Saturday, March 31, 2007

Spring Retreat

Time for a little reflection, a little perspective, and a re-look at the spatial and temporal dimensions to my odd existence. As Spring arrives it brings welcome reminders of continuity, the cottonwood buds, the coyote hunting the emerging mice, the river otter hunting spawn-weakened rainbows, the meadowlarks and new colts, lambs and calves. I am in my home-away-from home this week, the (even more) remote Big Hole valley, in a rural setting away from newspapers, televisions, even radio. We play our own music and discuss and let natures rythms inform our contemplation. River time is a whole different animal, a refreshing and invigorating context and so necessary to keep in mind. We operate at an un-natural pace and speed for lots of the year and it becomes difficult to pay attention.Creates debilitating paranoia, anxiety, way more stress than is healthy. The river helps.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gilded Age

From Steve Frasers review of two recent autobiographies, Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw and Mellon:An American Life by David Cannadine in the latest Nation: "When Carnegie and Mellon were coming of age,American society was still in the throes of creating a new structure of authority.Market society and capitalist industrialization carried with them a different foundation for the exercice of authority, one that no longer inhered in individuals (a fuedal lord, for example) but rather in the alleged lawfulness of the system of exchange itself.It was the system that seemed natural, hence legitimate, and so commanded allegiance. No person, no matter his or her ostensible influence over daily life, could be held accountable for whatever relations of domination and inequality might result from the inexorable operations of the system...this system was not merely a form of political economy; it aspired to be a cosmology...More inscrutable than the system's moral obtuseness, however, was it's matter-of-fact implacability. Eerily impersonal, the economy was presumed to operate like some gigantic clockwork, according to it's own ingenious mechanics, it's designer unknown, but beneficent. For "captains of industry", not to mention their legions of admirers, this amounted to a faith in immaculate social evolution, free of human agency, absolved of all personal responsibility- a theology of economic deism."

This cosmology has certainly been triumphant. There was nothing on earth more formidable than a Christian soldier or a robber baron (or their synthesis) and their mythical stature perservers in this new Gilded Age of oil and financialization. Any moral compunction is relieved with the sure knowledge that God helps those who help themselves and the Law of the Jungle (natural orders, natural systems , natural "law") is employed in the service of more pleasure,more accumulation, the very "progress of man". Of course it is all a little to convenient and it is getting harder and harder to defend. Thats why they need more, and bigger guns. More corporate media and entertainment, more shiny commodities, more distractions and better drugs.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Continued Thread

Che Bob asked a great question of those gathered at a meeting a while back, he asked;" why do you struggle?" It had us all thinking ,do I struggle?, what is struggle?, why do I care? The last couple of posts have been exploring reactionary or apathetic responses as a cunundrum for those of us who believe the times we live in require a real, immediate and concentrated effort of critical analysis and direct action. We all bounce between frustration and excitement, optimism and depression, when we contemplate the enormity of "the struggle". I don't pretend to have all the answers or exist on any kind of "higher plane" but I want to try to do some convincing. Is that a problem?

Last night I went to hear author Bill Mc Kibben speak to a packed house here in little Hamilton Montana about the ideas behind his new book, Deep Economy. The talk was sponsored by our local bookstore and a group called Sustainable Living Systems, a non-profit which promotes local food systems. These are great ideas, and I love to see the "Community Center" actually out discussing community, but- and here's the "critical "analysis- the room was filled with well -to- do, liberal, educated white people. I think they are mostly what are known as "progressives". And they were thrilled to hear "the struggle" described as buying hybrid cars and supporting the farmers market. Again, I applaud what Bill does and understand his job is not to foment socialist revolution and I appreciate the earnest interest of everyone who attended but.. buying the book and voting in a liberal slate of county commisioners and installing a solar panel will not be enough. Global warming will kill mostly poor, brown people unless something is done about power and hegemony and global democracy and done fairly quickly.

Speaking to the increasingly violent confrontations in India, Arundhati Roy says"the shit has hit the fan, folks." Iraqis are fighting a brutal occupation, mega-slums of the world are filling at an astronomical rate, when I announced that a speaker from Arauca, Colombia would be in Hamilton next month I got a whole lot of blank stares, like ,what does that have to do with re-cycling?

