Thursday, April 24, 2008

Elizabeth Fineron, Presente! (RIP)

Elizabeth Fineron was a long-time fixture of the Colorado Springs activist scene, working on issues of housing, economics, and peace. She got a good deal of publicity when she was hurt by cops in the 2007 St. Patrick's Day arrests.

Elizabeth had been fighting many health problems for years, capped off by a botched carotid artery surgery. On April 23, only three days after coming home from an extended hospital visit, she died. The Colorado Springs Gazette, which had gotten into many disagreements with her regarding her opinion on police behavior to the peace community, wrote a surprisingly nice article about her.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mainstream Media: Of Course We're Whores. So What?

Like Glenn Greenwald, I was happy to see The New York Times give us a classic front-page expose in the April 20 Sunday edition, on the Pentagon stage-managing corporate and retired "military analysts" appearing on national TV networks to make precisely the points the Pentagon wanted to make. Talk about your Mighty Wurlitzer! And like Glenn Greenwald, I was waiting for some kind of reaction from CBS, Fox, ABC, NBC, CNN ... surely they couldn't sit still and pretend this story never appeared? Well, yes they could.

Thankfully, Glenn Greenwald made his frustrations known in Salon. The networks know that David Barstow was telling the straight story in his NY Times article about the depths to which they'd been used, and they didn't care to be reminded of it. As Greenwald said, news organizations never disclose when outsiders or their own cohorts accuse them of being corrupt in the newsgathering process, so we shouldn't be surprised. Nor should we be surprised about the Pentagon analyst scam. With budgets slashed in the newsroom, most TV news organizations are so used to the concept of "embedded war reporting" that they'd love to get pre-made video clips from the Pentagon and broadcast them as their own. Good old Eric Alterman of The Nation magazine has regularly been claiming that the mainstream media has sunk to such depths, its members are beneath contempt. Glenn Greenwald provided specific examples of this treachery, by showing how TV networks pretend David Barstow and The Times do not exist. Here's one instance where the steep decline of journalism should not bother anyone, as TV network news would be better off not being in existence.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yellow Swans RIP

Sure, it's always better for a musical project to break up before it gets too old and predictable, but I will sincerely miss Yellow Swans. Glad I caught Gabe and Pete live a couple times, nothing else in the universe quite matches their mania.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Addict's Last Gasp

Environmentalists may not be planning concretely for living in a world where the North Pole icecap is completely melted, but oil explorers certainly are. Foreign Affairs magazine had a deeply disturbing article by Scott Borgerson in its March/April issue, warning the U.S. that if it didn't ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, it risked losing oil concessions to Russia, Canada, and the Scandinavian countries -- concessions located directly under what is now the polar ice cap.

We have to give credit to Borgerson for believing in global warming and indicating that an entirely melted ice cap would represent grave consequences (a completely-inundated Florida peninsula, for example). But he is sanguine and maybe very realistic in saying that the oil deposits under the North Pole are likely as large as the remaining recoverable resources in Saudi Arabia. This means that oil companies will want to drill off the north coasts of Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Greenland, and that ships will begin regularly using an ice-free Northwest Passage to transport that oil.

Since oil has gotten us into this melting mess to begin with, its over-use should serve as a warning to transition quickly to renewables. Taking advantage of an ice-cap melt by seeking to pull still more oil from the ground seems equivalent to a heroin addict telling himself that one last binge before seeking treatment won't hurt anyone. And given how modern culture uses its resources and how modern oil companies (and nations) behave, Borgerson's scenario seems like the most likely one in our energy future. How scary.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Damien Moran Booted from U.S.

Damien Moran, an Irish national living in Poland, has been active against the U.S. plan to station missile-defense missiles in Poland. He was going to speak in Colorado Springs April 7 about the NATO decision to back Bush's missile-defense plans. He never made it. At O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Damien was interrogated by Department of Homeland Security officials about his involvement in the Pitstop Plowshares movement. He was acquitted in that action, but that wasn't enough for DHS. He was sent back to Poland. Here's Damien's observations:

Pitstop Plougshares acquittee Damien Moran deported from the U.S.

Swords into Ploughshares
Swords into Ploughshares
As well as a a ploughshares acquittal to my name I now have the privilege of being sent packing on a one-way flight from Chicago airport to Warsaw just 5 hours after I had landed.

I was immediately detained and questioned by Homeland Security officers about our Pitstop Ploughshares action at Shannon in February 2003 (, why I was arrested, why our group 'sabotaged' U.S. military property.

I informed them about our action and acquittal with pleasure. They were none too pleased.

When the gung-ho Officer Bock shouted out that deportation was the least of my problems I decided there was no point of pushing his buttons too far. I made my anti-war statement, explaining that I was en route to visit my brother in Virginia, then planned going to Colorado Springs and Nebraska to speak at anti-militarism conferences/panels and demonstrations.

I've been travelling and waiting in airports non-stop for the past 30 hours so now it's time to hit the hay. I will write a more extensive report tomorrow.

Unfortunately I've lost $350 dollars in flight expenses while the Global Network ( Against Weapons in Space that invited me have been setback over $1,000. If anyone has spare change to donate and help with costs (will be dedicated to anti-militarist/missile defence/direct action purposes) please let me know.

No Pasaran (New motto of U.S. Homeland Security dissenters),
Related Link:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

We Almost Took Him Down

For a couple days this week, it almost looked as though Robert Mugabe was actually going to concede in Zimbabwe. Oops, guess not, the raids started Thursday morning and included an editor with the New York Times. Shame on Heidi Holland for suggesting in the April 1 (April Fool's?) edition of the Times that the western nations needed to make better negotiation attempts with Mugabe. Negotiate with the man who thinks all gays should be slaughtered? With the man who initiated a massacre against ZAPU Nkomo supporters in Matabeleland in the 1980s, and has only gone crazier since then? The man who gave his nation 100,000 percent inflation?

Screw that. We need to find someone in the Simba Makoni faction of ZANU who will simply place a well-deserved bullet in the center of Mugabe's brain. That's the only kind of negotiation that will save the people of Zimbabwe.