Saturday Links of the Week: September 13, 2008

conservative attack ad
A lie-filled Bush-style Conservative Party attack ad shows a bird shitting on opposition leader StÈphane Dion.

Maybe it’s the time of year, but I’m afraid this week’s list is decidedly heavy on political items, most of them bad news:

Is Bob Woodward Helping the CIA in Iraq?: Most intriguing story of the week is the report that Bob Woodward knows about a ‘secret lethal special operations program’ that is having extraordinary success in Iraq. Woodward is not talking specifics, just saying enough to sell his new book. And of course that means that everyone who hears about this is speculating what the ‘secret’ might be. The most interesting guess (from the Wired Magazine blog) is a new DARPA ‘tagging, tracking and locating’ technology that allows individual thermal ‘fingerprints’ to be created for identified opponents, which satellites can then use to track their whereabouts (and presumably bomb them) anywhere on Earth. But the comments to this article suggest an even more intriguing possibility: That there is no new ‘secret’ weapon, and Woodward has been chosen (voluntarily or not) to virally propagate that such a ‘secret’ weapon exists, through his book tour, to frighten opponents of the US occupation force into retreat.

Creating Resilient Societies:
John Robb shares my pessimism about the future of our civilization and our capacity to make the changes needed to salvage it before it collapses. P2P Foundation has summarized some of his recent thoughts, that peer-to-peer connectivity might enable large-scale relocalization of economies by creating self-sufficient communities. Below the article, Jeff Vail and I chime in with our thoughts.

business model osterwalder

A Business Model Model: Alex Osterwalder explains how a good business model (outlined in the graphic above) describes the key sustainable strategies and differentiators of any business, and is probably the best ‘picture’ that a potential investor or partner could have when deciding whether to invest or join it. Thanks to sustainability author Steve Hinton for the link.

Lehman Brothers Collapses, CitiBank next?: Lehman has collapsed as I predicted in July. My prediction is that CitiBank will be the next big one to fall, and just watch the markets plummet when that happens. Why CitiBank? Wisdom of crowds — the employees know what’s going on.

A Short Story You Won’t Forget: Alex Leslie’s short story Preservation deservedly wins a CBC Literary Award.

Bush-Style Right-Wing Attack Ads Work in Canada Too: Canada is going to the polls next month, and the extreme right-wing Conservatives, their coffers full of money from the US corporatists ruining our environment, have borrowed the Bush/Rove campaign playbook to launch a barrage of extremely offensive and totally dishonest attack ads (example above) on the Liberal opposition. Unfortunately, the tactic is working: Since the ads started, Conservative popularity has risen from 32% to 41%, enough for a majority in Canada’s absurd first-past-the-post electoral system. The Conservatives should be ashamed; the voters falling for this tripe even more so.

Galveston Prisoners Abandoned as Ike Hits: 1000 inmates at Galveston prison were abandoned as flood waters rose when Hurricane Ike hit today. What is it about the people who run Texas, anyway?

Kevin Carson’s Home Raided, Writings Seized: A book by fellow blogger Kevin Carson on labour struggle was seized last week by Minneapolis police working with Homeland Security. So much for the last vestiges of freedom of speech in America. Maybe someone should send a dictionary to the DHS brownshirts so they can look up the meaning of the term “anarchist”.

Democrats Capitulate on Offshore Drilling: The Obama Democrats are now supporting offshore drilling, to suck up to ignorant public opinion and Big Oil interests. Any wonder young people are cynical about the political process? When things get rough and change is needed…well, let’s just have more of the same instead! I’m in the process of reading archaeologist David Stuart’s Anasazi America, a speculation about how the inability and unwillingness of the Anasazi to rein in their population explosion and unsustainable economy spelled the end of a 700-year-long civilization when it encountered abrupt climate change, in a way eerily similar to what we’re doing on a global scale today. And people wonder why I’m a pessimist.

Life After People: An online History Channel program portrays what the world will look like a millennium after we’re gone. Thanks to Craig De Ruisseau for the link.

Hmmm…: Has anyone else (old enough to remember) noticed how much the current US election campaign mirrors that of Kennedy-Nixon in 1960?

Locate a Locally-Owned Cafe, Bookstore or Theatre: An interesting first step towards a directory of locally-owned enterprises everyone can use to help restore the vitality of their local community economy. Thanks to Graham Clark in NZ for the link.