When we went down the street for a beer (wish you could have joined us Graeme!), the working class bar had the now-standard, ubiquitous ,90 inch screen tuned into Fox News ( fortunately with the sound off). The first feature was "Gores Hypocricy", or, Maybe He IS Right About Global Warming But He's Still An Asshole. The second feature was all about Spring Break, lots of college age breasts bouncing in the warm surf. We talked radical politics, organizing a conference on alternative economic models. Fox's female commentators all look like porn stars. I couldn't help but glance up every now and then. Struggle.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Planet Janet

For the last couple of months I have had a "temporary, full time" job with the public schools delivering food and cashiering. I was filling in for Janet, who hurt her back, and who has been easing back into the position for the last couple of weeks. This means we have been delivering together, which has given Janet and I a little chance to converse and get to know one another. I listen to classical and jazz, she listens to 70s rock. I pay attention to current events , she could care less. I like to read and discuss ideas, she has never read a book and only talks about her family. Im a radical leftist, she has no politics. She loves gossip, I try not to know to much about anybody. So it has been interesting.

As a "blue collar" worker most of my life, I have run into plenty of folks whose lives center around the job, the things a paycheck buys and whats on television but Janet takes it to a whole new level. When I told her my wife was in Vietnam she said "thats where we were in a war, right?" I said yes and she asked who it was we were fighting there. She has never been to Helena, the state capital, about three hours away. She hated chinese food and would never want to go there, either. She could no more find Venezuela on a map than she could climb Everest.

So the conversations, what there was of them, revolved around her son, the only thing that gave her life meaning. She told me how she waited on him hand and foot, catered to his every whim. She is very large and makes self deprecating jokes about her figure. Her self worth is wrapped up in, in fact defined by, how hard she can work, so she lifts to much and hurts herself, then moans and acts the martyr. She is a perfect wage slave , consumer citizen, what i call an American Idol. (Next to Deal No Deal and Survivor, her favorite show) Her son, if he doesnt get a football scholarship, is talking about joining the Marines. She says she opposes this decision, but i suspect she would be proud and would "support the troops".

Because she is oppressed and I need to remain compassionate, I am conflicted about calling her dumber than a box of rocks. But like so many jobs I have had, I am so glad thats over! You have nothing to lose but your chains. And even if they're invisible to you, they're still dragging you to the bottom.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Patience Running Thin

I went to the new Catholic parish center tonight , ostensibly to view An Inconvenient Truth again, but more to meet with the program director and to see what kind of turn out they get for such events. I have booked the room for a presentation next month by a woman from Arauca ,Colombia and she doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticizing US policy and especially the current administration. My comrade wants to do a presentation at the highschool where he works but some in the administration are wondering if they need to present a "counter-point" to maintain a balanced and nuetral position.

Apparently the Catholics were thinking along those same lines because they allowed time tonight for a global -warming "denier" , a fellow who presented his credentials as a scientist (a geologist! wtf?)) then disputed Al Gores claims of impending doom. Im growing , how shall I put this, less patient with these kinds of debates. The 9/11 conspiricy guys, the global warming deniers, the pro-Colombian government faction, they are all losers and I don't have time to fuck with them. I gave the CO2 denier a little heated exchange, but the Catholics got uneasy and I really don't have the energy. Do I have to listen to the alien space ship, stigmata and sasquatch contingent every time I want to talk about justice? Do I give equal time to crop circles and the image of Jesus in a peanut butter sandwich? I don't worship at the alter of empiricism but if factual testimony and peer reviewed studies mean nothing I think we just drove into the swamp.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 19, 2007

Coincidence, Or Not?

As if on que (see last post) , I open todays Missoulian and find the headline "Arabs Joining Rebels in Darfur" and a story by Associated Press Writer Alfred de Montesquiou ( I have name envy!)which tries to explain some contradictions and contingincies. While he speaks of the "complexity of the ethnic bloodshed" he is condemned to the use of largely ethnic labels, using one fighters lighter complexion to create a distinction the general public might begin to understand.

In contrast to this, Mahmood Mamdani speaks of a process of "Arabisation" where "Arab is a pejorative reference to the lifestyle of the nomad as uncouth;regionally it referred to someone whose primary language is Arabic. Remember , they are both very dark and Muslim. In this sense ,a group could become "Arab" over time, in other words, it is a cultural identification. Either way, Sudan has oil, China wants oil, things are far beyond grim, like so many places cursed with Black Gold.

