach' in the Business magazine Link, Summer '07;

“Business is booming at South West airports. Hardly a week goes by without the announcement of a new link with a destination somewhere in Europe.”

However we all know that that party pooper, Mr. Climate Change is about so they take pains to reassure us it is being considered;

“Of course the whole issue of air transport and its impact on the environment is very much under the microscope at the moment. Exactly how this affects the South the subject of ongoing debate by the South West Regional Development Agency...” The article then goes on to quote a lengthy passage by Malcolm Bell, the boss of Tourism South West, “What has gone wrong at the moment, however, is that air travel us considered bad and bus an train wonderful. That's a simplistic approach that requires caution – for example, the environmental impact of somebody who files into the South West, hires an ecologically acceptable car and walks for five days on Dartmoor will be very different to the person who motors down from Swindon and drives around the area all day before returning home.”

Let look at the figures: Swindon to Bovey Tracey 218 KM, then drives around all day, say another 50 KM per day for 5 days then 218 KM back, total of 636 @ 30 MPG gives 0.24 tones of CO2. OK?

Now, The drive from Bristol Airport to Bovey Tracy (128 KM) and our visitor walks around Dartmoor, then back, total of 256 KM @ 60 MPG gives 0.04 tonnes of CO2, now in criticizing simplistic comparisons Mr. Bell is a little simplistic himself in not giving us enough information to compare his key comparison – where has the visitor flown from? If we look at where Bristol Airport serves, you get a different picture, if the flight is not that far away, say Brussels then you get an additional 0.14 tonnes of CO2, total 0.18 so its marginally better, but the comparison falls away as the list of destinations the airport servers is examined; say Berlin (0.26 tonnes CO2, total 0.3 tonnes CO2). New York (1.5 tonnes of CO2, total 1.54) – In short it is an unrealistic picture that only stands up under very tight circumstances – and this trite, simplistic comparison is being used to attack simplistic comparisons. Urrk! In short, it's rubbish. Greenwash. The article has more greenwash too, gushing support for Bristol Airport where the objections of residents and campaigners are 'answered' by the fact that the airport is going to, “...include a decked car-park with green roof to minimise visual impact...” Oh and a couple of wind turbines and bio-mass generator – but they also plan to up passenger numbers to 9 million – but the article does not attempt to balance the CO2 cost of these.

With this in mind, here is some sage advice on how to people often react to climate change;

“- 'It is not really happening – get over it': This view values the risks of damage from climate change at zero. For now, at least, this view is not supported by most scientific opinion and, indeed, increasingly not by both wider expert, popular and political opinion

- 'It is happening but we can ignore it and carry on as we are': When/if its effects become important, we can deal with it as best we can at the time. Markets and other incentives will adjust and growth will be refocused. Rationally, this approach is saying that the value of our current lifestyle exceeds the value of the environmental damage we may be producing over any foreseeable time frame and, unless this inequality is reversed, there is no present need to act.”

Both a good points and sum up the attitude to airports – and both points are published in the Third Quarter: August 2006 Economics Review Issue 5 – published by SWRDA. Maybe they should read their own reports before backing the expansion of airports?
Iran: Don't Get Fooled Again

Fox News, owned by Rupert Murdoch, is pushing for war with Iran in the same way it did with Iraq. This great video by Robert Greenwald (director of Outfoxed) shows the warmongering news footage of Iraq 2003 with Iran 2007;

Monday, August 20, 2007

'Do you think it is winnable?'

An interesting article on Afghanistan that makes it pretty clear that UK/NATO or U$ forces are not winning there at all:

As usual, the conversation turned towards the same simple question. 'Do you think it is winnable?', the British commanders, officers and soldiers of Helmand would ask. It was a tough call....The obstacles were piled high. Progress, by comparison, seemed stunted. Few who asked seemed sure of success. Some sensed it was possible, others wondered at what cost. One officer simply exhaled sharply and gazed at his desert combat boots.

Sounds like a 'no' then? It is also clear that Iraq is part of the problem:

Overstretching the few soldiers available in Helmand increases the risk of the enemy moving back into areas once occupied by British forces, a politically untenable scenario. As usual, the central dilemma boils down to a lack of manpower where it matters, with the British still immersed in Iraq.