Clay Shirky on the Participative Nature of the Web: The always-brilliant Clay Shirky says that we ain’t seen nothing yet: wait until the 80% on the other side of the digital divide start to participate fully, knowledgeably and enthusiastically in the interactive facets of the Web. Bye bye one-way, time-fixed ‘broadcast’ media. Thanks to Rod Lucier for the link.

Just for Fun:

  • Craig Ferguson explains, humorously and movingly, why Americans need to vote (as if that needed to be explained). Thanks to Valdis Krebs for the link. 
  • And, for a spooky experience, Play with Spider. Thanks to Craig De Ruisseau for the link — and for the one that follows.
  • And finally, from the one sentence story archive, my favourite story (#110): “When asked to name the one person absent from her life that she missed the most, she responded, ‘The person I hoped I’d be by this point in my life.’ “

Thought for the Week: From Robert Koehler:

I find myself in awe of the determination a journalist has to have simply to convey the war on terror to American readers as it appears outside the managed version (bury the dead, cover your ass) of U.S. military press releases. And much as I admire such reporting — how much easier to remain embedded within the official context — I find myself trembling with incredulity as I read it.

The core of this story isnít the controversy: How many children, precisely, did we kill this time around? This is a story of the unspeakable immensity of death. Itís the 9/11 story still unfolding, and the only way to tell it is to embed a prayer, a wail of parental grief, deep within the words. Let the controversy come later, after weíve joined the villagers, and the world, in mourning.

And the story is also much more than this, of course, since weíve been killing civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq for most of the Bush presidency. In July, we bombed another Afghan wedding:

ìOh my God!î (the groom) was now sobbing uncontrollably. ì I saw my bride and my family members; I saw the pieces of their bodies scattered all over the place.î So writes Iqbal Sapand for Information Clearinghouse, about a July 6 incident inNangarhar in which 52 people died (45 of them women and children).

This is how we feed the endless war, the one thatís been raging for about 6,000 years now.

[for more on the disastrous war in Afghanistan, and the military/media deceptions we are being fed about it, read Glenn Greenwald’s latest column]

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5 Responses to Saturday Links of the Week: September 13, 2008

  1. David Houser says:

    “Kevin Carson’s Home Raided, Writings Seized”I don’t think it’s quite as bad as that. I believe some RNC protesters were distributing a pamphlet of his writings, and those are what were seized and held by the cops. I’m sure eventually they’ll get around to raiding his home, as seems almost inevitable in the US, but so far that’s not the case as I understand it.

  2. Susan Hales says:

    Dave, even in Alabama we still have freedom of speech, my friend, or my house would have been seized, full as it is with anti-bush books, print outs and such. You do have a much more open country in some ways than we do, of course. But these are local lunatics, from what I can see, and in America we can even promote lunatics as Vice Presidential candidates. Whether they are allowed to continue is another matter.We’ll see. Thanks for pointing out the stupid decision by the local authorities. Apparently it has helped Kevin’s cause..

  3. Kevin Carson says:

    Thanks much for the link and the support, Dave, but my home is still secure. I live in Arkansas, and the pamphlets were seized during a police raid on the RNC Welcoming Committee headquarters in Minneapolis.

  4. I just wanted to add a couple of things to your section on the political attack ads in Canada. The way you present this information (as the Conservatives against the Liberals) is more reflective of the binary Democrat/Republican two-choice voting system in the US than to the actual political situation in Canada.I would not want your readers who are not informed about the political process in Canada to be mislead into thinking that we only have two viable political parties here and that they are Conservatives=bad and Liberals=good. The name of the federal “Liberal” party is largely a misnomer as their policies and stance lie to the far right of the political spectrum. Neo-Liberal would be a more apt term for their party.The Liberals are also not the only opposition to the Conservatives. Canadian voters are not limited to voting for two parties. The NDP, the Bloq Quebecois and the Greens are also currently represented in the House of Commons. Although recent history would seem to present our government as Conservative vs. Liberal, not acknowledging the other parties is similar to trying to keep the Greens out of our Leaders Debate. It gives more power to the two leading parties while misdirecting it away from the other parties. Yes, our FPTP electoral system is absurd, but electoral reform has been stirring here for a while. The BC provincial government is holding a second referendum this fall to hopefully switch our system to a more-representative (but admittedly also imperfect) Single-Transferable Vote (STV). If provincial electoral reform happens, then hopefully federal electoral reform would follow.

  5. marc says:

    Lehman Brothers Collapses, CitiBank next? Now Dave … Merrill Lynch is at the top of that list in employee satisfaction

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