Went to two peace rallys in as many days and was surprised to hear speeches by a 9/11 conspiricy believer on both occasions. Spent part of the afternoon attempting to analyze this convoluted movement with my comrade CheBob but find it a labyrinth both frustrating and perplexing. Help us out here, you commenters with some insight, wtf? I gave my standard Stop The Next War anti-capitalist harangue but felt as if all politics had been sucked out of the atmosphere by the Vast Illuminati-Cover Up-Gatekeepers-False Flag OperationDude.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 17, 2007

An Alternate View

Mahmood Mamdani gives us a refreshingly iconoclastic representation of the situation in Darfur in his essay: The politics of Naming, Genocide ,Civil War, Insurgency in the 8March London Review of Books. Noticing the difference in terminology between conflict in Sudan, Congo and Iraq he asks; what's in a name? A favorite subject of mine as well.

Lacking enough information I can not personally judge the use of the term "genocide" as it is applied, most assiduously by journalists such as Nicholas Kristoff but also by religious groups, human rights organizations and even our own George Bush (that well known humanitarian), to the civil war in Sudan. But Mr. Mamdani surprised me, and upset my own assumptions by asking; how do we explain the dominant narrative that violence in Darfur is perpetrated against "Africans" (the victims) by "Arabs"(the evil racists) ?How do you tell an African from an Arab? These meanings are contested and the UN commision report noted that"many Arabs in Darfur are opposed to the Janjawiid ,and some Arabs are fighting with the rebels..At the same time many non-Arabs are supporting the government and serving in it's army. The various tribes that have been the object of attacks and killings do not appear to make up ethnic groups distinct from the ethnic groups to which persons or militias which attack them belong." Mamdani also notices how well this "de-politicization" of the conflict facilitates it's absorbtion into the broader, poisoned discourse of "The War On Terror". I am reminded of Susan Sontags warnings against "demagogic appeals to cultural democracy that accompany...the ever tightening grip of plutocratic capitalism."

Accurate numbers are a real problem but assuming Darfur deaths somewhere in the range of 2 to 5 hundred thousand, it pales, horrendous as it is , to the over 4 million deaths in Congo since 1998 yet international intervention is discussed only in regards to Darfur.. We are led to understand these events in the context of the Rawandan massacres,described always as "senseless", even "evil" violence with, again, obvious victims and obvious perpetrators. And again we are urged to forget issues of power and politics, issues with which the US was itself involved with it's support of the RPF and it's commanding officer ,Paul Kagame.

Again,I don't pretend to know the situation in depth but a new perspective is challenging. Mr. Mamdini closes with this: "imperial interventions claim to have a dual purpose: on the one hand, to rescue minority victims of ongoing barbarities and, on the other, to quarantine majority perpetrators with the stated aim of civilizing them. Iraq should act as a warning on this score. "

Labels: ,

Friday, March 16, 2007

Persistent, If Nothing Else

I have been busy this week organizing the Bitterroot leg of the up-coming tour of Yaneth Perez, president of Dawn of Women for Arauca Association. Arauca is the region of Colombia which has been caught in the terrible cycle of war and violence for almost sixty years now and Yaneth and the people of Saraveno have certainly seen their share of misery. It is an old and by now familiar story, oil and other resources coveted by major global powers, ideological sectarianism, drug lords and corrupt politicians and in the middle are poor working people who just want to have some level of control over their own destiny, who just want to see their children fed , clothed, educated and presented with basic opportunities for growth.

If you were to go back through my blog archives you would find a similar entry about a year ago, the last time Yaneth came to tell her story and reach out for solidarity in this remote region. Her situation certainly hasn't seen much improvement in the intervening time, more union leaders murdered, more crops destroyed and people poisoned with US pesticides sprayed from US helicopters, more teachers, doctors and leaders of cooperatives imprisoned and threatened and killed. More George Bushes visiting with corrupt right wing leaders to promise continued "aid and cooperation". Sometimes it is hard to see the effects of opposition, to keep hope alive , but the struggle for justice is like water against rock. Eventually we wear the bastards down.