Hey, but we've can't back out of Iraq, after all the order to invade came from none other than God - and who are we to dispute HIS DIVINE WILL? The most poignant bit in the article is this:

Lying in the shallow trench before dawn, it was difficult not to contemplate how this war might end. The ditch was an old Soviet relic from when the Russian army withdrew from Helmand, a province where the mujahideen were never conquered.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

In and Out of YouTube

A few weeks ago the Observer published a list of choice picks from YouTube charting some of the history of pop;

Want to see Iggy's 'crowd walk'? A teenage Van Morrison? Since the creation of YouTube, rare footage of your pop idols is just a click away...On YouTube pop is not a neat and tidy form that can be arranged into historical segments but a gloriously random, fragmented, elusive entity. And it is all the more exciting for that.

Cool. Now I'd like to add my own list...

Big Black - "jordan, minnesota" (live)
A band that blew me away when I first heard them. At that point I thought Ned's Atomic Dustbin was radical music. Big Black was a wake-up call to a wider, more experimental, darker, more subversive and exciting world. One of the comments on the page says it all, “Today's rock music has no relevance once you listen to this.”

Mudhoney - In 'N' Out Of Grace (live)
While Nirvana were the band from the grunge scene that really made it, I was – for my sins – a grunge kid before the scene broke into the mainstream and the anthem then was Mudhoney's 'Touch Me I'm Sick' – but for my money, this is their best track and it's best heard live with the distortion and noise that defined grunge.

Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia
An amazing punk band that made catchy, almost poppy, punk-rock without compromising the message one inch. Video show Jello's mad-ball green gloves. Love DK.

Berlin Riot 1999 (Atari Teenage Riot LIVE)
ATR were the band that introduced me to breakcore and I would suggest, a hugely influential band on lots of producers of breakcore. This video is a real punk-rock ironic moment – ATR on a float bashing out tracks like 'Revolution Action' and 'Start the Riot' when a riot starts! It's less 'I predict a riot' and more 'I'm in the middle of a fucking riot!' The German riot cops wear green overalls, so they look for like the military attempting a coup than protect and serve.

Venetian Snares - Szamar Madar
I love this video and I love this track. The best representation of breakcore in a music video I have scene, it captures the music perfecly and IMHO its a million miles better that 99% of the pop-video dross that the industry churns out day-after-day.

What's yours?
Righteous Fascism

Following on from my last post about the nutty apocalyptic Christians hijacking foreign policy in the US. Now it gets scarier – in an essay entitled 'Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy', author Philip Atkinson points out what Bu$h should have gone to sort the problems in Iraq;

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

So it's the cowardly US voters who messed Iraq up. So what now? Helpfully Atkinson suggests a new course of action Bu$h and Co. might take, you might call it a 'home surge';

As there appears to be no sensible result of the invasion of Iraq that will be popular with his countrymen other than retreat, President Bush is reviled; he has become another victim of Democracy....However, President Bush has a valuable historical example that he could choose to follow. When the ancient Roman general Julius Caesar was struggling to conquer ancient Gaul, he not only had to defeat the Gauls, but he also had to defeat his political enemies in Rome who would destroy him the moment his tenure as consul (president) ended...If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies....He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Glad that's cleared up then. This 'essay' was published online by the group Family Security Matters, a conservative front group. When people began to express predictable outrage at this piece, they pulled it from the website (but the Google cache remained!). Before we think this group are just fringe nutters, they are only a couple of degrees of separation from our own politicians;

Family Security Matters
's board has a retired general, Paul E. Vallely on it. He is also a Senior Military Analyst at Fox News - owned by Rupert Murdoch, who has both the Neo-Labour party and Conservative Party baying for his favour.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Climate Victory

The climate protesters have, IMHO, achieved a huge victory already. Even before any protest started, BAA's attempt to stifle democratic protest with the injunction was a major PR blunder. I saw the boss of Heathrow look like a petulant child on the news for refusing the debate with a representative from climate camp. Then the climate camp got the jump on the cops setting up in a field they did not have permission for two days before planned - by the time the cops arrived it was too late. Then the spate of direct action and protests which has seen Heathrow, Department For Transport, XL Airways, Biggin Hill and Farnborough Airport and Bristol Airport all targeted.

Hat's off to 'em all – the protesters have done a fantastic job in the face of massive police, state and corporate repression.

Stay informed:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Iraq in Numbers: The Death Toll Tops 1 Million

Estimated number of Iraqi deaths from the invasion of 2003 through June 2007, (assuming the Lancet study's median figure of 655,000 deaths was accurate): 1,000,985

1 in every 20 dollars gathered by the U$ government is now being spend on Iraq.

Number of robots to be on the ground in Iraq by end of 2007: 1000.

It's a clusterfuck, people.