With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and decimated social programs and shredded constitution and corruption and deciept so rampant in the Homeland I almost feel guilty making the poor citizens of Ravalli County sit through another depressing description of their governments criminal complicity but hey, its my job. Week after week, year after year, till it finally starts to sink in. Sunday and Monday we take to the streets to protest the occupation and Missoula will see some Red and Black!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Politics in America

From senior MSNBC writer Allison Linn: "Debbie Brinkman didn't plan on being an anti-WalMart activist. In fact as a Republican she felt it was "kind of against my POLITICS to be fighting this."

But when the Littleton ,Colorado resident heard there were plans to build a WalMart across from a large and popular park- and within sight of her own front door- she felt she had little choice but to get involved."

This is not a joke. People have no sense of irony anymore, and as for politics... I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Debbie Does Politics. Of course I know hundreds of "Debbies", I drove by a campaign sign yesterday (county commisioners race) that said vote for Democrat Joe Blow, "Conservative Leadership". Now I don't know whether to vote for Joe or write -in Debbie?

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cosmic Dust

More on the Bush 07 Latin American Tour because it is just so precious. He flies around in that big jet with Lovely Laura at his side and everywhere they touch down there are throngs of pissed off people, leaders with big demands and a guy named Hugo shadowing his every move. This can't be fun, especially with the shit storm going on back home. (how the Hell can someone be named Scooter? FBI? Federal prosecutors?)

Hugo called him "cosmic dust". I have no idea what that could mean but I love it's poetical elan. In Colombia it was porcine symbology. "Friday night , a concert by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters featured a big balloon of a pig that said "Patron Bush, Welcome to your Colombian Ranch." ( remember the Pink Floyd album Big Pink? way ,way back) His right wing client President Uribe is all caught up in death squads and scandals (sound familiar? ) but Bush lied about "doubling" aid to Latin America ( it is currently less than in 2000 and the current budget actually cuts from 1.6 billion to 1.47. ( We spend a billion in Iraq every 72 hours) The new Millenium Challenge program replaced the old IMF grants to "select countries that meet certain standards." (Privitization, dismantling unions, de-funding social programs etc) Under Secretary of State stephan hadley included "remittances" in the aid the US is providing. In other words, the money your maid is sending back to her family in Guatemala is "US aid". My compadre Scott Nicholson is down in Arauca as I write this trying to protect union leaders and those involved in autonomous social movements from being murdered by Uribe's goons funded with US taxdollars. Protecting Oxy Oil and Coca Cola.

Chavez is dogging Bush's every move, with a big rally in Argentina tommorro. Red flags , red shirts, red hats everywhere. Maybe Bush will decide to go to Barcelona next, them San Francisco and perhaps Havana to end the tour.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Liberator

Call me crazy but it seems to me that sending Bush into Latin America to sing the praises of Simon Bolivar can only be viewed by those poor people as an unbelievably crass insult. He can jump around on aircraft carriers in a Tom Cruise costume or stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center yelling "bring em on!" and dupe plenty of gringos but Latinos don't appreciate such forms of cynical irony. They are going to tear shit up in every city he goes to down there. They won't care what kind of goofy sombrero he wears or little snippits of espanol he mangles. People will get jailed , hurt, maybe killed, just like everywhere else he and his decrepid empire go so he could really do everyone a favor by simply staying home. Send Chris Hill ( State Dept. negotiator with North Korea) if you just have to visit the "sphere of influence", let GW go visit the melting perma-frost in Antartica.

The new Nation has a good article on the venerable Democratic Senator from Montana, good old Max Baucus. Max has never seen a KStreet lobbyist or "free trade" deal he couldn't crawl in bed with and his Business Council -Chamber of Commerce buddies have kept him in power for many terms (since 1978) A somewhat guiless, not particularly bright or well spoken millionaire ,(inherited), he is the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Finance Committee and he follows the money whichever way the wind blows. Re-election is his ideological polestar and if it means brokering Bush's massive 2001 tax cuts for the wealthy,supporting his Medicare prescription plan, voting for the war, the bankruptcy bill, energy bill and the confirmation of John Roberts, so be it. To his credit, he recently called for US withdrawal and for universal health care so the 2006 elections may have had some influence but like most Montanans he's just a clueless flounder in a sea of sharks, afraid of the words "progressive"or "collective bargaining".

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Easy Work is Hard to Find

You could be excused for thinking "there is no way these people can be this totally incompetent", having our precious troops ( I mean no disrespect, just pointing out the latest fetish) stay in rat infested outpatient clinics, firing eight Federal attorneys all at once for " poor performance", having a lawyer named "scooter". It's the novel Vonnegut couldn't make up. Suddenly deciding direct negotiations with the "Axis of Evil" makes sense, sending Dick Cheney out to pump up the remaining loyal hardcore at the 39th Annual Conservative Action Conference and Cross Burning with this kind of routine:

'Like it or not, the enemy we face in the war on terror has made Iraq the primary front in that war."
There is an implicit if rhetorical question there : Like it? or not?
Then to LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE, Cheney said "To use a popular phrase, this is an inconvenient truth." Har Har You have to picture the malicious grin and little twinkle in his eye. Dick is a trout fisherman and someone has to guide him. A recurring fantasy of mine. It would be easy work, telling him how the coldness of the water was an inconvenient truth. Har har har.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Taste of spring

Enough politics. Early Spring has sprung. Temperatures in the high sixties brings on a whole new quality to the light , smell to the air, and pulse in the activity of re-emergence here in the northland. Birds are chirping and pecking and nest building (saw the first robin today), buds are popping open on the pussywillows and I can see the sap running in the cottonwoods. I watched a new colt and some lambs trying out their new legs today. During the next couple of warm days you will be able to sit in a quiet place and actually hear the cottonwood leaves pop from their sticky husks. The trout and the robins will start hunting the hatching stoneflies, Bitterrooters will start burning their ditches (fields and houses, a whole nother story) and the whole process begins anew. Of course there is some wintry weather yet to be endured, a driveway to shovel a time or two before it really greens up, but I think the worst is behind us.

Life goes on and I am blessed to live in these beautiful Rocky Mountains, to be healthy and prosperous and surrounded by great friends and a great love. Some times we have to dwell on the positive vibration and get re-charged, renewed for another tilt at the old windmill! Spring is nothing if not the spirit of hope and I want to be open to all that's available.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bolivia, Baghdad,Bogata, Bejing and Benin

Because the events in Iraq dominate both the headlines and the political discussion in our country it is easy to forget that many other conflicts still rage in many parts of our world. A quick look at the most volatile regions quickly exposes two factors that are common to most of them. The first one of course is control of energy resources. Whether we are talking about Central Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe or the Persian Gulf, when a nation explains intervention by saying it has “vital interests” in a region it is probably referring to natural gas or oil. Whether it is Columbia, Nigeria, Kazakhstan or Iran the rhetoric is about freedom or terror but you follow the money and you’ll quickly find oil. We just don't send the Marines for bananas, timber or copper anymore.

The other cause of much tension found in developing nations such as Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, India, Europe and the states of the old Soviet Union is the drive to privatize their economies, putting into corporate hands sectors and other resources than were always held in the public trust. Dismantling of sovereign rights through trade agreements, IMF lending and development aid policy only enriches a few and is the cause of much environmental destruction and the dislocation of millions from farms to rural slums. Prying open markets goes hand in hand with resource extraction., out-sourced jobs and sweat-shops.

It is no coincidence that the same people who hope to profit from the vast Iraqi energy resources also are proposing a strict neo-liberal transformation of Iraqs economy. This also explains why the leaders of Venezuela and Bolivia are so demonized by global financial elites and US politicians. This pro-privitization will be dressed up as part of the War on Terror ,anti-communism, or as "liberation" of the people from some Axis of Evil or authoritarian tyrant but we often see that Western governments are somewhat selective in their anti-despot and even anti-Islamic fundamentalist campaigns.

Some economies, China's for instance, don't require much prying or privitizing because labor is the resource US corporations are after and it is already so cheap and plentiful little intervention is required. Others, like Mexico's , require a two -prong strategy of natural resource expropriation and labor exploitation, buying government officials to both sell off resource rights and suppress unionization. In both cases it is argued that wealth is created through "trade" which will trickle down through the economy and it is a fact standards of living have risen for many through capitalization, manufacturing jobs and foreign investment.

The question is, what is the next stage of historical development and who will first imagine it and then instigate it's becoming? Shouldn't the uneven-ness of worldwide development be evened out, shouldn't wealth be more evenly created and distributed? Wouldn't that alleviate the pressures, the conflicts, the violent disruption which causes a world to live in fear? If shared ownership of the natural resources, the investment capital and the means of production led to an equal distribution of the earths abundant bounty wouldn't that mean a more just world and a shared purpose around which to unite?