Friday, August 10, 2007

God vs. God (vs.the World)

Radical Islam is fighting a religious war, they say, to defend Islam. Now it has been much reported that Bush believes in Jesus and God talks to him and told him to invade Iraq. Indeed he originally called the War of Terror a 'Crusade' until his PR people told him that was a bad word for it. Then you have god nutters like Lt.Gen. William G. Boykin who thinks God appointed Bush;

"You must recognize that we as Americans saw a miracle unfold with the election of George W. Bush...Whether you voted for him or not is irrelevant. The fact is he is there today, not only to lead America, but to lead the world, and that is what he is doing..."

Leading us to where? God's Bush plan seems to involve a lot of killing. (Perhaps God had invested in BAE Systems?)

Now the US military and State seems to be riddled with nutters like Boykin who are intent on bringing Jesus into the fray. You can see the chilling video of it here. It is also hypocritical as serving soldiers are not supposed to use their position to endorse other positions, for example serving marines who attended an anti-war rally in uniform have been prosecuted;

A report released publicly on Thursday by the Defense Department's (DOD) inspector general has found high-ranking Army and Air Force personnel violated long-standing military regulations when they participated in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization while in uniform and on active duty....Over the past few years, the military has set its sights on prosecuting Iraq war veterans who have completed active duty, soured on the war and participated in antiwar protests while wearing their uniforms. Recently, the US Marine Corps prosecuted Cpl. Adam Kokesh and Marine Sgt. Liam Madden, both of whom were photographed marching in an antiwar protest while wearing their uniforms in what the Marine Corps says was a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Military prosecutors vigorously sought to have both men dishonorably discharged. However, it appears unlikely the military will apply the same standard to the Air Force and Army officers who the inspector general said violated the same code of conduct Kokesh and Madden were found to have broken, according to the disciplinary recommendations of the report.

As if that was not enough - now we have Operation Straight Up (OSU);

"We feel the forces of heaven have encouraged us to perform multiple crusades that will sweep through this war torn region," OSU declares on its website about its planned trip to Iraq. "We'll hold the only religious crusade of its size in the dangerous land of Iraq."...But behind OSU's anodyne promises of wholesome fun for military families, the organization promotes an apocalyptic brand of evangelical Christianity to active duty US soldiers serving in Muslim-dominated regions of the Middle East. Displayed prominently on the "What We Believe" section of OSU's website is a passage from the Book of Revelations (Revelation 19:20; 20:10-15) that has become the bedrock of the Christian right's End Times theology: "The devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, and whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, shall be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

And they are going to give US troops a free computer game! Cool!

OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. ...The Left Behind videogame is a real-time strategy game that makes players commanders of a virtual evangelical army in a post-apocalyptic landscape that looks strikingly like New York City after 9/11. With tanks, helicopters and a fearsome arsenal of automatic weapons at their disposal, Left Behind players wage a violent war against United Nations-like peacekeepers who, according to LaHaye's interpretation of Revelation, represent the armies of the Antichrist. Each time a Left Behind player kills a UN soldier, their virtual character exclaims, "Praise the Lord!" To win the game, players must kill or convert all the non-believers left behind after the rapture.

(Still, one cool thing about the game is that players also have the option of reversing roles and commanding the forces of the Antichrist.)

So Bliar and his accomplices in the media and political elite have not only got us into an unwinable genocidal war, but some of our 'allies' think they are fighting a crusade and believe the end of the world is nigh. And they have nukes.

If global warming does not get us, the insane Christians will.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!

Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! is the name of a 1985 album by the thrash band Megadeth, and it's also what popped into my head when I heard about the rise in profits of Fliton based BAE systems on the news today. BAE's announcement has the double-speak phrase 'high tempo' to describe what has caused the rise in income;

"The UK's largest defence firm, BAE made a pre-tax profit of £657m ($1.4bn), compared with £378m a year earlier. BAE said the 'high tempo' of UK and US military operations was increasing demand for land systems to support armed forces overseas. BAE, which is facing an anti-corruption probe by US authorities, saw its half-year revenues rise by 10%."

'High tempo' is another ways of saying that there is more violence, more killing, more bombs and bullets being shot - and more of all this mean more money. Money we pay for though our and US taxes and in subsidies to the war industries in general. In non-business terms this means;

"Deaths directly and indirectly attributable to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq have neared one million people, a body count higher than the genocides in Rwanda and Sudan combined, according to a new report released by Just Foreign Policy."

Thankfully some people have the moral courage to stand up to the global killing industry.