Labels: ,

Friday, March 02, 2007

Compassion For Cretins

If you are looking for a concrete example of what I have been calling the crisis of American democracy you need look no further than the Montana house of representatives. In most small towns in Montana, if you are known as the guy who stands up at all and any public meetings and goes off on a twenty minute rant about the United Nations and the Federal Reserve you WILL eventually be elected to office. If you are the guy who sends in letters-to-the -editor of the Winifred Gazette weekly about prayer in schools and the Gay agenda you will soon be writing and voting on laws, giving lectures on theHouse Floor about the Constitution, and truly representing the people of your district because they are virtually all as white and proudly ignorant as you. And Republican.

Balancing this provincial tendency are the representatives,almost all Democrats, from the urban areas, Billings ,Butte, Helena and especially Missoula. All House votes thus far have been strict party line, with the "patriot" from the Constitution Party voting with Repubs and giving them a 51-49 edge every time. The only original bill thus far has been the one outlawing the United Nations flag and disavowing Montanas allegiance to One World Government, the rest is the usual banal hodgepodge of pro-Ten Commandments Intelligent Design anti-sodomy and grizzly bear stuff. Any fourth grader can recite the issues and positions, they are so mind-numbingly scripted and cliched, in fact, the debates and their outcomes are so predictable it is a total waste of time and money to carry on the charade.

So if I think "the people" are so ignorant, how can I have any hope for change? Because I believe ignorance is a form of oppression, one to be struggled against and eventually emancipated from. It is not a passive condition but an elaborate construct and strategy employed by the forces of exploitation and as such combated not through antagonism but through patient organizing and compassion.Thats not to say they won't piss you off sometimes, well, OK, all the time (see title to this post). The same confusion over cause and effect exists in relation to the overall alienation of the "masses", the veritable enervation of praxis that is so prevelant not just among the youth but certainy concentrated there. People in general cannot understand what has happened since WWII, (the Good War), they don't understand monopoly capitalism or the new technologies or global struggles for wealth and power, the art or the music, and what they don't understand , they fear.Of course the young people seem committed to violence, cynicism, vacuous spectacle! It terrifies their parents! The parents who aren't themselves medicated un-conscious to fight the lonliness, the aloneness. Whether it's the latest video game or faith in God and Guns, people need some meaning that school, work and sports isn't providing but a radical social movement can. Check out Che Bobs recent posts on some of this cultural angst and weltschmartz. (world-hurt)


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Break Out Those Maps

Just when Americans start figuring out the region that CENTCOM commands, that is, where Israel is in relation to Yemen, which states are Sunni governed and which are Shiia, we now have to break out the old atlas and try to figure out this new AFRICOM. Thats right, the Dark Continent, the one everyone wishes away, is an area of "national security". Yes, indeed, Dick Cheney, Chevron, Exxon -Mobile and Dutch Shell.Unfortunate little Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa (140 million), along with several other countries in the West African "Oil Triangle" is cursed with that black gooey stuff our brave young men and women are so willing to die for. Coincidentally, it is also a front line in the Global War On Terror! Surpise ,surprise, as Gomer Pyle used to say. Total oil revenues that have flowed into Nigeria since 1974 : $ 728,500,000,000 Percentage of Nigerians living on less than $1.00 a day in 1985 and today, respectively: 32, 71. Just when I finally figured out where Kirkuk is I have to find Sao Tome and Principe, which according to the new report by the Center for International Policy, will be the new headquarters for AFRICOM.

What is funny is the US attitude toward Venezuela, a place with no political instability or violent conflict. One would think we would be thrilled to have a reliable source, would be praising the Bolivarian revolution and Chavez as a godsend. But no.

That was quite a glimpse into the economic eggshells the global stock trading system really rests on the other day, what with all the serious analysts saying there was no explanation, no reasoning, no logic behind the wild fluctuations in a market trading trillions of dollars of wealth. A magnificent structure built with smoke and mirrors, existing only because enough people believe hard enough that it exists. That freak dude Jim Something that does the Mad Money show is the perfect symbol within a sign. Mad Money! Yes! Crazy!And who would have thought, who could have thought, we would hear "communist" leaders saying their highest priority was "market stability"? You can't make this stuff up. Parody is almost impossible.

Labels: ,